Juneau Whales, Bears and Glaciers Excursion Reviews

Juneau Whales, Bears and Glaciers cruise excursion
Overall Rating
This excursion covers the perfect trifecta of Alaska's attractions: whale-watching, bear-viewing and a scenic flight over the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield.
Member Image Danoh2016Alaska
1 review
Jul 2016
The Glacier was breath-taking and, good to the guarantee, we saw about 20 whales.
Read Danoh2016Alaska's full Zaandam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image rba12345
1 review
Jul 2016
Great Gastineau tour. Whales, trails and glaciers.
Read rba12345's full Explorer of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image sheryl27
1 review
Jul 2016
whale watching was truly magical
Read sheryl27's full Noordam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image paul.shearman
1 review
Jul 2016
No bears, glacier from a distance, small rainforest (?) walk.
Read paul.shearman's full Nieuw Amsterdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image journeycollector
1 review
Jun 2016
Wonderful experience and seamless experience! Picked us up right at the cruise ship dock and then took us to Auke Bay for whale watching. Beautiful scenery!
Read journeycollector's full Crown Princess cruise review
Provider: Harv and Marv's
Member Image HappyTraveler2
1 review
May 2016
Always take the Whale Watching excursions when we can, and this one was excellent!
Read HappyTraveler2's full Norwegian Jewel cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image cruiser4life22
1 review
May 2016
saw lots of whales
Read cruiser4life22's full Explorer of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image caboodles
1 review
May 2016
great job by staff
Read caboodles's full Carnival Legend cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image JimandChicky
1 review
May 2016
Can't say enough about this company. Our captain Jeff and naturalist Jackie were wonderful! We saw a whale within 10 minutes of being on the water. We were also lucky enough to see a whole family of orkas- at least 7. It was an amazing experience that I won't forget. We opted for the whale watch/mendenhall glacier tour. They had a separate drive pick us up form the docks and drive us to Mendenhall and then told us to call them if we wanted to stay any longer. Great company!
Read JimandChicky's full Celebrity Millennium cruise review
Provider: Harv and Marv's
Member Image BBMU
1 review
May 2016
We had scheduled the Mendenhall Glacier, Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest (JU40). The tickets had us meeting in the theater. They issue everyone there a number that corresponds to the excursion that you have booked. Then the sitting and waiting started. I knew from reading the reviews that the tour timing was tight and that if you wanted to get to Nugget Falls and up next to the Glacier you would need to walk at a reasonable pace, but it should have been doable. By the time we got off the ship and to the bus we were running over an hour late. When we finally arrived at the Mendenhall Glacier the '12 year old bus driver' (his words and he didn’t look much older, although he said he was actually 22 in college and this was his 2nd year driving the tour bus there) said that we would have to be back to get on the bus at 4:45. There are only 5 bus spots at the Glacier visitor center and it was so crowded that we got dropped off in another spot and walked from there. The driver let us know that he wouldn’t wait if you weren’t back in time and would leave even if everyone wasn’t back to make it to the whale watch. When I was getting off the bus I told the driver I intended to make it to the water fall and glacier and he said I wouldn’t make it. We got off the bus just after 4:00 and that left less than 45 minutes for all of us at the Glacier visitor center. I decided that I would make it to the falls and glacier. I literally ran for a good part of it getting there leaving my wife behind as she was walking as fast as she could. I made it to the Glacier and Falls and took a couple of quick pictures. Then I started the run back. I met my wife on the trail and we found a spot to get a couple of quick pictures of us with the Glacier and Falls off in the background. When we got back on the bus others said they didn’t even get to see the short video in the visitors center as it is shown at scheduled times. At 4:45 there were still 2 people missing and the driver started to pull away as the 2 came running up to the door, so they just made it. It didn’t help that there were 4 cruise ships in Juneau that day either, making the visitors center very crowded. Then it was off to the Whale watching portion of the trip. That part went well. We saw sea lions, bald eagles and orcas. We were told that they normally don’t see orcas on the trip and mostly see humpback whales, which we didn’t see any humpbacks. The boat had 3 levels (2 enclosed areas with seats) they also provide binoculars to use on the boat. Nice boat (they have several boats, all look to be the same) and crew. Plenty of good picture taking opportunities on the trip. When we got back to the dock it was about 8:30 PM (later than we were supposed to get back) and meaning we really couldn’t go to a restaurant in town. One had been recommended, but it was too late for that. By the time we got a tender back to the ship and through the metal detectors it was just after 9:00 PM. We went up to the main dining room and they did seat us. I let them know that there were many others in line waiting to get back to the ship. She got on her radio and told them to keep resetting tables until 10:00 PM. That was nice since the cruise line had so badly botched getting everyone off and back on the ship on time. Although they should have announced that they were still seating people for dinner. We talked to another couple the next day and they just figured that since it was after 9:00 when they got back that they would just have to eat dinner at the buffet on deck 14. So, ½ the excursion was really pretty good, but the first part was a complete waste for at least most of those who went on it. When I went to complain at the excursion desk, they had obviously heard from others as they immediately credited my account for a 30% discount. I probably should have argued for at least a 50% discount, but I didn’t want to waste my time. I also figured I would be letting anyone who checks the reviews read about it and make their own decision on what to do or not do in this case.
Read BBMU's full Celebrity Solstice cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image CruiseControl!
1 review
Aug 2015
Booked Gastineau package. Could have done it independantly as ended well before cruise left and saved $20. Gastineau ship offers every person a boatside view. The windows also open inwards so you can take pictures in boat or outside. We had great weather. Saw 15-20 humpback whales which was unusually plenty according to tour guides. Sea otters and Sea Lions as well Plenty of oppportunities to take glacier pictures as well.
Read CruiseControl!'s full Norwegian Sun cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image EMS8
1 review
Jul 2015
Did a whale watching tour with Orca. This was our third time with them. Saw several active groups of Orcas, and a few humpbacks. The humpbacks weren't very active. Overall a good time.
Read EMS8's full Celebrity Millennium cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image rhiwderin_ray
1 review
Jun 2015
Expensive as we booked via cruise company. Forest walk was very informative and views of glacier were good but distant. Whale watching was ok but we only saw a mother and calf in choppy wet conditions. Photo guide was good and informative. However, the trip finished in the centre of town and we had to trudge about 1/2 mile back to the ship in the rain.
Read rhiwderin_ray's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image lag9122
4 reviews
Jun 2015
The best part of the cruise . We saw so many whales so close to the boat the bubble net feeding was amazing .
Read lag9122's full Jewel of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Harv & Marv
Member Image Suzanne Marie
1 review
Jun 2015
The whales were great but NCL put me on the wrong bus and I missed the glacier. They were very apologetic when I said Where's the glacier? And refunded my money. I did see a lot of whales, otters and seals and even saw a breaching which is pretty spectacular
Read Suzanne Marie's full Norwegian Sun cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image MKS2015
1 review
May 2015
We did see whales and we visited the Mendenhall glaciers - I am only rating this as 'very good' because we never saw any bears. Juneau is an interesting city.
Read MKS2015's full Regatta cruise review
Provider: Oceania Cruises
Member Image bluereef
1 review
Aug 2014

