Please bring luggage from hotel rooms to hotel lobby (assistance as needed). Climbing on and off a motorcoach. Opportunity for short hike on a groomed trail at Mendenhall Glacier. Walking on paved walkways during free time (shuttle available for those who need it).
Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes oatmeal, eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit, orange juice, tea, coffee, milk.
Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any program changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This morning we will take a field trip to one of Alaska’s extraordinary natural wonders: the Mendenhall Glacier. This river of ice is one of 38 large glaciers that flow from the 1,500 square mile Juneau ice field formed about 3,000 years ago. The glacier stretches 12 miles from the ice field down to its terminus at Mendenhall Lake. The glacier and surrounding area are protected by the National Forest Service as part of Tongass National Forest, the largest in the U.S., encompassing 17 million acres. The Visitor Center offers magnificent views of the Glacier and the lake, many displays and presentations, a short movie, and hiking trails. National Forest Service interpretive rangers will be available to provide information and answer questions as we explore independently. We’ll then explore Juneau via motorcoach as our driver provides commentary on our surroundings and the local history. Originating with the Alaska Gold Rush in 1880, the miners’ tent camp grew into a small town and then kept growing as mines produced millions of dollars in gold well into the 20th Century. Tourism expanded as adventure travelers were attracted by the surrounding old-growth forests, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, salmon streams, bear habitat, and migratory whale routes. En route, we will pass the Capitol Building and the governor’s mansion, among other city highlights. Following our exploration of Juneau, we will head to the Alaska State Museum for a self-directed exploration of the Museum, which is the repository for the state's history, highlighting the distinct native cultures of Alaska.
In a private meeting room at the hotel right next door to the museum, we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch buffet along with dessert items, lemonade, water, coffee and tea.
Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to take a walking excursion with the Group Leader or explore on your own visiting other interesting sites in Juneau including the SEAlaska Heritage Institute, Capitol building, or the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. We will then board our vessel and begin our journey our of Juneau. After boarding, we will meet the Captain and crew and have an orientation session outlining safety procedures as we get underway.
As a special treat for our first night aboard the ship,we will have an opportunity for an exclusive stop at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island to enjoy a wonderful buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and all-you-can-eat King Crab. A glass of wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water are included; other beverages available for purchase.
At the lodge's touch tank, get “up close and personal” with Alaskan sea life. Take a stroll on the private rocky beach and, if weather permits, enjoy a bonfire on the beach. We'll have ingredients to make smores! We’ll then board the ship for the evening.