What are the booking/cancellation policies?
Full fare required at time of reservation.
All trips are subject to a 7% Kenai Peninsula Borough and City of Seward sales tax and the City of Seward Passenger fee ($3.50 per person).
The minimum number of passengers for our scheduled half day tour/sightseeing and winter tour/sightseeing is 2 passengers (or 2 paid spots with less than 2 passengers). The minimum number of passengers for our 6 hour tours is 3 passengers (or 3 paid spots with less than 3 passengers). The maximum number of passengers always on our boat is 6. The day before the scheduled trip, if a scheduled trip does not meet the minimum passenger requirements there are 3 options: you can purchase the needed extra spot(s) and get a private trip, you can reschedule for a different trip, or you can receive a full refund.
If you book a trip under multiple reservations, please make a note on the booking form (or tell us on the phone) so we can place you with your other party or parties.
Cancellations made before 14 days of your trip are eligible for a full refund. Cancellations under 14 days are eligible for a 50% refund. Cancellations within 24 hours and no-shows at the time of departure will receive no refund. We leave the dock promptly at the scheduled departure time, so be sure to leave extra time to get to Seward and find the boat.
We definitely don’t want to cancel your trip. However, sometimes things out of our control such as weather conditions or mechanical issues can require us to cancel a trip. If this happens we will let you know as soon as possible and offer either a full refund or a rebooking on a different day. If a trip needs to be shortened due to weather, mechanical issues, etc., refunds will be issued on a pro-rated basis based on time. Refunds will be issued for the amount of the fare(s); we are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred with a cancellation. We recommend purchasing travel insurance prior to your trip.
All destinations, wildlife sightings etc. are dependent on the weather and mother nature and are not guaranteed.
Do you offer discounts?
We always offer 10% off tours for Alaska residents with code AKRES, 10% off tours for U.S. Active Duty military and retired personnel and families with code MILITARY10, and often offer other specials on our main page and social media. Mention/enter the code at time of booking to get the discount! Be prepared to show proof of residency or military status.
When should we arrive?
Plan on arriving at our dock slip 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. This allows ample time for you to park, find us, check in, load, etc. If you show up at our location and the boat is not there, do not worry! We often run back-to-back trips so just standby until we dock from the previous trip.
Where do we meet?
Check out our location page for directions and location.
Is my trip confirmed?
Feel free to contact us to confirm your trip at anytime. If you have gotten a confirmation email from us, however, rest assured that you are confirmed!
Which boat will I be on?
Our 3 boats are very similar, and one of our crew will either be on the boat or on the dock to direct you to a boat before the trip.
I see it says you have 12/18/etc. spots available (more than 6). I thought you take out only 6 people per boat?
We never take out more than 6 guests per boat (plus Captain of course!). We have 3 6-passenger boats, so the calendar will show more than 6 spots per trip, if available.
What if I am late?
Like other transportation and activities, we keep to a schedule. We leave the dock promptly at the scheduled departure time. Plan on arriving at our dock slip 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. This allows ample time for check in, loading, etc. If you show up at our location and the boat is not there, do not worry! We often run back-to-back trips so just standby until we dock from the previous trip. Cancellations within 24 hours and no-shows at the time of departure will receive no refund. Please be sure to leave extra time to get to Seward and find the boat.
Can you provide luggage storage?
Feel free to bring backpacks and similar sized bags, camera bags, food, etc. on our boat trips. Due to the smaller vessel size and to optimize room for our guests to move about, we can’t accommodate luggage during our trips on the boats and we can’t provide luggage storage during our trips. Check out Orange Bike Delivery for luggage pickup/storage/and dropoff services while you’re out with us!
Do cell phones work in Alaska?
Yes, most do. Check with your provider. Since we are in a small town, do not expect great coverage and fast data. Print out this information and directions before you travel here.
Will there be other people on the boat? Do you offer exclusive trips?
If a given trip is not fully booked, and others are interested, we will book other parties on the boat. However, we never run with more than 6 passengers on the boat.
Want the boat just to yourself or your group? We offer exclusive/fully private trips if you book all the spots on the boat…a guaranteed private custom trip for the duration of your stay with us! Contact us if you are interested in this option!
Are kids welcome on board?
Of course! As parents, we love kids of all ages! We have PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) for kids of all sizes and ages (and adults of course too!). Our son has been on the boat since he was a week old, and we have had guests with kids of all ages onboard countless times.
Is there a discount for children?
Unfortunately, because we only take out a maximum of 6 passengers, we can’t offer a discount for children.
We have more than 6 people in our party. Is there anyway you could accommodate us on one boat?
Unfortunately, no. Our boats are run as 6 passenger vessels. It’s a U.S. Coast Guard law that we are limited to 6 passengers per boat, even if some are kids. However, we do have multiple boats, so if you’re willing to split your party up into smaller groups, then that is an option.
What time of day is best for the wildlife?
Any! There is no difference in wildlife sightings and the time of day.
Are pregnant women welcome on board?
Are dogs welcome on board?
Unfortunately we do not allow dogs on our boats for tours.
Are your boats safe?
Absolutely! Our boats follow all federal and state laws. The boats are meticulously maintained with redundant backup and emergency gear. In fact, we go over and above the minimum required safety gear and are equipped with multiple radios, life jackets for people of all ages and sizes (infants and up), satellite tracking, EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons), life rafts, and more. Your captain will review safety gear and procedures with you before departure. Your safety is our number one priority.
What will we see?
