In its 16th year of operation, Alaskan-owned company Juneau Tours and Whale Watch weighs in as the largest independent tour provider in Southeast Alaska. But don’t let that title mislead you, this family operation is all about the customer experience. From sales agents and dock representatives to bus drivers/ guides, naturalists/deck hands and boat captains, Juneau Tours and Whale Watch treats everyone like well-loved family.
Back in 1998, Sky Bonnell relocated from Hawaii to fish commercially and drive a cab in the off-season. Even back then—before everyone owned a cell phone—Juneau greeted a large number of visitors. The growing demand soon warranted the need for a larger vehicle so Sky bought a bus in 2002. Flash forward to 2017, Sky’s little company that started with a cab is now in two locations (Juneau and Skagway), offers more than eight different tours and serves close to 90,000 guests every summer. Managed by his sister, Serene Hutchinson, Juneau Tours and Whale Watch employs 60+ employees (more than half call Alaska their home) and has a whopping 70% employee retention rate!
Along with being #1 on Trip Advisor, a proud member of the Whale Sense project, Juneau Tours and Whale Watch is 100% committed to its recycling program (all tours, all the time) and a big supporter of sustainable and responsible tourism.
One of the world’s premier whale watching destinations, Juneau is located along Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage. It’s also home to the owners and operators of Juneau Tours and Whale Watch. This family business believes in partnering with year-round residents and giving back to the community. From donating tours to local schools and non-profits, to bartering services for fresh crab, the sibling duo believes in keeping business in Alaska and collaborating with other Alaskan companies. Case in point, the newest addition to the fleet—the Atlin—was built to order in Homer by Bay Welding and designed by Coastwise Corporations.
Juneau Tours and Whale Watch is grateful to be able to share the wonders of Southeast Alaska – by land and sea – with visitors and locals alike.
What we'll do
This is an enthralling opportunity to witness the main attractions in Juneau - the graceful elegance of humpback whales and the local flavor of the Alaskan Brewery.
Upon check-in, you will be escorted to our coach bus for a narrated 25-minute drive to the boat harbor for whale watching.
During your time on the water, you will be accompanied by a naturalist who explains the feeding habits of these magnificent creatures and identifies the many other kinds of wildlife that share these waters. Our whale watching boats are custom made to enhance your experience – a warm heated cabin with large viewing windows, and two decks to hurry to when the captain slows after spotting the whales. A bathroom is onboard. Snacks are provided.
After the whale watch, the driver will bring you to the Alaskan Brewery, home of the award-winning beers from the last frontier. Your tour includes a visit to the Alaskan Brewing Tasting Room with a flight of four samples of your choice.
*Meet us at the convenient, central pick-up location in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway. To find your bus, check-in with one of our Dock Representatives holding a "Juneau Tours or Juneau Whale Watch" sign, sporting a smile and wearing a bright blue hat
*On your way to the boat harbor, listen to informative commentary from your driver about the capital city of Juneau
*Aboard our whale-watching boats, enjoy a comfortable heated cabin with wide-viewing windows and spacious decks for wildlife spotting.
*When our captain spots the whales, the boat slows allowing passengers to step out on the deck for that perfect whale shot. The on-board naturalist is full of information about Alaska’s wildlife – Humpback whales, Stellar sea lions, Dall’s porpoises, bald eagles.
*A small snack and water are available
*Travel to the famous Alaskan Brewery where you will have your choice of four locally-brewed beers (included.) Food is also available for purchase as well as souvenirs
What to expect / what's provided
Some of the highlights of this tour include:
*Duration: Approximately 5 hours
*Valid ID is required at the Alaskan Brewery Flight of four samples at the Alaskan Brewery is included
*Roundtrip transportation from the Mount Roberts Tramway is included
*Light snacks on the whale watching vessel are provided
*Additional food or drink for purchase at the Alaskan Brewery
*The pick up meeting place is located on the street side in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway ticket office. Dock representatives are waiting under the aerial tramway cables, holding Juneau Tours and Juneau Whale Watch signs, and wearing bright blue hats. All docks, with the exception of the AJ dock, are within walking distance (under 10 minutes.)
*Check-in is required prior to boarding the shuttle.
*Directions from the "AJ" dock, look to the left as you exit the ship. The cruise line provides a "Downtown" shuttle, which will drop you right in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway. A small fee may apply. If you’re up for a walk, it's about 20 minutes. Ask the shore excursion representative from your cruise line for directions
*Directions from the Franklin Dock, exit and turn left. Walk along the Sea Walk for approximately 8 minutes. You'll see the Mt. Roberts Tramway building in front of you. Right of the building, on the street side, in between two parking lots, is the meeting area under the cables From the Tramway and Cruise Terminal docks, which are located next to the Mt. Roberts Tramway office, exit the ship and go straight ahead. Depending on your ship, walk right or left around the building to the street side and meet a representative under the cables. 1 - 2-minute walk
*Directions from the Steamship dock, exit the ship and walk down the ramp to the Sea Walk, turn right, walk along the boardwalk and look for the Mt Roberts Tramway building. It’s on the left after passing Tracy's Crab Shack. 5 - 7-minute walk
*Check-in with a Juneau Tours and Whale Watch dock representative in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway, look for the Juneau Tours and Juneau Whale Watch signs, and bright blue hats. Please don’t board a bus before checking in. We often have multiple tours departing at the same time.
*The drop-off location is the same as the pickup location at the Mt. Roberts Tramway. Be sure to plan 5-10 minutes by foot back to your ship. AJ dock passengers must take a 5-minute shuttle back to their ship. On nice days, it's a 20-minute walk.