Juneau, Alaska Cruise Port Guide

On a Juneau cruise, you’ll discover a compact capital bustling with activity, where floatplanes buzz over the water, hikers set out to explore the forest trails, and summer visitors browse the enticing shops of the downtown area. Nature is never far away in Juneau—you’ll see majestic bald eagles perching on fences and in trees. The waters of Auke Bay are rich feeding grounds for marine mammals, from acrobatic humpback whales to sleek orcas. 

On your Alaska cruise, take a trip to the nearby Mendenhall Glacier and you could spot bears in the woods around the icy lake. Just minutes from downtown, you’ll find yourself in a wilderness of pristine shorelines, where bottle-green spruce trees jostle against stony beaches, and blue-white glaciers flow over distant hanging valleys.

Cruises to Juneau, Alaska

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier

A short drive from the downtown area, the mighty Mendenhall Glacier is located in the dense Tongass National Forest. Stop by the informative visitor center, then follow a hiking trail around the stony shores of Mendenhall Lake. See fragments of ice bob on the water, having calved off from the icy face of the glacier. The Nugget Falls trail further showcases the power of nature, leading to a stony beach close to the base of this cascading waterfall.

Auke Bay

Between May and September, migrating humpback whales gather in the waters of Auke Bay and beyond to feed in the deep underwater chasms between the tree-tufted peaks of rocky islands. Local environmentalists know where to spot the whales, and even have names for some individuals. A guided trip on a small boat is the best way to spot these magnificent animals and learn about their habits and the efforts made to protect them.

Mount Roberts

Towering over the city, forested Mount Roberts is easily accessed via the Goldbelt Tram that whisks visitors 1,800 feet up the mountainside. From the top, admire soaring views of the Chilkat Mountains, the sparkling Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island, and Silver Bow Basin. Activities here include hiking trails that lead through forests and flower-filled meadows, as well as bald eagle displays and a cultural center dedicated to the Tlingit way of life.

Top Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska

Go Dog Sledding on a Glacier

Soar over the Juneau Icefield in a helicopter, admiring the jagged mountains, sparkling lakes, and ice below. Land on Norris Glacier, where there’s a remote dog sled camp in summer. Many of the dogs here are former racers and veterans of the challenging Alaskan Iditarod race. You’ll be taught basic commands and experience the thrill of racing across the snow, pulled along by your own team of eager dogs while taking in the dramatic scenery of this icy wilderness.

Paddle a Sea Kayak

See the dramatic scenery around Juneau from the water on a kayaking excursion in Channel Island State Marine Park against a backdrop of dense forest, lichen-draped trees, rocky islands, and snow-capped peaks. Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, herons, dolphins, sea lions, and possibly humpback whales. During your kayaking adventure, commune with nature, breathe in the fresh Alaskan air, and enjoy the silence.

Join a Food Safari

Get to know Juneau via its culinary culture in the company of a local expert. You’ll walk through the city, learning about the city’s lore and legends, stopping at some of the best cafés and award-winning restaurants. Tastings along the way include king crab bisque, salmon, Alaskan game, hog wing, and tea from indigenous plants. Your adventure will end in a historic pub for a tasting of three local beers.

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Top Food & Drink in Juneau

With abundant fresh seafood and a thriving culture of craft beer making, Juneau offers plenty of authentic Alaskan tastes for the gourmet traveler. King crab is king here, served in a flavor-packed bisque, as crab cakes, crab rolls, or as buckets of legs drenched in garlic butter and lemon. 

Other specialties to try are salmon, which comes smoked, grilled, fried, or roasted. Fish and chips are a local favorite, consisting of flaky cod fried in a light batter and served with chunky fries. Reindeer sausages have a wonderfully smoky taste; try them with kelp salsa. Sweet treats include berry cobbler, made with local blueberries, cloudberries, and lingonberries, and served with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Culture & History of Juneau, Alaska

The Auke Tribe, a subgroup of the Tlingit Alaskan Natives, have lived along the coast here for thousands of years, fishing, hunting, and foraging. 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, in exchange for a reward, led the newcomers in the direction of gold in Silver Bow Basin. 

Gold mining gave rise to a busy settlement and remained an important industry here for nearly 60 years until the last mine closed during WWII. Juneau became Alaska’s state capital in 1906, as the fur trade in the former capital, Sitka, declined. Today, the city’s economy depends largely on fishing and tourism.

Juneau Cruise Port Facilities & Location

Juneau cruise ships dock at three terminals which run parallel to the downtown area. You can walk from any of the three to downtown Juneau. If you’ve booked a tour, you will be picked up from right outside the terminal. Taxis and local buses are plentiful here, too. If your ship is at the AJ Dock, the furthest from downtown, a shuttle is provided

Transportation in Juneau

Juneau is a compact city and most places can be reached in about 15 minutes on foot. Most of the shops and restaurants are stretched out along South Franklin Street. Taxis pick up from the cruise terminals, and rideshare services operate here, too. The local bus company, Capital Transit, is a good option for getting around the downtown area if your mobility is limited. The Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway is right opposite the South Cruise Ship Berth.

Shopping in Juneau

Shoppers will find plenty of choice in Juneau, from logo wear and printed T-shirts to vacuum-packed smoked salmon, cookbooks, pottery, and hiking gear. There are dozens of galleries and jewelry shops, some selling Alaskan-made jewelry and designs, as well as herbal remedies, scented candles, and soaps. Head up the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway to Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery for some of the best Native Alaskan artwork, from masks to carvings and framed prints. Always look for the “Made in Alaska” mark to make sure you’re buying a genuine piece.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The currency in Juneau is the U.S. dollar (USD), with ATMs widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most places. Carry some cash for tips; while tipping isn’t mandatory, it is as much a part of the culture here as it is elsewhere in the U.S. Standard amounts are 15-20% in restaurants, 10-15% in bars and taxis, and from 10-20% of the tour cost for local guides.


To explore further into Alaska, you can extend your cruise with a Cruisetour. This allows you to travel inland via motorcoach and railway exploring Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, Talkeetna, Girdwood (Alyeska) and Denali National Park, taking in the views of the highest mountain peak in North America. Cruisetours include the finest hotel accommodations, a local dedicated Alaskan Tour Director, luxury transportation, and some activities.

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