Sail on board with Royal Holiday Cruises to Alaska and other destinations in South America and the Caribbean Sea and create albums filled with vacation memories. When visiting the mountains, glaciers, forests, and rugged coastlines of Alaska, travelers will discover a world of diverse animals, flowering plants, geographies, cultures, and cuisines, nowhere more fascinating than in the town of Ketchikan. One of the first new places a visitor may experience on a Royal Holiday Cruises vacation, Ketchikan is located at the southernmost portion of Alaska’s Inside Passage that leads up to Juneau and the ice fields to the north.
The town is known for the natural beauty of the 16 million acres of its surrounding Tongass National Forest, named after an indigenous Tlingit group and the largest publicly owned forest in the United States. The Tongass spreads over much of Alaska’s panhandle and contains the largest living virgin rainforest in the temperate zones of the United States, thanks to a cool maritime climate. Numerous volcanic archipelagos and rocky fjords fill the borders of the Tongass, which incorporates national monuments such as Admiralty Island and Misty Fjords. Royal Holiday Cruises passengers can thrill to sights of the Sitka black-tailed deer, wolves, otters, squirrels, seals, and mountain goats that make the forest their home, as well as bald eagles and other birds of prey. The landscape fans out in greenery with its Sitka spruce trees and western hemlock. The forest hosts bear-viewing stations and stopover points for migrating birds, and the terrain opens into series of glaciers, karst rock formations, and limestone caves.
Misty Fjords National Monument
When Royal Holiday Cruises makes port in Ketchikan, consider visiting Misty Fjords National Monument in the Tongass. Accessible via floatplane or boat, the region offers spectacular sights of mist-wreathed mountain peaks, lush emerald forests, and waterfalls. The entire area was carved out by glacial action, and contains towering 3,000-foot-high cliffs and pristine lakes as blue as the sky above. Take a sea-kayak paddling excursion or explore some of the indigenous rock art pictographs that line cliff walls.
The town of Ketchikan itself offers Royal Holiday Cruises visitors the chance to see a lumberjack contest, view the world’s largest grouping of traditional totem poles crafted by indigenous peoples, and experience distinctive venues for shopping and dining. The area is also home to a thriving local arts and culture scene. As passengers step off the comfortable Royal Holiday Cruises accommodations, they can immerse themselves in the heritage of the Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida peoples. Totem poles adorn the grounds of private homes, and are in vibrant display at Saxman Native Village and numerous public places. Traditional dancers perform regularly at Saxman Tribal House and other locations, and local museums also contain examples of native crafts and exhibits that portray life in indigenous communities.
Dining in Ketchikan
Any Royal Holiday Cruises vacation should contain plenty of opportunities to sample local foods, and Ketchikan is the perfect place to enjoy. The town’s restaurants offer Wild Alaska seafood dishes including crab, shrimp, salmon, oysters, halibut, and other popular fish. The locals like chowders, shellfish omelets, and fish and chips made from local food fish. A salmon burger accompanied by sea vegetables or Hudson’s Bay tea leaves may become a favorite afternoon meal.