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Alaskan Cruise: Holland America’s Oosterdam, Ketchikan Excursions

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Creek Street in Ketchikan.

Alaska is famous for two things – floatplanes and crabs – which was exactly what I was scheduled to do today, kind of.

The day started out at 6:30am when my alarm clock went off to go meet the folks from the local convention board at 7:15 before my excursion at 8:30. The meeting went well and the weather was super foggy, but had my fingers crossed that the floatplane were still going to fly. The excursion I signed up for was the Exclusive Flightseeing and Crab Feast, it was a three hour excursion that was part floatplane and part van ride to a lodge to eat fresh caught crab. Just one of the Ketchikan excursions.

At 8:45 I made my way down to the pier to meet everyone else on my excursion. Turns out the flight part of our excursion was going to be canceled and we were going to ride in a van instead of a floatplane, not cool but it is Alaska and the weather is very unpredictable. Holland America offered the folks in the excursion to bow out with a full refund, they also offered us the option to take the excursion and get a credit back because we didn’t do the flight portion. I was going to eat crab even if I had to walk!

The ride out to the lodge was a twenty minute ride that offered a lot of bald eagles all over the place and a few totem poles, it was a pretty unique experience. Turns out there’s only 13 miles of roads in Ketchikan. The inlet lodge was awesome, built in the 1940’s and brought to the location on a barge and set up on land. They had big banquet type halls where they served crab.

The crab feast was made of a salad, smoked salmon, steaming hot fresh crab and a great blueberry cheese cake. They also offered Alaskan draft beer, white and red wine, along with soft drinks. The time at the lodge was about an hour from start to finish before boarding a floatplane to head back into Ketchikan to catch our ship (see video). Compared to the other Ketchikan excursions, this one hands down was the best!

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Pond Inlet Lodge, built in 1940.

All aboard was at 12:30p and the ship was scheduled to leave at 1p, and it did, without a passenger. When they say be on board at 12:30, they mean 12:30! As we were pulling away from the pier there was a passenger who had a ton of shopping and didn’t quite make the ship. He was chasing the ship down the pier. I kind of felt sorry for him but all aboard is all aboard! Needless to say he was going to be an Alaska Air passenger by the end of the day.

Dinner tonight was in Le Cirque, held in the Pinnacle Grill. This is after the famous NYC restaurant and is a tad bit more than Pinnacle Grill ($39 per person). The menu was pretty basic but was really good, it also came with a wine pairing option – you can see the menu here.

After dinner I made another round of interviews and then headed to the cabin to get caught up on some editing. Tomorrow we are at sea for most of the day and then dock in Victoria, BC around 7pm and are there til midnight. Victoria is basically nothing more than a “Jones Act” port – meaning the cruise ship has to touch a foreign country before heading back into Seattle. Google Jones Act to learn more.

Video of floatplane:

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