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Customer Reviews for Discover Alaska's Whales

Discover Alaska's Whales

What a great way to put into practice your personal travel ethos and leave beautiful, memorable Alaska even better than you found it on this Cruise with Purpose adventure! This small-group outing (maximum 20 privileged guests) will travel aboard a fully-permitted research vessel for a closer look into the habitat of humpback whales. The boat has a heated cabin, a low-to-the-water build, large opening panel windows, and an open bow and stern -- features specifically designed to meet the challenges of observing wildlife here in Alaska. As you head out from the quaint harbor at Auke Bay, your guide will share the current understanding of humpback whale research and what is known about activities and feeding patterns here in Alaska. Whale sightings are guaranteed, and you’re also likely to see seals, porpoise, sea lions and other marine animals, all while doing some significant good as you contribute to a whale research program. You’ll explore the foundation of the food chain by drawing plankton samples, taking a look at live sea animals in a touch tank and using a GPS camera to identify whale species while recording their various behaviors. You will also have the satisfaction of being a marine scientist for a day and knowing your efforts have made a contribution to understanding the delicate marine environs of Southeast Alaska and the whales’ interaction with their habitat. Notes: All activities on this tour are operated by permit and regulation through the ADFG and NOAA in support of the University of Alaska and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. You will receive a $100 cash refund from the tour operator at the conclusion of the tour if a whale is not sighted on the trip. The small group size of this tour ensures a personal and interactive atmosphere making the most of this authentic Alaska experience. Participants should be of age and ability to walk up to 200 yards, including down a sloped ramp to the boat harbor, and back. Dress warmly in layers -- it can be cooler on the water. Binoculars are available for your use. Bottled water and a snack pack are provided. Tour operates in all weather conditions. Participants are eligible to enter to win cash prizes in the tour operator's Capture Juneau Photo Contest. Waiver must be signed and medical conditions disclosed.
Average Customer Rating:
4.68 out of 5
4.7
 out of 
5
(25 Reviews) 25
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (25 reviews)
5 stars
20
4 stars
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23 out of 25(92%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Discover Alaska's Whales
Review 1 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Keith was a great guide

Date:July 25, 2016
Location:Walla Walla, WA
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Very knowledgeable and we viewed lots of wildlife. Great tour!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Highly recommended for their scientific approach!

Date:July 17, 2016
Location:Brisbane, Australia
Cruise Date Year:2016
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This excursion is a great way to see the whales and other creatures.. and learn about how marine biologists find out more about the life in the sea and even help them to collect data. It brings another whole dimension rather than just looking for whale - which is also exciting. Definitely recommend taking this one of the various whale wathcing options on offer.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

There Be Whales

Date:June 7, 2016
Location:Seattle
Cruise Date Year:2016
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is an excellent excursion for people who want to be able to see the whales from a company that cares about the humpbacks who live in Auke Bay.
Everything about this shore excursion is excellent. You are greeted on the dock by a rep for the company and asked to sign a waiver.
Then your guide greets you and takes you to a clean shuttle driven by another employee of the tour company. This is of note, because your guide is not talking to you and driving at the same time. The guide has amusing stores about life in town and points out some of the sites along the way.
Snacks and water are provided.
The company works with researchers from UA - Fairbanks, so there is some scientific research going on and data collected by you, the tourist.
The ride in the shuttle is about 10-15 minutes to where the boat awaits, and the boat has been designed specifically for whale watching. It is comfortable, seats about 20 (that is the max for the tour) and has windows that open and shut depending upon weather conditions.
You will be able to take photos with the windows open and still be able to be out of the elements (if you wish). There is an open bow you can step out on to as well.
All whale watching tours boat talk to each other by radio and they share whale spotting information, so yes, it is true, you will see whales.
Our boat captain and guide were polite, professional and filled with a lot of interesting information about the whales. The best part, they seemed to be enjoying the tour as much as the rest of us.
Along with the whales, you will have a chance to check crab pots, see eagles and sea lions.
Also Note: There is a small marine head on board, but it is recommended you take advantage of the comfort stop prior to boarding. All in all, a great afternoon, with lots of photos and memories.
This tour is well worth your time.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent

