I don't know what New England has to offer, but it would be a very rare case if you didn't see a whale while in Alaska. I saw humpbacks and orcas from the ship, and didn't need to pay for a tour because the captain gets on the horn and announces a whale sighting, and where (four o'clock, two o'clock). So you have all of these people dropping everything and going out on the upper deck for a look. Of course, they are all armed with cameras, ready for the money shot. During my cruise last May, the whales appeared non-stop, and people were just dazzled at the chance to see them. Tours were a hit if you wanted to see orcas. Seeing whales, eagles, bears, etc. is enough to take your breath away. And you'd be surprised to watch how bold these whale tour people are when it comes to going after a whale. I prefer watching whales from the ship. In Alaska, there's plenty of chances to watch whales and other wildlife. It's like being in Yellowstone and looking for people who are already giving you a clue to look at the wildlife. Never fails. But you need to remember that wildlife is not required to appear just because you're visiting!