As your ship crosses Alaskan waters, the landscape’s natural beauty comes into view. Towering, snowcapped mountains dominate the horizon as lush, verdant forests frame the town before you. As your ship travels closer to the jagged, glacial-carved shore, wind from the land carries the sharp scent of pine to the deck, an invigorating note to further anticipate your visit. The shoreline takes shape with your approach – the vibrant rainbow of individually colored, stilted houses along the coast contrasts nicely with the deep blue of the ocean and the evergreen background. Suddenly, you see water bubbling under the surface a few yards from your ship and hear a crash of water. A magnificent and massive humpback whale breaks the surface, arcing gracefully before moving further out to sea!
You finally dock in Ketchikan, Alaska, one of the state’s fastest-rising ports in popularity for cruisegoers. According to the Annual Travel Trends Survey from Travel Leader Group (the parent company of Cruise Specialists), cruises to Alaska are the top-ranked domestic vacation, surpassing more traditional destinations like Las Vegas and Miami. On your cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska, you’ll discover and understand why this small city of just over 8,000 has earned its place among the top spots to visit in in the state.
Strike Cultural Gold in Ketchikan
Ketchikan is nicknamed “Alaska’s First City” because it’s the first city you’ll see traveling north on the state’s inside passage. The town offers plenty of fun things to do, from live shows to panning for gold. Local activities will keep you busy when you’re not absorbing the culture of Ketchikan.
Learn about the art of Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian tribes at the Totem Heritage Center. Run your eyes over the intricately carved totem poles while learning about their traditional importance to Native Americans. Nature lovers will appreciate the chance to visit Misty Fjords National Monument, a stunning wilderness area of the Tongass National Forest. Take a skiff or float plane to one of the park’s many ocean inlets and see the imposing, mountainous backdrop adorned with cold mist. Move inland to hike, photograph nature scenery and keep an eye out for the park’s abundant wildlife. You might hear animals before you see them, too – listen for the bleat of a mountain goat or the growls of black and brown bears.
Ketchikan is the Salmon Capital of the World
From mid-summer to early autumn, many different varieties of salmon work their way upstream to Ketchikan, making it a dream-come-true for avid fishers. This also makes Ketchikan one of the best places to get fresh seafood. The town’s variety of eateries means you can savor salmon in a variety of preparations, from fish houses serving up grilled salmon so tender it falls away from the bone as you begin to cut into it, to blackened and robustly seasoned fish loaded into mouth-watering tacos at local Mexican restaurants. You’ll dine like royalty during your time in Ketchikan!
Cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska, with Holland America Line
There’s something for everyone when you choose Holland America Line. These excursions cater to different interests to showcase the best of the region. Here are a few examples of the adventures that await with Holland America Line cruises to Ketchikan.
- Alaska Bear Adventure by Floatplane – Take a floatplane from the town to Tongass National Forest. There, you’ll travel to salmon-rich streams that black bears and bald eagles are known to frequent.
- Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour – Board the Aleutian Ballad to accompany commercial fishermen as they sail along Alaska’s Inside Passage to get an inside look at their way of life. The boat was featured on “The Deadliest Catch” but these waters will be tranquil. The on-deck aquarium and sheltered lower deck let you relax and get a close view of these creatures.
- Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure – Snorkel the calm waters of Mountain Point in the comfort of an advanced wetsuit that keeps you nice and warm. Check out Alaska’s magical underwater world as you snorkel in peace. Handle sea urchins and starfish as instructed and keep your eye out for the thriving sea life!
Choose Princess Cruises to Ketchikan, Alaska
Princess Cruises also has a myriad of ways to encounter Ketchikan. There’s something to appeal to your whole party’s interests with their carefully-designed packages. Take a look at the examples below but keep in mind that Princess Cruises has many more available excursions.
- Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Walk & Crab Feast – A guide will take you on a walk in the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, where you’ll have the opportunity to spot majestic black bears, grand bald eagles and more. After sightseeing, head to a local lodge for a delicious all-you-can-eat crab feast.
- Zipline Adventure Park – Thrill-seekers will love this excursion to Knudson Cover for a breathtaking adventure. Soar through the air over a picturesque rainforest on a series of eight ziplines. Then, head to the 50-foot climbing tower to make your way to the end. Ring the victory bell once you’ve reached the top!
- City Highlights, Totems & Creek Street by Trolley – Climb aboard a traditional trolley to begin! See historic landmarks and iconic places as your guide tells you the history of the town, tall tales and legends included. You’ll see the City Park, Saxman Native Village, Creek Street and more on the way.
Want to Learn More?
If you’re ready to book your next trip to see this beautiful town, just contact one of our talented cruise specialists. Reach out to someone who specializes in Alaskan cruises like Sharon Whiting to finalize plans for your cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska.