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“Best trip ever”

Rum Runner Charters
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Avoid the crowds, Rum Runner Charters specializes in affordable, private, premiere family and small group charters for both Whale Watching and Sport Fishing in some of the most beautiful wilderness and wildlife areas in South East Alaska. Cruise ship passengers and independent groups are welcome. Transportation is provided from your cruise ship or hotel. Local owned and operated for 25 years and going.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed December 8, 2014 via mobile

My wife and i decided to take the private hire rum runner whale watching trip on our day in juneau from our cruise and oh so glad we did. The extra cost over the organised cruise excursion allowed for a more personal trip with just us two, captain Chris and his lovely marine expert friend Shirleen, plus not forgetting their furry friend Brandy. Chris picked us from the port drove us to his very comfortable boat from there was a mesmerising trip to see the whales. At first things were quiet but before long we were surrounded and the whole afternoon was pretty breathtaking. Chris and Shirleen genuinely know and love these animals and their jobs in general and their enthusiasm really rubs off. Whatever the difference in cost I wouldnt hesitate to tell anyone to pay it was worth every penny. In our trip of 3 and a half weeks around the west coast of the usa with many extraordinary highlights it is testament to Chris that this day was the highlight and will long live in the memory. Cant say a big enough thank you.

3  Thank guy_of_gisbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"captain chris"
in 157 reviews
"salmon fishing"
in 37 reviews
"yellow lab"
in 18 reviews
"bald eagles"
in 62 reviews
"fishing trip"
in 26 reviews
"whale watching"
in 121 reviews
"captain's choice"
in 5 reviews
"marine biologist"
in 19 reviews
"private charter"
in 14 reviews
"cruise ship"
in 59 reviews
"deck hand"
in 17 reviews
"silver salmon"
in 10 reviews
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in 12 reviews
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209 - 213 of 434 reviews

Reviewed October 27, 2014

I decided to book Rum Runners because I liked the idea of having a boat all to ourselves. Right from the very beginning of booking and sending the deposit, Capt Chris made everything easy. He met us right on the dock and took us, personally, to Auke Bay where his boat is kept. There we met the naturalist, Shrelina (not sure about spelling) where she immediately pointed us to some bald eagles sitting on top of some trees. Since my father in law had mobility issues, Chris kindly moved his boat closer to the land so that he wouldn't have to walk the entire length of the dock. Once on board, he went over all safety issues and then away we went! Took about 15 minutes to arrive where the whales were. It was absolutely amazing! There were a family of 3 whales that were hanging out in the area. We watched them breach and dive multiple times. We had front row seats every time! Eventually other boats showed up and we couldn't help but to feel bad for the the people crammed on the larger boats. Probably missing out on a chance of a lifetime. Shrelina was absolutely amazing, also. She was so knowledgeable about whales and even had models and photos to show us. And every time a whale popped up, she was just as excited as we were! I cannot forget to mention Brandi, the yellow lab on board with us. We are huge dog lovers so being able to play with whales and a dog just really made the trip unforgettable. I highly recommend them to anyone thinking about doing a whale watching excursion. You will not be disappointed!

Thank aksharp1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2014

We chose Rum Runners for our whale watching experience in Juneau for three reasons – firstly, because they offered private trips, meaning as a couple we could have the boat to ourselves. Secondly, because of the great reviews and thirdly because one of the ship's mates was Moon the Labrador. Unfortunately Moon passed away before our trip, but her fun and equally gorgeous assistant Brandi accompanied us on our 4 hour whale watching excursion at the beginning of September

With a 100% whale sighting guarantee we pretty much expected to see a whale or two surfacing, maybe a dorsal fin and hopefully a few flukes. After a safety briefing and a full tour of the Buccaneer we made our way out into the bay, and we certainly weren't disappointed. We had some great encounters with Humpbacks and we couldn't have asked for more, but we got it.

Captain Chris had been out that morning with another group and he knew what kind of a show we may have been in for, and what a show it was. I could write pages about our unbelievable experience, but the video which we took says so much more. It was a dream come true.

