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

Speedboat or Yacht Whale-watching. Which is best?

What is the difference between a RIB (Speedboat) tour and a classic or yacht tour?

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. 

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. 

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 seeing these awesome creatures in the wild!

The RIB is not suitable for small children 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?

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 superyacht Amelia Rose. Sea Trips Reykjavik 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 in iceland whales
Whale watching in Iceland

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