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  #1  
Old July 13th, 2009, 10:32 AM
Kathleen000 Kathleen000 is offline
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Default Best Whale watching in Alaska?

Hi Everyone. I am wondering what the best whale watching excursion is for Alaska. We are with Princess. There are a bunch in Juneau that we are considering. Thanks for your input!
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  #2  
Old July 13th, 2009, 10:38 AM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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No "best" - all just personal preferences.
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  #3  
Old July 13th, 2009, 11:34 AM
GranMona GranMona is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen000 View Post
Hi Everyone. I am wondering what the best whale watching excursion is for Alaska. We are with Princess. There are a bunch in Juneau that we are considering. Thanks for your input!
Tours out of Icy Strait Point usually gets great reviews and has the reputations for having the most whale sightings. I agree that they are good from personal experience. We saw mulitple pods on our tour. Haven't been whale watching out of Juneau.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:44 AM
born2cruize born2cruize is offline
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Default Whale Watchin in Icy Strait Point

If you are going to Icy Strait Point stay away from the Princess sponsored whale watching tour. It has the shortest stay in the area (only 45 minutes of whale watching with most of that looking trough windows and not on deck). The others often have much longer stays in the whaling area (it takes about 45 minutes from Hoonah to the whale watching area). The longest times watching whales is Glacier Winds.

In Juneau it really doesn't matter at they all go to the same area. You often see a parade of boats following each other. There the decision is the size of the boat you want to be on.
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  #5  
Old July 13th, 2009, 01:28 PM
Jimmis2001 Jimmis2001 is online now
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Default Just Returned from July 8th Whale Tour with WeatherPermitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen000 View Post
Hi Everyone. I am wondering what the best whale watching excursion is for Alaska. We are with Princess. There are a bunch in Juneau that we are considering. Thanks for your input!

Hi Kathleen,

I cannot say which company is best because I only experienced one, but the tour I had with Captain Greg (owner/operator) of Weather Permitting was the highlight of our Alaskan journey. I could not imagine a better tour than the one we had with him. I am frugal and am very happy that I spent the couple extra dollars to join Captain Greg. I loved being on his boat with such a limited amount of people. I think the most he takes is 6 or so unless you have more than that in your group. Check with him to be sure.

Our tour started at 7am and Greg was waiting right by the exit ramp of the ship. He took us in a comforatable van to a beatiful view of mendenhall galcier at the University of Alaska campus in Juneau where he teaches some courses. Greg was very knowledgeable about the area and provided us with interesting facts along the way. (This was not taking away from our time on the water, just a little something extra.)

We arrived at the dock and let me say, he has a very nice boat! I thought he was just selling me when I spoke with him before booking, but his boat is cleaner than a lot of hotels I have been in! This state of the art boat was designed by Greg and is utilized by local rescue organiztions, filming crew, and photographers due to its stability in the water and I could see why.

Captain Greg had fresh brownies, nuts, cheese, crackers, and sodas for us. The brownies was worth every penny! He made us feel very welcome.

Off we went and within minutes we were view whales. We saw several humpbacks and were even lucky enough to see one breaching and having a fun time in the water! Captain Greg continued to provide interesting stories and information about the whales throughout our time on the water. He took us to several different areas and again including watching some seals play king of the mountain on a buoy, and let me remind you that he has a smooth riding boat! I could not imagine anyone getting sea sick on his boat! Last, He took us to a great view of the glacier and took our pictures.

After whale watching we left the marina and he took us to a nice little place for a few more pics of the Mendenhall Galcier, it is where you would put in a kayak if you chose to add that to your trip. He then dropped us off at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center. He is so nice, he even offered to pick us up later when he would be back in the area and return us to the ship or town if we wanted. We did not take him up on the offer, but it was a nice offer. Would have saved us $14 or so.


