We just returned from a four day trip to Juneau Alaska. I’m sitting on the ferry as I write this, I’ll post it later as there is no interenet on board.
There is something so civilized about riding the ferry. It’s slow and relaxing, nothing is rushed or stressful about it. You are asked to arrive 2 hrs brefore your trip, so you even start off on a good note, not feeling like you will miss your trip.
The ferry from Skagway to Juneau is a 7 hrs ride. There are shorter ferries that you could take, but on this trip we borrowed our neighbours 1970’s Boler camper and so we took the big ferry. On the way to Juneau we traveled in the day, so there was plenty to see. Whales, eagles, breathing taking scenery, and lighthouses were just a few of the things we saw. We sat out on the deck for a good few hours just taking it all in. Letting our stresses go as the big ship made her way up channels lined by coves and thick mountains.
We also chatted with other passengers. Some travelling from far away places (Germany), and some locals. I always try to eye up a local and then ask them where they suggest we eat, sight see ect. Everytime I’ve ever done this, we always get an "in" to where the locals go. The best breaskfast joints are never on those tourist guides, so ask away!
The ride back from Juneau was a little different. We didn’t leave the port until 9:45 pm, and it was dark. We learned from the first time that people bring their sleeping bags and pillows onto the ferry with them and set up a little bed in the darkened recliner room. They had berths available but we didn’t want to shell out the money when we could’ve used it for something else (say whale watching, which we did!).
The night ride was much different. We got Noah settled with a movie on his mini DVD player, made sure the kids were well fed and in their jammies, and then I took a walk around the ship with Katia so that she could fall asleep.
As I walked around I peered into the windows of the rooms we passed by. The lounge room had a bunch of teenage boys sitting around a round table playing a game. The cocktail lounge had people sitting in booths, sipping their drinks, talking, flirting. The restaurant had families and groups of friends, some where playing cards, some were reading books, some just talking. Folks were eating pie and drinking tea in real porcelain cups ( no paper cups, thank you). It struck me as I walked along the outer deck that this was such a civilized and enjoyable way to travel. No rushing about, no crazy security and mean clerks at the desk. The staff were all so helpful, so courteous.
Our trip to Juneau was amazing for so many reasons, but I think a good portion of that, was due to the trip “to and from”. It was such a wonderful way to start and end our trip and I highly recommend taking the Alaska ferry if you are ever considering it.
More later on Juneau.