Exploring Ketchikan, Alaska

It was another early day as we arrived in Ketchikan. Brittany and I had a quick breakfast and coffees from the International Café before we got off the ship in this Alaska city.

We were once again going on separate excursions. I was doing the Historical Ketchikan & Creek Street Walking Tour, with my scooter. Brittany was doing Ketchikan Safari with a Local Photographer. We both learned a lot about this unique city and its history.


My guide was of Tlingit descent. They are one of the Indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest, mostly in Alaska and Canada. They are one of 229 recognized tribes in Alaska. He had lived in Ketchikan all his life. As we walked, he told us all about the colorful life of the city built on water. The streets are all built on trestles and stairs, with a 274-foot-long tunnel in the middle of town.


During the Gold Rush, this town was Alaska’s center of fun, with bars on every corner and legal prostitution. Many of the bars are still there and 18,000 cruisers, on an average day during the season, help support the 8,000 residents.


We walked along Creek Street. It was the former red-light district and now has the city’s only heated sidewalk. We saw the creek with salmon and harbor seals, and the houses built on stilts over the water. Then we went through the park and into the center of town. We saw Totem Poles in each place. They were beautiful, so delicately carved. He explained the meanings within them to us.


Some of the ground in Ketchikan was a little rough, and curb cuts weren’t in every place I wanted to cross the road, but I did get to see everything the rest of the group did with my scooter.

Brittany saw a lot on her tour of the downtown, where she got closer to the stream to see the salmon spawning. She also went to Totem Bight State Historical Park.


When our tours were done, we met at Jellyfish donut shop. I could easily say it’s the most popular spot in Ketchikan. The line outside continued throughout the day. It wasn’t accessible so Brittany went inside and picked us up a smoked salmon donut and a Reese’s donut. Both were delicious.

When we got back from Port, we decided to go up to The Sanctuary for relaxation and lunch. We had been invited to spend an afternoon and it seemed like the perfect time as we left the state of Alaska.

There was a pair of lounge chairs by the windows, and we sat down. It was a bit cool, but the staff brought us blankets and we wrapped them around us as we waited for our drinks and the lunch menu, which was different from any other food spot on the Royal Princess.

I chose a selection of fruit, granola, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Brittany had a chicken sandwich and fries. We watched the ship sail out of Ketchikan from our lounges.

We could not resist when they came around with Afternoon Tea an hour later. It was a daily tradition on the ship. The tiny sandwiches and pastries looked delicious, and they were. The tea was comforting as the wind was still blowing and it was a bit chilly.


It was Italian Night in the main dining room. We had still not opened the bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne we received the day we boarded, and we decided to take it with us for dinner. After everything we ate at The Sanctuary, we weren’t overly hungry, but as with most cruisers, which changed when we saw the menu.

I started with prosciutto and melon, while Brittany had a seafood antipasto. For the main course, it was risotto for me and chicken parmigiana for Brittany. Dessert was baked Alaska and cheesecake.


The night finished with a walk on the deck to see a beautiful sunset as we sailed away from Alaska. It was as fitting as the whales greeting us when we entered the state.


We would be at sea all the next day before an evening stop at our last port: Vancouver, Canada.

 Photos by Marcia Frost & Brittany Lambright.

I was hosted on this trip, but opinions are my own. 


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