Guest Reviews

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We saw porpoise, whales, seals, eagles; got our money’s worth! Snack was good, captain an expert, driver was polite, and guide outstanding.


Well informed, continual action, highly knowledgeable, eco-systems, wildlife, plenty of wildlife, seals, killer whales, humpback whales, eagles, great nature and history walk at the glacier. Great trip, only 10 people; and tour guides that happened to be biologists. Fantastic!

Walt and Debra Petersen

I cannot imagine a better way to spend time in Juneau. I enjoyed this hike very much.

Tom Beutler

I wanted to take the time to let you know of how my experience was in dealing with your company and the tour we took on Aug 26th, 2009, Mendenhall Glacier Day Hike: Private Trip, guided by Brandon Hauser. From the moment I stumbled across your Website, which I caught in a travel book, Fodor’s 2006, I had a great feeling that we were in for a good experience. Jeremy who called me within hours of me submitting an online inquiry form, to meeting Brandon at the pier in the pouring rain, to the moment Brandon returned us to the Pier to return to our ship, we were absolutely impressed and thrilled with Gastineau Guiding. We knew we were in for an adventure just by the description, but now as we sit back and reflect, my daughter and I feel this was one of our best life experiences ever. The hike to view Mendenhall from the West side was certainly a difficult one at times, which was made even more challenging by the rain, however we felt confident, comfortable and thoroughly thrilled thanks to the guiding expertise of Brandon. Being that it was just a single mom and her 14 year old daughter, this could have had a recipe for a disastrous outing. However, Brandon’s calm, confident and encouraging manner kept us on the right track. He felt we were more than physically capable of accepting the challenge of the hike and never once treated us as though we were helpless females. Brandon offered us a plethora of information about the land, wildlife, and of course his true calling photography. What we came away from our time spent with Brandon, and Gastineau Guiding, was not only a wealth of knowledge, of the land we were traversing, the use of our newly purchased camera, but a stronger sense of self and increased self esteem from having completed the challenge of the hike, and the rock scramble and the return journey all in about 4 hours round trip. We even had the opportunity to visit Mendenhall from the Visitors centre, which only confirmed that having risen to challenge of hiking to the West Side made our views and visit to Juneau even that much more memorable. My daughter and I have been reminiscing about our “summer adventure” and we both, without hesitation, agree that this hike was the highlight, which was only made that much better due to the efforts of Brandon. Thank you Gastinueau Guiding, and most of all Thank you Brandon.. it was fantastic, incredible….Indescribable, actually.

Tanya and Sydnie Fiocca St. Catharines, ON Canada

My wife Roseann and I traveled to Juneau on the Westerdam in September. I signed up for the Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari hosted by George Boe. George did a great job of guiding, entertaining and providing the group with technical information concerning the amazing things we were about to see on our photo safari. I wanted to relay an experience we had on our trip. When our group reached the docks where the tour boats were there was a woman who was checking her equipment and discovered that she left her camera battery on the cruise ship. I have done this on vacations and know just how devastating it can be. There was no time to go back to the ship since it was a twenty minute ride each way plus the time it would have taken to get on and off the ship. The woman was not saying anything and was just suffering in silence but you could sense her disappointment. I pulled George aside and asked him if there was anything we could do to save this woman’s trip. What George did next was one of the most unselfish gestures you could imagine. He asked the woman what she was shooting. It turns out they were both shooting Canon. So George turned over his camera body to her. Her memory card and lenses were compatible with George’s camera body. He saved her day! And what a day it was! Ask George! The whale activity and breaching we witnessed was just incredible! The attached shot I got is just a sample of what we saw. We saw eagles, whales breaching, harbor seals, glaciers, salmon and “sunshine”!. The trip was a home-run! Thanks to George’s unselfish act that woman will have great memories and terrific photographs of her time on the Juneau Photo Safari. Please express my thanks and gratitude to George for a terrific tour.

Phil Trendler Jr.

Hi, I was on your Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari tour last summer in June with my dad and my daughter. The tour guides and your unique facilities, the boat, and of course the incredible Juneau scenery were by far the highlight of our 2 week Alaskan trip. I wanted to share with you one of the bubble net pictures I took. It’s a little different than the typical “whale tail” [see left] and please feel free to use it on your website. Note: I would have never gotten good pictures without the invaluable tips from the guides. Thanks again!

Pat Brug, Los Alamos, NM

Richard was most knowledgeable, very enthusiastic and able to relate to his audience in a very natural manner. An excellent guide!

Nigel and Denise Bennett

We were privileged to have Skip & Jen as our guides on the “Whales & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari” in Juneau. Skip is an incredibly down-to-earth – yet passionate – guide & conservationist. He’s also one heck of a photographer, as evidenced by the slide show of his captivating photos (via PowerPoint at the front of the bus) during our bus ride to the hiking trail. Although it was POURING rain during our excursion, Skip and the crew were very prepared (loaned us all parkas) and very informative from start to finish. We thoroughly enjoyed our glorious hike through “Trail of Time” up to the Mendenhall Glacier (with which Skip is very familiar). Along the way, Skip worked with each & every one of us on picture-taking techniques and provided interesting Alaskan tips & trivia. After the glacier hike, we were taken by bus to a small port where we boarded a small whale watching boat and headed to the inlets with Captain Jen (& Skip). We saw a TON of whales, and “Eagle Eyes” Jen gently glided us over to a gorgeous Bald Eagle perched atop some rocks in the middle of the inlet. We all got great pictures. But for some strange reason, she decided to pull our vessel away from the current pod of Humpback Whales. Just as I felt we were going the wrong way (opposite the whales!) UP POPS A POD OF ORCA!!! Jen had been tracking the pod for some time, but didn’t want to get our hopes up until she was sure she could get within distance of the Orca. All I can say is it was INCREDIBLE!! A dream come true!! I cannot recommend this excursion enough. Worth every red cent – we’ll be talking about this excursion for a lifetime!! If you’d prefer a smaller, more intimate excursion with one-on-one time with the guide(s), this is the excursion for you. If you’d rather be sandwiched amongst dozens and dozens of other tourists in an impersonal whale watching boat, by all means choose another guide company.

