Sail away with Saga and ORCA
Discover our ocean's marine life on an ORCA cruise
For over a decade we have invited experts from the marine wildlife conservation charity, ORCA on board our ships. The team consists of four volunteer marine mammal surveyors: A Team Leader, a Wildlife Officer, and two Wildlife Guides. During the cruise the team collect important scientific data and record marine wildlife.
There are parts of our marine environment that remain relatively unstudied by scientists, so by joining a selection of our cruises the oceans have been opened up for ORCA to observe the marine wildlife in a way that would not have been possible before. Insights into whale, dolphin and porpoise populations and distribution trends can be studied globally and used to make decisions around protected areas.
The ORCA wildlife specialists deliver unforgettable wildlife experiences during our cruises with whale and dolphin watching from the outside decks, spotting and identifying the wildlife at sea, informative on-board talks and lots more!
Start planning your ORCA cruise today.
Life on board with ORCA
Every cruise is different, and as whales and dolphins are highly mobile, migratory species, almost anything can be seen at any time! ORCA have had fantastic sightings on previous Saga adventures and over the years they have recorded tens of thousands of animals and incredible species such as orcas, belugas and blue whales – just to name a few!
With ORCA's wildlife experts on deck throughout the cruise, we can help navigate your whale and dolphin spotting experience as we cross wildlife hotspots such as the Bay of Biscay, famous for its cetacean diversity including the mysterious Cuvier's beaked whale, the Arctic Ocean with its magnificent bowhead whales, and the Mediterranean Sea with its fin whales.
During 2022, over 6,000 individual animals were sighted on just a handful of our cruises. Highlights included sightings of over 3,200 acrobatic common dolphins, 128 fin whales (the second largest animal on the planet, growing up to 27m long) and even a pod of rare and elusive Blainville's beaked whales were seen when crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Turtles, sharks, seals, walrus and sunfish (the heaviest bony fish in the world) were also seen in good numbers. Using the binoculars supplied, guests can join the ORCA team to help spot animals, identify species and learn more about them.
Birds and other wildlife
Of course, there’s more than just marine life. ORCA and our guests have also recorded countless birds on our ORCA cruise trips - over 200 species. This has included white-tailed sea eagles, puffins, shearwaters and hummingbirds. It’s a birdwatcher’s heaven.
On one trip to arctic Norway, guests even spotted an elusive polar bear in its natural habitat.
Themed activities to join in
On days at sea, guests sailing on our ORCA charity cruises can enjoy deck watches with the experts. There’s also the chance to spend time as a volunteer and collect data for the team to use in their research.
The ORCA team also hold informative talks and deliver engaging wildlife-focused workshops on board. All add to the enriching ORCA cruise experience for our guests, along with a packed programme of activities and entertainment.
Saga’s commitment to safeguarding the environment extends via a marine conservation project undertaken by the ORCA charity. ORCA believes that the only way to protect our whales and dolphins is to identify areas where they are vulnerable and study their habitats. That way, we can protect these places by changing the way we use them.
The ocean faces so many threats including shipping, fishing, noise pollution and marine litter, and by supporting ORCA’s data collection Saga can help to provide a local solution to a global problem and play an important part in safeguarding the ocean for the future. The charity’s trained volunteers frequently travel on our ocean cruise ships to carry out valuable conservation work, here’s what they have said about our support:
"Saga is integral to our conservation work. With a team of four Marine Mammal Surveyors being on a forward facing platform onboard the Saga ships means we can collect high quality data which is actively fed back to Government and key policy and legislation decision makers."