Chatter re the Alaska Marine Highway System (a ferry system which has suffered from aging vessels and a shortage of operational monies)- is calling for both an increase in the ferry fares and the replacement of some ferries with smaller, more efficient vessels.
A recommendation that the ferry system be run by an independent public corporation has once again been forwarded.
The suggestion here being that an independent public corporation would provide greater efficiencies across the board.
In part, the efficiencies would result from the ability of visitors to Alaska to consider and make reservations well in advance of travel because the operating budgets for the ferries would be set farther in advance - much the same as is done by the competitive cruise ship market.
Too, as an independent corporation, the system would likely look at operating in a manner similar to most other ferry companies who currently encourage strong travel industry partnerships to help relieve the otherwise internal costs of promotion and marketing.
Listening to customers and adjusting fares to maximize ferry loads, BC Ferries saw the highest passenger traffic levels that the company has experienced in over 20 years during the second quarter .
As a way to improve affordability for travellers, BC Ferries provided a range of deeply discounted fares for travel on off-peak sailings.
This move not only increased ferry traffic, but opened up availability on the popular sailings.
BC Ferry Seniors Days
BC Seniors will once again be able to ride BC Ferries free of charge during the week as the NDP makes good on an election promise.
The Ministry of Transportation says it’s planning to claw back the fares by April 2018 for seniors travelling Monday to Thursday.
In keeping an election promise te NDP has committed to reduce rates on the smaller routes by 15 per cent for everyone else.
High Winds Result in Ferry Cancellations
The M/V Fairweather sailing for Thursday 26 October 2017, is canceled due to expected high winds and seas.
A stop in Valdez has been added to the vessel's 27 October 2017 sailing schedule.
The Fairweathers re-scheduled sailings for 27 October 2017 follow:
Depart Whittier, 12:15pm - Arrive Valdez, 3:00pm
Depart Valdez at 3:30pm - Arrive Cordova, 6:15pm
Vehicle Passengers On The Lower Vehicle Decks
As of 12 October 2017, passengers travelling on BC Ferries will no longer be able to remain in their vehicles if located on the lower ferry decks.
Passengers on the upper vehicle decks will be encouraged to move to the passengers lounges but ultimately it will be the passengers decision.
Vehicle passengers with ferry reservations will automatically be loaded on the upper decks and BC Ferries will try, but can not guarantee to accommodate the requests of those vehicle passengers travelling without reservations.
On Friday October 13, 2017 the high-speed ferry will depart from Seattle to Victoria at 8:00am: an added sailing will depart at 9:00am.
From Victoria to Seattle an extra ferry at noon (12:00pm) has been added to the standard 6:00pm sailing.
Christened the Northern Sea Wolf, BC Ferries newest ferry will begin her Inside Passage route commencing summer 2018.
According to Native legend the sea wolf is believed to be the manifestation of the Orca, - and her spirit protects those travelling their oceans.
The 10hr ferry crossing between Port Hardy and Bella Coola will transport passengers through glacial Fjords, past old growth forests and into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Early Ferry reservations are a must and the lowest prices can be secured most quickly by going to www.ferrytravel.com
If not within internet range call 1-800-686-0446 or if outside North America call 1-604-733-9113
When travelling on a ferry and disembarking in a different country OR disembrking the ferry and driving the Alcan to places like Anchorage, Fairbanks etc so dipping into Canada for a short while, parents sharing custody of their children must carry copies of their legal custody documents, e.g. custody rights.
If custody is shared and the other parent is not travelling, or if travelling with minors for whom you are not the parent or legal guardian, a consent letter (including the custodial parents' or legal guardians' full name, address and telephone number) is recommended.
Having the consent letter notarized to support its authenticity is advantageous and often aids in avoiding unnecessary delays.
The following schedules for the MV Kennicott (Bellingham to Alaska) have been revised.
06 October, 2017: the ferry from Bellingham will now depart at 4:00pm - one hr earlier than scheduled.
20 October, 2017: the ferry from Bellingham will now depart at 3:45pm- 75 minutes earlier than scheduled.
Alaska Marine has just released a ferry schedule change for Friday 20 October, 2017.
