Cruising Alaska Off-Season — Entering Juneau


Last week I ran a three-part series on Cruising in the Age of Covid-19. That review detailed onboard experiences on recent back-to-back voyages aboard Royal Caribbean‘s huge ship Ovation of the Seas. Beginning today I will present to you the sights we encountered on these voyages beginning with Juneau, the capital of Alaska.

Ovation of the Seas in Juneau — 26 September 2021

On Voyage 1 we arrived in port on 26 September in the afternoon. It was our first port of call on this voyage. As our itinerary for Voyage 2 was altered, substituting Ketchikan for Sitka because of weather, Juneau became our second port. That arrival was early morning on 4 October. The photos you’ll see this week are selection from both visits at eight days apart.

Dockside in Juneau — 26 September 2021

Our first visit to Juneau the weather was not exactly cooperative. The skies were cloudy, and we had intermittent light sprinkles throughout our stay. Nothing uncomfortable, mind you. We didn’t even need to break out the umbrellas, although Ursula briefly donned a rain poncho.

Juneau Public Library alongside the cruise pier

Juneau is an interesting town, and it’s particularly fun to walk the many shops along South Franklin Street. Here you’ll find everything from high-end jewelry, to expensive furs, to a store specializing in Russian items (including some cool Soviet-era hats), to bars, and, of course, Tracy’s King Crab Shack, which was unfortunately closed for the season. The image below of Tracy’s was taken on the sunnier of the two days we visited Juneau — 4 October — with an earlier morning arrival.

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

Not far from Tracy’s, also on South Franklin, is the Mount Roberts Tramway. I’ve included a photo of it, also taken on 4 October. For an article on what that’s like, see my article from an earlier visit: Mount Roberts Tramway.

Mount Roberts Tramway, Juneau

One of these day’s I really am going to have to step inside those rustic swinging doors leading into the historic Red Dog Saloon. This place has been beckoning to me for decades now, as it calls out to me every time we visit Juneau:

Red Dog Saloon

So, what else is on South Franklin? Well, as you leave the cruise ship, below is the view to the right (south). That’s the direction for Tracy’s, the tramway, and some of the more seasonal shops:

Looking south along South Franklin Street

Heading north on South Franklin, which means departing the cruise ship dock and hanging a left past the Red Dog, brings you to an area that caters a bit more to locals. So here is where you’ll find most of the dockside year-round shopping. That’s not to say you’re out of the touristy shop area, as there are still plenty of jewelry and kitschy shops here as well:

Heading north on South Franklin

Head up that way for bars and restaurants more geared to the locals. Indeed, this charming crepe-centric place looked as if it might be fun to sample, and right next to it was a coffee and s’mores shop:

Crepe Escape and Captain’s S’Mores and Brew

As I mentioned earlier in today’s article, our 4 October arrival afforded us better weather. And the morning sunlight gave us some great approach views heading into Stephens Passage. The lead picture in today’s article was taken as we sailed toward Juneau that morning. But this next photo was even more striking, as we approached a dense fogbank heading into port:

Stephens Passage fogbank heading into Juneau — 4 October 2021

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