Review of the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour in Ketchikan, Alaska

My wife and I took an Alaska cruise from Seattle recently. Between having to reschedule the cruise because of the pandemic, having our port change from Skagway to Sitka because of a landslide in Skagway, and finding out our initially booked excursion in Ketchikan (a wildlife tour and bonfire) was canceled, we were hesitant, to say the least, about rebooking an excursion in Ketchikan.

When our second option, a zodiac tour, was also canceled, we were left with few options including one called the “Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour” with a boat featured on “Deadliest Catch.” We aren’t usually ones to go with the most popular tour and prefer to try more adventurous and less trafficked travel plans (this was my first cruise after all and I can’t say I am eager to go on another). This tour was clearly a popular one, but since we were left with few options, we decided to go with it.

Starting the Tour

We boarded the “Aleutian Ballad” crabbing vessel and found a seat up top.

Aleutian Ballad Ship Front

The crew, including Kevin (the captain), Big D and Dave (the main commentators), greeted us and told us a little history of the boat.


It was featured on Season 2 of “Deadliest Catch” for a brief 4-minute segment highlighting a terrifying moment in Aleutian Ballad’s history. A 60-foot rogue wave toppled the boat, comprising the engine and power, keeping the boat at a 45-degree angle in the water. The only thing that saved the boat and righted it was the hull full of crabs that moved once the water cleared out.

Watch the clip from “Deadliest Catch” below.

After this experience, the owner decided to stop crabbing on the Bering Sea and instead turn the boat into a passenger tour vessel. So here we were.


Once we were on our way, we passed by the main town of Ketchikan, and then we were on our way. We went by an island with several bald eagles on it and then we got to the crabbing.

We stopped at several different crabbing spots where we watched and learned how crabbing is done in the Bering Sea.

My favorite crab was the box crab. It’s so cool how they fold themselves into what looks like a little box. I even got to hold it.

Box Crab
Box crab

Of course, no Alaska crabbing excursion would be complete without king crab. While no live king crabs were caught on this tour since we weren’t in the Bering Sea, the crew had a fun crab pot filled with plastic king crabs to show us what a king crab crabbing pot looks like. The crab pot had a bunch of yellow tags on it that are a fundraiser for the local tribe that has lost loved ones in crabbing and fishing accidents at sea.

King Crab Crabbing Pot
King Crab Pot

We had to finish the excursion by tasting some of the best king crab legs we’ve ever had. They were available for purchase in the gift shop on board the boat.

King Crab Snack
King crab legs

Our Take

While we were a little apprehensive about the tour before getting on the boat, the crew quickly turned that opinion around. The tour was very engaging and we’d recommend it to anyone who has some time in Ketchikan.