Speedboat or Yacht Whale Watching from Reykjavík. Which is best?

Whale Watching by RIB Speedboat in Reykjavik, Iceland - humpback whale leaping out of the water, lazy breach

This is one of the most common question we get when it comes to whale watching from Reykjavík. Since we offer Speedboat tours, Yacht tours, as well as Classic boat tours it can be hard to decide which tour would suit you or your group best.

Here is a helpful overview of the differences between these tours:

What is the difference?Rib SpeedboatYacht Whale WatchingClassic Whale Watching
Length of the Tour?2 hours2.5 – 3.5 hours2.5 – 3.5 hours
Number of passengers?1298125
Amenities?Warm overalls, gloves, goggles, safety equipment.Bar, WC, Top deck, wooden panelling, marble surfaces and plush leather seats.Comfortable seating, bar, WC.
Guides?Professional GuideProfessional GuideProfessional Guide
Age?Not for children under 10All agesAll ages
Physical condition? Not for pregnant
Not for those under 145 cm
Not for those with back problems
All conditions All conditions
Animals?Whales + during puffin season the RIB boat stops by a puffin colony. Whales, birds, marine animalsWhales, birds, marine animals

What is the difference between a RIB (Speedboat) and a classic, or yacht whale watching from Reykjavík?

The most obvious difference between a speedboat whale-watching tour and whale-watching on a yacht or classic boat tour is the type of vessel used for the tour and the experience it offers.

Our RIB whale-watching tour uses smaller, more powerful vessels that can navigate through the water quickly and efficiently. So we can spend the same amount of time with the whales, but it is much faster to get to the feeding grounds. As a bonus, within the season, we stop off at one of the puffin colonies. Due to the shallow water, we can’t get very close with a large ship, but the speedboats can come in near to the islands, and therefore provide amazing up-close experiences with the puffins

RIB speedboat whale watching from Reykjavík
Our RIB Speedboat tour

This type of tour is ideal for those who are looking for a more adventurous and thrilling experience, as well as people who really want to see puffins! In both tours we allow the whales to approach us, however, if you are at water level it will feel as though the whale is much closer if you are in the RIB. For the speedboat we provide you with warm overalls, gloves, goggles, and all necessary safety equipment.

Our yacht and classic whale-watching tours use larger and slower ships that offer a more comfortable and relaxing experience. This type of tour is ideal for those who want to enjoy the scenery and have the luxury of toilets, a bar, and space to spread out, without experiencing any adrenaline rush more than of course seeing these awesome creatures in the wild! For the bigger boats you do not need any special clothing or equipment. Just make sure you dress in warm clothing as it can be colder out on the ocean (It is warm inside the boats though).

But what is the difference between the yacht whale watching tour and the classic whale watching tour?

The yacht tour is on a luxury yacht and the classic tour is on a regular boat. You can see the photos below for reference.

Yacht whale watching from Reykjavík
Our Yacht whale watching tour
Classic white and blue boat whale watching from Reykjavík in fog
Our Classic whale watching tour

So when choosing the type of whale watching tour from Reykjavík there are a couple of questions to keep in mind. Are you traveling with children? or elderly? Are you seeking adrenalin or relaxation? The RIB is not suitable for children under 10 years old, pregnant women, or people with bad backs, so these larger vessels provide a way to see whales for less physically able people.

Another difference between the two types of tours is the number of passengers on board. Our main speedboat takes just 12 passengers, making for a more intimate experience, and can even be booked as a private tour! The larger vessels are licensed to take many more, though we rarely sell the full capacity to ensure there is space for everyone to really relax and see the whales well.

Ultimately, the choice between a speedboat whale-watching tour and larger vessel whale-watching tour is up to you. Do you want adrenaline or relaxation? Do you want to experience whales up close with the wind on your face? Or do you want to experience them in the warm comfort of a luxury yacht.

Seeing whales and northern lights are rightly at the top of people’s Icelandic bucket lists, and we love showing everyone both. If you have booked a whale-watching tour with us you can come out with us to see the aurora for half price, but still aboard the super yacht Amelia Rose. Sea Trips Reykjavík sail daily from Reykjavík Old Harbor, Iceland.

For more information on our boats, our trips, and any accessibility questions please email us at seatrips@seatrips.is  or look through our FAQs.

Learn more about how to spot whales here.

whale watching from Reykjavík
Whale watching in Iceland

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