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Bluestar01

Juneau whale watching

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Hello,

Please advice on your experience & reviews about best company to go with for whale watching in Juneau.

 

Thanks.

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We have gone with Jayleen's Alaska quite a few times and always had a great experience. We will be going with her in a few weeks for 2 whale watching excursions and have another planned for 2020.   Here is her website information:

 

https://jayleensalaska.com/.

 

I have posted my reviews of our excursions on TripAdvisor.  

 

If Jayleen is not available, another company we have used quite a few times as well is Harv and Marv.  Here is their website information:

 

https://www.harvandmarvs-juneau-whale-watching.com/

 

There are other companies that do a great whale watching excursion in Juneau that I am sure someone will post their name -- I just can't as we have never used them.

 

 

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I've always had good experience with Harv & Marv. 3 or 4 trips with them so far.

 

I would not take a cruise ship offered whale watching excursion.  Too many people on the boat means photo opportunities are limited.

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We have done whale watching trips in Juneau with Orca Enterprises and Adventures in Alaska and had very good experiences with both. Our Orca Enterprises trip was on a larger vessel with Captain Larry as well as many other tour passengers. Our kids were younger at the time (9 and 14) and the crew and boat were very family friendly. We saw lots of whales and had a wonderful time.

 

Our second time around with Captain Jack on the Scania with Adventures in Alaska was even better because we had the entire boat to ourselves on a private tour. It was my family of four plus my sister and brother-in-law. This made it a very personal experience and we had quite an adventure, saw tons of whales and gorgeous scenery and enjoyed some delicious brownies.

 

Both were unique experiences and I wouldn't hesitate to book with either company again in the future!

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We've been with Harv & Marv 3 times -- dating back to 2008 when it was still a very small company run by the two founders.  This time we're going with Jayleen's Alaska, who is the daughter of one of the original founders of Harv & Marv.  Hoping we have as good luck this time as we did the prior 3 times.  All our trips have been marvelous.

 

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47 minutes ago, ute_fan said:

We've been with Harv & Marv 3 times -- dating back to 2008 when it was still a very small company run by the two founders.  This time we're going with Jayleen's Alaska, who is the daughter of one of the original founders of Harv & Marv.  Hoping we have as good luck this time as we did the prior 3 times.  All our trips have been marvelous.

 

Jayleen has been posting some of her 2019 experiences on her Facebook account -- take a look.

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1 hour ago, Italy52 said:

Jayleen has been posting some of her 2019 experiences on her Facebook account -- take a look.

I can't wait!!  Looks like a great start to the season.

 

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I could be wrong but I don't think it matters a whole lot who you book with.  They pretty much all talk to each other over the radios and go to the same places.  We used Capt. Jack on the Scania last time and our pictures looked pretty much like all the other pictures I've seen........same rocks with sea lions, same buoy with seals and and eagle on top, same light houses.  

 

Don't get me wrong, it's a great experience and I highly recommend you do it.  The smaller boats do seem to get a little better views and are less crowded.   Other than that, book it and enjoy! 🙂

Alaska 1076.JPG

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My wife and I went out with Jayleen last Wednesday. We booked with her largely based on the Trip Advisor review by Italy52. All I can say is thank you, you weren't lying. This was an awesome trip with an awesome lady. I just posted a brief review on her Facebook page. I don't think you can find a better whale watching experience.

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49 minutes ago, floater said:

My wife and I went out with Jayleen last Wednesday. We booked with her largely based on the Trip Advisor review by Italy52. All I can say is thank you, you weren't lying. This was an awesome trip with an awesome lady. I just posted a brief review on her Facebook page. I don't think you can find a better whale watching experience.

I am so happy to hear that you and your wife had a great time with Jayleen.  We will be going out with her for 2 trips in a couple of weeks and have already reserved an additional 2 trips for 2020.  Thanks for letting me know about your experience.

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Captain Steve, of Alaska Humpback Adventures (https://www.alaskahumpbackadventures.com/), in our opinion, is unparalleled!  Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g31020-d14070218-Reviews-Alaska_Humpback_Adventures-Juneau_Alaska.html.  We've booked them for both days in Juneau--always the first excursion we book as soon as we confirm our annual Alaska cruise dates (this will be our 13th!).  Cannot recommend them enough for an intimate whale watching experience (6-passenger boat).  A longtime Juneau resident, Captain Steve was the #1 captain for Harv & Marv's whale watching operation for years (which is where we "discovered" him) before he started his own company.  He's the brother-in-law of one of the founders (and Jayleen's uncle!).  The waters around Juneau are teeming with life so even if you don't luck out with a sighting of bubble-net feeding humpbacks, Captain Steve will make sure you've had a wildlife adventure by the time you return to the dock!  This year there are two calves in the area so there should be plenty of breaching and frolicking to observe!

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25 minutes ago, Alaska0799 said:

Captain Steve, of Alaska Humpback Adventures (https://www.alaskahumpbackadventures.com/), in our opinion, is unparalleled! 

 

Yes, he is very good. We've been out with both him and Jayleen and found him to provide a much better experience.

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We have the private (6 person) whale watching tour booked at Juneau thru Princess......how do I know who the tour is actually with?  Will Princess give me this info?  Or will we have to search the pier for someone holding our name on a sign?

