Below are our most frequently asked questions. If there is anything else you wish to query, please contact us. Just give us a call on 1-907-523-6095. Alternatively, feel free to email us with your FAQs at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the contact form here and one of our customer service representatives will aim to respond within 24 hours or less.
Why should I book with Juneau Tours?
Because among a few great reasons, we’re within the top TEN on Trip Advisor! As an established, local company with a Certificate of Excellence, there’s nothing more we love than to enrich your experience in Juneau. Local knowledge is king, and having a fantastic team of staff with a wealth of local expertise in our employ, gives us the confidence that we’ll leave you happy, if not wanting more.
Purposefully, we shape all of our tours and excursions around the cruise ships’ schedules. Thus, relieving you of any stress before you dock into port. Indeed, we allow for delays and adjust your tour time accordingly–going the extra mile to maximize your vacation hours while in our stunning state capital. What’s more, we 100% guarantee whale sightings on every whale watching tour (from May to September). Or, in the unlikely event you don’t sight a whale, we’ll offer you a refund. In fact, our captains, naturalists and guides live to love whales, so it pleases them no end to leave you wide-eyed on whales! Our fleet of boats are the newest in town too.
For sure, we know where all the wilderness hotspots are. Hence, we focus our city and glacier based tours on optimizing your wildlife encounters. Aided of course by the fact that Juneau has more animals than people! As well, it boasts one of North Americas’s highest concentrations of bald eagles. It’s always an honor to share the backyard beauty of our mist-shrouded rainforest and glowing blue glaciers that envelope our coastal city, steeped in history and Native Southeast Alaska culture alike. Although, don’t just take our word for it. Please see our: Trip Advisor reviews, Facebook Reviews, customers’ photographs and videos. They’re awesome!
What happens if my ship is delayed getting into port?
Please don’t worry; we’ll know if your ship is delayed. This is because we receive a constant stream of updates on the cruise ships’ timetables. Consequently, we will automatically adjust your schedule and factor in any delays against the timing of your tour. When you arrive at the port, just check in with any of our Juneau Whale Watch dock representatives, who can be located under the overhead cables of the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. (Look for them holding a Juneau Tours and Whale Watch sign.) Without further ado, we’ll get you started on your tour! If your ship doesn’t make it to port for any reason, we will refund you in full without incurring any administration fees or penalties.
The cruise ships say if we don’t book with them we might get left behind: is it safe to book with a local company?
One of our favorite FAQs: It is totally safe! And reliable. As a company that has been in the business of whale watching for years, our tour schedules are mindfully constructed around the cruise ships’ arrivals and departures, so we can guarantee you will back to board your ship in plenty of time. Helpfully, we receive a constant stream of updates to the cruise ship timetables, which means we’ll know if your boat is delayed for any reason. Best of all, we’re able to offer more competitive deals than the cruise ships because you are booking locally. Moreover, our seafaring vessels are smaller than those offered by the cruise ship companies, giving you a more intimate encounter with the humpback whales and other myriad wildlife here in Juneau.
Where do we meet?
All our tours start by checking in with our dock representatives under the overhead cables, just in front of the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. Our staff will be holding a Juneau Tours and Whale Watch sign, wearing a bright blue hat bearing the company logo. The Mount Roberts Tramway is located downtown, right in the middle of the cruise ship docks, you can’t miss it. Most ships dock to unload passengers within easy walking distance to our meeting place, bar the exception of one port. That one is about a mile away where you can take a cruise supplied shuttle bus from that port, which will deposit you in front of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Easy!
Where does the White Glacier Shuttle bus go?
Our easy-to-spot White Glacier Shuttle bus leaves from the parking lot in front of the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. It goes only to the glacier where it rides to (and from) the glacier every 30 minutes, although your driver will know your pick up time. If you’ve purchased a combination tour, your shuttle ride back to downtown is included.
How much time can I spend at Mendenhall Glacier?
One of the benefits of booking with Juneau Whale Watch is our flexibility around the timetables of the cruise ships. If your cruise ship is here all day, we recommend a morning combination tour using our White Glacier Shuttle bus, which rides every half an hour. Foremost, it affords you to maximize your time and stay as long as you wish. There is a mind-blowing amount to see, absorb and explore there. If your ship docks in the afternoon, you can plan on 45 minutes to an hour at the glacier. Please be aware of your “All aboard” time – it does take 30 minutes to get back to port. See more on the glacier tours available and read about Mendenhall Glacier.
Can you guarantee I will see whales?
Because in the region of 5% of Southeast Alaska’s humpback whale population embark upon an annual odyssey to nourish themselves after a 3,000 mile migration. Courtesy of Juneau’s nutrient rich waters, which are teeming with herring and other baitfish, krill and plankton, the whales feast to their belly’s desire. And regularly, just like we do. But for the whales, it’s feeding time all day!
Although there may be more, as far as numbers go: 150 humpback whales have been officially documented, which abound in Juneau’s protected waters! And, because the Inside Passage of the Alaskan Marine Highway is a relatively narrow body of water, makes the whales easy to spot. It is estimated that the worldwide population is at least 80,000, with 18,000–20,000 in the North Pacific, about 12,000 in the North Atlantic and over 50,000 in the Southern Hemisphere, down from a prewhaling population of 125,000. See more on our whale watching tours and our page devoted to “The Team.”
What other wildlife is on offer in Juneau?
