We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

bellingham, WA
Level Contributor
10 posts
24 reviews
Save Topic
impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

We are staying at the Driftwood downtown for 5 nights beginning September 19th. The port schedule shows 4 ships in port for each of the first few days, but only two ships each day on Thursday and Friday. Does the number of ships in port make much of difference in planning our activities? For instance, we definitely want to take a day trip to Tracy Arm and a whale watching trip to Icy Strait is a possibility. We also like hiking so we will rent a car for a couple of days to make it easier to get around to some hiking spots. We also enjoy just taking the local buses around to see the sights. Should we schedule the boat trips when more cruise ships are in and the hiking later, or th

Juneau Whale Watch
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Other Outdoor Activities
Gastineau Guiding Company - Juneau's Premier Guiding Company
Dolphin & Whale Watching, Other Outdoor Activities, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Boat Tours
Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska
Boat Tours, Private Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Dolphin Jet Boat Tours
Nature & Wildlife Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Eco Tours
bellingham, WA
Level Contributor
10 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

My computer (not me) sent this before I was finished.

. . . hiking later, or the opposite? Fortunately, the Driftwood provides transportation from the ferry and to the airport for us so we have flexibility. Juneau, despite all the gloomy reports of rain, rain, rain, sounds wonderful!

Alaska
Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

about your desire to take a trip to Tracy Arms I would call around now as some of the tours cease operation the week prior to your visit. If they will still be running at the time I would highly recommend Alaska Bound Adventures - they are the cheapest and the tour is actually longer. Plus it's always nice to support a family owned business. If you can get on a trip on the quieter days I would but it is more important to note the hours that those ships are in town because the tours generally last 8am - 6pm a day with 2 ships in port all day may be busier than a day with 4 ships that aren't in port long enough to book these tours.

Book your Tracy Arms trip ahead of any whale watching trip because you generally will see a lot of whales on the way to TA.

If you are looking at info on local trails I would look at juneautrails.org

And the rental car will be helpful because although the Driftwood is technically in the Downtown area (not in the Valley) it is maybe 3-5 miles from Downtown/shops/Franklin St area. It is near houses and the schools.

bellingham, WA
Level Contributor
10 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

Thanks for the info. I think we will follow your advise about the tracy arm tour. I didn't realize that the Driftwood was somewhat isolated. Actually, we like it when our hotel is in a residential area but I agree that we may prefer having a car for getting around. I must say, though, that my husband said he was looking forward to not driving much.

Geneva Switzerland
Level Contributor
35 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

We were in Juneau in August 2005, also stayed at the Driftwood. The Driftwood is not at all isolated, but conveniently located downtown. We spent a couple days in Juneau and, to be frank, it was not the most interesting part of our visit. The cruise ship industry has pretty much laid waste to the downtown area, turning it into a tacky wasteland of t-shirt shops and jewelry stores. We arrived by ferry and found that many of the shops close when there are no cruise ships in port- but you will not be missing anything. We took the local bus to the Mendenhall glacier, but the tourism industry has mandated that the bus cannot get any closer than one mile from the park, so we had a not-so-pleasant along a road to get there, but the park itself had a nice visitor center and a good view of the glacier. We went up to Last Chance Gold Mine, which was only of modest interest, although my daughter did get to pan for gold, which she found fun. If you plan any activities, even booking sightseeing cruises, we would urge you to avoid GoldBelt tours, with whom we had a terrible experience. They were utterly clueless and even booked us for the ferry to Gustavus on a day that it was not running and we ended up having to take the airplane! We heard complaints from other travelers as well about Goldbelt. If I were you, I would not take two day trips from Juneau to Tracy Arm and Icy Straight, but instead go to Glacier Bay Lodge, where you will see spectacular tidewater glaciers and lots of wildlife. I would not bother renting a car in Juneau, as you can reach many nice trails from town or from local buses.

juneau, AK
8 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

I'm currently living in Juneau, and it is a pleasant town, 4 days sounds like a good amount of time. The driftwood is a 5 min walk from the town of Juneau, it still has a smalltown feel to it. the Fiddlehead restaurant next door is excellent, for breakfast as well. I've always heard Tracey Arm is a highlight, but check reviews of Glacier Bay, that might suit you better. DEFINATELY start looking into it now, as many tours are already ending. yes, many of the shops are cruise-orientated (I work w/ Diamonds International, myself!) but you're coming at a great time to shop--for the seasonal stores, all of us have to ship our stock back! Driving is ridiculously easy, outside of the one way streets in town, there's only about 3 other 2Lane roads! there's lovely hiking in town and at the glacier. It's still not too cold, avg 60s in the day, and the rain is sprinkling, rarely downpour. if you're lucky enough for a clear night, keep a look out for the northern lights! Skagway has already had several. while you're in town, stop by and say hi!

Anna

juneau, AK
8 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: impact of cruise ships on Juneau activities

OH! and go see the bears at Admiralty island. It is an expensive trip; the plane ride over is $400, and you have to prearrange w/ the park service (they only allow 24 people to visit a day), but get there early and stay all day. Ask about the tides, at low tide go to the beach creek section; we saw 4 mothers w/ about 12 cubs, fishing and playing. then go have the lunch you bring on the beach, then do the 30 min hike to a lookout tower over a salmon creek when the tide is too high at the beach for them to fish.

The driftwood is next to a supermarket, so easy to make sandwiches for your hikes and adventures.