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Juneau Cruise Port: Guide To The Capital Of Alaska

When cruising to Alaska, most ships stop at the Juneau cruise port. Located in southeast Alaska, Juneau is only accessible by boat or plane.

This guide provides information on where vessels dock and tips for maximizing a port day in Alaska’s capital. While Juneau is a popular port being as it’s the capital, it also provides a diverse range of activities, such as whale watching, hiking, an aerial tram, and Mendenhall Glacier.

Being a large city, Juneau welcomes the most cruise ships each year. Although Juneau has seen seven vessels at once, a recent decision by the city now limits the dock to five large vessels a day.

Juneau cruise port from the Mount Roberts Tram

So, from 2024 onwards, the port will only cater to more than five if the vessels are small (like Uncruise, Seabourn, and Silversea). If you’re cruising with Uncruise, consider adding on a Juneau itinerary to spend time in the capital before to after the cruise.

What Docks Serve The Port Of Juneau?

For the 2024 Alaska cruise season, Juneau welcomes the first ship, the Norwegian Bliss, on April 6th and sees the last, the Norwegian Jewel, on October 24th. Ships cruise up the Gastineau Channel to reach the capital city.

The cruise ships dock near downtown Juneau, allowing passengers to quickly begin exploring the area.

Juneau’s docking facilities include three cruise terminals: the Ferry Terminal, South Franklin Dock, and Marine Park, which can handle two ships simultaneously.

Norwegian Encore at the AJ dock, the furthest cruise dock from downtown Juneau
Norwegian Encore at the AJ dock in Juneau

The AJ Dock (AJD) is situated one mile south of downtown. From there, passengers can walk to the center, which takes about 25 minutes, or use a shuttle service available for USD 5 for an all-day pass.

We recommend the shuttle to make the most of your time in Juneau. Shuttles run readily so it’s easy to get one on the return run to the ship.

Further north, the Franklin Street dock (FKL) positions visitors nearer to the downtown activities. Another strategic docking point is the Cruise Ship Terminal Dock (CT), located near the Mount Roberts Tramway. This dock is a hub for local tour vendors and a common meeting spot for pre-booked excursions.

Directly in front of the Cruise Ship Terminal Dock is the Juneau Visitor Center, where guests can obtain maps or information about the city.

Another prime dock, the Alaska Steam Dock (AS) provides direct access to South Franklin Street’s shops, restaurants, and attractions. If dock space is tight, tender vessels transport guests to a nearby dock, just north of the Alaska Steam Dock.

Guests on ships docked at the Franklin Street (FKL), Cruise Ship Terminal (CT), or Alaska Steam Docks (AS), don’t require a shuttle.

Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line often get priority docking at the cruise ship dock, allowing them prime locations. However, if two ships from the same line are in port, one might need to tender.

During our tender on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth, we found the process straightforward and were pleased with the drop-off location in town.

Guests already booked can check where their ship docks through the Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska. I have included the 2024 schedules and 2025 schedules.

A Princess ship docked at Juneau cruise port
A Princess ship docked in Juneau

Do You Need A Rental Car In Juneau?

Since cruise ships dock downtown, visitors don’t need a rental car to navigate the city. Most things are within walking distance.

However, without a pre-arranged shore excursion, having a rental gives an option to travel further. Most car rentals, such as Budget and Thrifty, are at the airport, 9 miles north of the cruise port. Expect the taxi trip to take 20 minutes.

Although Turo and Avis offer pick-up closest to where the ships dock. You’ll find Avis at 111 Mill St, near the AJ Dock.

A rental car allows for the freedom to explore beyond the downtown core. It provides access to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, the Shrine of St Therese, and Eagle Beach.

Where To Get Free Wi-Fi?

The port of Juneau does not offer free Wi-Fi because the dock lacks a terminal building. However, the Juneau public library at 292 Marine Way provides the service.

At the library, getting a temporary card which gives visitors complimentary use of a computer, if they want to check email on a desktop. I use Airalo for inexpensive Wi-Fi when on land because I don’t have coverage through my sell plan.

Alternatively, cafes or coffee shops have Wi-Fi, but usually for paying guests.

Weather In Juneau

Alaska cruises typically run from mid-April to mid-October. Expect unpredictable conditions, no matter what the month. Here are the weather stats for the cruise season.

MONTHHIGHS/LOWSRAINFALL
April48F/33F3″
May56F/40F3.4″
June62F/46F3.5″
July64F/49F4.1″
August63F/48F5.4″
September56F/44F7.5″
October47F/38F8.3″

Do You Need To Book Shore Excursions In Juneau?

