Alaska Cross-Gulf Sailings Expected to Resume in 2024
It is currently anticipated that ferry reservations for Alaskas' Cross-Gulf route on the MV Kennicott will soon be reservable for sailings commencing March of 2024.
Early entry of your information on www.ferrytravel.comfor the 2024 Bellingham - Whittier ( & the reverse, Whittier to Bellingham) ferry route/s will enable us to contact you as soon as the proposed cross-gulf sailings & schedules are confirmed.
Demand for the cross-gulf sailings which avoid the otherwise necessary entry into Canada & resulting need for a passport, is extremely popular.
Historically reservations, especially for cabin & vehicle space, sell out early in the year.
Always stay on the Home Pageand use the widget ( marked Get Quote or Book Ferry Here) to secure a quote.
Using the widget does not commit you to a reservation, but instead will provide full information on all routes, schedule times & costs relating to the details entered.( eg passenger ages, vehicle details, pets, cabin typerequest etc)
Cabins are always optional but the lounges are available for sleeping
have recliner chairs and there are public showers etc
Remember - any site requesting your personal info ( name, email, phone # etc ) PRIOR to providing your requested travel information, is data collecting. Move on.
You should never need to share your personal information if only seeking information on pricing, schedules, costs etc
Alaska FerryFerries to AlaskaWhittier -Bellingham FerryAnchorage Ferry to WA
Prince Rupert & Port Hardy ferry Sailing Update
Update on BC Ferries Routes Between Prince Rupert & Port Hardy
Overheight vehicle space between Port Hardy & Prince Rupert in both directions is sold out through September 12, 2023
Commencing 01 October 2023 this route will change from the Summer schedule ( a 15 hr day time sailing) to the Fall / Winter overnight schedule. Times /dates are posted onwww.ferrytravel.com
For further information call 1-800-686-0446
Alaska Ferry Staffing Issues Continue
AMHS Looking for Licensed Crew Members
Two of the more popular Alaska Ferry routes, Prince Rupert to Ketchikan & the cross gulf route that travels the Inside Passage (Bellingham to Whittier ) were put on hold in 2023 due to a shortage of crew.
It is hoped that by March 2024 the Alaska Ferry Systems' crew shortage will be satisfied & that all ferry routes will be restored.
Always check www.ferrytravel.com ( Stay on the home page and use the quote/booking widget) to see the most current active ferry schedules for ferries in Alaska, Washington & British Columbia
ACCEPTABLE ID US TO CANADA
Seattle Victoria Ferry Crossing the US / Canada Border
Th ferry between Seattle & Victoria is a high-speed catamaran designed for passengers only - No vehicles travel on this ferry.
To travel between Seattle in the USA & Victoria in Canada, you will be crossing a border and will be required to show either a Passpory;Passport Card; Enhanced Driver License; Enhanced ID Card, or a NEXUS Card is also acceptable.
ESTA... Who Needs It
Answers to the ESTA Question
WHO NEEDS ESTA*
All travellers visiting the US under the Visa Waver Program need an ESTA authorization BEFORE starting their trip.
WHO DOES NOT NEED ESTA
Citizens of the following countries doNOT need ESTA authorization to enter the US: the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea
* ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authoization, & is an electronic system which checks the eligibility of visitors wishing to travel to the US.
BC Ferry Mainland Service Resumes
Full Summer Ferry Service To Resume between Tsawwassen & Swartz Bay
The Coastal Celebration, the large ferry pulled from service to complete minor repairs 2 weeks ago, has a return-to-service date of Friday 29 July to continue serving Mainland - Vancouver Island travellers.
The ferry is one of the largest in the BC Ferry fleet & the unexpected need for repairs caused extended wait times and short tempers as would be passengers waited for passage at the Vancouver & Victoria terminals.
The Coastal Celebration operates 8 daily sailings & is able to carry up to 310 vehicles & 1,604 passengers including crew.