Date:May 15, 2016
Location:Odessa TX
Cruise Date Year:2016
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We really enjoyed this excursion. Great that there were just a few of us on the boat. Saw lots of whales. Alice and Captain John made it seem so special. Love the insight to the area, whales, and sea life in general. So informative.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Whales and More

Date:October 17, 2015
Location:Las Vegas, NV
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a wonderful surprise. We not only saw the promised whales but we saw eagles, sea lions, sea stars and some beautiful scenery. One surprise was the view of Mendenhall Glacier from a new viewpoint. Looking back to our departure point as we passed the last buoy, we saw a wonderful view of the glacier. This excursion is part of a civilian scientist program which supports research being done by others. The purpose is to collect data and passengers have an opportunity to help with the collection and recording of this data. Our sightings were included in the data, too. Once we reached the area for viewing the whales, we watched the horizon carefully for the telltale signs and sure enough sighted quite a few whales. None came too close to us but we still got good view of the flukes and the breaching. We were able to identify several of the known whales in the area and one that had not been logged before. The boat ride was mostly smooth but at one point we hit some choppy water. Still, it wasn't unpleasant and the entire trip was very exciting and satisfying. While people on walkers/crutches will find this challenging and you won't be able to wander the ship during the excursion because of the lack of handholds, you could enjoy the ride, the company and might even see some sea creatures on your own. However, there are probably excursions that are easier and less expensive.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
3out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Lots of Whales

Date:September 24, 2015
Location:St. Paul, Minnesota
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:September
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
We enjoyed this tour very much. Saw many whales and enjoyed helping with the research. We assisted with pulling in the crab pot and low and behold pulled in a giant sea star. It was so large that at first thought it was an octopus.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Footprints in Juneau, Alaska

Date:September 18, 2015
Location:Nevada
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
On a very wet day compared to the NV desert was a welcomed sight. Nineteen people on a scientific research boat, with pouring rain, the tour ran slower, which was fine. Being a scientist for a day was fun. The rain stopped, we collected plankton, & we saw a sea lion on a buoy. The crab pots, that were in various parts of the ocean were lifted up to check for specimens, recorded findings, & then placed back on the ocean floor. Being taught about the tail ID's of the humpback whales, they were being elusive to find in their habitat. My wife was hoping to see orcas & got her wish. A pod of killer whales came between the boats & spy-hopped. You're guaranteed to see "A whale", the research studying humpbacks. Seeing orcas is rare, the scientist asked my wife if she was the orca "whisperer." The captain asked everyone not to tell about the orca sighting or future groups will want to see them too. Our efforts have made a contribution to understanding the delicate marine life environment of the Southeast Alaskan ocean.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ride in style

Date:June 21, 2015
Location:Phoenix, Az
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Boat is state of the art. Very comfortable. Guide is extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife. Unfortunately we didn't see too much of it. Whales were out there, a few birds, some heads of seals, maybe an otter way off in the distance. We thought we saw a fisher or marten on the shore but it ran for its life.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
1out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Not bad, just not what is advertised!

Date:May 27, 2015
Location:Sonoma County, beautiful California
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I SOOO wanted to LOVE this excursion and wish I could write a 5 star review, but I have to be honest. There were several whale watch excursions to choose from; we love Whales (duh) and wanted JUST that, whales! Yes we love nature and pretty views and bald eagles; and there are other excursions that mix it up, combining whale watching with "wild life viewing" or glaciers or whatever....for THIS day we wanted JUST whale watching, pure and simple. While the short video says you'll "be a marine scientist for a day", we didn't really expect that..we just wanted WHALES. When we finally found a humpback, we stayed a bit to watch (as were several other boats) and then motored off somewhere else. Spent quite a bit of time looking for eagle nests, then stopped for a view of a light house...luckily we had a nice, close (but quick) encounter with another humpback...then motored off again. Our guide Katie was Wonderful; personable, fun, enthusiastic without being annoying or phony--she was Great as was our captain. We did try to ID the photo of the whale Katy photographed, but no "plankton samples" were drawn or any other "scientific" exercises.
I wish we stuck around in ONE place a bit longer, it was rather frustrating to leave an area where there were obvious sightings to find somewhere else more secluded, or? We just felt this was NOT as advertised; I know this isn't "prime" whale watching time either, but maybe they should update/edit the description and video a bit. For the price, we probably would have been better off with a "basic", bought-at-port whale watch tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best whale watching trip

