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Trip Report: Arriving into Juneau, Alaska

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Running between terminals in Dallas.

Running between terminals in Dallas.

When I was offered a trip out to Alaska, I’ll be honest; I hesitated because I am not a big fan of long airplane rides. Seems trivial but I get super claustrophobic.  I sat on the idea for the weekend and after going through my photos from my last Alaska cruise I couldn’t say no.

The cruise

I’m about to embark on a small passenger ship called Un-Cruise Adventures. These ships hold between 60 to 90 guests. I’ll be doing a one-way seven-night sailing from Juneau to Ketchikan on the Wilderness Adventurer, a 60-pax active adventure cruise. We’ll talk more about the ship later.

Packing

Alaska is rainy this time of year so when I started my packing list I knew what I was going to have to include rain gear, boots and outdoor gear. You see, Un-Cruise isn’t your typical run of the mill cruise line in Alaska. It’s an active adventure cruise line that includes a lot of kayaking, hiking, glacier viewing, whale watching and other outdoor adventures. Hopefully I didn’t forget anything. I’ll make a packing list too.

The Flights

As luck would have it when I went to fly out there was a tropical storm off the coast of Florida which had flights backlogged for hours and some canceled. This was the exact reason why I wanted to come into Juneau two days early, as crappy as air travel can be sometimes, we couldn’t go places without it.

3AM in Juneau, Alaska. Still light out.

3AM in Juneau, Alaska. Still light out.

My flight was on American Airlines and was two hours delayed. The delay doesn’t bother me, it’s the fact I had two down line connections – one in Dallas and one in Seattle.

Please, please, please remember travel insurance when you are taking trips.

Once we boarded and were airborne on the JAX-DFW segment I knew it was going to be close. I was right, nine-minute connection. How I made it from one terminal to another was beyond me. There was an off duty pilot who I was talking to and he had no clue how I did it either. I was running through the terminal like a madman.

DFW-SEA was uneventful but long. Almost four hours. In Seattle we departed out of terminal N, which doesn’t even feel like its connected to the Seattle airport at all – its very boring and reminds me of a regional airport.

SEA –JNU flight was a little over two hours and not a bad flight at all. One thing that threw me off when landing in Juneau is that it was still light out at 10pm.

Hotel

I have two nights pre-hotel stay at the Baranof Hotel downtown Juneau. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the pier and a block away from the famous Red Dog Saloon.  The rates were affordable for the location and the views are stunning. I can see the ships docking and snow-capped mountains from my room (overlooking the harbor).

The hotel is about a 20-minute drive from the Juneau International Airport and costs $20 for the cab. The hotel does not include a shuttle service although it would be nice if they did. I would equate the hotel to a Courtyard Marriott. It has all the bells and whistles that you’d expect anywhere else, free wifi, coffee maker, nice flat screen and so on.

Agenda

Tomorrow is going to be a big day with checking out Mendenhall Glacier, whale watching and a salmon bake. Plus, if there’s time take the Mount Roberts Tramway up 3,000’.

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