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“Five (Yes, Five) Cancellations”

Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company offers a variety of boat tours for all ages that show different sights and wildlife in the area around Mount Desert Island, Maine. The tours that we offer include a Puffin and Whale Watching trip, and Whale Watching tour, a Historical Lighthouse tour, a Nature Cruise, a Lobster Fishing and Seal Watching Tour, and a tour to Baker Island. We also have a gift shop in our ticket office, where you can purchase souvenirs during your time in town. We hope to see you on one (or more!) of our boat tours so we can show you why Bar Harbor, Maine is such a special place!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking
Reviewed August 7, 2014

We spent a week in the Acadia National Park area, from July 25th to August 1st, 2014. We booked four morning whale watch tours and one afternoon tour. All five of them were cancelled.

We were staying about 40 minutes away from Bar Harbor. The first time we had the whale watch scheduled, we drove to Bar Harbor (and had to be there 45 minutes early) only to find out it was cancelled. The second time, we tried calling first. Their brochure says to call 2 hours early, however, their phone message says that you have reached them during "after hours" and they are closed. When you finally do get through, you are put on hold forever. It is impossible for those not staying in the immediate Bar Harbor area to be able to call ahead and/or to get there in the required 45 minutes prior to boarding.

One afternoon whale watch was an educational cruise, and they DID NOT TELL YOU when you booked the cruise that they needed AT LEAST SIX people to sign up, or it would be cancelled.

The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company is the ONLY Whale Watch Company in the area. So they can do what ever they want, which means they can do bad business, and it does not matter.

3  Thank geneticblend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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586 - 590 of 1,077 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2014

We loved the lighthouse tour. The weather started out cold and misty but eventually the blue skies peeped out. The narrator did an excellent job pointing out interesting sites, including fabulous shore "cottages" in addition to the 5 lighthouses. Lots of photo opportunities!

Thank AnnaS005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2014

Actually I have three different experiences with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. The first trip we took to Bar Harbor and Acadia was June 2010. We scheduled a whale watching tour the first day there and it was cancelled due to rough waters and limited visibility. We rescheduled every day after that and each day it was cancelled. So, after a full week there we never got to go on a tour. That, of course, was not their fault. Just bad weather out on the water that week. Our next visit was in June 2013 and we again scheduled a whale watching tour for our first day. We learned from our previous experience that they get cancelled due to weather quite a lot, so better to schedule early in the week so you have the rest of the week to reschedule if necessary. This time is was my wife, my teenage son, my daughter with her two children (1 and 3 years old!), and myself. This turned out to be a mistake bringing such small children on the tour. The water was kind of choppy that day and it was quite cold out on the water, colder than normal. My daughter and the kids were freezing so they went inside and sat down. That was our first mistake. We didn't realize that, with all the choppy water and motion, being inside was the easiest place to get sea sick. I will spare you all the details but let me just say that it was a regular puke-fest. I never saw so many people vomiting in my life including my daughter and my wife. We finally ended up getting everybody outside and sitting on the benches along the side. But then they were all freezing. My son and I had to form a human wind block and stand up in front of them the whole trip back to keep them from freezing. Needless to say this was a very bad experience but none of it was due to the tour company. They warned about the waves and to dress warm but all of my bunch didn't so they had to go inside which is what caused them to start getting sick. If everyone could have stayed outside near the rail the whole time like I had planned I don't believe anyone would have got sick. Well, the next visit was in June 2014. This time it was just me and my wife. We actually took our second tour on our 25th wedding anniversary. We planned this because it was the main thing my wife wanted to do on each of our 3 trips to Bar Harbor and each time something had gone wrong. This time everything was wonderful! We ended up getting there late so had to stand in the back of the ship. This ended up being a blessing in disguise. Once we got up to full speed on the ocean there was hardly any wind that hit you in the back of the ship. Before long all the people that had crowded in the front for the "best views" were heading to the back trying to find a place. We already had our little spot saved. It was a great view from where we were at. The waves were a lot less and the weather a lot better than the previous year, but I believe the main reason we had such a good trip is that we dressed warm enough to stay outside the whole time. I ended up getting some great photos of puffins and other birds. We only saw one whale that trip but we saw him surface and blow quite a few times, once very close to us. But even with that the captain was displeased that we only saw the one whale so gave everyone on the boat a free re-visit good for any time in the next three years. He just felt that seeing only one whale wasn't enough, but we were already well pleased with the trip. We will definitely go again if we make it back to Bar Harbor. Tips: 1)Dress warm - way warmer than you think you will ever need - hat, gloves, winter coat. 2)Stay outside where you can see the horizon line - this plays off #1. If you get cold and have to go inside you will probably get sea sick - your trip will be ruined. 3)Stand up in the back of the boat - there is way less wind and you can see just as good. When they spot a whale the captain continually rotates the boat anyway so everyone has a chance to see. 4)Don't bring small children - they will definitely get cold and you will have to take them inside -then you will be sick and won't see anything anyway.

4  Thank phillipsjosh2415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2014

We took the boat in the afternoon. It was very sunny and warm and were wondering why people brought their jackets and sweaters. Luckily we went to get ours as well. When we left the harbor and went a bit deeper in the Atlantic Ocean, it got colder and colder.
So be warned: bring a nice and warm sweater and/or jacket with you!
We had the change to see a couple of humpbacks enjoying themselves.
We were amazed by the wonder of such a beauty and were thankful to see these wonderful creatures with our own eyes!

Thank Mich B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2014

Okay, so this may have been a perfect day. The water was flat and mirror like for 30 miles in and out and we saw 8 humpback whales, multiple porpoises, puffins, 2 giant sunfish, seals. The boat was full, very clean and there were terrific attendants helping all the guests. The information provided by our marine biologist was extraordinary and informative.
There was a great focus on safety even though it was such a calm day, so definitely bring your kids of any age.

2  Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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