Majestic. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Those are the first words that come to my mind when I think of Alaska. I’ve been lucky to have experienced two Alaskan cruises, and with each I was simply blown away by the scenery.
If there was one excursion that I’ve been on that highlighted Alaska’s greatest assets it was the Best of Juneau — a full day of sightseeing with a visit to Mendenhall glacier, a whale-watching cruise and salmon bake.
This shore excursion was booked directly through Carnival Cruise Line which maximized our time while we were in the port of Juneau. I’m a big fan of booking through the cruise line because there’s never any waiting and there are guarantees you don’t get when booking independently, like getting back to the ship on time!
Our day started bright and early with a luxury bus ride to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center where we spent some time wandering the facility and, of course, took in some fantastic views of the famous glacier.
It’s hard to explain just how magnificent this glacier is, and the scope of size is quite overwhelming at approximately 12 miles in length. This ice field is a remnant from the Little Ice Age, which began more than 3000 years ago.
I think it’s hard to capture a bad photo when you’re surrounded by so much beauty.
“Whales Guaranteed” Wildlife Cruise
After a fair amount of time at the glacier we returned to the bus and made our way to the marina to board a deluxe catamaran for our wildlife cruise. This particular excursion guaranteed that we would see whales, and it did not disappoint!
We set out to explore Stephen’s Passage where Humpback whales feed. Along the way, an onboard Naturalist pointed out additional animals in their natural environment. Can you spot the harbor seals?
The sea lions where much easier to see — just hanging out on a buoy!
Finally it was time for the whales — and they came out in droves! It was so exciting seeing these mammoth creatures in their natural habitat. You really have to have your camera ready to get a good shot, but it can be done.
Witnessing these beauties in action is why you come to Alaska! It was definitely a moment my family won’t forget — simply incredible.
Salmon Bake at Orca Point Lodge
Towards the end of the excursion we were treated to a salmon bake at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island.
Once again, the scenery was magical and the wild-caught salmon was divine — freshly grilled with veggies, rice and coleslaw. Apparently, I was so hungry that I forgot to snap a photo, but I assure you it was a delicious and a fantastic way to end our day in Juneau.
We were delivered back to the ship on time with a bit of extra padding for souvenir shopping. The Best of Juneau shore excursion was the best way to see the highlights of Juneau with the time we had in port. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re sailing Alaska this cruise season.
Have you been on an Alaskan cruise?
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