OVERwhelmed in Juneau!

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#1
South of the Windy City
574 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi there!

Just booked 8/31/2012 Northbound cruise on Radiance of the Seas.

Oh my gosh, there is a lot to look at and plan!!

Looking for help on what to do in which ports to make the most of the itinerary. We are 2 couples (mid-forties).

Posting this once for each port in hopes of hearing from you AK cruise veterans!!

SO.....what's a must-see/do in Juneau?
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Dana



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#2
Northern California
952 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
When you get off the ship, it's a short walk to where they have the tramway (up Mt. Roberts) and the buses that go to Mendenhall. There's several different bus companies, each with their own little shack. It's about $16 roundtrip to Mendenhall. There's a visitor center which charges I think $3, but you can just walk around, try the trails, and get all sorts of amazing vantage points of the glacier (as well as a waterfall near the glacier. Here'a a pic, and this from kinda far away. You can hike much closer...
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File Type: jpg mendenhall.jpg (18.4 KB, 274 views)
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#3
South of the Windy City
574 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
WOW, that's beautiful!

I was surprised at how expensive the shore excursions are compared to the prices that we are used to on the Caribbean cruises.

I'm guessing that it is much cheaper to do the sightseeing on our own, but worried about making a bad choice.
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Dana



2015: Independence of the Seas
2013: Grandeur of the Seas
2012: Radiance of the Seas
2010: Serenade of the Seas
2009: Navigator of the Seas
2006: Enchantment of the Seas
2005: Sovereign of the Seas
2000: Monarch of the Seas
1999: Rhapsody of the Seas
1998: Majesty of the Seas
1997: Empress of the Seas
1996: Sovereign of the Seas
#4
Northern California
952 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Here's another shot of Mendenhall from the trail that goes to the waterfall, which you can't see but it's to the right of the glacier. You can get down to the waters edge and touch smaller pieces of ice that have drifted in to shore.

And yes, excursions can be VERY pricey. We've found that pretty much every town has a lot to offer simply by getting out and walking around. At $16 roundtrip, the mendenhall bus is one of the cheapest and nicest simple excursions, imo.
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Viking Serenade - Baja California - 4.30.99 | Celebrity Mercury - Alaska - 8.3.03
Monarch of the Seas - Baja California - 5.28.07 | Monarch of the Seas - Baja California - 12.21.07
Monarch of the Seas - Baja California - 3.31.08 | Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Riviera - 6.27.10 ReviewPhotos
Carnival Paradise - Baja California - 2.21.11 Photos | Sea Princess - Alaska - 7.19.11 Photos
Star Princess - Alaska - 6.3.12 ReviewPhotos | Carnival Inspiration - Baja California - 6.10.13
Star Princess - Alaska - 7.6.14 Photos | Grand Princess - Mexican Riviera - 12.30.16 Photos
#5
Bethlehem, PA
4,677 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Juneau's a great port for whale watching. We've gone w/Harv and Marv (www.harvandmarvs.com) twice and were very pleased with them. Small, 6 passenger boats, very comfortable seating, excellent binoculars for your use, and personalized service. They'll drop you off at Mendenhall Glacier after your tour, and you can then catch the blue bus back to town ($8pp one way, I believe), or wait for them to come back w/other passengers for your ride back to town.

Last year we went on a self-guided kayak excursion on Mendenhall Lake thru Above and Beyond Alaska. Really a great time paddling right up to the face of the glacier and in amongst those massive iceburgs. Afterwards, we rented a car, stopping at the fish hatchery, the brewery (but it was just closing), the glacier (for another perspective on dry land), then "out the road" to the shrine, and to Eagle Beach. It was a great day in Juneau!
#6
South Florida
4,631 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I have a whale watch booked with Captain Cory of Stories and Legends

I hear people rave about Tracy's Crab Shack in Juneau ..I plan a visit before I reboard my ship
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Esty

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#7
virginia
7,770 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Blonde375--I am on the 8/31 cruise, too. Come on over to the Roll Call for our cruise. And sign up for the Meet and Mingle. I must admit I usually just read the CC boards to get information. However, last month I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas out of Baltimore after participating in the Roll Call and M & M. It really enhanced the cruise experience.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#8
Nassau County, NY
73 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
we've finally booked our cruise, Diamond Princess at the end of June. Is there enough time to do the Mt Roberts Tramway and the Mendenhall Glacier? I know that there are lots of people getting off the ship but it seems to me there would be enough time to do both... any experienced travelers out there with suggestions?
#9
Syracuse, New York
50,528 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by blonde375
WOW, that's beautiful!

