Ketchikan Alaska is usually the first port of call traveling northward on an Alaska inside passage cruise.
Situated on Revillagigedo Island, this community of 8200 is typical of the mountainous coastal beauty which characterizes ports on this cruise.
Regarding historical origins, the rugged landscape dictated much of it's early history which included logging and other resource extraction like copper, gold, uranium, marble, and of course salmon. Ketchikan Alaska has earned the nickname of Salmon Capitol of the World.
It also boasts the world's largest collection of totem poles. These poles have unique cultural significance for First Nations. According to Indigenous Foundations at UBC "...Totem poles are monuments created by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to represent and commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events. Totem poles are typically created out of red cedar, a malleable wood relatively abundant in the Pacific Northwest, and would be erected to be visible within a community."
Ketchikan also has a vibrant arts community not-to-mention some spectacular scenery, well portrayed in this video production.
During the fall and winter there are theatre and dance performances, including an annual presentation of The Nutcracker. The Wearable Art Show displays local costume designers, and every winter month showcases The Monthly Grind, a community tradition featuring local musicians, orators, magicians, and dancers ... and free entry for anyone who brings a dessert to share.
And of course many of the major attractions--the reasons why tourists choose to cruise Alaska--are found in the outdoor vistas surrounding the city.
Ketchikan is encompassed by Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the U.S. at 17 million acres. The Forest offers opportunity to view an array of wildlife: on land, black bears, wolves, mountain goats, Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles, ravens, and over 100 species of migrating birds. In the water one can find orca, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, sea otters, river otters, and porpoises.
The choices to view these are varied. They include flight-seeing, kayaking, rafting, biking, hiking and bus tours, in addition to different types of small and medium watercraft available for touring. Other activities include crab fests and zip-lining.
The glaciers might top the list of the most unique and magnificent sights available along the Inside Passage. The good news here is it doesn't require an additional excursion! The pilots and crew go out-of-their-way to give both sides of the ship a front row seat when passing the glaciers.
So there is opportunity to encounter any of these unique sights either directly from your cruise ship or on a dedicated tour or excursion.