Check In Ahead Of Time
Using the MedallionClass app, you can check in ahead of getting to the port – pre-loading your health information and answering all of your health questions, as well as adding credit card, setting dining information and room configuration – so you can sail through the line and get right to relaxing!
After going through the health information questionnaire before boarding, we were given green lane status – meaning my husband and I simply needed to present our negative COVID tests, vaccination card, and medallions upon checking in at the cruise terminal, and head out on our vacation!
Hot tip: have your test screens-hotted on your phone if you have an email test result – my phone had a hard time connecting to the port building’s internet. Port employees were incredibly patient as it seemed to be a common problem, but save yourself the frustration I endured and print yourself a copy or get a screenshot!
Hot tip: pre-order flowers to your room through the app – or champagne and strawberries to celebrate a birthday or anniversary – before you even step foot on board so they can be set up your first day!
Norris Glacier And Dogs Sledding
My number one recommendation for Juneau is Dogs Sledding and Norris Glacier or Dogs Sledding and Mendenhall Glacier the glaciers are very similar and no matter what tour you book, a spectacular and unique experience is guaranteed!
This adventure normally starts with a breathtaking 20-minute scenic flight over impressive Juneau Icefield, Alaskan fjords, snow-capped mountains, and awe-inspiring glacier formations.
After your helicopter ride, you arrive at a remote dogsled glacier camp where you meet your new friends adorable Alaska huskies, performance-bred dogs that will take you on an exhilarating ride of a lifetime! Apart from the ride which is an absolute highlight of a journey, you will also meet professional mushers who will tell you how indigenous people and early explorers used to get around Alaska, share stories about the legendary Iditarod race, and educate you on sled dog breeds.
To top off your day, you get a bit of free time at the end of the experience to enjoy the surrounding views, cuddle the puppies, and catch the best shots. The dogs are fully trained and the guides are very knowledgeable and approachable!
Keep in mind that the flights are organized in groups of 3 to 4 passengers at a time depending on the weight, including one person in the front and a maximum of 3 in the back. In the back, only 2 will have a window seat view.
Are you ready for the ride of a lifetime?
Visit The Mendenhall Glacier
Highlights: Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, Nugget Falls
The Mendenhall Glacier stretches 13 miles, and features vivid blue ice, mountain views, and abundant wildlife.
The Mendenhall Glacier has something for everyone. At the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, where you can learn about the history and landscape. From there, its a short walk along an accessible, paved trail to a beautiful photo point, where you can enjoy a great view of the glacier.
From there, you can enjoy a 2 mile gentle walk along a well-maintained gravel trail to Nugget Falls. At Nugget Falls, you can watch water spill into an iceberg-filled lake.
You can get to the visitor center via bus or taxi, though you will only be able to see the glacier from across Mendenhall Lake. If you want to get up close to the glacier, you’ll need to get there via canoe or helicopter. We recommend adding on a fun activity like whale watching, dog sledding, a helicopter ride. Our Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure is very popular or can check out the rest of our Mendenhall Glacier tours.
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Take A Jeep Tour And Hike
TripSavvy / Linda Garrison
On one of the hike and jeep tour options, the knowledgeable guide can pick you up at your hotel and the tour begins with a ride around downtown Juneau where the guide points out some of the historical and governmental sites. Moving across the Gastineau Channel on the Juneau-Douglas Bridge, the route turns north and you’ll ride almost to the end of the island, stopping at the Rainforest Trail for a 1.5-mile hike along the well-maintained gravel trail. The guide’s knowledge of the mushrooms, fungi, and other plant life along the trail adds to the experience. The trip then takes you along the beach where you can see the Chilkat Mountains in the distance.
Juneau has many other hiking opportunities, including around the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, Mount Roberts, and downtown Juneau. One popular trail is the 3-mile “Perseverance Trail“, which starts downtown on Gold Street. It follows one of the valleys that produced Juneau’s gold and also connects to the more strenuous trail to the top of Mount Juneau.
What To Do In One Day In Juneau
There are many, many choices when it comes to activities at the Juneau cruise port. Helicopter rides to view glaciers, sled dog rides, and a tram up to a viewpoint overlooking the city are all popular. On your first trip to Juneau, you may want to check out the Mendenhall Glacier it is one of the most easily accessible glaciers in Alaska from a tourists perspective.
Shuttles to the Mendenhall glacier are found right outside the cruise port . The Mendenhall glacier is a quick 20 minute drive on the shuttle, then a 25 minute hike. While most people do not actually walk on the glacier, you can still get close enough to a waterfall near the glacier that I had to constantly wipe my camera lens to keep it from having spots all over my pictures.
After returning to Juneau, spend an hour exploring Alaskas capital city. Juneau is certainly the smallest American state capital I can remember visiting . Walk by the governors house, the state capital building, and a nice little downtown area with shops and a restaurant called the Red Dog saloon that claimed to have Wyatt Earps .45. The legend is he checked his weapon when he came to town and left it behind.