Linda D.

Very professional, informative and humorous. Good interaction with the whale watching captain who made all efforts to ensure all viewing. We were treated as guests and not tourists. The rainforest trip was well presented and we saw Beavers, which was a bonus.


Best thing we’ve done so far. The guides were amazing; we learned so much about Alaska and what we were seeing. The whale watching was 10X more than I expected. The whales came so close to us, and our boat captain did all he could to ensure good views. I would recommend this to anyone.

Jon & Lesley

Jessica was knowledgeable and went out of her way to answer ALL questions. She was most friendly and personable and her underlying anecdotes about various subjects were fantastic.

Joan Vincent

Our day with you was the HIGHLIGHT of my trip! I hope these pictures can help or at least entertain. Best of luck to you and the creatures of Alaska! And thank you again for making a life long dream come true for me- to be a marine research scientist (for at least a couple of hours!) Happy Holidays!

Jay Schwartz, Burbank, CA

Great great excursion. Worth the whole cruise! Small, intimate, specialized, not too scientific for me, a lot of fun learning, good for all ages, well structured, and a nice boat captain. Could even be 1 hr longer with snacks. Great great thing, can’t say enough good things & Liz is a great tour guide. Saw whales do the bubble net feeding 2 times and stopped on Aaron Island, counted seals, tested water saline, plankton viewing in microscope!

Jane Sarture

This was by far the best and most spectacular excursion I have ever taken. Richard and Audrey of Gastineau Guiding were the most knowledgeable, friendly, easily understood guides ever. The weather was great and the wildlife abundant. This could not have been a more perfect tour.

Hilda R. Steady

Dear Gastineau Guiding group, Thank you so much for the Town, Tram & Timberline Trek – for providing this JCVB volunteer with first hand information for Juneau’s guests. The Douglas Island overlook and the Tram are great destinations. Thanks again.

Hetty Barthel

I’d like to commend your tour guide, Lars, for an outstanding tour of Juneau. My family and I visited via the Grand Princess and had Lars for a Town/Trek/Tram tour. It was the highlight of our trip. Seriously. He gave a wonderful overview of nearly everything we saw – from eagles to totem poles to trailing raspberries. Lars has a breadth of knowledge and very engaging passion for passing it on. I’ve also shared our thoughts with Princess, so hopefully, other cruisers can continue to enjoy Lars and Alaska.

Gwen Bargetzi

Hello Lauren, We hope this makes it to you. We just wanted to drop a short note to tell you how much we appreciated our great hike last week! We’ve enclosed a few “action” photo’s and wanted to thank you again for providing such great information and bringing all the equipment and supplies including those magnifying glasses to enrich our hiking experience. Also, thank you for answering all those dumb questions about working and living in Alaska, we are fascinated with the idea of moving and working in Alaska and your expertise in this endeavor is very much appreciated. Thanks again.

Dave and Monya Cohen

Hello Richard, Chris and I wanted to thank you and Captain Gary (please extend our thanks to him as well as we did not have an e-mail) for a WONDERFUL tour! I know the beautiful weather helped, but this tour was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip! Mr. Medel, who was the only person to catch the breaching baby whale was kind enough to forward the pictures and we are so glad to be able to show what we have told everyone about!! We are also attaching a couple of pictures (which we may submit for the competition) for you and Captain Gary as well. If we make it back to Juneau again, we would love to do another tour with you guys. Thank you again!

Chris and Colleen Heer

My friends and I had the absolute thrill of taking your Alaska’s Whales & Rainforest Trails tour with Scott and Colin. To me, it was by far the most wonderful excursion of our entire trip (via Holland America); in fact, it was one of the best tours of my traveling experience. Guide Scott was incredibly knowledgeable and had a special talent for sharing his knowledge in an engaging, funny, and comprehensive way. He even made us forget we were in a deluge! Boat pilot, Colin, was another treat…so full of enthusiasm and information. Having an underwater microphone to hear the humpback’s signal for the bubble net feeding made our experience one of multisensory thrills. Scott and Colin’s enthusiasm was absolutely contagious. What a great team! I was also touched by Scott’s attention to a little girl on the tour, engaging her at her level and, I think, allaying some fears. As we were riding the bus back to the ship, one of my pals said that this tour was going to be hard to beat. It was! For me, nothing came close. Please pass along my kudos to Scott and Colin. I WILL be back!

Bonnie Conklin

Small size of group was very valuable. Wildlife sightings were amazing. Gastineau Guides was an excellent group to work with, using the small size to be flexible and ensure the best experience.

Bethany and Brendan Lewis

We just wanted to reach out and let you know how much we enjoyed the whales, glaciers, and rainforest excursion in Juneau. We saw everything we thought we would see and more! Our tour guide Aali was amazing, my kids loved her! My son Brayden said after the whole vacation was over that Aali was his favorite part! And Captain Annette is so sweet! We loved every minute! My kids, Hope and Brayden, loved when Annette let them sit in the captain chair while we ere stopped, they thought they were so cool! We wrote a review on trip advisor, but wanted to make sure Aali and Annette knew how much we appreciated them! Thank you so much for the experience of a lifetime!!

Aubrey and Bryan Opdyke