Date:May 21, 2015
Location:Indian Harbour Beach, Florida
Cruise Date Year:2015
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a really good shore excursion. We had 12 people on board with 1 wildlife professional and 2 wildlife interns. Gave us lots of information about whales and we were lucky to see 6 orcas - including 2 babies - and humpbacks. One humpback breached close to us. The boat captain was excellent and very professional. Also had a great sense of humor. Chiska, our wildlife guide, was so knowledgeable. She also gave us a tour as we traveled to and from the boat from Juneau to Auke Bay.
We can't speak highly enough about this shore excursion. Well worth it.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic experience

Date:February 12, 2015
Location:Seattle, WA
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wonderful trip, highly recommended. Even with less than perfect weather, we saw many whales, including some quite close up. The boat is well set up for photography. A very experienced captain and enthusiastic, knowledgeable crew--learned a lot! We took the last trip of the day (only about 10 people on board) which allowed us plenty of time to see the Mendenhall glacier at our leisure beforehand.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
12out of 15found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Thar she blows!

Date:February 11, 2015
Location:Portland, OR
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Great excursion! We did see multiple whales. Timing is everything in getting the shot or being there to see the whales. I would have liked to have seen more but since we did see them, I was not disapointed.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
11out of 13found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Whales Galore...

Date:September 16, 2014
Location:Jacksonville, NC
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:September
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Let me start out by saying the weather in early September in Juneau was perfect! Even the locals were commenting on how unusual it was for this time of year. We boarded a beautiful aluminum boat that was specifically designed for whale watching, along with a guide that briefed us on what we could expect. We headed out of the Auke Bay Marina for an hour ride to find some humpbacks. The boat ride itself was wonderful with all the snow capped mountains surrounding the bay and the Mendenhal Glacier to the east. It didn't take long to find them! We were onsite about 5 minutes before we spotted the first spout, that was followed by several more shortly thereafter. The boat we were on had windows that lifted up and locked on the inside, so we had about 300 degrees for viewing and picture taking. There were about a dozen or so humpbacks blowing, rolling and showing their flukes. I did the same trip in 2007 and there was no comparison. I thought I was going to run out of memory on my chip in the camera. After an hour we headed back towards the harbor and along the way the guide pointed out different things of interest about the surrounding mountains, wildlife and culture.
As we got closer to the harbor the captain spotted a bouy with several seal lions lounging on it. Another superb photo session as they actually seemed to be posing for us! Absolutely made my trip..!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+15points
15out of 15found this review helpful.
Review 14 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

SPECTACULAR!!!

Date:August 23, 2014
Location:Sarasota, Florida
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Words cannot express how wonderful this excursion is. The pictures are amazing that we have to treasure for always. We saw so many whales that I couldn't count. I know that at least 9 were in the feeding bubble that came up. The blow holes that were lined up at one point was around 10 or more. It was truly amazing!!!! We can't wait to book this same trip again in the future.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
7out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 15 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic!

Date:August 13, 2014
Location:Calgary, AB
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Mother Nature provided such a show on our tour humpback whales breaching and bubble net feeding, numerous orcas including a baby , seals and Bald Eagles. Couldn't have asked for more! Fantastic guide she was knowledgable and entertaining. Driver seemed to be cautious of the wild life and his passengers. Did miss a couple things like touch tank, plankton samples etc. I believe this was due to the fact we were busy watching a variety of marine life. Small numbers enhanced the tour. In our case this tour was worth every penny and more!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
6out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 16 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome Excursion... the Best!

