Juneau (Photo:Sorin Colac/Shutterstock)
2017 Top-Rated Alaska Destinations
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Juneau

Juneau, often described as America's most unusual state capital, is the only center of U.S. government with no roads leading into or out of town. The city is surrounded by nature, namely towering mountains and the waters of Gastineau Channel. For most visitors, the only way in or out is by air or sea. Residents boast three routes: plane, boat or birth canal.

Gold put Juneau on the map in the 1880s, though the mining camp went by several names before prospector Joe Juneau finally wrangled enough votes to get his name to stick. Gold remained the mainstay until the last mine was shut down in 1944. However, mining has made a comeback as one of the region's top industries; in recent decades, two mines have begun production of not just gold but also silver and other metals. Another leading industry there is government. Juneau became a state capital when Alaska became the 49th U.S. state in 1959, and today, nearly 60 percent of the city's population works in government. The governor's mansion stands on a hillside overlooking the cruise docks, and anyone can take a walk up the hills via steep stairways.

Juneau offers a wide range of shoreside activities, from whale-watching and zip-lining to touring the Capitol building or the Alaskan Brewing Co. Then, there's the state's most accessible glacier -- Mendenhall, an immense, 12-mile-long river of ice. Along with glacier-viewing, there's always the chance of seeing a bear or two up close.

About Juneau


Pro

Alaska's capital city is easy to navigate, serving as a great jumping-off point for tours

Con

There are some busy roads, making this port a bit less walkable than others in Alaska

Bottom Line

Juneau has lots for visitors to discover: wildlife, shopping, history and excellent seafood


Find a Cruise to Alaska

Where You're Docked

Your ship will arrive to any of three areas, all within walking distance of downtown. Most large ships dock along South Franklin Street near the library and Mount Roberts Tramway. Small ships dock next to floatplanes at Seadrome Dock. AJ Dock is at the south end of town. Ships might anchor and tender passengers when more than four large vessels are in port. The Alaskan Marine Highway ferry docks about seven miles outside of downtown.

Good to Know

Overcast skies. Juneau is located in a temperate rain forest and sees an average of 220 days of precipitation a year. Poor weather can spoil your day, especially if you have your heart set on riding in a helicopter and landing on top of a glacier.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Currency is the U.S. dollar. ATMs and banks are readily available around town. Some stores, like Rainbow Foods, allow you to get cash back ($20) with purchases.

Language

Residents speak English. If you want to learn a few Tlingit (Native American) phrases, take the Mount Roberts Tramway to the top and sit in on a free lesson in the auditorium.

Shopping

Red Dog Saloon logowear is fun, especially the red suspenders. Also, a bar of glacier silt soap, made only in Juneau, is a unique gift.


Juneau Awards

Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards

2017 Top-Rated Alaska Destinations
2016 Top-Rated Alaska Destinations