We are back from our fabulous Alaska Inside Passage Cruise on the gorgeous Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam. The first stop on our cruise out of Vancouver was in Juneau, Alaska.
Alaska Inside Passage Cruise – Juneau
We docked in port about 1PM; past cruises that I’ve been on had long lines of people waiting to get off the boat so we were pleasantly surprised that it took less than 10 minutes to disembark.
Sarah’s friend from highschool picked us up from the boat and we headed off on our Juneau adventure. Our first stop was to see the Mendenhall Glacier. We checked out the visitors center (and picked up a few ponchos) then took a short walk out closer to the glacier. In addition to the glacier, Nugget Creek Falls is right next to the glacier which is also quite stunning (especially up close). I was glad that I was wearing my rain boots because it was definitely a muddy day.
There is a viewing area right outside the visitors center; however, I highly recommend taking the short walk out to the waterfall to get a bit closer to the glacier. It wasn’t a paved path, but still a nature walk that could be completed at a leisurely pace and without any sort of strenuous effort.
After leaving the glacier, we went out to see The Shrine of St Therese. The Shrine is located about 20 miles north of Juneau and is on it’s own little peninsula. The grounds were absolutely GORGEOUS and so quiet and peaceful.
On our way back to downtown we stopped by the fish hatchery to see some salmon climbing the fish ladder. We had a few animals on our wildlife checklist that we wanted to see and were hoping that some of them might be hanging out trying to eat the fish. We did see some seals out in the water, but we were really hoping for otters or bears.
Sarah wanted to make sure that we checked out the Red Dog Saloon. The Red Dog Saloon has been around since the mining era and features sawdust floors and swinging bar doors. We had a fun time eating at this historic tourist destination and of course had to leave our mark on the walls (along with other patrons over the past decades).
Many of the stores were starting to close for the season since we were one of the last boats to come through. We walked through a few of them and picked up my dad an Alaskan Amber T-shirt for this birthday.
I had been to Juneau back in the late 90s with my parents when we did the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise via the Alaskan State Ferry. Juneau was a lot different than what I remember (although the cruise boats and ferry boats come into different parts of town so that was probably why).
There was so much more that we could have seen in Juneau so we will have to go back! One of these days I will do an excursion that involves taking a helicopter to the top of a glacier. Have you been on an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise? What port was your favorite?