Juneau was the embarkation point for our small ship cruise. We flew into Juneau
via Seattle and were met by a friendly Cruise West representative, who told us about Juneau as we drove into town. She also told us that Cruise West had an information desk at the Goldbelt Hotel
, where we were staying overnight. After checking into our room
, Ronnie and I explored downtown Juneau
, and saw our ship
already docked right across the street from the hotel. Since Juneau is a very popular cruise ship port of call, we were not surprised to see four mega-ships in port. After eating a late dockside lunch and watching the float planes
, we wandered the streets and browsed in the numerous souvenir shops. Ronnie also found a place to fish
in the channel and managed to catch a couple of salmon
. In the early evening, after the mega-ships had sailed away, we took an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier
. This was an excellent choice since the park was quiet, with few visitors. We marveled at the glacier and were thrilled to see our first bears
. Because of the delightful, long summer days in Alaska, the excursion did not return to the hotel until almost 9:30 pm.
The next morning, we took a closer look at Juneau and noticed that four different cruise ships had moved in overnight. The setting of the capital city of Alaska is spectacular, strung along the coastline between the mountains and the sea. Ronnie and I toured the interesting state capital. We watched the tourists riding the tramway to the top of Mount Roberts and enjoyed seeing a commercial fishing boat unload its catch.
We met up with Cruise West at the hotel at 4:00 pm and did a short driving tour over to Douglas Island before boarding the Spirit of Yorktown at about 5:00 pm. Since there were only about 75 passengers, boarding went quickly and we were soon on our way to Skagway.
Author's Note: Although Cruise West is no longer operating, other small ships that cruise Alaska's Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska offer similar itineraries and cruise experiences.