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Juneau- Best size boat and way to combine whale watch and Mendenhall?

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Mar 5th, 2013, 04:56 PM
  #1
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Juneau- Best size boat and way to combine whale watch and Mendenhall?

My husband and I will be traveling to Alaska on DCL with our dds (who will be almost 4 and 8 months old) in July. We were planning on just doing the DCL family friendly whale watch in Juneau, but after doing more research we have decided that we would really like to see Mendenhall Glacier as well. Disney offers a combined family friendly whale watch/ glacier excursion, but it seems really pricey for what it is and I'm wondering if we could just do it on our own and save quite a bit of money. Which leads me to my questions: keeping in mind that we're traveling with very young kids, what is the best way to do it on our own and should I look into a smaller boat or larger boat for the whale watch? I've heard mixed things on the size of the boat- some have said the smaller boats can get closer to the animals and some have said that the smaller boats won't get close because of their small size and that the larger boats get much closer. Any advice would be very appreciated!

Thanks!
JMGJD is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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hi- my husband and i are scheduled to cruise alaska on the norwegian line in june. having done some research on my own, found that whale watching is better in hoonah/icy point strait. there are smaller boats going out there and they guarantee whales. contact www.icypointwhalewatching.com. we booked with them and they meet you at the dock. with regard to the mendenhall, contact www.mightgreattrips.com. theres a "blue bus tour" for $16 p.p. to visit only the mendenhall for as long as you would like. bring $3 p.p. for entrance to the park. also, they offer a host of tours in juneau, skagway and ketichkan. they've a comprensive website and order form to book on line. spoke with the owner - he called me, was very impressed with him - and have booked with them even if we need to pay an additional bus fare to the main dock, these tours are more what we are looking for.
hope i've given you some help, good luck and enjoy the cruise
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Mar 6th, 2013, 12:12 PM
  #3
 
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Google Juneau and whale watch for links to the local operators: Marv and Harv, Orca, Dolphin, Juneau Tours, several others. Smaller boats may not accept babies on board, so you should probably phone to make sure the boats are right for your family.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 01:23 AM
  #4
KVR
 
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We did the combo Whale Watch Tour/Mendenhall Glacier excursion with Princess on our cruise. We preferred this for several reasons. The boat Princess used we could either sit inside with huge windows or sit outside on the top deck. The day we went it was cold and windy. No way was I going to sit outside in the weather. The smaller independant boats were strictly outside seating. The bigger boats had the radar on board to determine where the whales would be. We noticed the smaller independant boats following us around. Our boat had 2 Naturalists on board to provided educational and historic information. We were also provided with complimentary hot coco and coffee, and there was a for pay snack bar. We were traveling with my ederly parents and was glad we did not subject them to the weather in the smaller boats. We did not find our boat crowded as so many people complain. We all had plenty of room and viewing opportunities.

Once we reached Mendanhall Glacier, it is a good trek from the parking area to the vistor center. Not sure you would want to tow 2 small children up there and back.

When we were researching our excursions, I found that the price difference between an Independant operator and the cruise line was about $50. Totally different then cruises in the Caribbean. Our cruise was in a September. By Janauray most of the independant operators were completley booked anyway. Also, the closer the date of the cruise, the higher Princess raised their excurstion rates. By August it was almost $100 more than what I booked in January.
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