In summary, I would highly recommend WeatherPermitting. If you are looking for a smaller, individualized tour, with a professional, friendly, and knowledgable guide, then you cannot go wrong selecting Captain Greg! I would book him a again in a heartbeart. I have booked a lot of individual tours when cruising other places in the past and he is the best in my book!

PS The whales are great too!
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  #6  
Old July 15th, 2009, 02:22 AM
retired58 retired58 is offline
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Default capt. gregg

this sounds great. do you have a web site for him and could you tell me how much he charged. Leaving 8/14 on r/c cruise/tour and wanted a whale excursion... sounds like you had a great time. please let me know how you made contact with him...did you need reservations
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  #7  
Old July 15th, 2009, 10:03 PM
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ConnieG ConnieG is online now
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Default Harv and Marv

We had a sensational experience with them. Got to see a superpod of maybe 15-20 whales bubble net feeding. Same cost as you would pay to go on the ship's big boat where you are like sardines.
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  #8  
Old July 16th, 2009, 08:31 AM
Kerokeropee Kerokeropee is offline
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Default last minute...

It is a last minute decision to go for a whale watching cruise..

Is it possible to book for one only when i reach Juneau? I'll be there on 22 July..
Any recommendations?
we would prefer smaller boats(less than 12) as compared to those offered by Princess (60-80)...
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  #9  
Old July 16th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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sheshells sheshells is offline
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Thumbs up best tour

We just returned from Alaska and went on the Harv and Marv tour. they were absolutely top notch. within minutes of boarding the boat (which was brand new) we were viewing about a dozen whales bubble feeding which is a fascinating process. now that may have been an extraordinary day but they KNOW the whales and they are going to do everything they can to find them for you. it is absolutely their passion and that's what makes it so exciting! granted this company only takes about 6 people out at a time, so you must sign up early to get on. last minute booking will probably not happen!
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Old July 16th, 2009, 12:35 PM
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Toyz711 Toyz711 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerokeropee View Post
It is a last minute decision to go for a whale watching cruise..

Is it possible to book for one only when i reach Juneau? I'll be there on 22 July..
Any recommendations?
we would prefer smaller boats(less than 12) as compared to those offered by Princess (60-80)...
many of the small whale watching vendor don't have a office, they work out of their home. orca enterprises is regular business, they do have offices at the docks. (2nd floor, above the t-shirt factory..across from the tram). depending on what boat they are using, they take from 15 to 35 (with plenty of room to get a great viewing space). they are "whale" people, you should see some of the great videos they show in the store!
if you don't book ahead, they would be one of the few possibilities. most of the whale watching vendors book up months and months ahead. (including orca, but since they have more then one boat they may have a cancellation )
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  #11  
Old July 16th, 2009, 06:39 PM
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alaska_lover alaska_lover is offline
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Default Harv and Marv

3 Words for you...Harv and Marv's. We toured with them on June 16th of this year and I can safely say it was the best tour we did on our entire 2 week trip! We were on a brand new boat and they only take 6 passengers each time out. They live on an island off the grid and Jay was able to call his wife to see if there were any whales out in front of their house (there were). We had GREAT sightings of both humpback and orcas and even saw a pod of orcas making a kill, which was amazing to see. Eagles, seal lions and many other animals made us wish we had more time. Jay and his daughter offered a top notch tour and I only wish I had booked a longer time out with them. I have pictures if anyone is interested in the boat size or anything of that nature, but DEFINITELY book with them if they are available.
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  #12  
Old July 19th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Shebinz Shebinz is offline
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Default sounds WONDERFUL!

when did you book these tours?

we are cruising mid august, - just booked the vacation, and feel like i have to hurry up and figure out what to arrange and plan!

thanks for any advice!

