Frequently Asked Questions

What type of whales are near Juneau, Alaska?

Humpback and orca whales. We have seen humpback whales on 100% of our trips since 2006. We see orca whales about 20% of the time.

What is the best time of the year to see whales around Juneau?

The best months are May through September for humpback whales.

Do you have a whale sighting guarantee?

No/Yes. After seeing whales on 100% of the trips, we decided not to use this as a means to get customers. We promise to do the best we can to locate whales on each and every trip. If you do not see a whale on your tour, you will receive a 50% refund.

Can you see whales any time of the day?

Yes. Humpback whales surface + or – every 15 minutes to breathe.

Is it better to see whales in the morning or in the afternoon?

History has taught us that it makes no difference. We have seen whales on 100% of our tours for the last 11 years. Being the wild animals that they are, you just cannot predict when they will be more active! They have no set time for breaching, tail lobbing, peck slapping, etc. If you happen to witness this behavior, you know you are seeing something special. 🙂

How close can we get to the whales?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that boats may not approach Humpback Whales closer than 100 yards (300 ft).

Can you offer assistance with German-speaking guests?

Yes, Click HERE to read an article by Sven & Anja. They are also happy to help translate if needed!

Will you pick us up? How do we get to your boat?

Yes. We will pick you up in our courtesy shuttle near your cruise ship or hotel and drive you out to the boat and return you to your ship/hotel when we are done with the tour.

Can I bring a mobility scooter on the tour with me?

We do not operate accessible vehicles and vessels. If you are traveling with a portable, fully collapsible scooter that weighs less than 50 pounds, we can accommodate with prior notice. Please note, you will not be able to take the scooter onto Sentinel Island.

Is there a bathroom on board?

Yes, we have 2 each with a flushing toilet and locking door.

Are the boats covered and do they have heaters?

Yes. The boats have enclosed cabins with large windows and heaters if the weather is cold.

Is the water rough around Juneau?

Juneau is located in the inside passage; there is no open ocean water near Juneau. You are within sight of land at all times. Between May and the end of August, the water is usually pretty calm. The wind is usually 15 mph or less, although an occasional storm can blow through. In September expect it to be rainy, windy, and chilly on the water.

What will the weather be like?

Click HERE for the current weather in Juneau.

68% chance of clouds and rain. We are located in a rainforest and it is usually cooler on the water. In 2022, the average temperature in June was 57 degrees. A good combination to wear is an outer layer that is wind/rainproof with a fleece coat underneath, this will keep you warm and dry. If you are from a warmer climate, you might want a hat and gloves. May and September can be windier and colder. A comfortable passenger is a happy passenger!

If the water is too rough to go on the tour, can we get a refund?

Yes, a full 100% refund. Refunds are generally processed immediately, however, it gets very busy during the season and may take up to 14 days.

What is your cancellation policy?

Your tour is 100% refundable if you cancel at least 30 days before the tour date. A refund may be subject to a 3% administrative fee if you request a check refund and your original payment was via credit card. Cancellations 15-29 days prior to your tour date will receive a 50% refund*. No refunds for no-shows or cancellations within 14 days of the tour date. Refunds are generally processed immediately, however, it gets very busy during the season and may take up to 14 days. *No additional administrative fees for partial refunds.

What happens if we miss our cruise ship because the boat breaks down?

First, we have never had anybody miss their cruise ship. We guarantee we will get you back to your cruise ship before it departs.

If we fail:

1. You will receive a full refund for the whale watching tour.

2. Each passenger on board will receive $100.

3. We will pay the boat or plane fare to get you to your next port of call.

4. If needed, we will provide food and lodging.

What other things of interest might we see on this tour?

Eagles, sea lions, seals, lighthouses, mountain glaciers, remote islands, and beautiful mountains.

Can I smoke or drink alcohol while on the tour?

For the safety and enjoyment of all passengers, smoking and drinking are not allowed unless you have arranged a private tour – smoking is only allowed on the outside decks.

If we would like to go to the Mendenhall Glacier, how do we get there?

