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Whale watching shore excursions


disneykins
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Which port is best for whale watching tours? We are on Radiance of the Seas B2B Sep 9 and 16. We have booked private excursions in Juneau, Seward and Icy Strait Point. They are each about $400 for 2 people so kinda pricey to do all 3. Any recommendations on which one to cancel? We booked them all online and can cancel any time but we really want to see whales close up and preferably in smaller boats.

Thanks.

Tony and Debbie

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Whales are not guaranteed on the cruises out of Seward. Still beautiful trips though.

For me, I'd do Glacier Winds out of Icy Strait Point (which is at Hoonah). Or Misty Bay Tours.

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My suggestions in order based on prior excursions:


#1 - Icy Strait Point - Glacier Winds or Hoonah Travel Adventures

 

# 2 - Juneau - Juneau Whale Watch  Whale Watch - Mendenhall Glacier Combo


# 3 - Seward - The longest Kenai Fjords cruise you can do with Major Marine

 

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I will say definitively that Icy Strait is better for whale watching than Juneau or pretty much any other SE Alaska port.  We ran across a pod of 6 whales bubble feeding, and they got close to our boat; mostly because I don't think our driver wanted to honor the 100-foot distance.  The Juneau captains were much more apt to honor their space--which is the right thing to do, but the whale watching is not quite as good.  I think one time our captain scared away the fish and interrupted a bubble feeding midstream.  

 

Another factor is that there just isn't that much else to do at Icy Strait, whereas there is plenty to do in Juneau.  However, for others on this thread who might not be visiting Icy Strait, whale watching is the first thing I would do in Juneau.  And I would ask the tour guide to drop you off at Mendenhall glacier, if you have time.  

 

In Seward, I'm really more interested in puffin viewing than whales.

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19 hours ago, JT1962 said:

My suggestions in order based on prior excursions:


#1 - Icy Strait Point - Glacier Winds or Hoonah Travel Adventures

 

# 2 - Juneau - Juneau Whale Watch  Whale Watch - Mendenhall Glacier Combo


# 3 - Seward - The longest Kenai Fjords cruise you can do with Major Marine

 

These are the 3 companies we are booked with. We have Juneau on the northbound leg, then Seward on turnaround day and Icy Strait Point on the way back. I think we will keep Juneau and Icy Strait Point and maybe cancel Seward. We don't want to do only one in case we cant dock that day or miss the port for another reason.

Thanks for all the answers. Sounds like Icy Strait Point with Glacier Winds is the best choice for getting close to the whales on a small boat (I think our tour has 13 people).

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10 minutes ago, disneykins said:

These are the 3 companies we are booked with. We have Juneau on the northbound leg, then Seward on turnaround day and Icy Strait Point on the way back. I think we will keep Juneau and Icy Strait Point and maybe cancel Seward. We don't want to do only one in case we cant dock that day or miss the port for another reason.

Thanks for all the answers. Sounds like Icy Strait Point with Glacier Winds is the best choice for getting close to the whales on a small boat (I think our tour has 13 people).


Glacier Winds is excellent and a family owned business. You will enjoy it. 
 

Kenai Fjords is well worth doing, but not just for whales. While you may see whales, the other scenery is the primary attraction. The 8.5 hour Northwestern Fjord cruise is excellent and will get you very close to one or more glaciers. When we went the captain shut off the engines at the glacier so we could hear the sounds of the glacier. We saw several calvings and it sounded like explosions as the ice gave way and crashed into the water. 
 

Excursions in Alaska are not cheap, and money always factors in the decision, but the experiences are unique and the memories you will make will last a lifetime.

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10 minutes ago, disneykins said:

These are the 3 companies we are booked with. We have Juneau on the northbound leg, then Seward on turnaround day and Icy Strait Point on the way back. I think we will keep Juneau and Icy Strait Point and maybe cancel Seward. We don't want to do only one in case we cant dock that day or miss the port for another reason.

Thanks for all the answers. Sounds like Icy Strait Point with Glacier Winds is the best choice for getting close to the whales on a small boat (I think our tour has 13 people).

We love whale watching.  If we are doing a B2B and don't have Icy Strait as part of our itinerary, we opt for two Juneau whale watching trips (one northbound and one southbound).  If our itinerary includes Juneau and Icy Strait, then we would choose to do a trip in each port.  As for Seward, that would not be a necessity for us.  Whale watching trips vary as far as sightings so we like to get in as much as we can as you never know what you will see from trip to trip.

 

Glacier Wind is an excellent choice for Icy Strait.

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I don't just consider the money for the excursions, but also what my other options are.  In Seward, probably kayaking Resurrection Bay is my favorite.  But Kenai Fjords is certainly up there.  In Icy Strait, the other options just aren't many; unless you like to zipline the same zipline over and over, like you were on a ski slope.

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45 minutes ago, Glaciers said:

@Italy52Check out the photo on Jeff Schultz FB page. Looks like Jayleen's boat the Sea Raider with a good description of the trip. https://www.facebook.com/jeffschultzphoto

 

 

Thank you for the post, I appreciate it.  I just took a look at Jeff Schultz FB page (amazing shots); Jayleen did share that information with me.  Boy, she is having a great season.  We went out twice with her in June and on our second tour we were lucky and saw whales lunge feeding and Orcas.  We were so thrilled as we have never seen Orcas in Juneau.  Again, thank you kindly for thinking of me.

 

DSC_2439-k1.JPG

DSC_1076 (2).JPG

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Just returned from Alaska. Although Glacier Wind in ICP was wonderful, the whales weren't. We saw some tails and a few backs, all at a distance. Friends of ours went whale watching in Juneau and were surrounded by about 2 dozen whales, so close that their tour boat had to shut down the engines. I have gone whale watching in Juneau about 4 times previously and was never disappointed. It really is the luck of the draw- and this time we drew the short straw. 

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10 minutes ago, 5waldos said:

Just returned from Alaska. Although Glacier Wind in ICP was wonderful, the whales weren't. We saw some tails and a few backs, all at a distance. Friends of ours went whale watching in Juneau and were surrounded by about 2 dozen whales, so close that their tour boat had to shut down the engines. I have gone whale watching in Juneau about 4 times previously and was never disappointed. It really is the luck of the draw- and this time we drew the short straw. 

Sorry your excursion was not what you had hoped for.  Unfortunately, whales have a mind of their own and we never know what we are going to get when we go out  --- it really is the luck of the draw.  We did two whale watching trips in Juneau a couple of months ago.  The first week we saw whales but nothing really out of the ordinary.  On our second week, we saw whales and some of the activity in my above pictures.  We were supposed to go to ISP on the 24th but Royal just cancelled us so its a no go for us with Glacier Wind.  We are really bummed. 

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