Q. What if I have another tour scheduled behind your tour?
A. If you have another tour after our tour that is an hour or less from when we arrive back to the harbor, 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 at least two hours between tours to ensure there is time to take passengers to the Mendenhall Glacier and to allow for any unforeseen delays. Contact Callie if you are considering multiple tours, so we can help maximize your limited time.
Q. What type of whales are near Juneau, Alaska?
A. Humpback and Orca Whales. We have seen Humpback Whales on 100% of our trips since 2004. We see Orca Whales about 20% of the time.
Q. What is the best time of the year to see whales around Juneau?
A. The best months are May through September for Humpback Whales.
Q. Do you have a whale sighting guarantee?
A. 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. But if you do not see a whale on your tour, you will receive a 50% refund. We have always had this policy.
Q. Can you see whales anytime of the day?
A. Yes. Humpback Whales surface + or - every 15 minutes to breathe.
Q. Is it better to go whale watching in the morning or in the afternoon?
A. History has taught us that it makes no difference. We have seen whales on 100% of our tours for the last 8 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. :)
Q. How close can we get to the whales?
A. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that boats may not approach Humpback Whales closer than 100 yards (300 ft).
Q. Will you pick us up? How do we get to your boat?
A. Yes. We will pick you up in our courtesy van 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.
Q. Is there a bathroom on board.
A. Yes, flushing toilet and locking door.
Q. Are the boats covered and do they have heaters?
A. Yes. The boats have enclosed cabins with large windows and heaters if the weather is cold.
Q. Is the water rough around Juneau?
A. 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. SEE: Chart of the Juneau area.
A. 68% chance of clouds and rain. We are located in a rain forest and it is usually cooler on the water. In 2011, the average temperature on the water was around 55 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!
Q. Do people get sea sick on your boats?
A. Almost never. 15 passengers in the last 9 years.
Q. If the water is too rough to go on the tour, can we get a refund?
A. Yes, full 100%* refund. *In the form of a check, 4% fee if charged back to credit card.
Q. When I make a reservation after April 1st, why do I have to pay in full with no option for a deposit?
A. Since we are such a small operation, we only have one person (Callie) handling all of the reservations, payments, follow ups, scheduling, and phone calls. Once the season begins, she does not have time to re-invoice everyone who has a balance due.
Q. What is your cancellation policy?
A. 100%* refundable. If you cancel at least 30 days before tour date. *If paid by check. If you pay by check we will issue your refund in full by check = 100% refund. It costs us up to 4% each time we charge a credit card, so if you pay with a credit card and want the refund credited back to your card, there will be a 8% fee. If you paid with a credit card and want the refund in the form of a check, there will be a 4% fee.
Q. What happens if we miss our cruise ship because the boat breaks down?
A. 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 $100.00. 3. We will pay the boat or plane fair to get you to your next port of call. 4. If needed, we will provide food and lodging.
Q. What other things of interest might we see on the whale watching tour.
A. Eagles, Sea lions, seals, lighthouses, mountain glaciers, remote islands and beautiful mountains.
Q. Can I smoke or drink alcohol while on the whale watching tour?
A. For the safety and enjoyment of all passengers, smoking and drinking are not allowed.
Q. If we would like to go to the Mendenhall Glacier, how do we get there?
A. After the whale watching tour, your van driver will take passengers to the Mendenhall Glacier for a brief (approximately 15 minutes) visit before heading back to the cruise ship area. If time allows, you have the option to stay and catch the glacier shuttle bus back. The cost is about $8.00 per person for a one way fare. If the shuttles have quit for the evening (usually around 5:30 pm), we can call a taxi to pick you up at a certain time. If you have an exclusive tour, there is a little more flexibility and we may be able pick you up from the Mendenhall Glacier to take you to the harbor for the whale watching tour. After the tour, we would take you directly back to your ship.
Q. How many passengers can you take on a boat at one time?
A. 6 is the total number of passengers we can take on a boat at one time. Children are included in the total. Six total, big or small. (see minimum age policy) In 2010 we added a custom built 12 passenger whale watching boat for exclusive groups from 7 to 12 people. All in one party, one reservation. There is an option, if the Alaskan is available, that we may put mixed groups up to 12 guests on that vessel if all guests agree.
Q. What if we have more than 6 passengers in our group?
A. We have 4 boats, so its possible to book boats at the same time. The boats would travel together making it even more of a fun adventure. You have an opportunity to take pictures of the other group with a scenic background. In 2010, we added a custom built 12 passenger whale watching boat for exclusive groups from 7 to 12 people. All in one party, one reservation. There is an option, if the Alaskan is available, that we may put mixed groups up to 12 guests on that vessel if all guests agree.
Q.What happens if we sleep in (or something like that) and are late getting to the Harv and Marv's courtesy van?
A Our tours are designed to help maximize passenger's limited time in port and because of that limited time in port, 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.