I was surprised at how expensive the shore excursions are compared to the prices that we are used to on the Caribbean cruises.

I'm guessing that it is much cheaper to do the sightseeing on our own, but worried about making a bad choice.
No, you are not likely to see big savings with booking independent.

I suggest you narrow down your interests and determine your budget. Looking over your shore excursion list offers excellent details. You can then look into independent once you make some selections.
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Happy Alaska travels

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#10
Seattle
115 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
for a hundred bucks rent a car for the day... arm yourself with a map(go to the Juneau Visitors Center website) and you can see it all plus the out of the way places... it is pretty difficult to get lost in Juneau... As Long as you can Find Egan Drive or Glacier Hiway you are good to go!! I reserved my car today for Juneau and we are excited for a busy day!!!
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#11
Thousand Oaks, California
1,576 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
In August, 2009 we cruised northbound on the Radiance of the Seas and really enjoyed it. We got off the ship in Juneau and took one of the buses to Mendenhall glacier and looked around the visitor center. Wished we would have taken the trail to the waterfall though. After that we went back to town going to the library to check our e-mail, had a great lunch at a place called Flightdeck and then still had plenty of time to go up the Mt. Roberts Tramway. We had a very clear day so the view from the top was spectacular. I don't recommend buying tickets ahead of time. Buy them when you get there so you can see what the weather is that day. Wouldn't be too nice if it was foggy and overcast.

You will have a great trip.
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[size="2"][size="2"]Sherry

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#12
Pittsburgh, PA
1,844 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Well, if you book privately, you won't save a bundle, but you will save a little. We also carefully selected which operator we used in each port, based on extensive reading of these boards.

We used Harv and Marv for a whale watch, and they were excellent. Their small boats allow a lot of interaction with the guide, and you will learn tons. You will see bald eagles and other wildlife on the trip as well as whales.

We also got another advantage of booking privately. We were able to do both a whale watch and a glacier trek in the same day. Both operators knew we were doing both and worked with us to get everything in. (We used Northstar Trekking for the glacier trek.) That was admittedly an expensive day or tours -- the helo ride and glacier trek aren't cheap -- but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can, as has been posted, just go and hike on Mendenhall a bit by yourself if you want to do that, or just stop at the visitors' center (which Harv and Marv did for a few minutes on the way back to town).
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Ben and Susan


Previous cruises:
Oceania REGATTA - Scenic Panama Canal - Dec. 5 - Dec. 21, 2014
Uniworld RIVER AMBASSADOR - European Splendors, June, 2013
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Oceania RIVIERA - Accent on Italy - Oct. 24 - Nov. 3, 2012
MV ECLIPSE - 7 days in the Galapagos - June, 2012
HAL STATENDAM - 7 day Glacier excursion - June, 2010
Disney WONDER - 3-night Bahamas - Dec. 27-30, 2009
Oceania REGATTA - Scandinavian Splendors - Aug 8-22, 2009
Carnival FANTASY - 3-day 1990 or '91
USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) Two WestPac cruises 1969-71 Oops those weren't pleasure cruises!
#13
Pittsburgh, PA
717 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Originally posted by bookmama22
we've finally booked our cruise, Diamond Princess at the end of June. Is there enough time to do the Mt Roberts Tramway and the Mendenhall Glacier? I know that there are lots of people getting off the ship but it seems to me there would be enough time to do both... any experienced travelers out there with suggestions?
If you are on the June 30 sailing, come on over to the Roll Call Board and join us.
#14
2,177 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by blonde375
Hi there!


Looking for help on what to do in which ports to make the most of the itinerary. We are 2 couples (mid-forties).

Posting this once for each port in hopes of hearing from you AK cruise veterans!!

SO.....what's a must-see/do in Juneau?
Rent a car............much cheaper when you have four people. ALWAYS rent from Rent-a-Wreck. The others are all the way out at the airport and you have to pay a cab to return to the ship. The cars are NOT "wrecks"......
You can drive everywhere and not get lost..........we've been told there are only 28 miles of hwy. and if you look at a map, that looks correct.
I rent each year when up in AK cuz I always want to go to the glacier and the Chapel on the Lake.
The last few times I've been in Juneau it was overcast, so I didn't spend the $ to go up the tram. Don't book ahead just in case.....
ENJOY!
#15
44 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by bbwex
Well, if you book privately, you won't save a bundle, but you will save a little. We also carefully selected which operator we used in each port, based on extensive reading of these boards.