Sheila
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  #13  
Old July 19th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Default Juneau whale watching

I only have the one tour that we took to offer you - there were 4 of in our group plus another couple off Star Princess this past May. We had booked via their website & a phone call - we went with Alaska Whale Watching-akwhalewatching.com. Our boat captain was Louis & we were on Kaytos. The boat was quite comfortable - could easily hold 12 passengers, but it was just 6 of us. We had perfect weather - as if we'd ordered it along with the tour! Of course we saw whales, sea lions, the buoy, lighthouse & eagles along with a beautiful view of the glacier. I don't think I've read of any one on any tour not seeing a whale! Louis had sodas & snacks available onboard. I am easily seasick so I didn't try the salmon spread - but the other travelers said it was tasty. There's also a small head (bathroom) onboard.
Seeing one of the cruiseline tours go by, we were quite happy to be sharing our tour with just 6 of us & Louis. Definitely the small tour operator is the way to go. No matter who you choose, you're sure to have a memorable day. Our whalewatching tour is a big part of why we plan on returning to Alaska as soon as we can.
Enjoy your cruise!
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Old July 19th, 2009, 09:24 PM
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Just got back from Alaska. We went whale watching with F.I.S.H.E.S in Icy Strait, it was awesome much better than we went 3 years ago in Juneau with RCCL tour of whale watching. F.I.S.H.E.S holds 6 people compared to about 150 to 200 people, need I say more!!!
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Old July 20th, 2009, 02:05 AM
Wendalls Wendalls is offline
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We just got back from our Celebrity Cruise -- and booked our private whale watching with Weather Permitting Alaska and Captain Greg. It was WONDERFUL. We were a group of 12, so he added a second boat -- both drivers picked us up at the dock, and we were off. As said above, we had a bit of "extras" thrown in on the way to the dock, as Greg filled us in on a bunch of Juneau background info. The boats were clean and the snacks were great -- but more important they knew where to find the whales. No breaches that day -- or bubble pods -- but lots of whales and tails! You can find them online at weatherpermittingalaska.com. We'd recommend them to anyone heading up to Juneau and looking for a private tour. And as an extra - he had a great discount going for private tours this summer!
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Old July 20th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry the lobster View Post
Just got back from Alaska. We went whale watching with F.I.S.H.E.S in Icy Strait, it was awesome much better than we went 3 years ago in Juneau with RCCL tour of whale watching. F.I.S.H.E.S holds 6 people compared to about 150 to 200 people, need I say more!!!
Yeah, I went with them too, and it was FANTASTIC! I have amazing pictures of whale tails, and we were even lucky enough to have a whale breach right in front of us on our way back to the dock.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 04:59 PM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Originally Posted by retired58 View Post
this sounds great. do you have a web site for him and could you tell me how much he charged. Leaving 8/14 on r/c cruise/tour and wanted a whale excursion... sounds like you had a great time. please let me know how you made contact with him...did you need reservations

https://weatherpermittingalaska.com/Whale_Watching.html
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  #18  
Old July 22nd, 2009, 11:07 AM
Skippie Skippie is offline
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The Alaska Coastal Expedition in Ketchikan isn't officially billed as a whale watching tour, but I know they we had an awesome time watching a huge pod of Orcas! We saw them in the distance and they approached our little boats to check us out. Quite an experience!
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 12:40 PM
Ms Understood Ms Understood is offline
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We just returned from Celebrity Infinity and we booked privately with Gastineau Guiding. We had a fantastic day. We had 20 people so Harv and Marv was out of the question. we had the boat to ourselves and we were the first to arrive at the whales bubble netting. We were the boat "out front" for this spectacle. The big boats (ship excursions?) were way back from our position.Well worth it and highly recommended.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 02:56 PM
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Default We went with Alaska Fish & Whale Watching...

in the Alaska Tour Saver book. It was perfect. 10 people on the boat counting the excellent skipper and his assistant Danielle (very knowledgeable). We literally saw 70 or more whales including Orcas. We saw bubble net feeding which was incredible. We also got the two for one deal in the TSB. It just could not have been better. All of those on board the boat were from Cruise Critics board.
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