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
Our 2 hour whale watching adventure begins when we board a coach bus that departs downtown Juneau from the Mt. Roberts Tram parking lot. A 25 minute journey through the picturesque landscape of Southeast Alaska will take you to Auke Bay Harbor. "All aboard!” and you’re off to Alaska waters and the ultimate whale watching experience.
On our quest for whales, we will be on the lookout for bald eagles, seals, sea lions, black bear and more of Alaska’s wildlife. The star of the tour is the humpback whale, but we are always looking out for the playful orcas. Once we spot a whale, the captain will slow down and allow you to go on the spacious viewing decks for a great photo opportunity. Our custom design vessels provides unrestricted viewing from inside the cabin as well as outside. Although the cabin is enclosed and heated, we recommend you dress in layers, after all it is Alaska!
With our experienced captains and Juneau being one of the best ports for whale watching in Alaska, this tour will be an unforgettable experience.
What to expect / what's provided
*Duration: Approximate 3.5 hours
*Snacks and binoculars are provided
*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.