Juneau - USA, Alaska

The capital of Alaska since 1900, Juneau is located in the southeastern part of the state sheltered from the Pacific by a belt of islands 75 miles (120 km) wide. Surrounded by rock, ice, water and forest, Juneau is built on a small strip of land between towering Mount Juneau and the Gastineau Channel at the southern end of the Lynn Canal. Although not accessible by road, it is the largest city in southeast Alaska with 30,000 people and home to a large fishing fleet. Cosmopolitan for its size, Juneau is a creator's paradise - home to artists, actors, poets, and writers who draw their inspiration from the Alaskan wilderness. Residents claim Juneau is the most scenic capital in the country, while others describe it as a 'little San Francisco'. Cruise ships dock right at the town centre and you can explore on foot places of interest like the Cultural Arts Park, Red Dog Saloon, State Capitol and Governor's Mansion. From the dockside ride the Mount Roberts Tramway to the observatory 2000ft above the harbour. Out of town you can go gold panning, visit nearby Mendenhall Glacier by road, take a raft or canoe on Mendenhall Lake, see a temperate rain forest on nearby Douglas Island, go fishing or whale and wildlife watching by boat or take a helicopter flight over or onto the glaciers. In 1880, for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, the going was slow and frustrating as they searched for gold with the help of Indian guides. Finally, after climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans." Out of their discoveries came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than USD$150 million in gold was mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government and tourism. There are more than 30 cruises calling at this port. Click the month or cruise line logo you are interested in to see details of the cruises.