Harv and Marv Juneau Whale Watching tour

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 07:37 AM.
#1
Great Neck, New York
226 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We're thinking of booking a Harv & Marv whale watching tour on our cruise stop in Juneau in early June. I'd like your opinion about the tour and any experiences you've had. I like the small boat but worry about bad weather and rough seas. How much of the time is actually spent close to to the whales? Do you also get to see the Mendenhall glacier?
Is there another company or another port where we would do better booking a similar tour?

Thanks for you input and help.
Ildi
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature






#2
4,299 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
The area where you see whales is somewhat sheltered. I imagine the weather would have to be completely horrible for that area to become unsafe.

Mendenhall won't be seen from the whale area. Ever company offers side trips to Mendenhall.

Can't speak to Harv and Marv, except to say they get rave reviews here. We were on Orca enterprises, and recommend them highly.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
MSC Divina 5/2016 Nassau/Sint Maarten/San Juan
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=534959
Carnival Sunshine 5/2014 Grand Turk/St. Thomas/Sint Maarten/Tortola
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=255943
Carnival Glory 6/2012 St. John/Halifax
Carnival Liberty 7/2011 Cozumel/Grand Cayman/Jamaica
NCL Pearl 6/2010 Juneau/Skagway/Ketchikan/Victoria
Carnival Imagination 11/2009 Bahamas/Nassau
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=59869
NCL SKY 4/2009 Freeport/Nassau/Great Stirrup Cay
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=54228
#3
Illinois
1,082 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I just did a lot of research about Whale Watch tours in Juneau and we ended up booking with Harv and Marvs. Orca never did reply to an email I sent them with questions. Callie from Harv and Marvs was wonderful to talk to and answered all my questions very thoroughly.....I emailed back and forth a few times and then talked to her on the phone.....you spend 3 hours on the water....if you want they will drop you off at Mendenhall Glacier for no added cost.....and there is a shuttle bus that runs back and forth from the Glacier to the pier and it is $8 per person each way.....I believe it runs every half hour.....this is what we are going to do in August.....we opted for the smaller boat experience because everyone says it is more personal and unique.....better than being on a cruise ship tour with 100 to 150 people on a big boat.....
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Laura

Lovin this cruisin thing!

Sapphire Princess...Alaska!............8/4/12
Crown Princess....Western Carib.....2/5/11
Emerald Princess...Eastern Carib.....2/28/10
#4
824 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Let me tell you about Harv and Marv's.

Back in 2001, DH and I had the bad fortune to take an Alaska cruise that sailed on 09/10. If that date doesn't ring a bell, think of what the next day was.

We had booked and paid for a whale-watching tour with Harv and Marv's and were really, REALLY looking forward to it. Unfortunately, their boat had a small problem and needed a repair part. Thanks to some terrorists, all air traffic was shut down for the next week.

The upshot of that was that the whale-watching boat was not operational, and they had to cancel our tour. So, when we arrived at Juneau, we visited their office, where they already had printed confirmation of our credit card refund. Turning our cell phones on, we could see that we had already missed several calls from their office, where they were attempting to let us know that the tour was cancelled. Words cannot express how nice these people were, and although I didn't get to see any whales, I vowed then and there never to let an opportunity pass to let people know how good these folks are.

They will treat you right!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Sailed Alcoa Clipper - July 2, 1960 - Southern Caribbean
Sailed Splendour of the Seas - July 29, 1999 - Northern Europe
Sailed Norwegian Wind - September 10, 2001 - Alaska
Sailed Radiance of the Seas - May 23, 2008 - Hawaii
Sailed Carnival Conquest - September 13, 2009 - Western Caribbean
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - January 10, 2010 -
Sailed Carnival Ecstasy - September 4, 2010 -
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - November 21, 2010 -
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - January 30, 2011 -
Sailed Carnival Freedom - May 1, 2011
Sailed Mariner of the Seas - November 20, 2011
Sailed Carnival Triumph - December 24, 2011
Sailed Carnival Magic - May 6, 2012
Sailed Carnival Triumph - September 1, 2012
Sailed Mariner of the Seas - January 20, 2013 (great cruise!)
Sailed Carnival Magic - May 5, 2013
Sailed Carnival Magic - September 1, 2013
Sailed Serenade of the Seas - February 15, 2014
Sailed Navigator of the Seas - May 4, 2014 Diamond! Yay!
Sailed Freedom of the Seas - May 18, 2014
Sailed Navigator of the Seas - January 18, 2015

