Cruise passengers visiting Juneau, Alaska this year might notice something different: the addition of two brand-new docks that can accommodate even larger ships.
Constructed at a cost of US$54-million, the two new floating docks will be situated in the Gastineau Channel, offset from the old Alaska Steamship Dock (adjacent to the city’s Public Library), and the Cruise Ship Terminal Dock that was adjacent to the foot of the Mount Roberts Tram. Both berths were limited to ships less than 1000 feet long; the new floating berth arrangement will allow for the docking of two, 1000-foot long vessels at once.
The two new docks will supplement the four other berths in Juneau that have been constructed over the last decade or so to accommodate increasingly larger ships. These include the South Franklin Street dock and the far-removed AJ Dock that is situated about a 15-minute walk from the start of downtown Juneau. Two other berths (the Intermediate Vessel Float and the Seadrome Dock) cater to smaller ships typically measuring less than 200 feet in length.
While the new berths will undoubtedly help accommodate ships like Royal Caribbean’s 1,025-foot long Explorer of the Seas, they also dramatically change the harbour view in Juneau. The two docks that are being replaced are the “classic” docking locations in Juneau that have served cruise passengers for decades, with ships tying up right in the heart of the city. While placing these docks in the basin for the Gastineau Channel will allow more (and large