Thanks

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We went with Jayleen last August, and are booked again August 2020. She is fantastic, personable, and born and raised on Shelter Island right in Juneau. We had a great time for sure and we can't wait to go back and see her and the whales next year!

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1 hour ago, KG2019 said:

We have the private (6 person) whale watching tour booked at Juneau thru Princess......how do I know who the tour is actually with?  Will Princess give me this info?  Or will we have to search the pier for someone holding our name on a sign?

Thanks

 

Since you booked through Princess shore excursions you will receive an envelope in your cabin when you board with your excursion tickets. The tickets include instructions for the day of your excursion on what time and where you should meet when you arrive in Juneau. There usually is someone holding a sign with your excursion name and number on the dock - there will be plenty of people there to help direct you. If you have any questions you can visit the shore excursion desk onboard and they will assist you. They are very helpful - you will have no problem at all.

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We were in Juneau last week and did whale watching with Gastineau Guides. I highly recommend them! Part of the fun was identifying individual whales by their flukes.

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On 6/5/2019 at 1:26 PM, Alaska0799 said:

Captain Steve, of Alaska Humpback Adventures (https://www.alaskahumpbackadventures.com/), in our opinion, is unparalleled!  Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g31020-d14070218-Reviews-Alaska_Humpback_Adventures-Juneau_Alaska.html.  We've booked them for both days in Juneau--always the first excursion we book as soon as we confirm our annual Alaska cruise dates (this will be our 13th!).  Cannot recommend them enough for an intimate whale watching experience (6-passenger boat).  A longtime Juneau resident, Captain Steve was the #1 captain for Harv & Marv's whale watching operation for years (which is where we "discovered" him) before he started his own company.  He's the brother-in-law of one of the founders (and Jayleen's uncle!).  The waters around Juneau are teeming with life so even if you don't luck out with a sighting of bubble-net feeding humpbacks, Captain Steve will make sure you've had a wildlife adventure by the time you return to the dock!  This year there are two calves in the area so there should be plenty of breaching and frolicking to observe!

Yes to this! We went with Captain Steve last week. There were four of us and it was a flat rate of $620 I believe for our family. Such a nice guy and we had a great time. 

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On 6/5/2019 at 1:26 PM, Alaska0799 said:

Captain Steve, of Alaska Humpback Adventures (https://www.alaskahumpbackadventures.com/), in our opinion, is unparalleled!  Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g31020-d14070218-Reviews-Alaska_Humpback_Adventures-Juneau_Alaska.html.  We've booked them for both days in Juneau--always the first excursion we book as soon as we confirm our annual Alaska cruise dates (this will be our 13th!).  Cannot recommend them enough for an intimate whale watching experience (6-passenger boat).  A longtime Juneau resident, Captain Steve was the #1 captain for Harv & Marv's whale watching operation for years (which is where we "discovered" him) before he started his own company.  He's the brother-in-law of one of the founders (and Jayleen's uncle!).  The waters around Juneau are teeming with life so even if you don't luck out with a sighting of bubble-net feeding humpbacks, Captain Steve will make sure you've had a wildlife adventure by the time you return to the dock!  This year there are two calves in the area so there should be plenty of breaching and frolicking to observe!

This sounds wonderful!  I booked with Steve a year in advance. We will finally meet him in August. I am so looking forward to the whale watch. We are a family of five so we will be on our own. My kids were four, four and nine on our last whale watch. At 10, 10 and 15 now, I’m hoping this is something they remember forever. He seems like such a kind, genuine person via correspondence. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2019 at 4:02 PM, Unibok said:

We were in Juneau last week and did whale watching with Gastineau Guides. I highly recommend them! Part of the fun was identifying individual whales by their flukes.

 

We went with them in May and they were AWESOME! I believe they are the #1 rated tour in Juneau according to TripAdvisor.

Edited by PittsburghNative

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Anyone in Juneau on Aug 3 looking to book a whale watch tour?  Mine got cancelled as Captain Jack has passed away sadly,  and they cancelled my trip (Whale watching Juneau - aboard the Scania).

 

Jayleen can accommodate but I need another passenger for her to open a tour.  Any takers?

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On 5/31/2019 at 8:03 AM, quack2 said:

I would not take a cruise ship offered whale watching excursion.  Too many people on the boat means photo opportunities are limited.

Far too blanket of an assumption.

 

Another +1 for Gastineau Guiding. We've always thoroughly enjoyed our tours with them, and they're always booked through the cruise line. The Photo Safari boats are 14 passenger and the others are 20 passenger. Beyond passenger count, think of the overall passenger experience. Most every whale watch operator will claim that their boats are "custom", but Gastineau is the operator who did the customization truly for the sake of the experience. With large windows that swing up/in and pin out of the way, you get a huge opening through which to enjoy the sea air, partake in the views, and take photos to your heart's content. The boats are more stable due to their design, so much so that I've had relatively good success with an 8-pound lens (plus a camera on the back) on a monopod and getting photos while "undancing" with the boat.

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Posted (edited)

We just got off from whale watching Harv & Marv.  Besides the whales & stellars, we saw 3 eagles doing their divebombing runs.  We had snacks and soda on board, and in addition to Captain Ray, we had a tour guide who was a marine bio major.  She did her thesis on otters.  Only about 8 on the boat (and small is good).

Edited by tetleytea

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