Juneau – Orcas and humpback whales at Whale Watching (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Alaska

After exploring the city of Juneau on our own in the morning, we had booked a trip with Princess Cruises to Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier in the afternoon.


The port info of Princess Cruises from Juneau

Pier: Franklin Dock
Arrival: 9.00 a.m.
Departure: 9.15 p.m.
Port Info: Download

Every evening you will find on his cabin the harbour information for the coming destination. The flyer gives a very nice overview of the place and inspires with tips for exploring the region. Here you can download the detailed port info of Princess Cruises via Juneau as a .pdf version.

Port Info, Juneau, Alaska, USA, Attractions, On Your Own, Travel Report, Princess Cruises Cruise

The port info of Juneau of Princess Cruises

Our Whale Watching Tour in Juneau

Our excursion, which consisted of a Whale Watching Tour and a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier, started on time at 1.15 p.m. right in front of our cruise ship. The bus then went about 22 kilometers along the Glacier Highway in the northwest to a boat dock. Here our excursion boat was already waiting for the whale watching tour. The boat was two-storey – both up and down there were possibilities to sit in the warm from the wind. On the upper deck you could also stand very well outside, so that you can look at the water perfectly. We were mostly outside because we wanted to see the whales as best we could.

In Search of Killer Whales (Orcas)

First we went out on the water for about 10 to 15 minutes – always looking for killer whales, the orcas. And it didn’t take us long to see one. And suddenly there were two orcas that didn’t dive so far from our boat. Simply beautiful animals!

But we also really liked the surrounding fjord landscape. In addition, a bright blue sky and sun full. It doesn’t get any better 🙂

2 Orcas, Killer Whales, Whale Watching Juneau, Killer Whales, Orcas, Day Trip, Princess Cruise, Alaska, USA, Travel Report

Two orcas in Auke Bay

In Search of Humpback Whales

After spending about two hours at the orcas, we drove further north to look for humpback whales. From here we could take a first look at the Mendenhall Glacier, which we visit after our Whale Watching Tour.

Auke Bay, Mendenhall Glacier, Whale Watching, Day Trip, Juneau, Alaska, USA

A first look at the Mendenhall Glacier

After about 20 minutes of driving we have arrived at a place where humpback whales often stay. According to our guide, the geographical conditions and currents are ideal for the animals to get enough food. And in fact, we have seen several humpback whales at the same time. Many of them were unfortunately very far away from the boat, so we couldn’t photograph them quite as well as the orcas before.

But we were lucky, because one of the humpback whales actually started to jump! You have to react really quickly with the camera! Just like that we could take some pictures of this great spectacle 🙂

Why do humpback whales jump out of the water? A team from the University of Queensland in Australia has found that whales communicate with their jump. Researchers have observed and analysed nearly 100 humpback whale groups off the Queensland coast over two years. They found that the whales send signals with the way they hit the surface of the water. With the force of their impact, they produce sounds that continue underwater over long distances. Apparently, the whales vary their communication with the removal of other whales. When the nearest whales are more than four kilometres away, humpback whales jump out of the water more often and let themselves be clapped on the back. If, on the other hand, they are closer, the whales only lift their tail fin out of the water and hit the sea surface. They do this especially often when new whales join their group or an animal leaves the group. [Source: www.geo.de]

A video of the Whale Watching Tour

Here we have a little video of our Whale Watching Tour in Alaska. Unfortunately only filmed upright with the mobile phone, but there is perhaps a good impression how close we have seen the orcas from the boat.

All travelogues from our Alaska Cruise

Our cruise on the Royal Princess took us for a week along the coast from Vancouver north to Whittier (Anchorage). On this great cruise adventure around the northernmost state of the USA we visited the cities of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. We also took a scenic cruise in Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord with breathtaking views of Alaska's glaciers.
Alaska Cruise Princess Cruises
Day 1: Visa – Entry to Canada (eTA Application) & to the USA (ESTA Application)
Day 1: Vancouver – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Canada)
Day 1: Royal Princess – Our ship for the Alaska Cruise
Day 2: Day at Sea
Day 3: Ketchikan – Totemp poles, bald eagles & salmon (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Things to do in the capital of Alaska (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Orcas and humpback whales at Whale Watching (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – A trip to mendenhall Glacier (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – A walk through the old gold mining town (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – Musher’s Camp & Dog Sled Adventure (USA)
Day 5: Haines – Bears and bald eagles on the Chilkoot River (USA)
Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park – A Scenic Cruise in Alaska (USA)
Day 7: College Fjord – A Scenic Cruise & Arrival in Whittier (USA)
Day 8: Anchorage – Seward Highway & Alaska Wildlife Center (USA)