The reasons I chose for booking Rum Runners were spot on, but after the event there is also a fourth reason I would like to add. Captain Chris and Deckhand Shirlena are not just knowledgeable about whales and the waters off Juneau, they care about the environment and the impact tourism has on these beautiful creatures. They won't jepordise the whales' safely or yours as a visitor, and this is why I wouldn't hesitate traveling with them when we return to Alaska again. Thank you both (and Brandi too) for one of the best days ever!

2  Thank AlmostPerfect
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2014

I live in Alberta Canada and I do a lot of fishing. But the best fishing trip I have been on in a long time was the afternoon we spent with Captain Chris of Rum Runners Fishing Charters. The Captain was personable and fun to fish with. The fishing was sensational and we caught three Coho's over 16 lbs. and several in the 8 to 5 lb size. If in Juneau again I will definitely book another trip with Captain Chris.

2  Thank Allen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 16, 2014

We had an inkling that our whale watching excursion with Rum Runner was going to be good when we started seeing whales' tails surfacing within minutes of leaving the boat dock. We had no idea it was going to be the whale watch trip of a lifetime! From the time we made a reservation, everything was very well organized and communication with Captain Chris was great. He arranged to have us picked up at our cruise ship dock and someone was waiting for us with our name on a sign--we could literally see him from our ship balcony! We had a short drive to the harbor where the Rum Runner is docked, and our driver gave us a lot of info about Juneau along the way. We liked him so well, in fact, we arranged for him to make stops at the salmon hatchery and Mendenhall Glacier after our whale watch instead of going directly back to the ship.

The Rum Runner is super comfortable and roomy, and Captain Chris was obviously an experienced sailor. We had a party of four, and one of us is extremely prone to sea sickness. This excursion is in calm, protected waters and Captain Chris is an excellent navigator. Our friend had no issues whatsoever. In addition to whales, we saw tons of Bald Eagles and several Stellar Sea Lions napping on a buoy.

After about an hour or so of seeing whales surfacing--some tails, some breaching, etc, we saw a frenzy of activity with birds screeching and diving over an area of water. First Mate Emma told us to keep our eyes on the birds. Within moments, about 10 humpbacks surged out of the water, mouths wide open! It was so powerful and created big splashes and waves! This is called bubble net feeding and is only done by humpback whales in the cold waters of Alaska. How lucky we were to have happened upon this on our day of whale watching! The activity occurs when a group of whales gather deep under water and start blowing bubbles, flapping their fins and tails to create a cyclone type effect that traps schools of fish. Then, simultaneously, the whales rocket to the surface with their mouths open to gobble up the fish. The excited birds feast on the leftovers. It is the most incredible site, and we watched it happen over and over and over for about an hour! Captain Chris seems to know exactly which direction to head his boat and he understands the whales' patterns. One time, the whales surged to the surface about 20 feet behind our boat! We got the most incredible photos! Then, to top it off at the end, on the way back to the harbor, one solo whale just kind of followed alongside the boat, breaching several times for us. It was amazing. I truly do not know if we can ever take another whale watching trip as nothing could possibly top this! Captain Chris and First Mate Emma shared our excitement and enthusiasm throughout the trip, and gave us so much interesting information about whales, it just enhanced our entire experience. With only the four of us on the boat, along with Captain Chris, Emma and the adorable lab puppy, Brandi, we had panoramic views of everything. When we saw the huge catamaran carrying other passengers from our cruise ship, we actually felt sorry for them. Every time a whale was sited, you could see the passengers running from one side of the ship to the other, leaning over each other to try to get a glimpse. We just sat in the comfort of our seats in the front of the boat and saw every whale. We had a bathroom if needed, and inside the heated cabin, Captain Chris had snacks and beverages for us. We had no wait time to get to and from the boat, and our excursion lasted longer than the cruise ship tour. It costs a little bit more, but is so worth it. This is a no-brainer excursion to book on your own. The Rum Runner operation is reliable and first rate.

1  Thank KTWriting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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