Sailed Independence of the Seas - May 24, 2015

Sailed Liberty of the Seas - November 6, 2016
Scheduled Explorer of the Seas - May 19, 2017
Scheduled Vision of the Seas - October 1, 2017
#6
georgia
144 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
149 plus tax and a 4$ fuel charge. Callie was wonderful to book with and is even taking us to M. Glacier,waiting an hour for us to be there and for an additional 15 taking us back to town. The buses aren't available back to town after the visitor center closes and we have a 3-6 whale watching tour. Visitor center closes at 5:30 i'm told. She was very helpful arranging our tour and glacier hour, plus transport back to the ship.
#7
341 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I've taken whale watching trips with Captain Larry from Orca Enterprises twice and thoroughly enjoyed both trips. It is a beautiful trip although I think any reputable tour company will see whales. We prefered the smaller ships and the local color or Orca Enterprises. We saw lots of humpback whales and on our second trip with OE we saw Orcas.
#8
Bethlehem, PA
4,661 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
I've gone whale watching w/Harv and Marv twice - once in 2008 and once in 2010. Both times it was wonderful - we saw a ton of whales, some closer than others. The first trip in 2008 we had nice, crisp, sunny weather and the water was not rough. In 2010, different story - very rough water, high winds and tons of rain - still a wonderful and productive trip. We enjoyed both experiences equally, and we're good sailors (ie-no seasickness), so we greatly enjoyed the wild ride in 2010.

We specifically asked for "Marv" (real name Jay) both times and we just love him. He (and his daughter, Jayleen) is a wonderfully talented photographer, such an enthusiastic (we called him "Tigger"!) interesting guy who lives with his family on Shelter Island just off the coast of Juneau, no electric, no running water, etc. He knows and loves those whales like they are his own. We so appreciated the one-on-one attention we received on the small (though comfortable and warm!) 6 passenger boats. They provide terrific binoculars for use on board, there is a bathroom, snacks and drinks on hand, interior and exterior areas for viewing (we spent most of our time on the uncovered aft deck area in 2008, but only ventured out there once or twice in 2010 due to weather conditions). Saw humpbacks, eagles, sea otters, sealions, and even a bear on the beach searching for clams!

Afterwards, in 2008 they dropped us off at Mendenhall Glacier and we caught the bus back to town later. In 2010, we stopped at Mendenhall for about an hour (they came back and picked us up for transport back to town), but that was simply due to the poor weather conditions.

We'd highly recommend Harv and Marv for whale watching in Juneau. Tell 'em Lynda and Gary sent ya!
#9
Texas
823 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by oratheeexplorer
I just did a lot of research about Whale Watch tours in Juneau and we ended up booking with Harv and Marvs. Orca never did reply to an email I sent them with questions. Callie from Harv and Marvs was wonderful to talk to and answered all my questions very thoroughly.....I emailed back and forth a few times and then talked to her on the phone.....you spend 3 hours on the water....if you want they will drop you off at Mendenhall Glacier for no added cost.....and there is a shuttle bus that runs back and forth from the Glacier to the pier and it is $8 per person each way.....I believe it runs every half hour.....this is what we are going to do in August.....we opted for the smaller boat experience because everyone says it is more personal and unique.....better than being on a cruise ship tour with 100 to 150 people on a big boat.....

You too, huh?
#10
96 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by goehoe
149 plus tax and a 4$ fuel charge. Callie was wonderful to book with and is even taking us to M. Glacier,waiting an hour for us to be there and for an additional 15 taking us back to town. The buses aren't available back to town after the visitor center closes and we have a 3-6 whale watching tour. Visitor center closes at 5:30 i'm told. She was very helpful arranging our tour and glacier hour, plus transport back to the ship.
From the research I've done, the visitor center is open until 7:30pm, but the shuttle stops running at 5:30. We're booked with Weather Permitting Alaska for whale watching from 1:30-5:30 so will be able to see the visitor center but will take a cab back to the ship.
#11
4,299 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Yeah, Orca isn't exactly what I would call "tech savvy" when it comes to their online presence. But they do a great tour, and are very helpful on the phone. They have enough seats that you can sometimes walk up and get on a tour also.

Capt Larry is great about answering any question. And their were 2 crew members to give us personal attention if our shoes were untied or someone had to go potty.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
MSC Divina 5/2016 Nassau/Sint Maarten/San Juan
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=534959
Carnival Sunshine 5/2014 Grand Turk/St. Thomas/Sint Maarten/Tortola
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=255943
Carnival Glory 6/2012 St. John/Halifax
Carnival Liberty 7/2011 Cozumel/Grand Cayman/Jamaica
NCL Pearl 6/2010 Juneau/Skagway/Ketchikan/Victoria
Carnival Imagination 11/2009 Bahamas/Nassau
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=59869
NCL SKY 4/2009 Freeport/Nassau/Great Stirrup Cay
REVIEW: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=54228
#12
Texas
71 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Harv and Marv are great!! We went with them in 2005 and have scheduled a tour this summer in August! We saw lots of whales in 2005 and hopefully, will have the same experience. This is a top notch group. Can't go wrong with them!!!
#14
824 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
http://www.harvandmarvs.com/