Difference Between A Ferry & A Cruise Ship
Taking a Ferry vs Taking a Cruise
A ferry is a basic form of sea transportation & does not provide the amenities offered by a cruise ship. Ferries carry passengers and/or vehicles & cargo, from one port to another, have limited and very basic cabin space and usually only a single cafeteria.Ferries should be thought of as sea buses .... designed to travel between port A & port B, (or on longer routes) stopping at each port for only a short time & simply to pick-up and drop-off passengers before proceeding to the next port. Cruise ships however are designed as resorts on the sea .... stopping in various harbours for extended periods so their passengers can disembark to explore the port. Cruise ships typically
have amenities like pools, spas, entertainment, multiple restaurants,
hotel style cabins and they provide services geared to ensuring their
passengers have access to most of the amenities that would be enjoyed if
staying at an onshore resort. Cruise ships often carry hundreds & some vessels even thousands of passengers, while the larger ferries typically accommodate only a few hundred passengers. Surprisingly, on longer trips, a cruise ship ticket which is typically all inclusive, can often be less expensive than a ferry ticket as the ferries charge for each component ( food, cabins, drinks, luggage storage, pet etc) and are not designed to be anything other than a basic mode of transportation.
Mechanical Difficulties Plague BC Skidegate Ferry
BC Ferries MV Northern Adventure Delayed
The Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii (Skidegte) ferry scheduled to depart mid morning on 05 July, was delayed after suffering a pump malfunction.
The delay was soon fixed.
Call BC Ferries at 1 250-381-1401 for updated information
BC Ferries July Long Weekend Notice
BC Ferries cancels 48 daily sailingsbetween Mainland & Vancouver Island
Due to an unexpected maintenance issue on the Coastal Celebration (one of its largest ships) BC Ferries has had to reassign some 6,600 Bookings between Tsawwaseen & Swartz Bay ahead of the Canada long weekend
Call 250 381 1401 for the latest sailing schedule information
Travelling with a Trailer on The Ferry
Canadian Border Entry Information
CANADIAN MARINE BORDER ENTRY:
Effective October 1, 2022
– all travelers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship, no longer have to provide proof of vaccination, self-isolate or quarantine, undergo any type of testing, monitor or report symptoms of COVID-19 or fill out the ArriveCAN app or website.
Please click on the live link Transport Canada below for Canadian border entry ID requirements.
Be sure you Are Booking Only the Travel Dates You Want
Cancellation & Amendment fees are based on a number of factors but can be quite heavy depending on when they occur relative to the travel date. The closer to the travel date booked the higher the fees.
Cancellation fees were introduced because it was discovered that when unsure of desired travel dates, people would often hold space on 2 or 3 dates.
Because of the popularity of the ferries this often meant that a sailing would show sold out when in fact it might not be
If illness is the cause of a cancellation or amendment it is important to provide a doctors travel advice on official letterhead and often all but the credit card fees can be refunded
Ferry Help Hints
Did You Know This About The Ferries ?
In Alaska there is only one (1) passenger/ vehicle ferry system.
It operates year-round and is easy accessible through www.ferrytravel.com
In British Columbia there there is only one (1) passenger/ vehicle ferry system.
It is reputed but still unconfirmed, that there may soon be a passenger-only ferry system between Nanaimo, BC & Vancouver, BC
It operates year round and is easy accessible through www.ferrytravel.com
In Washington State there are 3 systems; the passenger-only one of which can be booked through this site
There is no need to go from one website to another if you have been advised that a particular sailing is sold out.
Bellingham Ferry Space Tight
Popular Inside Passage Ferry Sold Out of Vehicle Space Until late June
A number of factors have combined to make booking the Bellingham ferry into Alaska a less than easy task for those who have waited to secure vehicle reservations for summer 2023.
The MV Columbia with a 499 passenger & a 133 vehicle ( at 20' per) capacity, is Alaska Marines' largest vessel.
She travels north every week from Bellingham to make her way up the Inside Passage with stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Haines & finally arriving in Skagway before returning south.
While all sailings North are currently sold out of vehicle space until mid-late June, it is always good to call 1-800-686-0446 or go onto www.ferrytravel.com to see if someone may have cancelled.
Vehicle, passenger and cabin space is still available for travellers headed South from Alaska to Bellingham .
The 2 Berth cabins from Bellingham (of which there are only two), are also sold out until late summer - but 4 berth cabins ( ie cabins with 2 bunk beds ) are still available in both directions.
