In the land of snow-topped mountains, locally caught fresh Dungeness crabs and wilderness, there’s only one shore excursion for seafood lovers to check out when they dock in Ketchikan, Alaska: the Ketchikan Exclusive Flightseeing and Crab Feast.
Located in Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan is known as the “Salmon Capitol of the World,” and with a name like that, you know there’s an abundance of great seafood.
Even though the Misty Fjord National Monument is one of the biggest highlights, add flightseeing – topped off with feasting on fresh Dungeness crab – and you’ve scored an Alaskan trifecta.
On a recent trip to Ketchikan, I chose the opportunity to experience the Exclusive Flightseeing and Crab Feast shore excursion.
The tour started out at the cruise pier in Ketchikan, where we were taken to the dock where all the seaplanes were tied up. After signing a safety waiver, putting our belongings away and meeting our pilot, we made our way to our six-passenger airplane to get our safety briefing and fired the engines up!
Once airborne, our pilot gave us a fully narrated tour of the Alaska wilderness, and we even got to see some mountain goats feeding on the side of the mountain.
Our flight to the crab feast didn’t take long at all, passing over mountains and a lot of greenery until we made our approach at the George Inlet Lodge.
The actual feast itself is held in a converted wooden rustic lodge, transformed into two dining halls and a gift shop for passengers. This lodge is authenticity at its finest, complete with fireplaces and all.
The inviting feast starts around a table with servers asking you your choice of wine, Alaskan Amber beer or soda. The crab feast itself consists of a salad, smoked salmon, steaming-hot, fresh-caught Alaskan Dungeness crabs. You’re given a quick lesson on how to crack the crabs correctly and then you’re set free to feast as much as you’d like.
We were in the smaller dining room and had eight guests at our table.
We spent about an hour and a half at the crab feast and socializing before heading to our cruise ship in a passenger van. The ride back is scenic because you get to experience Ketchikan by land and pass by some totem parks and Native American Indian villages.
The tour ends right at your cruise ship, so you’ll still have time to explore the island and make your way down the world-famous Creek Street.
This shore excursion is great for all seafood lovers, adventurers and sightseers, but be prepared to make a mess at the table when you’re cracking the Dungeness crab legs open and dunking them in butter.
Alaska is known for its unpredictable weather, so sometimes the tour operates in reverse order — you take the tour to the lodge in a shuttle and take the flightseeing tour on return.
You will want to bring your camera on this shore excursion. Flying over the Tongass National Forest to the ridiculous amount of crab you’ll consume will be worth documenting!
Tipping is not mandatory but is recommended; after all, you are being served a fabulous meal in the midst of the grandeur of Alaska.
Dress in layers. Depending on when you go, it can get chilly on the flight.
Bring your appetite! You have the opportunity to feast away to the point where you arrive as a guest and leave as cargo!