A. Sorry, because of our limited seating capacity, we are unable to offer any discounts. To help keep all of our customers as happy as possible, we will only take children under the age of thirteen (13) if it is an exclusive tour or groups of five our six. We are hoping to have a children's cruise......more info to come:)
Q. Why are you called Harv and Marv, when their names are Pete and Jay.
A. Pete and Jay have been friends since junior high school (1970's). One day after Pete watched a movie which the only sane character was Harv. He started calling Jay, Harv. Jay getting a little tired of this, replied by calling Pete, Harv or Marv. They have called each other Harv and Marv for over thirty years now.
Q. We see all these photos of whales, how many can we really expect to see on a trip?
A. 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.
Q. You have lots of photos of whales breaching and bubble feeding, what can we really expect to see on the tour?
A. By far, most of the time we just watch the whales swimming through the water, coming up to breath 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 2011 we saw bubble feeding on 16% of the tours. Each trip and each day is different.
Q. We have heard you now have a new 12 passenger boat (new in 2010)?
A. YES!!!!! The M/V Alaskan, custom built, sailed very successful 2010 & 2011 seasons taking many exclusive groups of 7 to 12 people, all in one party. We do not generally combine groups from different parties on this boat, but it is possible. If we will be combining parties, you will be notified ahead of time and you will have the option not to book with a mixed (unrelated) party. Please note however, that may be the only option if it is a busy day and we are all full.
Q. Who is Callie and where is Eileen?
A. Eileen is still around, she has worked hard for the past few years and has decided to enjoy some R&R. However, she is still helping out and available whenever she is needed. Callie is now in her second season as our Reservation Manager and has done a wonderful job of handling phone and email reservations and inquiries.
Q. Are there changes going on at Harv and Marv's?
A. YES!! We have expanded our team! ~ We have realized the demand is growing and we want to make sure we can continue to offer the same level of service and business model that you have all grown to expect AND offer more space so we don't have turn away as many guests. We will be adding one more departure per day for each vessel and will also be adding a new captain (more info to come soon). In addition, we have added Dock Representatives to assist guests in finding their transportation, and have also shuttle/van drivers to enable the captains to take that one additional trip each day. So, look for some new friendly faces as you arrive into Juneau, and we look forward to seeing you!
Q. We have heard you hired new captains, how did this affect the personalized tour Harv and Marv's is famous for?
A. We hired Captain Steve Olmstead beginning in the 2009 season, he has received 100% satisfaction from his passengers on every tour since. Steve also received the most thank you email's and highest reviews of the three Captains. Captain Shawn joined the Harv and Marv team for the 2010 season and beyond. Because of Captain Shawn's outgoing, upbeat and fun personality along with his never ending energy, he has been another great asset to the H & M team.
In 2011, in addition to Harv, Marv, Steve and Shawn, we also hired Liz, Tony, and Russel. We are deeply saddened to announce that Captain Tony passed away just prior to the 2012 season start.
For 2012, we are excited to announce the addition of Jayleen Beedle as our newest captain. As you may be aware, Jayleen is the daughter of Jay and Eileen and has been working with Harv and Marv's for quite some time. She is an experienced photographer and guide and will make an exceptional addition to our captain line-up!
Q. We have heard lots of good things about your company, so what are some of the negatives?
A. Since we operate smaller, personalized boats, if the water is rough, a larger vessel (40 to 150 passengers) will give you a smoother ride.
A. There are three big steps to get in and out of our boats and the van parks about 300 yards away from our boat. If you cannot walk 1/2 mile or up and down stairs with ease, you should consider booking with a different company.
A. If you have less than six (6) people in your group and do not pay for an exclusive tour, you may end up with some people that are not so fun or enjoyable to be around! We have no control over this. If you are concerned about other people on the boat, the exclusive tour may be the way to go!
Q. Why do children have to be over the age of 13 or on a exclusive tour to go a tour with Harv and Marv's.
A. You can wait as long as you like, (we need about 1 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. As an example: A person who has been e-mailing and asking questions for awhile may lose the spot they were interested in because someone else called or emailed and booked for that date and time.
Q. How do we make a reservation and what is your payment policy?
To confirm a reservation, we require a 50% deposit at the time of booking if paying by credit card. If paying by check, payment in full is required 60 days prior to your tour. Please make checks payable to Harv and Marv's and mail to P.O. Box 32825, Juneau, AK 99803
Your deposit/payment is 100%* refundable. If you cancel at least 30 days before tour date. *If paid by check. If you pay by check we will issue your refund in full by check = 100% refund. It costs us up to 4% each time we charge a credit card, so if you pay with a credit card and want the refund credited back to your card, there will be a 8% fee. If you paid with a credit card and want the refund in the form of a check, there will be a 4% fee.
Q. What does downtown Juneau look like? What does the tram look like? Where will the van meet us?
A. Click on the link to find pictures of the meeting locations - hopefully this will be helpful in locating our van. Click here to see pictures.
Q. What other whale watching companies do we recommend? And what other activities are there to do in Juneau?
A. We recommend going to the official Juneau travel website: www.traveljuneau.com 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.
We hope this helps! If you have other questions that are not answered here, please email us.
Alaska Whale Watching with Harv and Marv's
Harv and Marv's P.O. Box 32825 Juneau, AK 99803 907-209-7288 email@example.com