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Alaska Cruise: Day Six

June 25, 2010

Day 6 on The Pearl: Ketchikan, Alaska

Arrived in Ketchikan early, and got off the ship right after breakfast as we only had a short time on shore. All aboard was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Just enough time to do a little shopping, and tour the “Red Light District” of Creek Street.

Ketchikan –known as the salmon capital of the world — is five hundred miles north of Seattle, is Alaska’s “first city,” with a historic downtown area that welcomes cruise passengers daily.  Nestled between water and forested mountains, Ketchikan is not built into steep hills. Steep wooden staircases, boardwalks and totem poles are dotted throughout the city.

Shopping in Ketchikan
We hopped on shuttle (free!) from the dock to downtown and poked through the numerous shops and galleries in search of the perfect gift for Nick’s girlfriend. The day was cold. Colder than any of the other ports we’d stopped along the way.

We found some interesting shops and were greeted at several of the shops by large Ketchikan wildlife.

Some of our favorite finds at the souvenir shops were the hats. Not just any hat. If you’re in Ketchikan, you have to get yourself a warm hat. We tried on a few.

Creek Street
Creek Street is located just a short walk from the dock. We strolled down the rustic boardwalk and popped in and out of the  rows of wooden buildings perched over the water on pilings. The brightly painted boutiques and shops once catered to gentlemen seeking the company of “sporting women.

The red-light district – shut down in 1953 — draws cruise passengers all summer long. Most are there to see Dolly’s house. Dolly Arthur opened up her brothel in 1919 to provide local men with alcohol and girls. Today, the museum at Dolly’s house gives you a peek into the bawdy ways of frontier life.

All Aboard
Back on board, we had lunch at The Blue Lagoon. Good burgers and bar food here and it’s open 24 hours for hungry cruisers who may have missed their midnight snack.

After lunch, the boys disappeared into the teen room, and we hid out in the spa. It was around 5 o’clock that we noticed that the ship wasn’t sailing as smoothly as it had been the day before. And it got much, much worse. After a quick shower, we headed to the Star Bar for our half price martini (Sex at Sunset, baby!), and by then the ship was really rocking.

The Star Bar is on Deck 13, overlooking the pool deck, and is surrounded by windows. We could see the staff outside on the deck furiously trying to tie down the chairs and take the tables off the deck. The wind was so strong, they were having some trouble — and when they turned their back, two of the small tables flew up and over the railing. Incredible.

We met the boys for dinner and then they were off again.

Dave and I spent the evening trying our luck at the casino. I found a pretty decent slot machine that kept me busy for at least an hour, before taking my $20.

We headed to the Spinnaker lounge, thinking we’d take in the show before bed, but the the lounge is at the front of the ship and we’d had about enough “rocking” for the day, so we called it a night.

It turned out that the waves we were watching out the porthole of the window at the casino were 27 feet high! No wonder we felt like we were on a roller-coaster!

Photo credit: Dave Morrison

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