Date:August 5, 2014
Location:The Outer Banks of North Carolina
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The boat we were on was modern and appropriately equipped for the purpose of whalewatching. The captain and the guide were great! We saw many humpback whales "bubble-netting" and got some great pictures up close... plus the bonus of orca whale sightings and pictures. If there were only one excursion I could take, this was would be the one to choose! Fabulous!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Absolutely loved it!!!

Date:August 5, 2014
Location:NYC
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was by far the best excursion I took on my cruise!! It's limited to a small group (we had 18, and I think we could have taken 2 more), so there is no need to jockey for position along a rail on a bigger boat.
Our science part was going out to pull a small crab pot to check for Green European crabs - things they don't want as they eat other crabs native o the area. We saw some cool and colorful hermit crabs, but no Greens, which was good. We then headed out to see Stellar Sea Lions on a buoy and then off to where whales were reported. The boat pilots keep in contact with each other - especially the ones from the same company - so our pilot knew which direction to go. We were able to see 3-4 cycles of bubble net feeding, which was awesome!! Boats have to stay 100 yards from the whales - but the whales don't have that restriction. We never got super close, but that was more the whales moving other directions - we still had a good view. The coolest thing is the boat has underwater listening, so we were able to hear the "call to rise" - the one thing they have identified that the whales say...the call the lead whale makes to signal everyone to rise up and feed. Our guide was super friendly and knowledgable. I would definitely do this tour again!!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 18 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Research trip

Date:July 11, 2014
Location:Linden, North Carolina
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
We were so fortunate in that we saw a lot of humpback whales bubble feeding on the herring. The whales fed this way 8 times in a row. We were able to identify one whale for the research book because the other whales' tails were hard to see and identify. On the way to the plankton study we encountered a pod of orcas, 8 of them, doing their thing. We all agreed to watch and photograph the orcas and skip the plankton part of the trip. When the whales were feeding the captain lowered the microphone and we heard the head of the group give the "call" to feed and then all the whales dived and came back up with their mouths opened to eat the herring. Beautiful weather, only started to rain on the way back for about 10 minutes. On the way to the harbor, we saw a black bear in the wetland area right off the highway. The tour guide said it was unusual to see black bears there since it was brown bear territory. Due to traffic, we could not stop but we did slow down and watch him for a few minutes.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
7out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 19 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

awesome experience

Date:July 3, 2014
Location:san antonio, tx
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wonderful trip. we saw lots of whales, identified them by their tails, saw some that the company had identified for the scientists. we collected plankton samples to send to U of Alaska as sampling. also looked at crab trap for green crabs. fortunately, no green crabs. but we got to handle baby sea urchins, a bunch of them, and other things in the trap. all the information from that was also going back to the university. Small group on a boat that could hold more. really a hands on experience. crew were wonderful
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 20 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Whale watching is a cr&pshoot

Date:July 1, 2014
Location:Dallas, TX
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Watching whales would really be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Assuming the whales are there to watch. Be forewarned that booking a whale watching tour, even if its "guaranteed" to see whales, is a total cr&p shoot at best. If the whales are there and spend time on the surface then you will have fun. We saw 2 whales the entire time we were out on the water, for a total viewing of maybe 8 minutes. Boring! But we saw our "guaranteed" whale! Here's the deal...after spending 44 hours at sea from Seatlle, Juneau is the first stop on your trip aboard the Westedam. After rough seas the day before we were ready to get off the ship. Booking this excursion had us boarding another boat and travelling 45 mins on the water again...only to find a whale here and there. What a waste of time. No up close and personal shots of any whales. Oh yes, one other thing. Our trip was advertised as boarding a "research vessel" and interacting with scientists. Give me a freaking break! While the guide named Scott was very knowledgeable and funny, we weren't on a research vessel doing any research. We were on a 24 foot boat with a couple guys who were hoping to see whales like us. Other than the guaranteed one it was a total bore and waste of an afternoon.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+2points
6out of 10found this review helpful.
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