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Chances of seeing whales first week of June?


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I would love to book a whale watching shore excursion, but what are may chances of spotting whales the first week of June?

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Most if not all of the whale watch tour operators guarantee you’ll see whales out of Juneau and Icy Strait Point.  It may be that you’ll only see backs, tales and some blow but you’ll see them. Humpbacks are there all cruise season. There are actually some that winter in Alaska.

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Thanks.  There is a Princess tour out of Juneau that goes to Mendenhall glacier and whale watching.  Is that too much for one tour?

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Hopefully someone who has done the tour that includes both will jump in here.  We always do a whale watch and go to Mendenhall Glacier during our Juneau visits, in addition to what else we can pack in.  We look for whale watch trips with the maximum time on the water. From what I’ve seen, some of those combo tours shorten the water time and also only give you limited time at the glacier. Check the details of the trip. It would certainly be convenient if the operator did both in one tour but there can be downside to that.   It’s not really a matter of “too much for one tour” but not enough.

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7 hours ago, Lazz said:

Thanks.  There is a Princess tour out of Juneau that goes to Mendenhall glacier and whale watching.  Is that too much for one tour?

I enjoyed the Holland America version a few years ago.  It took a brisk walk at Mendenhall Glacier to get to the falls and back to catch the tour bus. 

 

https://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/mendenhall-glacier/p5191949.jpg

 

https://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/humpback-whales/P5180127.jpg

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If you will be doing land in addition to the cruise, Marjor Marine in Seward has an Orca Quest trip. It runs mid May through mid June. They tout 90% success rate.

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I've taken a packaged Princess tour in Juneau - rather than the generic ones that use the big catamarans (~75 to 150 pax) we opted for the one Princess called something along the lines of the  'Whalewatching & Mendenhall Photo Safari' and specified a small boat (14 or 22 pax). I'd absolutely recommend these, as that guarantees you are on one of the Gastineau Guiding boats specifically designed for whalewatching, with huge fully-opening windows as well as open decks on a really stable vessel, plus a professional photographer who will advise on camera settings to optimise success in all three parts of the tour (as well as the whales and glacier, there's a short forest walk among the trees).

 

I think it cost just $10 more than the 'huge bus to huger boat' version, and we felt that we had plenty of time everywhere - with such small vehicles loading pax took next to no time, so it was more efficient across the board.

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On 4/17/2021 at 11:46 AM, martincath said:

I've taken a packaged Princess tour in Juneau - rather than the generic ones that use the big catamarans (~75 to 150 pax) we opted for the one Princess called something along the lines of the  'Whalewatching & Mendenhall Photo Safari' and specified a small boat (14 or 22 pax). I'd absolutely recommend these, as that guarantees you are on one of the Gastineau Guiding boats specifically designed for whalewatching, with huge fully-opening windows as well as open decks on a really stable vessel, plus a professional photographer who will advise on camera settings to optimise success in all three parts of the tour (as well as the whales and glacier, there's a short forest walk among the trees).

I agree with this!

 

Great chance of seeing whales in June. Probably 100%

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On 4/17/2021 at 12:46 PM, martincath said:

I've taken a packaged Princess tour in Juneau - rather than the generic ones that use the big catamarans (~75 to 150 pax) we opted for the one Princess called something along the lines of the  'Whalewatching & Mendenhall Photo Safari' and specified a small boat (14 or 22 pax). I'd absolutely recommend these, as that guarantees you are on one of the Gastineau Guiding boats specifically designed for whalewatching, with huge fully-opening windows as well as open decks on a really stable vessel, plus a professional photographer who will advise on camera settings to optimise success in all three parts of the tour (as well as the whales and glacier, there's a short forest walk among the trees).

 

I think it cost just $10 more than the 'huge bus to huger boat' version, and we felt that we had plenty of time everywhere - with such small vehicles loading pax took next to no time, so it was more efficient across the board.

We have taken the same tour and it was one of the best tours we have taken. Being a Photo tour we took our time walking along a path to Mendenhall and then time at the glacier looking for good shots, and just enjoying being their and taking it all in. One of the most memorable photos we have from the trip is the guide took photos of each couple / group with the glacier in the background perfectly framed with their own camera. The boat was great with windows that opened up to allow perches for cameras. We had other tours on this trip where the "walks" are what I called a dead run through the forest like we were being chased by a bear the entire way. The most famous one being this 20 something going "oh look a snail, here they do not have shells and look more like slugs" as we ran by it. My wife never saw it because the guide was bounding down the trail and was about out of sight with the only can of bear spray to fend off the assumed bear that was chasing us.  

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You might consider checking out private vendors rather than a ship booked excursion.. also check your roll call and possibly join in a small group tours. Some of our best tours have been with other cruisers sailing with us.

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I went on a Mendenhall/Whale watching tour offered through out Disney cruise ship the first time I visited Juneau (and before I knew better!) in June 2010.  Saw lots of whales but what I didn’t like was the limited time at Mendenhall Glacier!  Really not enough time to even walk out to Nugget Falls!

 

Since then, we’ve always rented a car in Juneau and go with non-ship tours.  I can highly recommend Harv and Marv whale watching (small group) if you want to see whales.  By renting a car, you can get to the glacier before the tour buses come and really enjoy the visitor center and hikes.

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