Sleeping accommodation is available on the Columbia onrecliner chairs in any of the lounges & many passenger like to pitch a tent on the aft deck in the solarium.
With public showers available, lack of a cabin should be no deterrent to the Alaska bound traveller.
Access Alaska Without Travelling Through Canada
Barging to Alaska Avoids Travel Through Canada
Because the Cross Gulf ferry route is not available this year, the only 2023 summer alternative to bypassing Canada to access Alaska with a vehicle, is to barge from Seattle.
Barges departing every Tuesday, make the trip from Seattle WA to Anchorage or Fairbanks in approximately 2 to 2-1/2 weeks.
While barges are for vehicles only ( no passengers), Alaska Airlines has been running out early morning Seattle to Anchorage specials at a little over $110.
For barge costs and sailing times go to www.ferrytravel.com and set the quote widget on the Home Page to Seattle barge to Anchorage.
BC Ferries See Heavy Traffic On Northern Routes
Port Hardy - Prince Rupert Sailing Space Selling Out Quickly
Demand for passage on the BC Ferry sailings between Port Hardy & Prince Rupert continues to be high as travellers reschedule those holiday plans put on hold during the pandemic.
It is important to know that vehicle space on the Northern Route sailings is always divided into over and under 20': and as of now, all space for vehicles over 20' is sold out through June.
(Cancellations do however occur & available space can be checked by calling 1-800-686-0446)
If planing a Discovery Coast passage this summer, think about travelling in August / September. The weather is usually great and the 15 hr day sailing(7:30 am - 11:30 pm) continues to the end of September before the schedule changes to an overnight sailing (8:00pm - 11:00am).
Tip: because the ferry arrives in both Hardy & Rupert at 11:30 PM, booking lodging as soon as a ferry booking is confirmed is important.
Prince Rupert Ferry www.ferrytravel.com Port Hardy Ferry
Seniors Travelling On BC Ferries Enjoy Fare Relief
Seniors Travel Free On BC Ferries Monday Through Thursday
BC residents 65+, still travel free Mondays through Thursdays (excluding statutory holidays) on all but the Northern Routes. Vehicles are charged at the standard fare.
BC resident seniors providing proof of resident status are entitled to a 33% discount on the Northern Routes.
Prince Rupert Ferry www.ferrytravel.com Port Hardy Ferry
Anacortes WA ferry to Sidney BC Out of Service
International Sidney - Anacortes Ferry Remains Suspended
The town of Sidney reports that the popular Anacortes - Sidney ferry will not only not be operating in 2023, but is not expected resume service for some time.
Currently out of service, a number of factors including a labour shortage has kept the ferry route suspended since the pandemic.
First launched in 1922, the sister cities of Sidney & Anacortes had been looking forward to celebrating 100 years of the ferry service which had helped boost tourism in both cities.
Both Sidney & Anacortes are committed to seeing the earliest possible resumption of this popular International route.
Ferry Nanaimo Downtown - Vancouver Downtown
High-Speed Passenger-Only Ferry Service to begin in 2023
Requests for a reliable, cost efficient Nanaimo downtown to Vancouver downtown ferry service have been ongoing for years, and the call to action has been met unsuccessfully, by 3 separate ferry operators.
The newest "kid on the dock" is HILLO, and it appears that this time enough planning with respect to passenger fares, sailing times and the appropriate vessels (high-speed catamarans), has been made to enable what should be a highly popular & successful service.
Scheduled to commence operation in late summer 2023 with up to 7 daily sailings & a running time of 70 minutes, the ferry service is designed to begin early enough and run late enough to serve the interests of both daily commuters and Islanders attending off Island special events.
HULLO will operate two 354 seat “Cats”with 3 service tiers ( comfort, premium& business ) & free Wi-Fi. Snacks will be available for purchase.
Fares, schedules and reservation information will be available & posted on ferrytravel.com in early June.
Sidney - Anacortes Ferry
Anacortes - Sidney Service Suspended Until Further Notice
International service to and from Sidney, B.C. remains suspended until further notice due to continued significant crewing and vessel availability challenges.
There will be no service to and from Sidney through at least the 2023 spring and summer sailing schedules.