From Mendenhall to Orca/any shortcuts?

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#1
Fort Worth, Texas
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Any suggestions for travelling from Mendenhall Glacier to ORCA Whale watch excursion is greatly appreciated? Our ship tenders at 8am--we thought we would go to Mendenhall first, then on to our Whale watch excursion at 2:30. I looked at a map and it seems like we will do a lot of backtracking in order to be picked up at the cruise terminal for our 3pm excursion. Also, is my best option for transportation the Blue bus? Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide.
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Nana Shiner
#2
Las Vegas
10,285 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by shiner6
Any suggestions for travelling from Mendenhall Glacier to ORCA Whale watch excursion is greatly appreciated? Our ship tenders at 8am--we thought we would go to Mendenhall first, then on to our Whale watch excursion at 2:30. I looked at a map and it seems like we will do a lot of backtracking in order to be picked up at the cruise terminal for our 3pm excursion. Also, is my best option for transportation the Blue bus? Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide.
Where does the whale watching trip depart from. No place in Juneau is far from any other place. It is not a big town.

DON
#3
Issaquah, WA
3,803 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Have you asked Orca if they can pick you up at Mendenhall? They often have other passengers who do a pre/post whale watch stop at Mendenhall. They might charge you a little extra for the pickup, but it would be worth the convenience.
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#4
616 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Orca does offer pick up, but I recall it being a lot, about $35 per person. I am planning on taking the city bus. From Mendenhall, walk about 1.2 miles to the bus stop, take the #3 bus (only once an hour) and it stops in Auke Bay. You can get directions to Orca's slip from there.

City bus schedule: http://www.juneau.org/capitaltransit...sschedule5.pdf
#5
Issaquah, WA
3,803 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by theloo
Orca does offer pick up, but I recall it being a lot, about $35 per person.
No it's not! It's $18.50 additional to drop you off at the glacier and pick you back up in an hour. You might be able to negotiate something cheaper if you are only being picked up from the glacier.

We are adding the glacier stop to our whale watch this year because it's cheaper than taking the round trip shuttle (now $20 round trip) and more convenient.
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#6
Syracuse, New York
49,120 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by theloo
Orca does offer pick up, but I recall it being a lot, about $35 per person. I am planning on taking the city bus. From Mendenhall, walk about 1.2 miles to the bus stop, take the #3 bus (only once an hour) and it stops in Auke Bay. You can get directions to Orca's slip from there.

City bus schedule: http://www.juneau.org/capitaltransit...sschedule5.pdf
This absolutely would not be a good option for most people and have you done it? Or just reporting you are going to "do it"?
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#7
616 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by sherryf
No it's not! It's $18.50 additional to drop you off at the glacier and pick you back up in an hour. You might be able to negotiate something cheaper if you are only being picked up from the glacier.
I specifically asked about it and it was so much that I declined. If it were in the $20 range, I would have accepted because I'd rather not bother with the city bus. So they must have offered you a different price than me.
#8
Syracuse, New York
49,120 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by shiner6
Any suggestions for travelling from Mendenhall Glacier to ORCA Whale watch excursion is greatly appreciated? Our ship tenders at 8am--we thought we would go to Mendenhall first, then on to our Whale watch excursion at 2:30. I looked at a map and it seems like we will do a lot of backtracking in order to be picked up at the cruise terminal for our 3pm excursion. Also, is my best option for transportation the Blue bus? Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide.
The simple answer would be to take a cab direct- Mendenhall to the marina. You do need to call for one yourself, as there are no cab lines at Mendenhall, about 20 minutes prior to needing one.

Get the SPECIFIC marina name, as there are several.

Other recommendation would be to rent a car. I have driven several times to pick up Orca Enterprises. It's "automatic" for me, there is an old gas station at the turn, but I can't give any other accurate details. I'm sure you can easily get them by calling beforehand.
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#9
616 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Budget Queen
This absolutely would not be a good option for most people and have you done it? Or just reporting you are going to "do it"?
I stated that it was my "plan" to take the bus. I know it's not for everyone, that's why I mentioned that it's a long walk to the bus stop, but the OP was asking for any suggestions. It seems that the only options are: Orca shuttle, blue/white shuttle back to port (wasting a lot of time), a cab (not sure if they'd go out to Mendenhall for a short fare to Auke Bay), and renting a car. We considered them all.
#10
Syracuse, New York
49,120 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by theloo
I stated that it was my "plan" to take the bus. I know it's not for everyone, that's why I mentioned that it's a long walk to the bus stop, but the OP was asking for any suggestions. It seems that the only options are: Orca shuttle, blue/white shuttle back to port (wasting a lot of time), a cab (not sure if they'd go out to Mendenhall for a short fare to Auke Bay), and renting a car. We considered them all.
You are going to find that your plan is going to be using the most time of all and won't be easy.
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#11
Issaquah, WA
3,803 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by theloo
I specifically asked about it and it was so much that I declined. If it were in the $20 range, I would have accepted because I'd rather not bother with the city bus. So they must have offered you a different price than me.
It is the price listed on their web page.

