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Whale watching and sea sickness

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Hi all. 

Love the idea of whale watching but concerned about motion sickness, don't do fishing because of boat motion. Love to hear people's experience. Awful lot of money to spend and then be miserable. 

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If you are worried about sea sickness take Bonine . You can buy it at Walmart . Take one every 24 hours absolutely no side effects . I get motion sickness if I snorkel for several hours. This takes care of it.

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Try taking one of the ships excursions which use Allen Marine's large catamaran vessels. You obviously cruise, so big boats work for you - while not quite so big, the 150pax cats are still quite substantial and stable. Worst case stay on the lower decks rather than heading upstairs - and take whatever motion sickness meds work for you, in advance to ensure they are in your system before the whalewatch...

 

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Agree with the Allen Marine suggestion above. We had a great experience on their whale watch- nice size boat, very stable and easy to move about both inside and out. Going with them again this summer (booked through cruise line).

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It will also depend on the weather/conditions.  Have done one, early in the season, and the water was like glass.  No noticeable  movement except when we were underway from one spot to another.  Next time quite rough and choppy. Didn't see as many whales on that trip, as it is harder to spot the 'blow' when the water is choppy.  Hopefully you'll have a wonderful ...calm....day  and the meds will be unnecessary 

 

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How many passengers sail on the Allen Marine tours? I too am a bit concerned about seasickness, so I'm not interested in a very small sailing. At the same time, however, I've heard that larger tours (100-150 passengers) make it difficult to view.

 

HAL offers a "small" excursion, but I'm not sure through what tour company. I've read somewhere that they serve 22 passengers.

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1 hour ago, Kfrech said:

How many passengers sail on the Allen Marine tours? I too am a bit concerned about seasickness, so I'm not interested in a very small sailing. At the same time, however, I've heard that larger tours (100-150 passengers) make it difficult to view.

 

HAL offers a "small" excursion, but I'm not sure through what tour company. I've read somewhere that they serve 22 passengers.

 

Sounds like it may be Gastineau Guiding. They get good reviews. I think if seasickness is a concern you should stick with Allen Marine. Stay on the lower level and grabbed a seat near the door that leads to the bow. The door will be closed while traveling but as soon as a whale is spotted and they stop, they will open the door and you’ll be one of the first out and get a good spot at the rail.

 

It doesn’t happen often but we were on a small 6 passenger boat one year in Juneau and it was very rough and several got sick.

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I've never had a big issue with sea sickness except on one carnival ride. I've found that staying outside and being able to view the horizon has always prevented the issue. We took several small boat excursions when in Alaska last May and I almost never remained in the cabin. We carried the recommended meds but never took them. If your sensitive, make sure to use something like the patch mentioned.

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Ugh. i feel you. I have always had a tendency toward motion sickness. Over the years it's gotten better, but I still get seasick very easily. The last cruise we were on I used a patch, Bonine, and Sea Bands together, which worked pretty well. I had some queasiness, but not too bad. /Broth and crackers took care of that.  Had to go to bed early once, when I sensed it wasn't going to get better. I slept it off for 12 hours and was fine the next morning. This was in the Caribbean in April, so it was mostly smooth sailing. So, out of 5 days, I had about 3.5 good days, 1 middling day, and 1/2 a pretty bad day. 

 

We're going to Alaska in May and my DH can't wait to go whale watching. After much consideration I have decided to let him do this one alone. As much as I'd love to see the whales, i just can't risk the misery of seasickness ruining my trip. I will find something else to do with my time that doesn't involve trying not to hurl for several hours.

 

**Those of you who do not suffer from motion sickness cannot truly understand. It's not just feeling bad. It's feeling so bad you want to lay down and DIE. But you have to vomit 18 times before you die. And then you feel hungover for 12 hours afterward. The last time I experienced true motion sickness, I lost 8-lbs from vomiting for 2 days. So, the whales will just have to leap and breach without me. I'll have to be content to watch You Tube videos.

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On 1/23/2020 at 6:29 PM, Kfrech said:

How many passengers sail on the Allen Marine tours? I too am a bit concerned about seasickness, so I'm not interested in a very small sailing. At the same time, however, I've heard that larger tours (100-150 passengers) make it difficult to view.

 

HAL offers a "small" excursion, but I'm not sure through what tour company. I've read somewhere that they serve 22 passengers.

 

The larger boats have more space at the railings in addition to providing lots of indoor seating.  Those sitting inside tend to stay in their seats which means that everyone on board are not competing for rail space.