I don't think you are going to find them in an official excursion list, unless they've changed their business model.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Sailed Alcoa Clipper - July 2, 1960 - Southern Caribbean
Sailed Splendour of the Seas - July 29, 1999 - Northern Europe
Sailed Norwegian Wind - September 10, 2001 - Alaska
Sailed Radiance of the Seas - May 23, 2008 - Hawaii
Sailed Carnival Conquest - September 13, 2009 - Western Caribbean
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - January 10, 2010 -
Sailed Carnival Ecstasy - September 4, 2010 -
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - November 21, 2010 -
Sailed Voyager of the Seas - January 30, 2011 -
Sailed Carnival Freedom - May 1, 2011
Sailed Mariner of the Seas - November 20, 2011
Sailed Carnival Triumph - December 24, 2011
Sailed Carnival Magic - May 6, 2012
Sailed Carnival Triumph - September 1, 2012
Sailed Mariner of the Seas - January 20, 2013 (great cruise!)
Sailed Carnival Magic - May 5, 2013
Sailed Carnival Magic - September 1, 2013
Sailed Serenade of the Seas - February 15, 2014
Sailed Navigator of the Seas - May 4, 2014 Diamond! Yay!
Sailed Freedom of the Seas - May 18, 2014
Sailed Navigator of the Seas - January 18, 2015

Sailed Independence of the Seas - May 24, 2015

Sailed Liberty of the Seas - November 6, 2016
Scheduled Explorer of the Seas - May 19, 2017
Scheduled Vision of the Seas - October 1, 2017
#15
538 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
We booked with them for our trip next July. Check out all the great reviews they get on trip advisor too.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Betty

Nov 2014 Royal Princess-E/S Carib.
July 2013 Star Princess-Alaska
Jan 2013 Crown Princess-W.Carib.
Nov 2011 Grand Princess-E. Carib.
Nov 2010 Coral Princess-Panama Canal
Aug 2009 Caribbean Princess-Canada/New England
Nov 2008-Crown Princess-E.Carib. (25th anniv.)
Mar 2005-Grand Princess-W.Carib.
#16
Ontario
344 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We just went with Harv and Marvs two weeks ago. We were assigned to the boat with Capt. Liz and had a great excursion. Waters were very flat even when we went out into more "open" water to see the whales. My only gripe is that our Capt. decided that rather than rush out with the other boats to find whales she would cruise around and spot some eagles and then try and find our own whales.
The problem with that was that we spotted two eagles quite far off, then went looking for whales and while that was going on, a Humpback surfaced where all the other boats were congregated and was tail slapping the water an amazing number of times. From our boat I counted at least 9 slaps and it had been going on longer than that. If she had gone with the other boats our trip would have been way more rewarding.

Still, it was a nice trip and afterwards we spent 30 minutes at the Mendenhall Glacier before being dropped back at the ship. Other people on our bus requested to be dropped off downtown and the driver obliged them.

Callie in the office was great to deal with both by phone and email and I would have no doubts about going with them again. Their staff are very knowledgeable and obviously enjoy what they do and that rubs off on the visitors
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


#17
1,432 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We went with Capt. Liz in August and had a great trip. There were 5 of us and Liz. Callie was so good about returning my emails when we switched from a July cruise to an August cruise. It was a picture perfect day and we did see Mendenhall from the bay. On the way back we went to the stellar seal haul out and that was a great experience. All those large creatures sunning themselves... We did stop at Mendenhall and spent about 1/2 hour not enough time. But gave us a flavor for wanting to go back! I cannot say enough about this trip.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
RCCL Granduer 1999
CCL Victory 2001
CCL Triumph 2003
RCCL Explorer On a C Cruise 2005
RCCL Freedom On a C Cruise 2007
RCCL Majesty 2007
RCCL Granduer 2008
RCCL Liberty On a C Cruise 2009
RCCL Radiance of the Seas 1/8/2011
RCCL Oasis of the Seas On a C Cruise 3/12/11
RCCL Majesty 11/21/11
Coral Princess Alaska August 2012
RCCL Majesty 11/19/2012
CCL Breeze On a C Cruise 4/27/2013
CCL Liberty 4/26/2014
RCCL Independence of Seas On a C Cruise 2/8/2015
RCCL Freedom of the Seas 1/21/17
RCCL Oasis of the Seas 3/26/17
RCCL Allure of the Seas On a C Cruise 4/22/18