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I have read a great deal of the posts about all the various whale watch tours in Juneau and really want to take Harv & Marv's but I am a little "chicken"...can anyone who has been on their tours tell me if they were scared due to the large size of the whales and the small size of the boat? How about sea sickness - I know there are no guarentees but have many felt sick on their small boats?
I have been in contact with Callie at Harv and Marv's due to their website stating they have very high stairs and wanted to ask some questions. She was fantastic at emailing me right back and when I had additional questions responded very quickly. Try emailing her directly - she might be able to answer your questions.
We have been out with Harv and Marv three times with the last time my husband suffering from a severely spained ankle (done during the first port) he made the stairs taking it slow. This family is a class act we have rented out a whole boat before and never felt scared at being too close to the whales.
Already I am impressed with how quickly I got a response from them and went ahead and booked for our July cruise. She told me I shouldn't have too much problem with the stairs and that there are always alot of people to help. I was just worried due to their web page warning about the stairs, but it seems like the warning may be directed with people with more severe disablities than a bum knee.
Harv and Marv are absolutely great!! We went with them in 2008 and will be going again in September this year. You could not ask for a better tour or tour group. They are first class!!
We saw lots of whales in 2008. No sea sickness. No fear!! In fact we were in total awe of the magnificent whales and the sound!! Something you will never forget!!
We went with Harv and Marv and had a whale unexpectedly surface about 20 feet from the back of the boat (where we were seated). I actually said "uh, Captain Steve, are we in any danger?" and he said "noooo" while quietly turning the boat away from the whale and moving slowly away.....
but even that close it was not at all "scary". We didn't feel scared- we felt lucky!!!
Thank you for all your reports - Please keep them coming. I knew about the 100 yard rule but I also know that whales don't carry a yardstick! I am guessing they swim where they want to swim and fear that they will see the boat as a toy - hopefully not a toss toy
We've just booked a private tour with Harv & Marv in June. Had to book private since we are a party of 6 and it includes our 9 year old son. Like you, I am a little nervous about the small size of the boat and the giant size of the whales. Last year my husband and I did a whale watching tour in Juneau but it was booked through Celebrity and on a large boat that held over 100 people. Kinda preferring the large boat size but we've read so many wonderful things about H&M that my husband really wanted to go for it. I think I may insist on a life jacket for my son. Wait a minute; why am I even responding to your post? I think I am just making us both more nervous, haha! Let's just agree together that it will be fine and we will have a wonderful time! And now I'll go say some more prayers for safety
Frankly, if a whale really hit even the larger whale watch boats, I wouldn't want to be aboard!
As have many before me, it is hard to say enough about Harv and Marv. They are great, great to work with (we had to work out a glacier trek right afterwards), and do a great job. One nice thing about a small boat is that you get to really interact with your guide. You're not just hearing stuff on a PA system, you are hearing it right from them, and can have a great time asking all sorts of questions about wildlife and living in Alaska in general.
Whales don't use measuring tapes, and can suddenly get closer than the boats are allowed to intentionally get. Whales have great hearing, and know more about where you are than you know about where they are.
As for the steps/ramp down to the boat dock, that will depend on the tide at the time you are using it. If the tide is in, the ramp angle will be less, if the tide is out, the ramp angle will be greater. They have the steps built in for those times and for those people who have trouble walking on the ramp portion. Not a big deal.
Ben and Susan
Uniworld RIVER AMBASSADOR - European Splendors, June, 2013
Disney DREAM - 4-Day Bahamas - January, 2013
Oceania RIVIERA - Accent on Italy - Oct. 24 - Nov. 3, 2012
MV ECLIPSE - 7 days in the Galapagos - June, 2012
HAL STATENDAM - 7 day Glacier excursion - June, 2010
Disney WONDER - 3-night Bahamas - Dec. 27-30, 2009
Oceania REGATTA - Scandinavian Splendors - Aug 8-22, 2009
Carnival FANTASY - 3-day 1990 or '91
USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) Two WestPac cruises 1969-71 Oops those weren't pleasure cruises!
[quote=AmysonHenry;32340775]We've just booked a private tour with Harv & Marv in June. Had to book private since we are a party of 6 and it includes our 9 year old son. Like you, I am a little nervous about the small size of the boat and the giant size of the whales. Last year my husband and I did a whale watching tour in Juneau but it was booked through Celebrity and on a large boat that held over 100 people. Kinda preferring the large boat size but we've read so many wonderful things about H&M that my husband really wanted to go for it. I think I may insist on a life jacket for my son. Wait a minute; why am I even responding to your post? I think I am just making us both more nervous, haha! Let's just agree together that it will be fine and we will have a wonderful time! And now I'll go say some more prayers for safety [/quote
Were you nervous about booking with a private company and getting back to the ship in plenty of time for departure??? This is my only concern.
We just got back from a tour with Harv & Marv on the OB-1 with Captain Liz. My mom was really scared before the tour. I told her everything would be fine. She figured that out soon. In fact, she wanted to go another three hours! No one got sea sick! It is fabulous. The whales are so majestic! Hard to believe that something so large seems so gentle! You cannot go wrong with Harv & Marv! I posted some pictures on another post here so you might want to take a peek at those to see what it is like! Have a fabulous trip!
My Cruise Log:
5. HAL: ms Westerdam 7-day Alaska Explorer May 2013
4. HAL: ms Volendam 7-day Inside Passage May 2012
3. Princess: Sapphire Princess 7-day Mexico November 2011
2. HAL: ms Eurodam 7-day Eastern Caribbean December 2010
1. HAL: ms Oosterdam 7-day Alaska Explorer September 2010
My DH and I have gone twice with Harv and Marv for whale-watching in Juneau. It was fantastic!!! They knew just where to go and we saw several pods of whales bubble-feeding. I usually get seasick and I was pleasantly surprised that I had no feeling of sickness. My husband and I got great pictures and we were able to hear the whales with the hydrophone. I highly recommend Harv and Marv!
NCL Pearl - Glacier Bay July 2008
NCL Sun - Sawyer Glacier July 2006
Celebrity Infinity - Hubbard Glacier July 2004
[/quote] Were you nervous about booking with a private company and getting back to the ship in plenty of time for departure??? This is my only concern[/quote]
I've never been worried on any of the off ship excursions I've booked. Harv & Marv least of all. Just don't select a tour that returns you 30-60 minutes before you're due back to the ship for departure. They have never missed a tour - ever. That said, they will refund you all the money for the tour, an extra $100pp, get you to your ship or next port of call at no cost, and if needs be feed you and put you up for the night. Best guarantee ever imo. The other thing is that there are so many boats in the area that they know and share information with that I'm sure if they had a mechanical issue that could quickly get you transferred and on your way back.
As for the whales and distance and size, my wife was by herself in the back of the boat while three of us were up front viewing a pod of orcas, when a female orca and her calf surfaced within 10-15 feet of the back of the boat and exhaled. Scared my wife to death - and put a smile on her face for the next two hours and has gone down as one of the best experiences of her life. We also had one humpback come within 75 feet or so while the boat was just drifting, and bugled as she exhaled - one of the coolest moments of our life, because it was so close and not as far off as some of the other sightings. Here are a couple of shots from the trip:
L.J. and Bev
2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 AprilMariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 MayMariner of the Seas - Western
2005 MarchVoyager of the Seas - Eastern
We went with Orca Enterprises on our May 26th trip. The boat held 40 people and we were a little disappointed that we didn't see that much activity. When we spoke to people that went with Harv & Marv, they couldn't get over how much they saw. Go figure.