FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Whale Zone?

Whale Zone Lda is a travel agency specialised in Whale Watching.
The company is based in one of the very best Whale Watching spots in the world: Pico Island (Azores, Portugal). The founding partners and managers of Whale Zone - Dania Tesei, M.Sc. & Enrico Villa, M.Sc. - are also founders and managers of CetaceanWatching Lda (trading as CW Azores) - an inbound Whale Watch operation and PADI Dive Resort in Pico.

Whale Zone adds the first hand experience of real Whale Watch operator to the organisational skills of a travel agency, striving to provide you with the best of both worlds.

How trustable is Whale Zone?

Whale Zone Lda is a registered travel agency in Portugal (National Register of Travel and Tourism Agencies No. 4820), a country belonging to the European Community. As required by law, we contribute to a Travel Guarantee Fund which is used to compensate customers in the unlikely event the company fails to fulfill its obligations due to financial difficulties.

Regarding the people (because the law could not be more important, but for your travel experience it all comes down to people in the end), you may want to get a first hand experience on how much we care about our customers in the place where we own boats and hold whale watching licences directly: in the Azores.
As an alternative, you can just rely on what people say about us and our work. This will give you a pretty good idea on how well things work when we guide you all over the world to see whales and dolphins.

How can I book a tour with Whale Zone?

This an outstandingly important piece of information and, because of that, there is an entire page about it in our website. Please visit our HOW TO BOOK page and, should you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with us at your earliest convenience.

Are your tours available through agents or tour operators?

As a travel agency, Whale Zone does not sell tours to other travel agencies. However, we can help with the tours we sell in the Azores by redirecting travel agencies and tour operators to our friend company CW Azores, an inbound Whale Watch operator on Pico Island.
The founding parners and managers of Whale Zone are also founding partner and managers of CW Azores and you will be talking basically with the same people.

When am I meant to pay for the tour I am booking?

You will find all the information you need in our BOOKING CONDITIONS page.
The page also covers our refund policy, cancellation policy and amount to be paid as a deposit to confirm your booking.

Should you have any questions or doubts, you are very welcome to contact us.

What is included in the price of my tour?

There is a web page devoted to each tour we offer and in that page we describe exactly what is included in a particular tour.

As a general rule, Whale Watching trips and accommodation are always included in our tours.
On the other hand, flights are always excluded because our customers come from all over the world and it would be very hard for us to handle flights with so many different origins and airlines involved.
Meals may or may not be included and, once again, please refer to a specific tour page to see what exactly is included in the price.

What is the typical group size for a tour?

Group size depends on the tour and it is always described in the tour page.
For most tours it is between 8 and 12 guests.

Group size can be greater than 12 passengers when Whale Zone is privately chartering big boats, or full camps or infrastructures in general in a way that the quality of your experience is not diminished in any way.

What vaccinations are required for my tour?

Vaccinations needed, if any, will be listed in the pre-departure information you receive after you complete your booking.

Of course, you can get in touch with us any time if you want to learn more about any vaccination needed before you book your tour.

Do you have a smoking policy?

Smoking is forbidden in any confined space, the only exception being a hotel room for smokers if you booked it expressly.
Smoking on vessels is also forbidden unless there is an outdoor space dedicated to smokers, which is rarely the case.
For the peace of mind of everybody, smokers should also avoid smoking in the proximity of non-smokers at all times.

As you see, our smoking policy is based mainly on common sense so that both smokers and non-smokers will be able to fully enjoy their holiday.

What is a Cetacean?

Cetacean is one of those words that never reached a wide use in the English language.
It is a general name you can use to indicate a whale, a dolphin or a porpoise. Yes, they are all cetaceans!

We call whales, dolphins and porpoises cetaceans because they all belong to the scientific order Cetacea. This comes from the Latin Cetus, which meant a large sea animal.
In turn, the Latin word Cetus comes from the Greek Ketos (κῆτος actually, in Greek alphabet), meaning sea monster.

Are cetaceans dangerous?

Cetaceans are gentle animals. They really are!
Your odds of being harmed by a whale, dolphin or porpoise are so slim that you should not be afraid of them at all.

Of course, they are big animals and as such they are very powerful. It is therefore a very good idea to make sure they know where you are, to avoid having them bumping into you or your boat by mistake. Once they are aware of your presence, they will be way more gentle, careful and kind than most other animals, including humans.