Ketchikan has four panamax sized cruise ship berths. They are numbered sequentially from south to north along the downtown waterfront.
If the pier is full of ships, you will tender into Ketchikan from the ship. The tenders will drop you right downtown.
The public bus system is superb. It will transport you to all tourist sites. The downtown shuttle is free and with 15 minutes intervals will pass by all cruise berths. All other bus fares are only $1.
Ketchikan International Airport is located on Gravina Island, a five minute ferry ride to town. Airport shuttle vans and a water taxi service meet all flights, transporting passengers and luggage from baggage claim to your Ketchikan destination.
Printable map to take along.
Cruise calendar for this port.
Watch a destination video.
Misty Ketchikan, the rainiest town in southeast Alaska, is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." The town offers the perfect blend of activities: spend the morning kayaking in Misty Fiords or hiking up Deer Mountain, then spend the afternoon poking in and out of fantastic galleries and shops.
You're bound to visit Creek Street, a row of wooden buildings perched over the water on pilings. Today's brightly painted boutiques once catered to gentlemen seeking the company of "sporting women." The museum at Dolly's House gives you a glimpse into the bawdy ways of frontier life, though Ketchikan's red-light district wasn't shut down until 1953.
Legends of a different sort are recorded on totem poles. Boasting the world's largest collection of Northwest totems, Ketchikan has plenty of places to see these fascinating works of art.
By Alaska standards, Ketchikan has a great transportation system. There’s lot of coverage to popular destinations, including Ward Cove, Totem Bight, and Saxman Park. Fares are cheap (just $1) for bus service, and two free shuttles run from May to September between the cruise ship docks and key downtown locations.
The entire bus fleet is wheelchair accessible, and two are mobile works of art, having been painted by Ray Troll and Oliver Martin. Their murals depict the colorful salmon, which are at the heart of Ketchikan’s economy and way of life.
Right at the docks, opposite cruise berth 2 there's a low-slung green building (Visitors Bureau), and another opposite berth 3 (Visitors Center). From either of these, pick up a free Walking Tour Map, which also serves as an excellent map of the entire downtown and cruise docks area.
There are numerous excursion operators offering kayaking, floatplane rides, bicycling tours, or simply transportation to just-out-of-town attractions. As it rains so much, it is recommended to wait booking something till you are there. It rains 300 days a year in Ketchikan. Kayaking in the rain is not much fun. These operators offer tours also offered at the ship’s excursions desk except a lot cheaper.
Don't Miss Shore Excursion: The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show celebrates Ketchikan's logging heyday. Watching pros compete at log rolling, axe throwing and pole climbing makes even a rainy day entertaining. The bleachers, thankfully, are covered. The sometimes corny show lasts 1-1/4 hours, leaving plenty of time for shopping -- the port's shore activity of choice.
See black bears catch and eat their fill of salmon at Neets Bay in Tongass National Forest. Sign up on board your ship for this floatplane and bear watching thrill (late July through September). Book only when you have arrived and the weather is nice.
Catch a great view of Ketchikan and beyond from the West Coast Cape Fox Lodge. You an access this hilltop resort from a funicular that operates from midway on Creek Street ($2 for all day round trips)
At the far end of Creek Street, follow a short trail, signposted to the Fish Hatchery and Fish Ladder where, in the summer months, you can watch salmon struggling and leaping upstream to spawn, pursued along the river by an occasional hungry harbor seal.
Ketchikan Duck Tour This is a fun-filled adventure showing you all the best that Ketchikan has to offer!
The "Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour" is one of the favorite shore excursions offered by most ships, but you can also book it directly if you choose to do so. If you are a "Deadliest Catch" fan, this trip is for you. It allows people from all walks of life to stand on the edge of the commercial fishing world.
Rain forest Canopy Ropes & Zipline Park, lot's of fun and excitement.
Best Souvenir in Ketchikan: A hand-carved totem pole.
The most interesting area -- both for historic value and good shopping -- is Creek Street. Not a street at all, this boardwalk winds along Ketchikan Creek and was once the locale for all the area's brothels. Now it's home to artsy galleries.
The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM's everywhere.
Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.
Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.
Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:
There is free, fast WiFi for customers at the Cape Fox Lodge bar/restaurant at the top of the funicular.
In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays - generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)
Holidays in the USA
Thank you for printing this article! Please don’t forget to come back to whatsinport.com for new and updated port guides.