Nature is nature, and therefore unpredictable. That being said, for fall/winter/spring tours common sightings are Dall’s porpoise, harbor porpoise, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, mountain goats, sea otters, sea birds, waterfowl, waterfalls, glaciers, beautiful coastline, sometimes orcas (killer whales), and more. For summer tours, it is very likely that we will see all of the above plus puffins and humpback whales and possibly fin whales, grey whales, bears, and more.
Do you offer a whale sighting guarantee?
Humpback whales, porpoise, and orca are extremely common on our summer tours. Even on our fall/winter/spring tours we frequently see them, especially on the shoulder seasons. However, nature is nature so we can’t guarantee it.
Will we see glaciers?
On our half day tours and fall/winter/spring tours we will, weather permitting, see alpine glaciers above the ocean and Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, which comes down into a lagoon behind a terminal moraine (it’s an impressive sight!). Because of the beach in the way, we won’t see calving ice but will most likely see ice bergs on the beach and in the ocean. To see glacial calving, join us on a 6 hour or full day tour deeper into Kenai Fjords National Park into Aialik Bay.
Do you practice sustainable tourism?
Of course! We pride ourselves on being the most fuel efficient vessels in the harbor. You won’t find other 6 pack boats operated with such fuel efficient engines! We recycle our refuse and oil, shut down engines when we can, give back to our community, and more. Captain Bixler spent 2 years in graduate school studying environmental geography and marine tourism and learned a lot from those years and incorporated that into our business model. We are a proud member of Whale SENSE, a voluntary education and recognition program for responsible whale watching practices. Seward Ocean Excursions follows and promotes sustainable tourism and has achieved AGA (Adventure Green Alaska) certification.
Should I tip?
If you would like to show your appreciation for your captain please feel free to tip. Tips are greatly appreciated! A 10 – 20% gratuity is customary if you feel we deserve it.
Do you provide binoculars?
Yes! We have nice binoculars available for use by our guests.
What should I bring to eat and drink?
We have complimentary bottled water on board. Please bring your own food and other drinks. Boating works up an appetite, so be sure to bring extra snacks!
What is your season?
As full-time Seward residents, we are always here and open for business. Winter is a great time to explore Seward without the crowds. Our boats have heaters that will keep you warm inside. We will work with you on this to make sure you have an amazing winter experience that few ever have!
What should I wear?
Bring a variety of clothes to wear on board. Layering is the best way to go. Bring warm clothes, warmer than you think you might need, and some waterproof outerlayers. The boat has a comfortable, heated, and dry cabin, but you will probably want to be outside during part of day, even if it is cold and/or moist.
What shouldn’t I bring on board?
We comply with regulations for a drug-free vessel. Please don’t bring illegal drugs (including marijuana) onboard.
Is smoking allowed?
For the comfort of all guests and crew, we are a smoke-free vessel. Cigarettes, e-cigs, vaporizers, cigars, or other tobacco products are not allowed to be used on board.
Is there a toilet/head/bathroom on board?
Of course. We have a private, flushing head. Your captain will brief you on how to use it. In the wintertime the head is inoperable due to freezing.
Can I fly my drone on the boat?
Unfortunately we do not allow drone flight on the boat due to safety concerns, National Park regulations, etc.
What about seasickness?
Resurrection Bay and the surrounding coastline tends to be usually calm (we are in fjords after all), but the outside waters can get bumpy at times. If you think you are prone to seasickness, please consider taking medication before your trip. Note that if you wait too long to take medication until you feel sick it probably won’t do much good! However, since we are a small, personalized tour operator, if you are having seasickness issues we are happy to work with you to find smoother waters for the rest of your trip. Unlike the larger boats, smaller boats (like ours), tend to not develop the long, slow roll with minimal landmark references that tends to make people seasick. It is very rare that people on board our boat develop seasickness for these reasons.
How’s the weather?
In the summer the weather has a wide range from the 50s to the 80s at times. Rain-wise, we can have weeks of dry weather followed by rain. The key is to be flexible and be ready for either rain or shine, hot or cold. The ocean tends to moderate the temperature in the 50s to 60s. In winter, air temperature varies widely from the low teens to the 40s (and, again, varying between sunny, snowy, and rainy).
What camera gear should I bring?
Whatever you like! In general, bringing a variety of lenses is best. Sometimes the wildlife/scenery is right next to us, sometimes it’s farther away. Bear in mind, though, that the use of bigger lenses can be difficult on a rocking boat. In our experience, tripods are not useful on the boat because the boat is rocking and therefore it is better to shoot hand-held or with a monopod.
Do you cancel if it is raining?
If it is raining, we don’t necessarily cancel a trip. If the ocean conditions are too rough, we might, but rain doesn’t necessitate a cancellation. Be prepared for moist weather!
Where do you go?
Each trip is different, but here is a general map of the Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay area.
What accommodations do you have for handicapped accessibility?
To get on the boat you need to climb up and over the gunwale (edge of the boat). We have a step to make this easier, but unfortunately we are not handicapped accessible.
How close can we get to whales?
Our company and vessels adhere to the Alaska Humpback Whale Approach Regulations and does not intentionally approach whales within 100 feet. For the safety of the whales and our passengers, if a whale approaches our vessel within 100 yards, the vessel will place the engine in neutral and wait until the animal is located at a safe distance away from the vessel before reengaging the engines.
Do you go where the bigger boats go?
Yes! We go to the same places the big boats go!
We have more than 6 people. Can you still accommodate us?
Yes! Depending on availability, we can accommodate larger groups if you are willing to divide your party between the boats.
Can I bring a stroller onboard?
Due to our vessel size, strollers unfortunately cannot be accommodated.