Juneau Alaska Cruise Port Tips

Juneau Alaska Cruise Port Tips
Juneau is the most visited port of call on Alaska cruise itineraries. Alaska's capital offers an excellent choice of activities, including spectacular glaciers and flightseeing trips, memorable adventure excursions, amazing wildlife, and immersive attractions. The shopping and dining options in Juneau as well.

Some of Juneau’s shore excursions can be costly, but access to other attractions is reasonably priced. There are plenty of activities in Juneau to match every interest and vacation budget. It’s essential to research your day in port and plan ahead.

Here are some tips to help your cruise port day in Juneau go smoothly.

Check On Your Juneau Port Day Before Arrival
Juneau is a busy Alaska cruise port, with as many as six cruise ships visiting daily. Crowds can be an issue. It’s wise to understand how many other ships will be in town on your day in port. Sites like CruiseMapper.com will show you which ships will be in Juneau on your day in port and when each vessel arrives and departs. Check on your ship’s arrival and departure time and plan accordingly.

Know Where Your Cruise Ship Docks In Juneau
The Juneau cruise port currently has multiple cruise terminals. It’s important to know where your ship will be docking, how far it is from the downtown area, and whether a shuttle is required. In some cases, cruise ships do not dock in the Juneau cruise port, and tenders are required to go ashore. Juneau is easy to navigate on foot once you’ve arrived in town.

Be Prepared For Juneau’s Weather
The weather in Juneau, Alaska, can be unpredictable and temperatures vary significantly by month. Precipitation is also common, so pack rain gear and bring clothing you can layer. Check the weather forecasts before your cruise, but don’t count on their accuracy. Juneau’s weather can be exceedingly difficult to determine in advance.

Research Juneau Shore Excursion Options In Advance
While a few shore excursions can be available on your day of arrival in Juneau, it’s generally wise to plan ahead for the best selection and availability. Research the various options and understand any restrictions on participation and cancellation. Rental cars can also be reserved for groups interested in exploring the areas outside of town.

If you’re considering what to do in Juneau, here are some outstanding Juneau shore excursion options.

Enjoy Whale Watching
Humpback whale viewing is one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise, and the waters around Juneau are filled with these majestic creatures from April to November. Whale watching shore excursions offer cruise passengers an additional opportunity to see whales breaching, bubble-net feeding, and more. Some tours even guarantee whale sightings. On these tours, it may also be possible to see orca whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoises, and other mammals. Juneau is also an excellent port for bear viewing options. Admiralty Island National Monument has the world's largest density of brown bears and is located just a short floatplane ride away from Juneau.

Explore Mendenhall Glacier
Located just 13 miles from the city’s downtown area, Mendenhall Glacier is Juneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This "drive-in" glacier is magnificent, and the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center offers an informative film, excellent exhibits, and majestic glacier viewing through its large windows. During your visit to Mendenhall Glacier, take the time to trek to the spectacular 377-foot-high Nugget Falls and walk along the Mendenhall Glacier nature trail. This trail can be an excellent place to see bears during the salmon spawning season. Tour operators offer multiple options for exploring Mendenhall Glacier on foot, by kayak or canoe, or via a flightseeing excursion. Rafting float trips, guided glacier hikes, and dogsledding tours are also available. While Mendenhall Glacier shore excursions are available through the cruise lines and are often combined with other experiences, the Blue Bus Glacier Express and others operate shuttle buses that regularly transport cruise visitors directly to the glacier. The Capital Transit public bus is available as well. Taxis and rental cars can also be good options, especially for larger groups.

Take The Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tram
Located directly opposite Juneau's main cruise pier, the Mount Roberts Goldbelt Tram provides Juneau cruise guests with magnificent scenery, interesting nature and cultural exhibits, spectacular views, and a network of great mountaintop hiking and nature trails. The ride takes about five minutes and transports guests 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts. One ticket purchase provides unlimited rides throughout the day. It’s easy to spend much of the day hiking and exploring all that this area offers. Visitors enjoy exploring the attraction’s Sky Bridge and Mountain House and shopping at Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery. The Timberline Restaurant at the upper Tram Station serves lunch and dinner and has beautiful views.

Go Dog Sledding
Some of Juneau’s most memorable shore excursions feature dog sledding, either at a glacier camp or on dry land. Juneau’s thrilling glacier dog sledding and helicopter tours take guests on a scenic helicopter ride, providing magnificent views of the 1500 square mile Juneau Icefield. After landing at a remote dog sledding camp on one of the massive glaciers, travelers can visit with the Alaskan huskies and mushers before taking an unforgettable ride across the snow with their Alaskan dog sledding team. Other dog sledding options popular with families are the Juneau Dog Sled Summer Camp and Sled Dog Discovery tours. These dry land tours take guests on fun-filled dog sledding rides through the rainforest. There’s also plenty of time to tour the camp, learn from experienced mushers, and play with cute Alaskan husky puppies.

Sample Alaska’s Delicious Seafood
While Alaska’s fabulous wildlife and scenery are major draws, Juneau is also an excellent place to try some of the state’s famous seafood. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake is a popular Juneau attraction and is often included on tours to Mendenhall Glacier. Guests can wander along the rainforest creek and take pictures at the Salmon Creek waterfall. Then, it’s time to sit down to an all-you-can-eat buffet meal of wild Alaska salmon grilled over an Alder wood fire, chicken, baked beans, au gratin potatoes, and various other sides and salads. Juneau Food Tours is another outstanding excursion in the Juneau cruise port, offering a variety of guided small-group culinary food experiences. Highlights include up to eight delicious tastings from local businesses featuring delicious Alaskan seafood and other specialties.

Fly To Lovely Taku Glacier Lodge
This three-hour flightseeing tour from downtown Juneau offers the best of all worlds. Guests take a 35-minute flightseeing trip on their way to Taku Glacier Lodge, located across from a massive glacier in a remote area of the Tongass National Forest. Passengers fly over five huge glaciers flowing out from the Juneau Icefield along the way. After landing on the water in front of Taku Glacier Lodge, there is time to explore the lodge’s beautiful grounds or do a little shopping before enjoying a fantastic feast complete with all the fixings. The meal includes wild Alaskan salmon or chicken grilled over an Alder wood fire, slow-cooked baked beans, coleslaw, fruit compote, herb biscuits, Taku Lodge ginger cookies, and much more. After lunch and the opportunity for a nature walk, a scenic 15-minute return floatplane trip brings guests back to Juneau.

Visit The Alaska State Museum In Juneau
Visiting the Alaska State Museum is another fun and inexpensive excursion in Juneau. Located at 395 Whittier Street within walking distance of the downtown cruise pier, the Alaska State Museum features many exhibits on Alaska's natural and cultural history. The exceptional museum houses a historical collection of 1,700 items and about 1,800 works of fine art. The Alaskan Native collection is outstanding, and the natural history collection of mounted birds, animals, seashells, and fossils is a treat to see. There's an excellent museum shop here as well.

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