Finally in Alaska: A Day in Juneau

I had waited a long time to go to Alaska. As I arrived in my 50th state, I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome.

Brittany and I were sitting on the balcony and sipping our coffee when we saw the first spout. More followed and as we got closer to Juneau, we saw quite a few humpback whales greeting us!

Juneau is one of the best places to see the humpbacks, who are here in the spring and summer before making their way to Hawaii for the winter months. I would be going on a whale cruise later in the morning, while Brittany was heading on a kayaking trip.

Before our excursions, we had a private tour of the Lotus Spa and its Enclave section. The spa is huge, and treatments range from massages, facials, and scrubs to derm fillers and acupuncture. They also have a fitness center on the Royal Princess, filled plenty of equipment.

I had a treatment scheduled for another time and we had access to use The Enclave whenever we wanted. This is a thermal suite area with a hydrotherapy pool, heated stone beds, water beds, a steam room, saunas, aromatherapy, sensory showers, and more.

As much as staying in The Enclave all day sounded wonderful, it would have to wait as nothing was keeping me from Juneau. We had just enough time for breakfast in the dining room before getting our things together for our tours.

Brittany had her first Alaska Salmon, gravlax (cured salmon) served with caviar. I went more traditional with scrambled eggs and pancakes.

It was still early when we left the ship to board our buses for excursions in Juneau. We would be going separately on a lot of tours this trip since I was traveling in a mobility scooter and wanted Brittany to be able to do more physical activities than I could. We would be meeting up later in the afternoon and seeing additional highlights of Juneau together.

I boarded an accessible bus for the half hour ride to our boat. The driver was friendly and showed us the local downtown area, mountains, and a small view of glaciers along the way.

When we arrived at the pier, I was a bit surprised to find out that I could not bring my scooter onboard even though it was advertised as wheelchair accessible. It worked out alright for me as they were able to wheel me right to the boat and help me to a seat, but there was someone who was unable to leave their wheelchair.*

The boat ride was a bit slow at first. We couldn’t see much of anything. Then it all changed. There were humpback whales everywhere! I remember doing a similar trip in Maui and seeing some whales, but it wasn’t even close to the amount I saw in Juneau.

I couldn’t keep up with taking photos and videos. I finally decided to just stop and enjoy it. When we got past the area with all the whales, we were able to see some of Mendenhall Glacier. It was quite a sight.

At the same time, Brittany was getting closer to the glacier than I did. She was on the Glacier View Sea Kayaking Princess excursion. She learned about the history of the area as she explored the Mendenhall Wetlands and its Glacier.

I took the bus back to the pier and met with Kristi Switzer, Destination Marketing Manager for Travel Juneau Travel Juneau. We had arranged to get together in the evening. Brittany was still on her tour, and I wanted to do some shopping while we were waiting.

As soon as I had made plans to go to Alaska salmon was on my mind. I love salmon, but because of my seafood allergy, I can’t have it if there was a chance it was on a slab with shellfish. The only way around that (other than watching someone catch and cook it) is to get kosher salmon, which is not allowed to be with shellfish which is non-kosher. I had found out there was a kosher salmon fishery in Juneau.

Taku is all about salmon in many forms and they had shelf Alaskan salmon I could take home with me. I was a little disappointed they were out of samples, but I trusted the reviews were good and took some home for myself and for gifts. (It was delicious.)

Brittany met us there and we headed to the Goldbelt Tram. I was happily surprised how accessible it was. I just rode my scooter right on it. We headed 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts and the view was just beautiful.

There is a lot to do on top, including hiking trails, a gallery of indigenous artwork, a gift shop filled with Alaskan treasures, and the Chilkat Theater, which plays the award-winning film, “Seeing Daylight” about the Tlingit people.

Unfortunately, my scooter was not cooperating and kept stopping. We went around to see some of the sights—especially the spots with views—and then went to Timberline Bar and Grill to have dinner and let it charge.

The scooter did not charge, and Brittany had to push me back to the ship, but the meal was delicious, as was the local Alaska Brewing Co. beer she had with her fresh halibut tacos.

After dinner, we took in more of the scenery. The beauty of nature was all around us. It may sound corny, but it’s true. We were definitely in Alaska.

We thanked Kristi for her hospitality and vowed to be back to Juneau to see more. Then it was back to the ship.

We went straight to the service area and asked if someone could check my scooter. They agreed and gave me a loaner to take to the room while I waited for mine to be looked at.

Before we went upstairs, we decided to stop at the Gelato Shop. We hadn’t had a premium dessert in two days and couldn’t resist. I had the La Dolce Vita with cheesecake, vanilla gelato, strawberry sauce (I’m allergic so I had them leave that out), chocolate sauce, and marshmallow. Brittany had The Godfather I had tried on the first day.

We took turns showering and it wasn’t long before we were both rocked to sleep as the ship was leaving Juneau. It had been a fantastic first day in Alaska. We were exhausted and had to get up early again for our day in Skagway.

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I was hosted on this trip, but opinions are my own. 



*Princess suggests everyone with special needs discuss their excursions beforehand. I did and did not run into anything I couldn’t do. A few people did not take the time and it didn’t work out as well. 


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