With the cruise terminal downtown, guests have a short walk to reach the famous Red Dog Saloon, Tracy’s King Crab Shack, and the Alaska State Museum. 

Ships dock in Juneau from 6-1/2 to 13 hours. Obviously, having a longer port day allows for more options for activities.

Whale watching in Juneau, Alaska
Whale watching in Juneau

While Juneau offers a walkable city, it also provides a diverse selection of bucket list tours. Pick from glacier dog sledding, take a wildlife tour, or enjoy whale watching in Auke Bay.

Those who explore the city on foot, can spot bald eagles on the waterfront, browse for an Ulu knife at a local gift shop, or savor a duck fart at the Red Dog Saloon.

Here are the most popular excursions in Juneau for those who prefer a tour. One tour is usually best for a short stay. Guests on ships that dock for ten to twelve hours might manage three.

In Juneau, here are the most popular things to do.

  • Mendenhall GlacierTo reach Mendenhall Glacier, purchase a tour, book the Blue Bus, take a taxi, or go by city bus. While the latter takes the longest, it’s also the most cost effective.
Mendenhall Glacier and Lake
Mendenhall Glacier and Lake

Pro tip: Don’t carry food to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Bears frequent the area in summer and are attracted by food and flavored drinks.

  • Whale Watching – Tours leave from Auke Bay Harbor and last 3 to 4 hours. Transportation to and from the harbor is included.

Pro tip: Dress in layers on the water. It can often be much colder out on a boat.

  • Mount Roberts Tram – There are several options for hiking from here.

Pro tip: Pre-purchasing a ticket for the Mt. Roberts Tramway isn’t recommended, as it could be cloudy. Buying a pass at the ticket booth on the day is preferred.

Riding the Mount Roberts Tram
Riding the Mount Roberts Tram
  • Dog Sledding on a Glacier – Choose from TEMSCO, NorthStar, and Coastal Helicopters. They offer dog sledding on Juneau Icefield at Mendenhall, Herbert, or Norris Glaciers.

Pro tip: Avoid a very early flight as it may be cloudy. Have a backup plan in case the tour is canceled.

  • Last Chance Mining Museum– Learn about the history of the Gold Rush in this former mining location which closed in 1944.
  • Helicopter Tour – May fly to Mendenhall, Taku, or Herbert Glaciers, and may include a landing and glacier walk.

Pro tip: Guests cannot choose their seats on the helicopter. Riders are weighed and assigned a spot to balance the weight on the aircraft. 

  • Gold Creek Salmon Bake – The menu features freshly grilled wild Coho salmon with honey butter. We enjoyed the salmon which was grilled to perfection.

Pro tip: If it’s raining, the area has large tents and propane heaters to keep guests warm and dry.

Gold Creek Salmon Bake
Gold Creek Salmon Bak
  • Taku Lodge – Experience a flight to see five glaciers and end with a memorable meal at Taku Lodge. The feast includes fresh salmon and sourdough bread with all the trimmings.

Pro tip: Bring a camera as bears often appear at this remote location.

  • Juneau Museums – The Alaska State and Juneau-Douglas City Museums are a must-visit for history buffs. These venue document the history before becoming the 49th state, the Alaskan people, and its thriving industries.
  • Juneau’s Breweries – Check out the Alaskan Brewing Company, Devil’s Club Brewing, Barnaby Brewing Company, and Forbidden Peak Brewery. Go by yourself or do a brewery tour.

Where To Eat Near The Port

When hungry for seafood or other cuisine, here are some restaurants near the port.

1. Red Dog Saloon – 278 S Franklin Street. Famous for its “duck fart” shot.

2. Tracy’s King Crab Shack – 432 S Franklin Street. A popular choice for king crab, snow crab, crab cakes, and bisque. Expect to wait during busy times.

Tracy's King Crab Shack
Tracy’s King Crab Shack

3. Deckhand Daves – 139 S Franklin Street. Makes the best fish tacos in the city.

4. Alaska Fish & Company – 2 Marine Way #124. Offers great halibut and chips.

5. Sacred Grounds – 320 Willoughby Ave. Best coffee in Juneau.

Getting Back To The Ship

Being the state capital of Alaska, Juneau has the most prominent downtown area. There are lots of opportunities for shopping at numerous souvenir shops.

Whether booking an organized tour or exploring the rich history of Juneau on your own, be aware of the all-aboard time. Typically, cruise passengers need to be back 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. For guests tendering, allow extra time for the tendering process.

The Juneau cruise port, sea lions and whale watching