For a first time in Sitka, i was pleased with the experience of walking over to the Sitka National Historical Park and taking a couple of walks guided by rangers, the totem pole guided walk was particularly interesting. An added bonus -- the salmon were running and thick in the creek as we walked in the park.
The Sheldon Jackson museum was hosting a native artist demonstration, an added bonus to the treasures on display in the museum. The Russian cathedral was interesting and well worth a visit and i enjoyed strolling through the town. One person commented to that because of her Russian heritage, she was particularly interested in Sitka and HAL is one of the only cruise lines stopping in Sitka.
Ketchikan is a shoppers paradise so if you are not interested in shopping, a shore excursion might be the best bet. Check the board in the welcome center for the number of ships expected that day and hours slated for arrival. We arrived at 8am while two other large ships were slated to arrive at 10am.
I headed over to Creek Street and took the finicular to the Cape Fox Lodge and enjoyed a latte while chatting with the local barrista.
Generally, the "made is Alaska" items cost much more than the made in China tourist momentos, decide where you want to put your money!
What a lovely city and harbor! I was lucky at this port in that i had the great pleasure to meet friends, and to watch one perform in Merry Wives of Windsor, a production of the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival performed in Natsamaht, The Gathering Place,at Camosun College. If you've never been Butchart Gardens, they are well worth a visit. Tea at the Empress is memorable. The Royal BC Museum is another "must do" stop while in Victoria.