A sign at a Juneau business alerts people searching for Adventure Bound Alaska that the tour company is no longer at an address listed at the company’s website. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

A sign at a Juneau business alerts people searching for Adventure Bound Alaska that the tour company is no longer at an address listed at the company’s website. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Once-popular tour boat operator getting poor reviews by customers feeling shortchanged

Last-minute cancellations without refunds, according to complaints

A longtime Juneau tour boat operator has been racking up complaints from customers who say they were sold tickets for excursions that never happened, possibly without boats in operation.

Adventure Bound Alaska, which operates the 56-foot Adventure Bound and the 65-foot Captain Cook, has been a Juneau-based business for 32 years, according to the Better Business Association, which tracks information about local companies regardless of whether they are members.

“I purchased tickets for me and two family members,” said Juneau resident Joseph Biagini, who booked directly by phone with the company. The tickets for the June 20 trip cost $540, a discounted rate for locals.

When the trip was canceled he was promised a refund, but when the funds hadn’t materialized after a week, he called back.

“The woman said, ‘must have been a problem in the system, I will process it again,’” he recalled. But again, no refund. “A couple of weeks ago they stopped answering their phone.”

“I feel bad for visitors,” said Biagini. “At least I got a discount.”

He noticed this week the company has shut down online bookings. A message on the website states the online booking calendar for the 2023 season is temporarily unavailable.

Biagini, the associate producer at Perseverance Theatre, has reported the issue to his bank for a refund.

Adventure Bound Alaska’s Tracy Arm cruises had mostly good reviews from online websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp until the end of last year. Inquiries by phone and email to the company by the Empire on Friday did not receive a response by the end of the business day.

Complaints of not fulfilling trips began mid-season 2022.

“Booked a private charter to Tracy’s Arm 8 months in advance, paid for it and was canceled as we were arriving early that morning stating there’s a shortage of captains,” according to a Yelp reviewer with the initials RM.H. “We had a large family group which is why we booked private. We planned this trip well in advance and Tracy’s Arm was going to be the highlight. All other companies we called that day had no issue with captains or canceled boats.”

RM.H wrote that it was impossible to book last minute any time the week we were there, so they missed the Fjord.

Elizabeth Arnett, the administrator of Tourism Best Management Practices, has advised the three people who have complained to her organization to contact their banks or credit card issuers to reverse charges. TBMP is a cooperative effort of tour operators, cruise lines, transportation providers, merchants, hospitality business, tour brokers, and both the Tongass National Forest and the City and Bureau of Juneau. She is aware of other local organizations, like hers, also receiving complaints about Adventure Bound Alaska.

“We don’t think they’ve taken any trips this summer,” Arnett said.

The Adventure Bound Alaska website lists an address on Egan Street in front of docks. Enough people come to the storefront of nearby UnCruise Adventures that a sign, with phone number to reach the other company, has been posted on the front doors: “ATTENTION: THE ADVENTURE BOUND ‘TRACY ARM’ TOUR IS NOT LOCATED AT THIS ADDRESS!”

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