The ferry to Alaska from Bellingham WA will now depart 1 hr and 15 minutes EARLIER than scheduled.
Check-in for all Alaska travellers boarding the MV Kennicott will now be 1:30PM.
The Bowen Queen will temporary take over Campbell River - Quadra Island ferry service Sep.30 through Monday, Oct. 23.
The Powell River Queen, the ferry providing regular service on this route will be dry-docked for scheduled maintenance until Oct.24 when she will return to service
As the MV Bowen Queen has limited over-height space, BC Ferries advises that all vehicles over 6'8" in height will be sorted to the over height lanes to maximize loading capacity.
As the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel, a passport is required for anyone over the age of 18 years who is crossing a border.
Travellers disembarking the ferry in Haines AK and planning drive to Anchorage etc must carry a valid passport.
For Detailed Canada Customs information call 1-800-461-9999 • www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
For detailed ferry information call 1-800-686-0446 • www.ferrytravel.com
September 20 saw the annual Southeast Conference meeting in Haines discuss a near-final draft plan to reform how the Alaska Marine Ferry system is both managed and operated.
The plan calls for replacing some ferries with smaller, more efficient vessels; for creating an independent corporation to buffer the ferry system from shifting political priorities, and enabling the new corporation to negociate its own labor contracts.
The proposed new public corporation would have its own staff overseen by a seven-member board appointed by the governor and would continue to receive state and federal funds.
US citizens travelling to/thru Canada from the US
As the only universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel, passports are required for anyone over the age of 18 years who is crossing a border.
For ferry passengers disembarking in Haines AK and driving toward Anchorage/ Fairbanks or to the Kenai Peninsula, a passport will be required as the Alcan Hwy dips into Canada for a short time, before returning to Alaska.
For more detailed Canada Customs information call 1-800-461-9999 • www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
For more detailed ferry information call 1-800-686-0446 • www.ferrytravel.com
Firearms can be transported on ferries as long as the chambers are empty; the weapons are locked and any ammunition is packed separately.
Canada however prohibits all automatic, semi-automatic & hand guns.
Be aware that if travelling to Anchorage / Fairbanks etc. or to the Kenai Peninsula via a ferry to Haines Alaska, you will arrive in Alaska but for a short time the Alcan Hwy will drop into Canada so one can not travel with the prohibited weapons.
Hand-guns etc can be couriered from the mainland US to Alaska.
Alternativly, taking a ferry to Whittier (see "Alaska Ferry Route Map" under Route Map in red line at the top of this page) will completely avoid travelling through Canada.
Ferries to Whittier operate 2x per month March through September and advance reservations made as far in advance are manditory to avoid disappointment.
BC Ferries will add direct ferry service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola commencing 19 June 2018. The direct Port Hardy - Bella Coola ferry will operate through 01 Oct 2018.
This newest BC ferry service is anticipated to be particularly popular with visitors to BC
After determining in August that the V2V Empress would be better served with new engines, the recently launched ferry service connecting foot passengers between Vancouver BC and Victoria BC is scheduled to return to ferry service in late October 2017.
The V2V Empress is a 254 high-speed catamaran launched in May 2017 to provide luxury, passenger-only ferry service between downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria.
The newly refitted ferry is expected to travel a reduced schedule: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday through to the end of April when daily service will be reinstated.
The winter schedule - still to be confirmed - has the ferry tentatively departing Vancouver at approx 9:00am and returning from Victoria at 2:30pm.
For a limited time, get 30% off the entire collection of Baggallini bags sold in the BC Ferry Passages gift shop.
Sales extends ‘till until 02 November 2017.
Some restrictions apply.
The newest passenger ferry route between downtown Vancouver and Victoria is on track to begin service next spring.
Clipper Vacations will provide another option to those wanting to travel by ferry between Vancouver and Victoria.
The acquisition of a 52-metre, high-speed catamaran able to carry 579 ferry passengers is scheduled to make one round-trip sailing each day.
The ferry will depart Vancouver in the morning and sail from Victoria in the afternoon.
Call 1-800-686-0446 for more information
The Ketchikan to Prince Rupert ferry sailing scheduled for Friday September 22nd has been delayed due to mechanical issues.
Please double check with your booking agent to obtain a revised schedule.