We used Harv and Marv for a whale watch, and they were excellent. Their small boats allow a lot of interaction with the guide, and you will learn tons. You will see bald eagles and other wildlife on the trip as well as whales.

We also got another advantage of booking privately. We were able to do both a whale watch and a glacier trek in the same day. Both operators knew we were doing both and worked with us to get everything in. (We used Northstar Trekking for the glacier trek.) That was admittedly an expensive day or tours -- the helo ride and glacier trek aren't cheap -- but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can, as has been posted, just go and hike on Mendenhall a bit by yourself if you want to do that, or just stop at the visitors' center (which Harv and Marv did for a few minutes on the way back to town).

In my research, it seems that Northstar does not allow you to book directly with them if you are on a cruise. How were you able to get both tours in on the same day? Was your Northstar trek less expensive than booking with the ship?
#16
Syracuse, New York
50,528 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by KAYEF
Rent a car............much cheaper when you have four people. ALWAYS rent from Rent-a-Wreck. The others are all the way out at the airport and you have to pay a cab to return to the ship. The cars are NOT "wrecks"......
You can drive everywhere and not get lost..........we've been told there are only 28 miles of hwy. and if you look at a map, that looks correct.
I rent each year when up in AK cuz I always want to go to the glacier and the Chapel on the Lake.
The last few times I've been in Juneau it was overcast, so I didn't spend the $ to go up the tram. Don't book ahead just in case.....
ENJOY!
Sorry you are wrong. National Rental Cars have an office at the AJ dock.
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#17
Syracuse, New York
50,528 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by hmwende
In my research, it seems that Northstar does not allow you to book directly with them if you are on a cruise. How were you able to get both tours in on the same day? Was your Northstar trek less expensive than booking with the ship?
Is this from first hand iinformation and you were denied a booking?? But it sounds like you are just repeating some information?? They certainly do book direct. BUT, they are also ship contractors, which would have contracts and priority. IF you want to book them, then find out what is the case for your date, by contacting them direct.
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#18
Seattle
115 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by Budget Queen
Sorry you are wrong. National Rental Cars have an office at the AJ dock.
You are correct but they are also 50$+ more to rent for a day than rent a wreck!!! I have used Rent A Wreck many many times in Juneau and they have very nice cars... I used to rent a pick up each year when I was commercial fishing to haul gear... they had the best trucks and the BEST rates!! They are less than 2 blocks from AJ Dock....or out at the airport!By renting a car you will see far more than you ever could on a tour.....my thoery is tours for 5 would be well over 500$ for the day... I get a mini van we go all over see many many more things for 94$+ tax..... not being cheap... being practical! and we can hit my favorite Pub for the best fish and chips on earth!!!

there are 48 miles of Road in Juneau from downtown to out the road...the road ends at Echo Cove...
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#19
New England
641 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I have reserved a car from National and it was $57 for a standard (Ford Fusion type). It is located at the docks. Would rent-a-wreck be cheaper than that??

Renting the car will give us the flexibility to budget our time wisely and at our own pace. We plan to go to Mendenhall Glacier, hike the West Glacier trail, then hit Eagle Beach , this looks like a nice place for a picnic. I would like to see the Shrine of Ste Theresa as well. If it is a clear day and there is time, we will use the 2-1 coupon for the Mt Roberts tram from our Northern Lights book.
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#20
Syracuse, New York
50,528 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by akfishergirl
You are correct but they are also 50$+ more to rent for a day than rent a wreck!!! I have used Rent A Wreck many many times in Juneau and they have very nice cars... I used to rent a pick up each year when I was commercial fishing to haul gear... they had the best trucks and the BEST rates!! They are less than 2 blocks from AJ Dock....or out at the airport!By renting a car you will see far more than you ever could on a tour.....my thoery is tours for 5 would be well over 500$ for the day... I get a mini van we go all over see many many more things for 94$+ tax..... not being cheap... being practical! and we can hit my favorite Pub for the best fish and chips on earth!!!

there are 48 miles of Road in Juneau from downtown to out the road...the road ends at Echo Cove...
Nope- I have two Juneau car rentals for less than $60+/day. they are about the same as Rent A Wreck, and they no longer have the ship shuttle buses. Walk to them is about a mile now. But, if the AJ dock is empty, same distance to walk.
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