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Sitka or Ketchikan

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I’m looking at 2 Cruises on the Serenade next June/July. They are basically the same Itinerary but one week it goes to Sitka and a different week it goes to Ketchikan. The other days are the same. It’s our first time going to Alaska so I don’t know anything about either place. We are a group of 4 in our 70’s so we would be looking for a nice day without being really strenuous. What do you think would be a better place to visit? I’m sure they are both beautiful but any information you can give me on what each place has ver the other would be appreciated. 
 

Thanks 

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Sitka ...  without a doubt.  (if you had your heart set on a fly in bear viewing tour, I'd say Ketchikan and go in July )

 

Sitka is not as visited as the other alaska ports so it's still quite charming. Lovely location, interesting Russian history, and stuff to see and do depending on your interests..... Russain Archangel dancers, the Raptor Center, Fortress of the bears.  Check out the town web site for more info:

https://visitsitka.org/things-to-do/placestovisit

 

They used to have a free shuttle. Download the town Visitor Guide to see.

https://view.joomag.com/visit-sitka-magazine-2019-20/0247774001549006184?short

 

Ketchkan also has a town Visitor site and Visitor Guide to download:

https://www.experienceketchikan.com/

Edited by mapleleaves

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Ketchikan (overall) is more touristy.  Don't get me wrong - it's got it's benefits... Having already been to both - if I had your choice - I'd rather go back to Sitka over Ketchikan. 

Ketchikan has Misty Fijords, Bering Sea Fisherman's Tour, and Creek Street - plus souvenir shopping.

Sitka has Totem Park, Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bear.

 

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1 hour ago, cruiseforus said:

I’m looking at 2 Cruises on the Serenade next June/July. They are basically the same Itinerary but one week it goes to Sitka and a different week it goes to Ketchikan. The other days are the same. It’s our first time going to Alaska so I don’t know anything about either place. We are a group of 4 in our 70’s so we would be looking for a nice day without being really strenuous. What do you think would be a better place to visit? I’m sure they are both beautiful but any information you can give me on what each place has ver the other would be appreciated. 
 

Thanks 

 

I've been to both places and would live in Sitka if I could - I've even pondered it. Most cruises stop in Ketchikan and it's very commercialized, Sitka is a more rare stop and relatively "normal", not so commercial. Sitka is very laid back, Ketchikan is more intense.  I would think you won't see another large ship at Sitka when you're there, so less other cruisers. Ketchikan might have 3-4 large ships docked at the same time with TONS of tourists - almost mobs at times. Look at the possibilities of things to see in both cities to help you decide. You may find more interesting things to do in one place or the other - also look at how long you will be there. For me, the longer you're there, the better. The very central part of Sitka has a number of historic places within a few blocks or so of each other. There are other interesting things at Ketchikan.  If you think there is a good chance you'll take another Alaskan cruise I'd say take the Sitka cruise this time - it may not be available during a subsequent visit but I'd bet Ketchikan will since it's on the majority of itineraries. As I said, I could imagine living at Sitka - I don't think I would enjoy Ketchikan as much.  Good luck choosing!

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I've been to Sitka on both business (Alaska Historical Society/Museums Alaska annual conferences) and as a cruise ship stop.  I definitely prefer Sitka over Ketchikan.  As others have mentioned Sitka is much less touristy than Ketchikan and is also more "arty."  In addition to some of the attractions mentioned by others you will find an Alaska State Museum satellite facility and the Bishop's House (fine example of Russian block architecture).   

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Just to be fair, Ketchikan also has three totem parks -- Totem Bight State Park, nearby privately owned Potlatch Totem Park, and Saxman Village Totem Park which I believe is closer to or basically IN town.

 

That said, given a choice -- I say Sitka for all the reasons above. We took a triple-tour from the ship: Otters/Raptors/Bears. Also saw more and closer humpback whales on the otter segment than on the "scientific" whale watch in Juneau!  

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I am biased, born and raised in Sitka!  Totem Park is just the best.

 

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Thanks everyone, although Sitka seems really great,  the date of the cruise going to Ketchikan worked out better for us. 
 

Thanks for all your help! 

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I enjoyed both stops, but if I had to pick one, I also say Sitka.  It is less touristy and really highlights the Russian influence, so it will show you a different side to Alaska than most of the other typical Alaska ports.

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