Our first port was Juneau, Alaska's capital city. It's Alaska's second biggest city with just over thirty-two thousand people. This isn't a very big city, but it certainly gets crowded with tourists during cruise season.
Here are pictures that we took as the Ruby Princess was docking at the port.
Parked next to the Ruby Princess, was Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam, which Dan and I took on our first trip to Alaska. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a great ship, perfect for older passengers. It's much smaller with more quiet spaces. The Ruby Princess is a better fit for cruising with children.
The official Juneau port picture, with a anemic looking killer whale and dopey moose. I like the framing with the bear, who looks like he wants to get in on the action.
We took a picture of the kids with the statue of Patsy Ann, Juneau's famous rescue dog.
If you look up in the sky and are lucky, you'll spot bald eagles soaring over Juneau. They are gorgeous and majestic. However, if you fail to spot a bald eagle, you'll most certainly see the Alaska Ravens. Alaska Ravens are everywhere in Juneau. They own the place. They have zero fear of tourists.
We had a few hours to browse shops and grab lunch before our afternoon excursion. We ate at the Alaska Fish & Chips Company. The food and service were both very good, but this airplane themed restaurant is most definitely a tourist spot, complete with tourist pricing.
The restaurant is located on the waterfront, in a small mall of other business. We walked through the mall and looked at all manner of Alaska souvenir: canned salmon, fur bikinis, and enormous hunting knives.
We declined those purchase opportunities. Instead, we took pictures of fun signs and the town.
Juneau is a port that is filled with great excursions. On our first cruise, Dan and I took a trip to an eagle rescue, went on a cable car ride, and rode in a float plane over the Tongass National Forest. This trip, we booked the "Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip."
We were picked up at the port and took a quick bus ride to the start of our rafting adventure. We were told to wear thick socks and warm clothes, with the tour company outfitting us in safety equipment, rain boots, and water-proof clothes.
Bundled up, armed with paddles, we waddled to our raft and we were helped aboard by the rafting crew.
I can't remember the name of our guide, but she was great. She made sure that we were safe (no going overboard), but still had fun, while learning about Alaska.
The kids were allowed to paddle, but really it was the adults doing the bulk of the work. It wasn't too strenuous though, this is an excursion that most people would have no problem enjoying. If you really couldn't or didn't want to paddle, you were put in the middle of the raft. No pressure to get a work-out!
This is the Mendenhall Glacier right in front of us!
The best part of the trip was the small section of rapids. It was thrilling and it definitely made me eager to book a white-water rafting vacation. Most of the excursion was tame, just floating through the Tongass National Forest.
It started lightly raining and it was so cold, that the rain turned to ice in our hair. If you look closely, you can see the ice!
This was actually our 2017 holiday card picture.
Not only did we have a great time, but we really enjoyed spending the afternoon with the other people on our raft. Everyone was very friendly and having fun. Before heading back to the bus, we were given hot cider and a selection of appetizers- including a salmon spread for crackers, of course. You can't escape salmon in Alaska.
If you're looking for a Juneau excursion that is a little thrilling, without being terrifying, the "Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip" is the perfect pick.