Alaska’s “First City” of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain. A highlight of every Alaska cruise, Ketchikan gives the perfect glimpse into the cultures of Alaska — from the traditional exploration of Native Alaskan history to the logging era to fishing and crabbing.
How you explore Alaska culture is up to you, depending on your desire. Are you looking for adventure, festive fun or a deep immersion into the traditions that still reside today? These tours offer different ways to explore:
Ketchikan is one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian through all of the personalities that still inhabit the city today. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offer the chance to see Tlingit culture in action. Our Saxman tour provides exclusive access to the Beaver Clan House, a working Native carving center, and a chance to view the traditional Native dancers first hand.
THE GREAT ALASKA LUMBERJACK SHOW
The Great Alaska Lumberjack Show is a celebration of a bygone era. Perfect for all ages, it’s the ideal choice if you want to experience Ketchikan history at a fun, family-friendly event. Just a short walk from the pier, this is where the world’s best lumberjacks go head-to-head in more than a dozen exciting events such as chopping, sawing, relay races, axe throwing, log rolling and a 50-foot speed climb. The host of the show will introduce the events and offer a historic view of the Alaskan timber industry, which has shaped this rugged land.
BERING SEA FISHERMAN TOUR
Wildlife is everywhere in Alaska — crabs, eagles, whales, octopus, sea lions, porpoise, wolf eels, sharks and seals are all frequently spotted on the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen tour. Come aboard the Aleutian Ballad for the adventure of a lifetime. The Aleutian Ballad was made famous in Season Two of Discovery Channel’s award-winning TV series Deadliest Catch, but there are no rough seas here.
You will set out in the calm, protected waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage to witness firsthand the amazing way of life of commercial fishermen. Watch as the skilled crew haul and set long lines, barrel pots and huge 700-pound king crab pots to reveal the catch of the day. The amazing marine life is placed in an on-deck aquarium so everyone can get up close with these unique creatures of the sea. This fascinating, educational and interactive experience is perfect for all ages and is packed with stories and adventures shared by the men and women who risk their lives fishing the Bering Sea.
On an Alaska cruise to Ketchikan don’t forget to leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush–era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.