We too went with Captain Larry and had a great time....there were many, many boats out there whale watching at the same time that we were, so I would look for some of their websites and compare prices between them and Captain Larry.
We just returned and went with Captain Larry. I can't imagine anyone else would be better. His boat is small - only 18 passengers when we went. The Princess tours were on large catamarans with what looked to be up to 100 passengers.
The prices are pretty much the same regardless of who you go with. We paid $109 each for Capt'n Larry for 2-1/2 hours. Saw lots of whales, sea lions, seals, and eagles.
I've been to Alaska 3 times. The first time I used the ship's excursion, the other two times I used Captain Larry. I saw Whales all 3 times. The difference is that Captain Larry's boat is smaller and more personal. He only allows around 20 people on board. My husband is 6'5" tall and almost 450 lbs and he was even comfortable. Also, Captain Larry has a little more leeway to spend some more time out there following the whales if there is something interesting going on. Both times with Captain larry we saw them bubble net feeding fairly close to the boat. It was awesome.
We did enjoy are trip with Captain Larry...and saw bubble feeding, and even went to find some seals and then went back to the whales. Plus we saw a mother and her baby...they hung around for a good while. It was a glorius day and we have plenty of pictures. One thing is for sure, those whales, as big as they are, are quick!! We have a lot of blow hole shots and noses! I can't wait to go back and see them again!
There were a lot of other 'small' boats out there as well. I would just check some of the other operators out. Maybe do a price shop. There are I'm sure other local operators. I do agree that I would stick with a local operator over a cruiseline excursion because those boats are bigger.
You'll have fun and be as excited as we were no matter who you pick, I'm sure. Enjoy!!!
Bubble net feeding is when several whales get together and dive down and create a net of bubbles encircling the food. Then they all come up out of the water with their mouths wide open to catch the food that is trapped in the bubbles. It is pretty awesome to see.