Juneau’s first big cruise ship is arriving Monday, April 25
Juneau will see its first large cruise ship of the season – the Norwegian Bliss – on Monday, April 25. The ship, which can accommodate up to 4,000 passengers and 1,700 crewmembers, is scheduled to arrive at the AJ Dock at 1:30 p.m. After two years of little cruise ship activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Juneau is preparing for a full summer visitor season. See the 2022 cruise ship schedule for Juneau here.
“So many local businesses that rely on the visitor industry struggled during the pandemic and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our community. At the same time, after two years of limited visitation, this summer is going to feel busy for residents. We’re hoping to help people understand what to expect over the next few months,” City and Borough of Juneau Tourism Manager Alexandra Pierce said.
When it comes to the cruise tourism season, here are some things to expect and keep in mind:
- The busy large ship days are generally Tuesday and Wednesday with some high volume Monday and Thursday afternoons in July and August.
- Residents can expect to encounter tour groups at Mendenhall Glacier, on the water near Auke Bay, and on certain hiking trails and parks. Tour companies have commercial use permits to bring people to: Amalga Meadows Beach Access (Kayak Beach); Auke Lake Launch Ramp/Parking Access; Brotherhood Parking Lot; Channel Wayside Park; Ernest Gruening State Park; Homestead Park; Last Chance Basin; Mendenhall Glacier trails: Steep Creek Trail, East Glacier, West Glacier, Moraine Ecology, Nugget Falls, and Trail of Time; Overstreet Park; Perseverance Trail system; Powerline Trail; Rainforest Trail; Tolch Rock; Treadwell Historic Trail; and Upper Mount Roberts Trail (above the Goldbelt Tram).
- Whale watch tours operate from a designated commercial use dock in Statter Harbor with its own parking and drop-off area. You can expect to see whale watching boats in the waters around Auke Bay. Whale watch operators follow NOAA regulations for marine mammal protection.
- Local tour operators follow the Tourism Best Management Practices (TBMP) guidelines. Whale watch operators follow additional guidelines from NOAA’s WhaleSENSE program.
- If you encounter an issue with a specific tour operator, call the TBMP hotline at 907-586-6774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regarding COVID-19 precautions, all large cruise ships sailing in Alaska are operating under port agreements with Juneau and other ports that require a 95% vaccination rate for passengers and crew, on-board quarantine and isolation protocols, and other COVID measures. The port agreements are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Water. The port agreements require cruise lines to have emergency response plans and evacuation procedures for passengers too sick to remain on board in quarantine. This can include sending patients to Bartlett Regional Hospital or a medevac to a larger hospital.