Ok gang, I have booked Capt. Larry's Orca Express at $110.25 per head. He'd better be as good as you all say he is or I going to be in the dog house (move over Lucky-Golden Retriever) for a loooooonnnnnggggg time.
I think the Orca Express is the smaller boat that Orca has and not the one that Capt Larry takes out. His is the Awsome Orca and is a 43ft jet boat which holds 23. The other boat is the one that had a small fire a few weeks ago. Jeff was the Capt of that one last year.
hi. dolphin IS cheaper...do u know if cruise ships (princess) use both dolphin and capt. larry's or just capt. larry's? thinking dolphin is way to go for us as have a helo tour to glacier also...so helo in am whaling in pm (we hope more schedules available with dolphin). certainly enjoy whatever you do! mike
MY understanding is that Orca is not available thru any of the larger cruise lines. They stick to the larger companies like Allen Marine which have bigger boats and more of them. I'm not sure whether Dolphin can be booked via the cruise lines. Allen Marine is very good operator also, but do have more people. We did Capt Larry last year and were very pleased with him and the boat. Could upgrade the snacks though!
For clarification- Orca Enterprises is NOT ship contracted and totally independent, Dolphin is both, but their tours are usually about 1/2 hour less than Orca Enterprises- hence the price difference. You may want to consider booking your whale watch and glacier helicopter landing together using Orca and Coastal. A point you may not be considering is they are both in the same area about 10 miles out of town and if not booked together- you will be transfering longer- going back and forth twice. Just be aware of this if you want time for other touring or seeing downtown.
Called today to book Capt. Larry and he's already booked for morning. They offered us a smaller boat that holds 14 and has no upper viewing area but otherwise is like Larry's. Don't know how long Capt. Rick has been with Orca. Is this the boat that burned? Anyone know anything about this one?
Just to let you know, we have sailed both with Capt. Larry and with the cruise ships whale watching tour and we much prefered the cruise ship tour. We were on the "big" boat and were definately crowded. Only 8 people could fit on the aft viewing deck at a time. The rest were crowded in the small cabin. The boat does rock and roll in the choppy water. Some of the passengers got sick. The snacks were ritz crackers and some smoked salmon. On the much larger cruiseship tour catamaran, there were fewer passengers and much more viewing room. The boat was more stable and the snacks were better. As far as finding whales is concerned, both were equal. Overall, I can see why the cruise ships don't contract with Capt. Larry. Don't get me wrong, he is a very knowledgeable and likable individual and his office staff is great. The overall experience just doesn't compare. (IMHO)
I respectfully, but totally, disagree with Gary. We went on 2 back to back whale watch tours with Capt. Larry on 7/8 on the Awesome Orca. We saw 14 humpback whales bubble net feeding. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and definitely the highlight of our whole trip. They had a full load of people on both watches, but it was never crowded. There were more than 8 people on the back platform at a time, and most important, Orca Enterprises is the only one that has a platform on top with room for six people (we took turned standing up there). Allen Marine & Dolphin do not have the top platform and it is terrific because you can get an 180 degree view and quickly see/get pictures of the whales. By the time people on the other company's boats ran to see the whales, there were usually gone. No problems with rocking boat, and who cares about snacks when you are there to see whales. Capt. Larry's is the best, the longest, and the most intimate experience. Orca Enterprises is terrific, amazing, so much fun, so glad we did 2 back to back - it was the best of the best.
We went on the whale watching booked through Celebrity. Saw the same whales net feeding on July 8. Ours was a large boat with many locations for viewing the whales. Our boat had a hydrophone which was lowered so we could hear the whales "talking". The crew was very excited about the sighting as it is very unusual to see net feeding.
We also just got back from the Coral Princess and booked with Captain Larry. As I said in my overall review. No matter who you book with you will see whales. All the captains keep in radio contact if they see whale pods. The day we went there where at least 5 boats watching the pods. Larry, I must say, is an interesting person. Very klondike but also responsible. While we were watching another boat was moving in the way of the whales and Larry radioed to him that he was too close. He moved. So all in all anyway you do it you should see whales. Larry had a very nice naturalist that day whe knew lots about sea life .
As far as the top deck is concerned, it was so rough that no one was able to stand up there. I guess it's also the luck of the draw as to how choppy the seas are on your day. We actually saw more whales closer up on the cruise ship tour, but that's totally luck. As has been mentioned, everyone keeps in contact by radio and when anyone finds whales, the others are all notified. I'm glad that you had a great trip.