Aside from humpback whales that come to feed on Juneau’s nutrient-rich waters, you might also get to feast your eyes on harbor seals, sea lions, purpoises and otters. Bald eagles and other myriad birdlife soaring overhead also populate our skies so don’t forget to look up. Sometimes, black bears can be seen when the salmon are running too. It’s a wildlife utopia, it really is!
What kind of boats are in your fleet?
Our five-strong, shiny fleet comprises: three catamarans and two jet boats. The catamarans are sturdy boats with twin aluminum hulls in parallel. Where our jet boats afford an equally comfortable ride, they will propel you to the right spot in no time at all. Moreover, our fleet of whale watching boats is the newest in town. But perhaps best of all, we rarely weather cancel on our guests as the conditions are stable on the Inside Passage.
Our fleet of boats, together with our experienced captains at the helm, are more than capable of coping with whatever Southeast Alaska waters might throw at them. That said, the conditions are usually calm. Furthermore, our jet boats boast a front and back deck, while our aluminum dual-hulled catamarans have an additional upper deck. Superbly, all our boats have an enclosed heated cabin with wide-viewing windows and a marine toilet facility (referred as “the head” when at sea”). Read more about our fleet of seafaring vessels, all of which are geared up to leave you wide-wide on whales! Check out our drone (aerial) footage showcasing two of our seafaring beauties here!
What is the capacity of your boats?
Our jets boats can accommodate up to 26 passengers and our larger catamarans cater to up to 49 people. Our jet boats have a front and back deck, while our catamarans have an additional upper deck. Also, our boats have an enclosed heated cabin with wide-viewing windows. If you have a group of 20 or more – call or email us about our group rates. Read more about our fleet of seafaring vessels and check out our drone (aerial) footage showcasing two of our seafaring beauties here!
Are there restrooms on the boats?
There is a marine toilet on all our boats; seafarers call it “the head.” Although, we do recommend making use of the facilities just before coming aboard. Conveniently, there is a restroom at the Mount Roberts Tramway and at the boat harbor.
Are you boats available for private charters?
Absolutely. Whether whale watching is a priority of yours or not, all of our vessels are available for private hire. Should a private charter be of interest, the Rochelle B, one of our catamarans, comes complete with a bar area. And The Chilkat, another one of our catamarans, offers a lower deck with a bar and food service area for catering. This is perfect for once-in-a-lifetime events with family and friends. For example, bachelor and bachelorette parties, anniversaries and graduation parties. Even getting married on the water, taking pictures at the glacier and holding your reception on Mount Roberts with stunning, elevated views overlooking Juneau. See more on our fleet of seafaring vessels.
What should I bring with me on a whale watching tour?
All the usual suspects: your camera; spare batteries; clothing to keep you cool, layers to keep you warm and a rain jacket; as well as shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Sunglasses, a hat and sun cream. Medication if prone to sea sickness, although conditions are usually stable. We provide water and granola bars.
What if the weather is bad, is the tour still on?
We rarely cancel on our guests as the conditions are stable on the Inside Passage. Not only that, our sturdy fleet of boats in conjunction with our experienced captains at the helm, are more than capable of coping with the conditions. Furthermore, we ensure your safety aboard our boats and buses. If in the unlikely event we do cancel the tour, we will provide you with a full refund, without incurring any administration fees or penalties.
What should we wear?
A valid question in our FAQs. The only thing you can count on in Juneau, is that you can’t count on the weather. With that in mind, prepare for the worst and hope for the best! Even waking up to warm, sunny skies can turn cool and rainy. We recommend layers of clothing, which are easy to don and easy to remove. Typically a short-sleeve and long-sleeve mid layer and a waterproof jacket, long pants and sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting wet. It can get chilly and rainy in our temperate rain forest, although summertime often sees our coastal city enjoy mild temperatures. Read more on recommended proper clothing against the typical weather and climate of Juneau throughout the year.
How rainy is it, really?
Juneau averages about 62″ of rain annually–that’s only two inches less than Miami! With precipitation falling on average 230 days of the year, expect rain at some point during your stay. We call it “liquid sunshine.” Typically though, May through to July comprises our driest period.
What time zone does Juneau fall in?
Juneau falls in the Alaska Time Zone (AKST), one hour earlier than Pacific Time, and we follow Daylight Savings.
How many hours of daylight does Juneau have?
On our longest day, June 21, Juneau experiences 18 hours and 18 minutes of daylight. Where our shortest day, December 21, just 6 hours, 21 minutes. The “Land of the Midnight Sun”–where it never sets in summer (or rises in winter)–begins north of the Arctic Circle, at around 66 degrees latitude. Juneau falls just above Latitude 58 and incidentally, is on the same latitude as northern Scotland and southern Sweden.
Do I need a passport?
Only if you plan to cross the international border into Canada. Our tours in Juneau cross no borders as we are bound by the ocean on one side, and a the Juneau Icefield on the other.
Where can I exchange currency?
ATMs are widely available in downtown Juneau to withdraw US dollars from and will accept all major credit cards. You may want to check with your financial institution for associated fees. Visitors can also exchange currency aboard ships and at several downtown businesses and banks.
I’m not a cruise ship passenger so where should I stay?
Juneau offers a variety of accommodations ranging in price range and style from quaint bed and breakfasts to modern hotels. Wilderness lodges for fishing and outdoor adventures are also accessible from Juneau. Campgrounds are located near the ferry terminal as well as near Mendenhall Glacier on the outskirts of town.
NB: If there is another question you feel should be featured within our FAQs, please let us know.