Unfortunately, due to changes in permitting and regulations by the US Forest Service, we can no longer pick-up or drop-off at the Mendenhall Glacier. You can schedule a taxi ahead of time or call when you arrive, the two main companies that service the glacier are Evergreen Taxi – 907-586-2121 and Juneau Taxi & Tours – 907-789-1111

How many passengers can you take on a boat at one time?

We can accommodate up to 49 guests. Children and infants regardless of age are included in the total.

What happens if we sleep in (or something like that) and are late getting to the Harv and Marv’s courtesy shuttle?

Our tours are designed to help maximize passenger’s limited time in port and it is important to be on time so we can leave on time. Passengers often have other tours or plans for the day where we drop them off at their next location. We feel this is not fair for the other passengers who are on time. WE WILL WAIT 10 MINUTES and then leave for the tour. You will NOT receive a refund. Please be on time. If there is space on a later tour, we will try to reschedule, but we cannot guarantee that the later tours will have space.

We see all these photos of whales, how many can we really expect to see on a trip?

We have seen as many as 25 in one day, but we are happy if we get to see 2 to 3 different humpback whales per trip.

There are lots of photos of whales breaching and bubble feeding, what can we really expect to see on the tour?

By far, most of the time we just watch the whales swimming through the water, coming up to breathe every 7 to 15 minutes. We always enjoy seeing the fluke or tail, but they don’t always show their tail when they dive. We see a whale breach on about 14% of our trips. In 2022 we saw bubble feeding on 16% of the tours. Each trip and each day is different.

What if we have another tour scheduled after your tour?

If you have another tour scheduled that ends within an hour before your pick-up time or starting within an hour after your scheduled drop-off time of our tour, you will need to let us know as soon as possible. We do not want to compromise our tour because of scheduling conflicts. This is not fair to the other passengers. We will call a taxi to take you to where you need to go and payment is your responsibility. We try to schedule our tours with ample time between to ensure there is time to allow for any unforeseen delays. Contact the Reservation Team if you are considering multiple tours, so we can help maximize your limited time.

If we are traveling with a group, can we each pay separately and still get a discount rate on a tour?

Unfortunately, in order to extend the discount for ANY tour, the payment must be made by one person (exception: a deposit and final payment, if applicable, can be made by two different people).

How soon do we need to make a reservation?

You can wait as long as you like, (we need about one-hour notice if you are in town and we have space), however, it is best to make the reservation as soon as you can to get the dates and times you want, some dates are filling up already. If you have been emailing and asking questions for a while, you may lose the spot you are interested in because someone else called or emailed and booked for that date and time.

How do we make a reservation and what is your payment policy?

Go to our contact page and send an email or call Missy. If you are making a reservation through our online system, you will be required to pay the balance in full at the time of booking.

If you would like the option to pay a 50% deposit, you will need to contact us directly via email or call 877-794-2537. To confirm a reservation by phone, we require a 50% deposit at the time of booking if paying by credit card. If paying by check, payment in full is required 30 days prior to your tour.

Please make checks payable to Juneau Lighthouse Tours and mail to P.O. Box 32825, Juneau, AK 99803

Deposit is 100%* refundable if you cancel 30 days before the tour date.

*If you pay by check we will issue your refund in full by check = 100% refund.

Credit card refunds may be assessed an additional 3% fee.

Your payment is fully refundable (fewer fees stated above) up to 30 days prior to your tour date. If you cancel 15-29 days prior to your tour date you will receive a 50% refund, if you cancel within 14 days, or do not show up for your tour, there is no refund.

What do your boats look like?

Click HERE (link to our boats page) to see pictures of the boats.

What other whale watching companies do we recommend? And what other activities are there to do in Juneau?

We recommend Harv and Marv’s Outback Alaska or Alaska Galore Tours (our sister companies with the same customer service and tour quality). If you would like to do more research, check the official Juneau travel website. Most of our competitors are listed here along with everything else there is to do in Juneau. Look through them and pick the one that works best for you.

Juneau Lighthouse Tours, LLC

P.O. Box 32825

Juneau, AK 99803



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