Whale Watching Cruises in Petersburg, Alaska: A Guide

As is the case with so many of the other towns and cities scattered throughout southeast Alaska, there are a number whale watching cruises in Petersburg. None of the companies that offer them are dedicated solely to whale watching, but there are still plenty of options to choose from, and in fact the whale watching opportunities out of Petersburg seem especially diverse. To give you a better understanding of what’s available, we’ve compiled the following concise guide to whale watching cruises in Petersburg.

Petersburg is a small town of only about 3,000 people. It is near the middle of the Alaskan portion of the Inside Passage, placing it south of Glacier Bay and north of Ketchikan, two other whale watching regions in Alaska we have recently written about. While Petersburg does see a decent amount of tourism thanks to passing cruise ships, the types of vessels that can stop at the city are comparatively small, and the town doesn’t see the volume of tourists that a place like Juneau does. Humpback whales, seen in the Frederick Sound, are the main focus of the whale watching cruises that sail out of Petersburg, as is true of the other whale watching tours in southeast Alaska, but other marine life can be seen as well, including sea lions, porpoise, and occasionally killer whales.

The whale watching cruises in Petersburg take a few different forms. Whale Song Cruises offers both half- and full-day cruises, and Alaska Passages offers full-day (eight-hour) journeys. Both of these cruises are more or less standard whale watching tours, by which we mean cruises that last less than a day and consist largely of sailing around and looking for whales. The other company that offers whale watching cruises in Petersburg is Sikumi, and their offerings are quite a bit different because Sikumi operates more like a regular cruise line. Their vessel, the M/V Sikumi, is still relatively small, but you stay on the ship for multiple days, eating and sleeping on board. Although they advertise cruises that focus on whale watching (there are also cruises for fishing, hiking, and a number of other things), you can build other activities into your itinerary, so you aren’t confined only to whale watching for days on end (unless you want to be).

Between these three companies, there are a few different ways to whale watch in Petersburg, ranging from half-day trips to multiple-day journeys. For more general information, check out our article on whale watching in Alaska.

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