I knew I didn't want to book an excursion through the ship, I wanted to go with a local company and after much research, I booked a whale watching tour through Orca Enterprises and was so very happy that I did! Captain Larry was the boat captain who is a very interesting man with lots of experience. Our tour guide was a young lady that obviously loved her job. I think she was almost more excited when we were whenever we would spot a whale! It was a great experience! We saw tons of bald eagles and ended up seeing a whole heard (is that the right word?) of whales! We even got to see one breach! It was very educational and exciting! We only had about 16 people on our boat so there was plenty of room for everyone to move about and watch the whales. They even provided a snack of cheese and crackers and smoked salmon along with coffee and hot cocoa. It was well worth the money and I would highly recommend booking a tour with Captain Larry and Orca Enterprises.
Ketchikan was an interesting little town, downtown was a lot of jewelry shops and tourist stores. I had decided not to book an excursion and we just walked the town which worked out just fine for us. We walked up to the city park which was just a little ways from downtown. The salmon were running when we were there and it was amazing to see all of the salmon stacked on top of each other making their way up the river! Also amazing was the amount of dead salmon all over the place, it got very stinky in a couple of places. There is a neat waterfall just above the Creek Street area where you can watch the salmon try to jump up the waterfall. It was all very nice.
Again, I didn't want to go through the cruise line to book my tour but preferred a local company. I ended up booking with Dyea Dave and it turned out to be a wonderful choice. I know a lot of people go with the White Pass train, but I wanted to do something beside just go up and back. With the van tour, we went along the same route as the train, but we got to stop and get out and take pictures. We went clear up into the Yukon Territory and were able to experience some beautiful scenery. Our tour guide was wonderful! She was friendly and personable and provided us with lots of information. There were only about 15 people on the tour so it made it personal. It was a full day tour from 8am-3pm and a great value for only $79/per person. We even had a little time to wander around town once the tour was over.