If you would like to learn more about the area, take advantage of some of the amazing enrichment lectures given by your cruise ship. When we made it back to the ship, our evenings entertainment consisted of a presentation on dogsledding given by the first woman to win the Iditarod race .
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Overview & History Of Skagway Alaska:
The area had not been settled and was still part of the untouched wilderness in the west. There were a few native American tribes in the region, but for the most part nobody lived there.
That is until gold was discovered in the area in 1896. Once gold was discovered, all bets were off and people flocked to the area.
The gold was actually discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon Territory, which is about 600 miles from Skagway.
However, you had to travel through Skagway in order to get up to the area where gold was discovered. This made Skagway a very popular stopping point on the way up.
This caused demand for growth and necessities such as stores, homes, saloons, and, of course, bordellos. By 1898, just two years later, the town of Skagway had a population of over 30,000 people.
During this time, it was like most of the old west, a lawless town. One of the members of the mounted police described it as, little better than a hell on Earth.
Due to the fact that the gold was so far away they started building the railroad. This is known as the White Pass Yukon Railway, which is still there for us to see and ride on.
Unfortunately, by the time the railroad was finished all of the gold was gone. People started leaving the area because there was no point in staying.
For example, John Nordstrom arrived towards the end of the gold rush and actually did find gold.
Experience Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is part landscaped botanical center and part excursion into the rainforest environment that defines the Tongass National Forest. Its located northwest of downtown, toward Mendenhall Glacier.
Tours at this forested attraction begin with a guided walk through the lower landscaped gardens, including the story behind the unique Flower Tower planters derived from a massive 1984 landslide.
After covering the lower grounds, patrons hop aboard an open-sided shuttle to tour the rest of the 50-acre property on Thunder Mountain. This is not a garden, but an area of forest left largely in its natural state.
Tour guides discuss the various species and workings of the gardens to better understand the wooded environment. The tour stops at various locations, boardwalks, and viewpoints overlooking the Mendenhall Valley, Chilkat Mountains, Gastineau Channel, and .
Address: 7600 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska
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Try Dog Sledding On A Glacier
Highlights: Glacier, Helicopter Tour, Dog Sledding
A dog sledding tour combines many of the best things Alaska has to offer: a helicopter ride, glaciers, and a thrilling dog sled adventure. There are no age restrictions on this tour, and its a hit for the whole family. You can ride on the dog sled, soar atop the glacier, snuggle with the sled dogs, and enjoy the views of Juneau Icefield as you soar above it on the helicopter ride to the camp.
Our most popular tour is the , but theres an extended tour if you want more time and an option on Mendenhall Glacier, too.
The Alaska State Museum
Alaska history, natural history, fine art
For more than a century, the Alaska State Museum has collected and displayed artifacts that weave a picture of Alaskas history. Stroll through the cleverly displayed exhibits , which take you through different eras of this history. Learn about the clothing, weapons, tools and ceremonial objects from distinct Alaska Native populations, as well as icons and other memorabilia from Russian-American days. Other features include the discovery room, with a climb-aboard replica of a sailing ship, fine art gallery, gift shop and café.
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
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Spectacular Things To Do In Juneau Cruise Port
Welcome to the Juneau cruise port!
Nestled on the shores of the Gastineau Channel and the Alaskan Panhandle in southeastern Alaska, Juneau is the capital of Alaska and the second-largest city in the United States of America. Because of its spectacular sceneries, breathtaking landscapes, and a wide variety of things to do, Juneau is one of the major Alaskan ports of call in the Alaskan cruise itineraries.
In this article, read about:
- Top 10 things to do in Juneau on a cruise
Check out todays cruise deals from Cruise Critic!
Shopping Near The Juneau Cruise Port
Looking to get some souvenirs or local treasures while in Juneau’s cruise port? Here are some of the top places to shop:
Alaska Shirt Company 489 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801.
Trove – 497 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801.
Caribou Crossings – 387 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801
House of Russia – 389 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801
Foggy Mountain Shop – 134 N Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801
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Walk Around Downtown Juneau
Although Juneau features many fun and exciting organized outdoor activities, exploring Alaska’s capital city independently on foot is both interesting and educational. Cruise ships dock in the heart of downtown, and maps of the area are readily available at the Visitor Center near the Library on the Franklin Street waterfront or at the Centennial Hall Convention Center on Egan Drive. The size of the downtown area is very compact since it is constricted by water on one side and mountains on the other. It’s impossible to get lost since you can see the large cruise ships along the harbor.
