Three short blasts of the horn alerted downtown Juneau’s residents that the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas had pulled into the dock around 7 a.m. Friday morning — the first large-deck ship to call on Juneau since the pandemic began.
A light mist and cloudy skies greeted the ship as it pulled in a few minutes ahead of schedule. A handful of people gathered on the pier to take pictures, and a few prepared to offer passengers shore excursions.
Greg Pilcher prepared a dock-side booth to greet passengers and sell tours. “We heard there’s hardly anyone on board,” he said.
Nearby, representatives from Alaska Galore tours said they were expecting eight to 12 passengers who had signed up for halibut and salmon fishing charters.
“It feels amazing to be back on the dock,” said Jamie Letterman, manager of the group.
After a quick cheer from the gangway, passengers slowly started to emerge from the ship.
Passenger Randy Vance of Pueblo, Colorado, said that he was having a “great time” and looked forward to a full day of whale watching, glacier viewing and wilderness touring.
Fellow passenger Christine Keehan, of West Palm Beach, Florida, offered a more muted report.
“The voyage has been OK,” she said as she walked off the dock with her young daughter, Riley. She said that because her daughter is not yet vaccinated, they were navigating onboard restrictions — including the types of excursions they could take and rules about visiting the dining room.
On the brighter side, Keehan said her family had a great view of the scenery from the deck and they were enjoying a break from Florida’s heat.