The third day of my 7-night Alaska cruise brings us to Juneau, but we weren’t scheduled to arrive until 1PM.
Because of this, the morning started off as a sea day and we caught our first glimpse of Alaska in the distance. While the seas were calm, it was foggy outside, so we weren’t able to see much aside from few icebergs floating in the distance!
The Main Dining Room had brunch today starting at 9AM, so we enjoyed a quiet meal next to a window while looking at Alaska’s scenery.
Following brunch, we relaxed in our cabin for a few hours until the ship’s captain made an announcement that we were approaching Juneau.
Arrival in Juneau
Upon hearing the announcement, Reeham and I threw on our jackets, grabbed our cameras, and headed downstairs to the helicopter pad. Because our only views of Alaska so far had been blocked with fog, we couldn’t wait to catch a more close-up look.
I remember last year during my first cruise to Alaska, my dad and I were in awe as we caught our first view of the state when our ship docked in Ketchikan.
The same thing happened today when we walked out on the helicopter pad. Huge mountains and thousand-foot waterfalls surrounded the ship on both sides. We couldn’t have been more eager to disembark the ship and start exploring!
There was still an hour or so until the gangway opened, so we had lunch at the Windjammer before disembarking.
Radiance of the Seas docked at the AJ dock today, and we were the last ship to arrive in port. Getting to downtown Juneau from the dock is about a 15-20 minute walk, or you can opt to purchase a round-trip shuttle ticket to and from downtown.
While the shuttle ticket was cheap, we decided to walk as we had no plans for the day and thus were not in a rush.
The original plan for today in Juneau was to ride the Goldbelt Tram up Mount Roberts for stunning views of Juneau and the surrounding area. At the top of the tram are hiking trails, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop, so it seemed like a nice way to spend the afternoon.
When we got to Juneau, however, the sky had near full cloud cover and the tram was covered in mist, so we decided against it. It’s still at the top of my list, but I’ll have to try it on a day with clearer skis!
Instead of taking the tram, we ventured to the area around the port where local tour companies sell independent excursions. Whale watching tours, helicopter rides, glacier viewing excursions, and other Alaska adventures can be booked once on shore in Juneau.
The tours were all quite expensive (albeit standard Alaska excursion prices), so we opted for the cheapest one: round-trip transportation and entrance fee to Mendenhall Glacier.
I visited Mendenhall Glacier last year while on Ovation of the Seas, but it’s such a beautiful place that I couldn’t pass up visiting again.
Plus, while downtown Juneau has plenty of shops and restaurants, there isn’t a ton to do directly in town, so I thought it made sense to visit Juneau’s top attraction a second time.
The shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier takes around 25 minutes, and our driver provided informational and entertaining commentary along the way, making the time pass quickly and giving us insights into Juneau’s geography and lifestyle.
When we arrived, I was, once again, flabbergasted by the beauty and grandeur of Mendenhall Glacier and the surrounding mountains.
The sky blue, icy glacier and towering Mendenhall Towers above are so beautiful that I could probably visit 100 times and not get tired of the view. We even saw two bald eagles resting on an iceberg!
We were a little short on time, so we hiked the quick trail to Nugget Falls instead of doing a longer hike. Visiting Nugget Falls is well worth the ~20 minute walk on mostly paved surfaces, as the waterfall is extremely powerful and impressive!
The view of the glacier from Nugget Falls isn’t the best, though, as the view is mostly covered by rock. For the best viewing opportunity, be sure to visit the park’s official scenic photo area located near the visitor center.
We spent around two hours at the glacier and before leaving, we walked into the Visitor Center. I found the information on the glacier at the center quite interesting, and they even had a theater and a live lecturer delivering information about Mendenhall Glacier, so it’s well worth a visit.
We took the shuttle bus back to Juneau and arrived downtown with an hour and a half left before all-aboard time.
Our first stop was the Alaska Fudge Co., which makes homemade fudge in a variety of fun flavors, from cookies n’ cream to chocolate peanut butter. It was delicious!
Next, we stumbled across a cool food truck/food vendor park downtown. Everything from an oyster bar to fish tacos and crepes were being sold from various vendors, and it seemed like an awesome place to hang out near downtown.
We tried panko-breaded salmon tacos from the taco truck and they were out-of-this-world delicious!
Our last stop for the day was a rest at a picnic table on the waterfront while en route back to the ship. Here we took in the last views of Juneau before making the 15 minute walk back to Radiance of the Seas.
Once onboard, we went straight to the Windjammer for a late dinner and watched as we pulled away from Juneau and began the journey to Icy Strait Point, our next port of call.
At this point it was already past 8PM and we were tired from a long day of walking, hiking, and sightseeing, so we headed back to the cabin to relax.
We had a wonderful day in Juneau today, and the rain somehow avoided us throughout the majority of the day. I even saw blue skies peeking through the clouds!
Thank you for following along on this live blog and I’ll be back tomorrow from Icy Strait Point!