Before crossing the street to browse in the dozens of shops selling everything from Native art to t-shirts and jewelry, take the time to look at the interesting dog statue you see when disembarking your ship. It is the touching story of Patsy Ann, a stray dog who greeted every ship visiting Juneau in the 1930s. The waterfront pier also features three other memorialsone to the men who work in the commercial fishing industry the second to the USS Juneau, a ship christened by the Juneau mayor’s wife in 1942 and sank later that same year during World War II and the third to Archie Van Winkle, the first Alaskan to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Like most cities, downtown Juneau has some interesting historic churches like the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, which was built in 1894. It features the iconic onion domes seen on Russian Orthodox churches around the world.
Order Room Service Anywhere
Hungry for chicken fingers at 11pm? Want coffee and breakfast in bed? Cheese plate, hummus, and wine for an afternoon on the balcony?
Or how about needing advil, dramamine – even a windbreaker or stuffed animal?
You can order room service right from your phone, from a list of food and beverages, goods, gifts – and even room services like more hangers, pillows, blankets – or even service like a technician to your room.
The best part? Your order will come to you – wherever on the ship you are!
I ordered snacks one night, late at night, in the Hollywood Pool & Club, and they delivered them right to me, thanks to the medallion I was wearing!
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Tour Agents & Operators
This Redmond, Washington-based company operates nine day tours in and around the Juneau area, including the Best of Juneau tour, the various gold panning tours, tours featuring the Gold Creek Salmon Bake, and the Custom Hummer excursion. Phone: 323-5757
Juneau-based Juneau Tours offers six day tours in and around the Juneau area, including helicopter tours, whale watching tours and dog sled tours. Phone: 523-6095
Juneau-based Mighty Great Trips offers ten day tours in and around the Juneau area, including Mendenhall Glacier tours, Mendenhall River Float tours, helicopter tours, whale watching tours, dog sled tours and more.Phone: 789-5460
Alaska Shore Tours is a local tour operator that offers a variety of active, adventure, sightseeing, cultural and historical, flightseeing and glacier tours. These tours run the gamut from kayaking, ziplining, sled dogs, flightseeing, whale watching and glacier exploration to city tours. Their prices are typically lower than those offered by the cruise lines, and when you book a tour through Alaska Shore Tours, you’re ensuring that the money you spend in Juneau stays to benefit the Juneau community. Plus they give 5% of the tour prices to charities, including the Alaska Conservation Foundation and the Alaska Native Heritage Center.Phone: 626-9600
Cycle Alaska is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.1107 West 8th Street
Note: F = Fair Chance G = Good Chance E = Excellent Chance
Explore The City At The Juneau
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum, which neighbors the State Capitol building, offers exhibits on the Tlingit culture, the early gold-mining days, and the history of the Juneau-Douglas area. For more sightseeing, the small, steep streets surrounding the museum are lined with old wooden heritage homes and lush gardens, as well as the pretty blue-and-white St. Nicholas Orthodox Church – which dates to 1894. Tuesday through Thursday throughout the summer, the museum hosts guided walking tours of these neighborhoods.
Address: 114 West Fourth Street, Juneau, Alaska
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Culture & History Of The Juneau Cruise Port
In many ways, Juneau is a melting pot of cultures that is largely a mixture of Native American heritage and the 19th century mining industry. Most people that currently live in Juneau reflect these cultures as well.
For a clear understanding and a better look at the fascinating melting pot cultures of Alaska in general, and Juneau specifically, carve out a little time in your trip to visit the Alaska State Museum. Featuring exhibits on the culture, art, and history of the states Native American heritage, the museum is the official repository for the natural and cultural history of the state. Additionally, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum features an extensive history of the mining industry with exhibits about how it helped found Juneau during the 19th century.
The Auke Tribe of Tlingit Indians was among the first to settle the area that eventually became known as Juneau. The surrounding lands were abundant with food and natural resources, providing ample reasons for these original settlers to live comfortably and be productive. Although these were the first to settle into a life in this area, Juneau showcases a myriad of different Native American tribes from the Northwest Coastal areas.
In 1880, during the peak of the Gold Rush, gold seekers Joe Juneau and Richard Harris stumbled upon the area that was first named Harrisburg, and later renamed Juneau. The Tlingit Chief Kowee pointed the newcomers in the direction of gold when they arrived.
Can I Walk To Places Of Interest
The Mount Roberts Tramway and visitor centre are alongside one another near the waterfront at the southern end of the main terminal. It is five minutes walk from terminal to the old-town Franklin Street Historic District and another five minutes to the easily explored and more modern downtown just beyond. It is also a 10-minute walk from the terminal to the excellent Alaska State Museum .
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Fun Things To Do In Juneau On Your Own
The first thing that will catch your eye in Juneau is the big number of sea-planes taking off and landing in the port area. Given that most visitors arrive in Juneau via cruise ships, the average stay in this town is not more than two days. There are plenty of things do in Juneau if you have time, but if your time is limited, here is how you can spend your day: