When you go on a cruise to Alaska you need to go on a whale watching tour as it is the place to see them. Especially in the summer months as it is their feeding ground.
This is one of my favourite tours whilst cruising Alaska because the excitement of maybe seeing a whale never gets boring. As soon as the spray comes out the water, knowing a whale is there and might jump out and show its lovely tail is always nice to see.
Still after ten years of summers in Alaska between working onboard and now travelling with my husband, seeing a whale is exciting! It is just nice being so close to nature.
Why Go on a Whale Watching Tour?
There are lots of tours on offer in the port of Juneau and you can either take this tour on its own or combine it with other attractions. A lot of the tour companies combine whale watching and seeing Mendenhall Glacier and some even offer to go to a salmon bake feast too.
These tours can be booked through the cruise line or privately. Just remember if you book privately that the tour gets back before the all aboard time of your cruise ship as the ship may not wait for you!
But why go whale watching? It is not just about the whales; the scenery is beautiful. From the mountains to the small islands to other wildlife you may see on the way.
What happens on the tour?
The tour is on the boat that holds around 50 people. It is a covered boat, so you will not get cold. But you can go outside to get your photos. It can get cold outside so bring gloves, a scarf, a hat and a warm jacket.
This time I went on the evening whale watching tour, as our cruise ship left Juneau around 10 pm. This tour included a dinner buffet as well, so no one went hungry.
The tour started at 5.30pm and returned to the ship at 9 pm. We drove into Juneau to another dock to meet our boat.
When we boarded the boat, we were introduced to the crew that included a naturalist to tell us all about the whales.
What do you see on the tour?
The sail out was spectacular as we sailed in the Alaskan fjords. It was the start of the season so there was still a lot of snow on the mountain tops. It was that lovely time of day with the last light.
The captain and crew know what they are looking for, so it was not long before we started seeing some whales. The waters we were in were the summer feeding ground for humpbacks and killer whales.
We saw spray, fins and tails! Just have your camera ready as they are quicker than you think!
Using your phone as a camera if the whale is close is good, but some whales will be further away so a camera with a good zoom is good for this tour and many other Alaskan wildlife tours.
In between whale watching, we also had a fantastic dinner buffet and we also spent the evening sipping a few hot chocolates.
We also saw sea lions, bald eagles and other birds on the tour. We watched the sunset go over the mountains.
The sail back to shore was stunning with the sun setting over the little islands and the water sparkled in the light.
Fun Facts About Whales
- Whales live for 100 years
- Whales come to the surface of the water every 20 to 45 minutes
- They spend 85% of their life down in the water
Which tour to book?
Whale watching in the day or evening are both fantastic. It depends on the time of day your cruise ship arrives in Juneau, so if you are there from 7 am to 5 pm go on the day tour, and maybe add in Mendenhall Glacier and the Salmon Bake.
If you have a late sail I would recommend the evening tour as the sunset is amazing over the mountains and little islands full of trees.
Whichever tour you go on you will have a fantastic time being in nature and seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat.
Have you been whale watching in Juneau, Alaska? What did you love about the tour?
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