On our trip, we decided to do some whale watching, since it is such a popular activity in Monterey Bay. We chose this company through word-of-mouth, as well as seeing how professional they seemed from the rest of the companies on the wharf.
It was a wonderful experience, but I would like to first warn that you aren't really going to be able to see the whales up close. It was explained to us that because of certain laws, the boat has to be several hundred feet away from the whales. So by looking at the pictures, you can see that we weren't able to see them THAT close. However, I was able to see sea otters, lots of birds, two different kinds of whales, and dolphins. We even got to see a baby whale and its mom! It was very cute. The dolphins swam up closer to us, and there was a whole school of them. It was very beautiful.
The guides were VERY informative. The whole trip lasted about 3 hours total, and they did not run out of things to tell us. They spoke over a loudspeaker on the boat that could be heard from wherever you were, so you didn't miss any information.
A warning, though: even if you aren't prone to seasickness, you might want to take precautions and take some Dramamine. The ride out there is VERY choppy. It felt like I was on some kind of roller coaster ride. After an hour or two, you might get kinda lightheaded, like I did! Luckily, there are seats inside the cabin where you can sit down away from the outside and buy hot chocolate (or other snacks).
It's also important to note that it's VERY cold out on the sea, even in the summer! Do NOT wear flip-flops! Your toes will freeze AND you might slip on the deck. It's very wet because of the water mist. It feels like it's raining at times.
We booked online, so we were guaranteed spots. You might want to call ahead or get there early because they do fill up, especially during peak season. The trip cost a little over $20 per person.