http://www.orcaenterprises.com/1-othertours.htm

WHALE WATCHING AND MENDENHALL GLACIER SHUTTLE COMBO
Add $18.50 Per adult and $15.50 per child under 12 to your whale watching price
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Sherry


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#12
616 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by sherryf
It is the price listed on their web page.

http://www.orcaenterprises.com/1-othertours.htm

WHALE WATCHING AND MENDENHALL GLACIER SHUTTLE COMBO
Add $18.50 Per adult and $15.50 per child under 12 to your whale watching price
Thanks! I did not see that. I may call them back, though I think one issue for us is that we think we will want to spend more than an hour at Mendenhall.
#13
Las Vegas
10,285 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by theloo
Orca does offer pick up, but I recall it being a lot, about $35 per person. I am planning on taking the city bus. From Mendenhall, walk about 1.2 miles to the bus stop, take the #3 bus (only once an hour) and it stops in Auke Bay. You can get directions to Orca's slip from there.

City bus schedule: http://www.juneau.org/capitaltransit...sschedule5.pdf
Lets assume that the total cost of your cruise with transportation is $3500 per person. The $35 cost that will make your life easier and your visit to Juneau more pleasant is only 1% of the total cruise cost.

I can't imagine walking 1.2 miles to the bus which will take 20 - 30 minutes and then waiting for a once per hour bus makes any sense. What if you get to the bus stop right after bus leaves and you have to wait another hour? Remember, bus schedules are estimates unlike airplane or boat schedules. The bus could arrive before it's designated time, at it's designated time or after it. Option 1 is going to present you with real problems.

You are going to be in Juneau maybe 8 hours and how much of the 8 hours will be spent on this transportation scheme?

DON
#14
Fort Worth, Texas
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
So, I am more confused now. I guess my best and safest bet is to just ride the blue bus both ways and get picked up as planned back In port?


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Nana Shiner
#15
Juneau
1,282 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by shiner6
So, I am more confused now. I guess my best and safest bet is to just ride the blue bus both ways and get picked up as planned back In port?
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No, the most time efficient option is to contact Orca and check into being picked up at the glacier your excursion. Orca's whale watching leaves from Auke Bay, which is only about a 10 minute drive from the glacier. There's no need to waste the time of going back and forth.

I always vote for renting a car and not tying yourself down with others' schedule, but I realize not everyone is up for that. But if you do it, you could drive out the glacier in the morning and then have hours to explore before your whale watching.
#16
Issaquah, WA
3,803 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by tee_harbor
No, the most time efficient option is to contact Orca and check into being picked up at the glacier your excursion. Orca's whale watching leaves from Auke Bay, which is only about a 10 minute drive from the glacier. There's no need to waste the time of going back and forth.

I always vote for renting a car and not tying yourself down with others' schedule, but I realize not everyone is up for that. But if you do it, you could drive out the glacier in the morning and then have hours to explore before your whale watching.
One more thing to think about, and perhaps a good reason for a car rental, is lunch. I know that really isn't a huge priority for everyone, but you mention going out to Mendenhall around 8 and whale watching at 2:30, so you aren't going to be back until dinner time. You cannot take food along with you to Mendenhall (bears!) and there is nothing to eat near there. If you had a car, you could go to Mendenhall until noon or 1, then eat lunch somewhere on that end of town before going to your whale watch.

I know that BQ may say that meals are never her priority but I get cranky when my blood sugar gets low.
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Sherry


Carnival Spirit - Alaska - July 11, 2001
Star Princess - Alaska - July 26, 2009 - Honeymoon!!
Golden Princess - Alaska - August 14, 2010 - 1st Anniversary!
Golden Princess - Alaska - August 6, 2011 - With the family this time!
Golden Princess - Alaska - July 21, 2012 - 3rd Anniversary!
Star Princess - Alaska - July 20, 2013 - With Mom and Aunt!
Grand Princess - Alaska - July 20, 2014 - With 4 teens/young adults!
Crown Princess - Alaska - July 25, 2015 - Splurged on a balcony!
Westerdam - Alaska - July 23, 2016 - First time on Holland America!