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Whale Watching boat in Juneau. Which one?


LovetheSea
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All whale watching boats go to the same place to watch whales.  When a whale is spotted, the boats radio each other and then converge.  The size of the boat makes no difference in finding whales.

 

Boats differ in levels of comfort which includes bathroom facilities.  Larger boats have excellent bathrooms, free snacks, wheelchair support, and a snack bar with two levels for whale watching.  Small boats have extremely limited bathroom facilities and no snack bar.

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Larger boats filled to near capacity, like those the cruise line excursions use, are difficult to get views of whale, let alone decent photos.  I MUCH prefer the small boats as my goal is photography (and minimizing COVID risk).  Go with Harv and Marv.

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Lots of options to choose from in Juneau -- many of us have our favorite vendor.  Ours is Jayleen's Alaska.  Set your criteria, explore vendors (recommendations from this board, TripAdvisor, etc.) and choose the company that checks off all your boxes. 

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I used Juneau Whale Watch and would recommend them as a good fit between the smaller 6 - 10 passenger boats and the large boats used by the cruise ship excursions. There were 22 passengers the day I went (the boat holds around 25). There was plenty of space for everyone to have a good view without having to look over or around others. They have outside viewing areas on the front & rear of the lower deck and the full top deck, if you don’t mind climbing the ladder. They also handed out bottles of water and a snack choice of chips or cookies.

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We’ve been out with Harv n Marv twice and Juneau Whale Watch 4 times now and much prefer the larger boat. We had about 25 passengers on our trips with them. The boat is much more stable and had plenty of room at the rails for viewing and photos. It was very rough once on the smaller boat and it was difficult to take photos with all of the motion.

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I just used Jayleen's a week ago. Yes,a small boat,but we didn’t have to fight others to see anything. She only allows 6 passengers. We had 3 adults and 3 kids. She had snacks and drinks for us. Yes, the toilet is tiny. She has been doing this for years and learned from her father when he had his own company when she was little. She got just as excited as us when we spotted a whale, was eager to please and so kind to the kids! When she saw for the first time this season a mother whale with its baby she about cried. She has been following this particular whale for 18 years and it has a new baby each year. I have been on other whale watching tours in Juneau, but this was so incredible!!!! 

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On 6/12/2022 at 9:59 AM, Elaine5715 said:

Another vote for Harv and Marv

We are another vote for Harv and Marv.  Let me tell you why.  We were on RCL Radiance two weeks ago.  We had originally booked the Whale watching and lighthouse tour with Harv and Marv.  I called them first thing the morning of our tour as I wasn't sure where we were supposed to met them as I had emails listing two different locations.  The girl that answered the phone was confused too and said she would call me right back.  A few minutes later, we received a call from Louis Juergens who is one of the co-owners of Harv and Marvs.  He was extremely apologetic as the tour we scheduled had been cancelled due to the pier not being finished and somehow our reservation slipped through the cracks.  He worked some magic and got us on a whale watching tour but there was no room on the bus for us to take us to the marina where the boat was.  He arranged for a taxi to pick us up and take us directly to the marina.  This was amazing as our taxi driver was giving us a tour of Juneau along the way.  By the time we got to the marina, Louis had refunded us the difference of price of the two tours and reimbursed us for the cost of the taxi.  When we met with Captain Mickey who was doing the whale watching tour, I asked her if we could at least go by a lighthouse along the way.  She knew our situation and was more than happy to accommodate this small request.  My DH loves lighthouses and was really looking forward to this particular excursion.  The small boat and the knowledge and Captain Mickey and the Naturalist Annie was truly amazing.   After the tour, we ran into Louis at the marina and again he was apologetic and thanked us for being flexible.  In this day and age, when no one seems to care about customer service any longer, we feel that Harv and Marv's went beyond the call of duty and made a disappointment into an unforgettable day in Juneau!!!

