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  #1  
Old January 14th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Default Harv and Marv Juneau Whale Watching tour

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.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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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.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 12:12 PM
oratheeexplorer oratheeexplorer is offline
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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.....
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Old January 14th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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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!
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Old January 14th, 2012, 01:29 PM
witsend64 witsend64 is offline
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What is the cost of the Harv and Marv tour? We have six people in our group and are starting to plan our excursions.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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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.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 03:22 PM
NHCruisr NHCruisr is offline
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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.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 08:50 PM
Assateague Island Princes Assateague Island Princes is offline
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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!
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Old January 14th, 2012, 09:01 PM
Teacher_91 Teacher_91 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oratheeexplorer View Post
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?
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Old January 14th, 2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goehoe View Post
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.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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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.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 11:07 AM
TexasBalletLover TexasBalletLover is offline
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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!!!
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Old October 14th, 2012, 08:14 PM
SailingSue1351 SailingSue1351 is offline
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I cannot find Harv and Marv when looking at excursions. Can you give me the name of their company? Thanks in advance!
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  #14  
Old October 14th, 2012, 08:28 PM
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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.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 10:39 PM
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We booked with them for our trip next July. Check out all the great reviews they get on trip advisor too.
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Old October 16th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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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
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Old October 16th, 2012, 02:01 PM
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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.
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