Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Where do we meet for our tour?
A – The Ultimate Whale Watch, and the Glacier Cruise meet on the boardwalk in the Seward Small Boat Harbor, next to the “Coho Joe’s” Coffee shop. This is near the top of “B” dock, and behind the “Pro-Fish-N-Sea/Crackerjack” charter office. (GPS 60.1166667°, -149.4391667°) The Captain will walk up to greet you just prior to departure.
Q – Where can I park?
A – If your lodging is more than walking distance from the harbor and you are driving we suggest parking across the street from the South Launch Ramp in the Harbor’s south pay parking lot (behind Subway). The fee for parking is $10 for the day and can be paid at the electronic fee station which accepts credit cards.
Q – Will there be food on our tour?
A – We offer complimentary snacks, bottled water, soft drinks, coffee, hot tea, and hot cocoa on board the boat. In addition there will be a Sandwich for lunch on the full day Glacier Cruise. Snacks vary but usually include various granola bars, chips, crackers etc.
Q – Will there be restrooms?
A – We do have a marine toilet A.K.A. “The Head” onboard the boat.
Q – Is it Customary to tip our Guide after the tour?
A – Of course gratuities are always welcome. Although not required, a gratuity for your guide is a great way to show your appreciation for their outstanding service. Guiding is a hospitality industry comparable to that of a server at a restaurant. 10% – 20% gratuity is a good general rule, depending on how amazing your guide was.
Q – Which glacier do we typically go see on the Glacier Cruise?
A – Captains Choice. Either Holgate Glacier, or Aialik Glacier. The captain will decide based on several factors including timing, conditions, and wildlife sightings for that day.
Q – When is the best time of year to see Humpback whales in Alaska?
A – Summer – late May through early August. Our tour season useually coincides with the Humpback Whales feeding in Alaska.
Q – What time of the day is best for whale watching?
A – From our experience time of day does not matter for whale watching. Whales are mammals and have to come to the surface to breathe. Being wild animals with their own unique and individual personalities we cannot predict when they will be more active than usual.
Q – How close can we get to the whales?
A – Federal Law requires a distance of at least 100 yards be maintained when observing protected marine mammals. We will not attempt to get closer than this, however sometimes the whales will come closer to us.
Q – Do you use sonar to help find the whales?
A – NO. It is actually pretty easy to find them most of the time by scanning the horizon for their spouts. Sonar would not be very practical as we are searching for whales way off in the distance, not right in front of, or under us.
Q – Will we see Puffins on the Whale Watch?
A – Most likely! We will also most likely see Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and Sea Otters, as well a few other animals. Keep in mind every trip is different and we cannot guarantee anything other than whales.
Q – What camera / lenses should I bring?
A – This is a harder question. While on board the boat, larger cameras with a zoom lens are great for getting wildlife shots. You may want to have more than one lens available to choose from. Remember, the bigger the zoom, the harder it is to steady on a boat. Keep in mind there is a lot of water present, and we sometimes take spray over the bow. Another thing to mention is the use of TRIPODS. They wont help you at all on the boat. For this reason, and because of how much room they take up, we don’t allow the use of tripods while on board. Mono-pods are fine.
Q – What will the weather be like?
A – Seward is located in a temperate rain forest with about a 66% chance of clouds and light rain, and about a 30% chance of moderate to heavy rain. Average summer day time temperature is about 55 F and it can be a little cooler on the water. We do get our share of beautiful sunny days. With the weather all we can do is hope for the sun and be prepared for the rain.
Q – What should we wear?
A – We suggest you dress in layers so that you can adjust for the weather of the moment. A waterproof outer layer is highly recommended. A light rain jacket and rain pants over a couple of inner layers that wick moister is what most people wear when enjoying the outdoors.
Q – What will the waters be like?
A – Resurrection Bay was originally chosen as a shipbuilding site by the Russian’s for it’s extremely well protected waters in the northern half of the bay. As for whale watching we have a very sturdy and stable boat, and can go out even farther to find whales. We always keep safety first and will keep to the calmer, protected waters when it starts to get rough outside the bay. We do however go fast and this combined with choppy waters can sometimes make for a bumpy ride, we don’t call it an adventure for nothing.
Q – Do people get sea sick on the boat?
A – Not very often, however it is always possible. If you are prone to seasickness we recommend taking preventative measures before hand. There are “less drowsy” versions of sea sickness medications that seem to work very well when taken as directed.
Q – What if we sleep in or miss the tour?
A – Don’t do that. Please make every effort to be on time for your trip. If you are running a few minutes late give us a call, we will wait a few minutes if you are on the way. No shows, and last minute cancellations will not receive any refund. Please see our cancellation policy for more info.
Q – Is the boat handicap accessible?
A – No, unfortunately getting on and off our boats requires a few big steps. Our friends over at Kenai Fjord Tours and Major Marine Tours do have handicap accessible boats.
Q – Do you have a discount for Alaska residents?
A – Yes! Alaska residents can receive 10% off any of our tours when booked directly with us, online, or by phone. Not valid with any other offer. Use coupon
code: AKRES10 to automatically receive discount. Proof of residency is required. Alaska billing address for credit card used to book tour will work for proof of residency. Otherwise plan to bring AK Drivers license or ID with you to the tour.
Q – What about an active duty military discount?
A – Yes we do! We offer a 10% discount to active duty military personnel and their families, when booked directly with us, online, or by phone. Not valid with any other offer. Use coupon code: MILITARY10 when booking to automatically receive discount. Military ID required.