Why go to Ketchikan?
Opportunities for cultural exploration abound in this town with a rugged vibe.
There are plenty of shopping and dining gems, but they might require wading through tacky big-box storefronts first.
Lumberjacks and locals mix with tourist-frequented haunts and shopping strips.
Ketchikan Cruise Port Facilities?
Ships dock in the center of town at one of four berths, so there is a lack of the traditional cruise terminal facilities you might see at many larger ports. On crowded days, ships might be required to anchor and tender passengers into Ketchikan. Small ships sometimes dock a mile south of town.
Everything -- information kiosks, cafes, shops, museums, tour operators and restaurants -- is a short walk from the cruise ships. The visitors/tour center is located at Berth II (131 Front Street). A tunnel divides "Old Town" Ketchikan (where the majority of the attractions are) to "New Town," where several additional restaurants and bars can be found.
Good to Know?
No-see-ums. As the name suggests, you won't see these tiny bugs that reside in wet, wooded areas, but you will notice their bites later (and they aren't pleasant). Use bug spray if you plan to hike or explore in the woods.
On Foot: Shoppers and gallery-hoppers will be able to easily navigate Creek Street on foot. This popular tourist area is only about a block from the cruise ship dock. To go a little further afield, say to Totem Bight State Park (10 miles away), you will probably take a taxi, motorcoach tour through the cruise line or public bus.
By Car: You might not have enough time in port to make renting a car worthwhile, but visitors who want their own wheels can head for Alaska Car Rental (2828 Tongass Avenue), located about a mile and a half from the dock. Ketchikan is home to three taxi companies with taxi stands near the cruise ship docks, and taxis are readily available throughout the downtown area.
By Bus: A free shuttle bus operates a loop around downtown, and connections can be made at various stops to the public bus system, which extends to other outposts and the airport. The silver bus line runs once an hour with pickup locations right in front of the cruise ships at Front Street and Dock Street. Bus fares are $1; allow ample time when using public transportation.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The U.S. dollar is the currency, but some shops will also accept Canadian dollars. Numerous banks with ATMs are located close to the cruise ship dock, including Wells Fargo (409 Dock Street) and First Bank (311 Dock Street).