On Day 3, Juneau, we took the Whale and Wildlife Quest and Mendenhall Glacier combo. This is the same tour offered by Allen Tours, but if you book it through the cruise, you know you'll get back on time. We (literally and figuratively) saw TONS of humpbacks on this tour, and one blowing water just next to our boat! None breached the water or did bubble feeding, but we saw them all dive with the tail fluke in the air. We also saw sea lions, seals, and an otter swimming together. We also saw a bald eagle nearby. Lots of sea jellies. Donut munchkins and hot drinks are served free on board, as well as binoculars and route map.

This tour would have gotten 5+ stars if it weren't for the Mendenhall portion. I've read and heard reports of bear sightings along the viewing areas at Mendenhall Glacier but our tour was way too short to handle this. The Mendenhall Glacier portion was 45 minutes and not enough time to explore the glacier or even get to Nugget Falls (1 mile away) and back. Our tour bus and another left people behind because they didn't make it back to the bus in time. To see the Glacier properly, I advise taking a shuttle from the pier for $10/pp/way, so you can go on a longer glacier excursion by yourself. Another option is to book the above combo tour, but purchase the extra return shuttle ticket from the dock before you get on the first departure tour bus, allowing you the option to return from the Glacier at your leisure. The cruise ship doesn't depart until 8:30 pm, so there really is so much time to explore Juneau and the Glacier that there is no reason the excursion had to rush us back before 3. At the Glacier Visitor Center, there were some excellent interpretive exhibits and the chance to become a Junior Ranger.

Read bluereef's full Radiance of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image greggliz@comcast.net
1 review
Not Rated
Aug 2014

The whale watching + was a highlight of the cruise. Ideally we could have spent another half hour at Mendenhall as it was a little rushed but we loved the excursion.

Read greggliz@comcast.net's full Norwegian Jewel cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image tasdiwine
1 review
Jun 2014

We did a combo tour and evening whale watch,Loved both

Read tasdiwine's full Seven Seas Navigator cruise review
Provider: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Member Image Borisbuddy
2 reviews
Sep 2013

No bears around in September. Please warn passengers that they will be taking a risk, spending big bucks to see no bears.

Whales did show up! Flight-seeing of glaciers was great!

Read Borisbuddy's full Star Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Cindy
14 reviews
Sep 2013

We arrived on schedule at 1:00, to partly cloudy skies. It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining, so I thought it was just great for Alaska in September.! We had booked a tour with Juneau Whale Watch on-line, and it was kind of a mixed bag. The whale-watch part was excellent and the boat was very comfortable, but I didn’t think their organization was very good AT ALL and we definitely got short-changed on the Mendenhall part of the tour. We didn’t get to the glacier until about 5:15, and we were told the latest bus we could get back to the ship was at 6:00. We really didn’t have any time to walk around or go to the visitor’s center. Jim and I were both shocked at how much the glacier has receded since we were there in 2000.

Read Cindy's full Westerdam cruise review
Provider: Juneau Whale Watch
Member Image deblou_20151
1 review
Aug 2013

Hike to Mendenhall Glacier. Good information, not much to see on the hike. Some salmon, good view of the glacier. Whale watching was not good. I know the operators have no control over that, but it is disappointing to send so much money and have so few sightings.

Read deblou_20151's full Celebrity Solstice cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Touringc
5 reviews
Aug 2013

Our boat captain was knowledgable,witty and made sure we had visions of what we came for.

Read Touringc's full Celebrity Solstice cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image alaskancruiseman
1 review
Jul 2013

We booked the combo wildlife, whales and glacier. In truth, it's hard to get it all in in one day. One of the events will fall a little slack - and for us it was the glacier. It's amazingly beautiful, but we were only able to see it for an hour or so. The whale tour was a blast. If you can, book a small boat. Ours wasn't huge, but held 40 people. People get in the way and the boat can't get as close. Smaller boats can accommodate a small group and be right up close.

Read alaskancruiseman's full Rhapsody of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image ridgerunner51
2 reviews
Not Rated
Jun 2012
Wonderful. We saw more whales and bears than we thought possible.
Read ridgerunner51's full Coral Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises

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