 

The larger boats provide comfortable seats, real bathrooms, hot food, and heated sitting areas.  Smaller boats lack the above and are more susceptible to wave action for those with motion sickness issues.

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I have a tendency to get sea sick on smaller boats but the 2 times I went Whale Watching in Juneau I never had a problem. The inside passage is well protected so you don't get real bad seas, unless there is bad weather. I agree with others recommending Bonine if you are worried about it.  

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Oh Ms. Poodle Lady, I hate to see you miss the whale watch.

Re: crowds, I’ve often taken the “evening whale watch” on the Allen Marine boats and they were never as crowded as the trips earlier in the day.  They also have a very smooth ride.  If the boat stops, you can go outside and get fresh air.  It’s not like being crammed into one of those claustrophobic little boats where your head hits the ceiling.
I can get very seasick without my ReliefBand, but that said, I have been to Alaska and done a whale watch in Juneau every year for the past 18 years on the photography tours, the jet boat tours, the whale watch/ Mendenhall combo tours, and the Allen Marine tours, and never had any motion that my ReliefBand couldn’t handle.  If Bonine works for you on the ship, I hope you will give it a try in Juneau.  The whales are so worth the trip.


 

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4 hours ago, Suzanne123 said:

Oh Ms. Poodle Lady, I hate to see you miss the whale watch.

Re: crowds, I’ve often taken the “evening whale watch” on the Allen Marine boats and they were never as crowded as the trips earlier in the day.  They also have a very smooth ride.  If the boat stops, you can go outside and get fresh air.  It’s not like being crammed into one of those claustrophobic little boats where your head hits the ceiling.
I can get very seasick without my ReliefBand, but that said, I have been to Alaska and done a whale watch in Juneau every year for the past 18 years on the photography tours, the jet boat tours, the whale watch/ Mendenhall combo tours, and the Allen Marine tours, and never had any motion that my ReliefBand couldn’t handle.  If Bonine works for you on the ship, I hope you will give it a try in Juneau.  The whales are so worth the trip.


 

Besides the smaller crowd, is there any other advantages to doing the evening whale watch?

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No, they use the same large catamaran for the evening trip.  They used to have a buffet dinner that was nice, but I’m not sure if they still do that.  When I went, there were very few kids on board on the evening trips, as you miss dinner on the cruise ship, but it was less crowded.  I think we had 50 or 60 people whereas the boat holds maybe 150.

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Another enthusiastic vote for Gastineau Guiding. Their boats are the best around - stable, roomy, two of the best designs I've seen for whale watching. Their photo safari tour ("Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari") uses 14-passenger boats, while their other tours use 20-passenger boats, with similar designs between the two. All of the side windows are hinged and swing up to the ceiling, so they're 100% open when the boat is stopped, making viewing (and photos) so much better. There's also 1 (on 14 pax) or 2 (on 20 pax) outdoor viewing platforms that are open for use while the boat is stopped, so you never have to stand behind anyone else.

 

We've done five tours with them, and would repeat in a heartbeat.

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On 1/22/2020 at 7:18 AM, Negril60 said:

If you are worried about sea sickness take Bonine . You can buy it at Walmart . Take one every 24 hours absolutely no side effects . I get motion sickness if I snorkel for several hours. This takes care of it.

 

I disagree with your statement of no side effects. Bonine gives me a constant headache and very dry mouth. Makes for a very uncomfortable vacation for me.

I use a scopolamine patch. It is a prescription but my doctor issued it (more than once) without a visit. Just explain why you need it. The side effects are considerably less.

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On 1/30/2020 at 10:04 PM, Suzanne123 said:

No, they use the same large catamaran for the evening trip.  They used to have a buffet dinner that was nice, but I’m not sure if they still do that.  When I went, there were very few kids on board on the evening trips, as you miss dinner on the cruise ship, but it was less crowded.  I think we had 50 or 60 people whereas the boat holds maybe 150.

We will be doing the Mendenhall Glacier/Whale Quest on NCL in June. It starts at 2:30 and is 5 1/2 hours total. Do you think we will have time to eat dinner at Tracy's King Crab Shack after this excursion? I think we have to be back on the ship by 10.

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Yes, Allen Marine cats are wonderful.  I would definitely not go out of Sitka if that is a port of call for you.  It is much more open to the larger open waters and you feel more of the swell which can really make you sick.  Juneau waters are more protected.  I get motion sickness very easy and having lived in both Sitka and Juneau, this is my opinion.

 

Jules

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