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We went with Jayleen's Alaska in 2018 and are booked again in September. She's a native Alaskan, she loves what she does, and has a small boat. We were actually the only 2 booked on our tour last time, and I'm hoping it might be the same this year.

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Another vote for Jayleen's. We were picked up at the dock and taken to the marina where their boat was moored. It was just the 2 of us on the tour and we spent all morning among breaching humpbacks. Plus a stellar sealion and many eagles.

Even if the boat was full with 6 passengers, we would go again  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/13/2022 at 4:35 PM, luv2cruise668 said:

  In this day and age, when no one seems to care about customer service any longer, we feel that Harv and Marv's went beyond the call of duty and made a disappointment into an unforgettable day in Juneau!!!

This is fantastic as we just had a horrid experience with Juneau Whale Watch tours. We got on the tour bus to Mendenhall to take a frenzied trek to the glacier so that we could get back to catch the bus to the whale watch. At the bus stand the driver saw our wristbands and waved us on to the bus. After we drove around a bit and he stopped at a statue we were getting off the bus when he saw our wristbands and told us we were on the wrong bus! Called someone at Juneau Whale Watch and we were told that we would get a full refund. I was beyond disappointed as that was the tour I had been looking forward to the most. The refund could not come close to making up for the lost experience after traveling that far. The driver had the nerve to say "well, look on the bright side, you got a free trip to the glacier". 

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I wish we had researched more! We went with a ship excursion thru Allen Marine, the boat was quite large, and a very small spot on top that was outside. The bottom part was all glass enclosed, and heated. So lots of wet people and heat equal STEAM. I would definitely do research and go with a smaller boat, 6 people sounds perfect. 

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3 hours ago, CruisingSince1982 said:

Does her boat have a restroom? 

It does. It’s just a small head. But it is definitely enough. 🙂

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22 hours ago, sunkey1 said:

This is fantastic as we just had a horrid experience with Juneau Whale Watch tours. We got on the tour bus to Mendenhall to take a frenzied trek to the glacier so that we could get back to catch the bus to the whale watch. At the bus stand the driver saw our wristbands and waved us on to the bus. After we drove around a bit and he stopped at a statue we were getting off the bus when he saw our wristbands and told us we were on the wrong bus! Called someone at Juneau Whale Watch and we were told that we would get a full refund. I was beyond disappointed as that was the tour I had been looking forward to the most. The refund could not come close to making up for the lost experience after traveling that far. The driver had the nerve to say "well, look on the bright side, you got a free trip to the glacier". 


I’m sorry this happened to you but saying it was a horrid experience with the tour group - after you got on the wrong bus, and they refunded you for the mishap - doesn’t seem fair. 

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We have toured several times with Alaskan Humpback Adventures. Captain Steve used to work with Harv and Marv. His boat holds 6 passengers and we have found him to not only take us to the whales but also to educate you on the whales. Great small boat tour. Areas inside and outside to view whales. 

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On 6/24/2022 at 8:51 AM, jerseygirl629 said:


I’m sorry this happened to you but saying it was a horrid experience with the tour group - after you got on the wrong bus, and they refunded you for the mishap - doesn’t seem fair. 

Given that it was THEIR mistake that put us on the wrong bus I think that it's totally fair.

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Anyone know who Celebrity contracts with for its Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching excursions? We are booked with them, but can get a full refund, if we change our minds now.

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We did the evening whale watching excursion through NCL using Allen Marine last month and it was an absolutely fabulous, magical experience.  The meal was outstanding as were the crew.

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Just returned from a 14-day cruise to Alaska.  We did two Juneau whale watching trips with Jayleen's Alaska.  Had a fabulous time --- we were blessed with seeing whales, orcas, eagles, seals, and lunge feeding.  Great time had by all.

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We are leaning towards  Juneau Whale Watch tours for a couple of reasons.  We are a larger group, 12, and they include Mendenhall Glacier.   Has anyone had experience with them this year?  

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