Alaska Ferry Service Debate
As the Alaska State Legislature grapples with their transportation budget & decides whether or not to abandon the Bellingham WA - Alaska ferry route as they restructure their system, it might be asked whether this would provide a revenue generating opportunity for both British Columbia and for the BC Ferry Corporation ?
With Vancouvers' Tsawwassen Terminal only some 20-25 minutes north of Bellingham, a BC ferry offering service between Vancouver & Prince Rupert would enable travellers to still enjoy the beauty of the coast; to enjoy the trip in Canadian dollars, and to avoid the long drive alternative.
The 5 hr Alaska ferry from Prince Rupert to Ketchican, would enable visitors seeking access to the State to still enjoy a ferry route that should include the islands of Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka & Juneau before reaching Haines - where the Alcan Hwy provides access to the rest of Alaska
The downside of this thought is the knowledge that to enter Canada, any US citizen travelling to Alaska via Vancouver would need to carry a valid passport and must not be a convicted felon. ( DUI's are considered a felony in Canada)
Too, transporting weapons could be an issue as neither handguns nor automatic / semi-automatic weapons are allowed into Canada.
Currently it is estimated that some 30,000 passengers a year use the Alaska ferry system to travel between Washington & Alaska: a number that brings with it serious dollars for any community.
Five New Ferries Planned for the BC Ferry Corporation
Designed to add capacity to the popular Vancouver –
Vancouver Island routes, the new BC ferries are planned to replace the aging Queen of New Westminster, Queen
of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam & Queen of Cowichan vessels.
With a focus on working toward keeping fares affordable, to reducing the environmental impact of the vessels, to planning for flexibility to meet changing future demands and, to enhancing the passengers' onboard experience, BC Ferries expects the new ferries to start arriving in 2020
Alaska Ferry Schedules for Winter 2019
The State legislature continues to debate both the frequency of and ports to be served by, the Alaska Marine ferries during the winter season ( Oct 2019 -March 2020).
A combination of budget cuts and ferries requiring longer than expected drydock time continues to plague the system.
The Alaska ferry system has struggled over the years to provide confirmed schedules far enough in advance to satisfy travel agents, tour group operators & independent travellers trying to secure Alaska ferry reservations as they make summer plans to explore the State.
Additional Ferry Sailings Between Annette Bay & Ketchikan.
The M/V Lituya will now leave Annette Bay on Monday, February 11, 2019 & return from Ketchikan early on Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Regular scheduled ferry service will resume on Thursday February 14, 2019 at 9am , upon leaving Annette Bay.
Call 907-4653941 For additional information
Shipyard Delays Cause Alaska Ferry Cancellations
Sailings for the MV Aurora will be cancelled 07 February through 15 February.
It is anticipated that a return to regular service will commence on 17 February
Ferry Passengers Entering Alaska from the Lower 48 Be Aware.
Travellers going to, or passing through Canada, should be aware that both hand guns & automatic weapons are not allowed into the country and may be subject to confiscation.
Also refused entry into the country is anyone with a felony charge.
In Canada a DUI conviction is considered a felony.
Alaska Ferry Space Sells Out Quickly
If thinking about travelling in Alaska this summer, it would be wise to book before May so that you can secure the vehicle and cabin space you think you will need.
Remember that if transporting weapons in your vehicle, you may want to avoid travel through Canada as hand guns and automatic / semi automatic weapons are not legal in Canada and will likely be confiscated.
When entering Alaska from the Lower 48, the only way to avoid going through Canada is either by air, or by using the cross-gulf ferry to Whittier, Homer or Valdez. (See the Alaska route map on ferrytravel.com
Driving the Alcan highway is not an option for anyone with either weapons or a DUI because it does not avoid a quick entry into Canada.
With only 10 sailings in either directions each year, summer ferry space to Whittier is usually sold out before April.
(Whittier ferry service is only 2x per month beginning in April & ending in September)
To secure ferry reservations call either 1-800-686-0446, or for faster service Click Here, to book easily & securely online.
Bellingham - Whittier Cabins
Cabins on the Bellingham - Whittier summer crossings are beginning to get tight.
If planning this 5 day Alaska trip from Bellingham be sure to confirm your reservations as soon as you know your intended dates.
Reminder: The cross-gulf ferry only travels to Whittier 2x per month and only the 4 Berth cabins have a private sink, shower and toilet.
All 2 berth cabins share washroom facilities down the hall.
MV Kennicott Service Suffers Drydock Delay
Sailings scheduled between March 21 thru April 3, 2019 on the MV Kennicott are now canceled.
Alaska Marine anticipates the Kennicott will resume regular ferry service from Ketchikan to Bellingham commencing April 4, 2019.
Alaska Ferry Cancellations
Due to a mechanical issue, the M/V Aurora has cancelled her Sunday, January 27, 2019 sailings.
Ferry service is however expected to resume service on Monday, January 28, 2019, so as to accommodate student sports teams returning home to Valdez early that day.
Celebrate Valentines Day in Victoria on the Seattle Ferry.
If thinking of a special Valentines Day surprise, consider a "mini-cruise" from Seattle to Victoria BC.
The crocus and daffodils are starting to appear and with the US to Canadian dollar at an exchange rate of about $1.30 Canadian, buying anything is a bargain for US visitors.
But don't delay
Valentines Day packages (guaranteed to provide the lowest ferry/hotel fares) are selling quickly and many of the Victoria downtown hotels are already getting tight on space.
Call 1-800-686-0446 for Valentines Ferry info and reservations.
The Victoria Clipper
The Victoria Clipper is the fastest, most direct way to travel between Seattle and Victoria.
The high-speed passenger-only ferry to Victoria, BC operates daily, year- round and makes the crossing in just under 3 hours.
Online booking at www.ferrytravel.com is fast, easy and guarantees the lowest cancellable fares available.
For the Guaranteed Lowest Ferry / Victoria Hotel package fares call 1-800-686-0446.
Clipper Ferry Passengers Be Aware
Ferry travellers departing/arriving in Seattle should be aware that on 11 January 2019, the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close permanently.
As a result it is anticipated that the Seattle core may see a greater than usual traffic buildup.
Travellers are reminded that because unexpected delays may occur while construction on the new SR 99 tunnel takes place, it is important factor in plenty of time to accommodate this.
The following should be helpful:
Washington State Department of Transportation
24-hour Construction Hotline: 1-888-298-5463
Seattle Department of Transportation Phone: 206-684-7623
December 31st, 2018 Ferry Cancelled
Mechanical issues have caused the cancellation of the MV Columbias last sailing of 2018 to Skagway (December 31) to be cancelled.
The Columbia will serve Haines as scheduled, & will leave Haines on December 31, 2018 at 6:15pm.
Annette Bay & Ketchikan to Enjoy
Additional ferry sailings between Annette Bay and Ketchikan are scheduled for Monday, December 31, 2018 & Tuesday, January 1, 2018.
This decision will enable the M/V Lituya to overnight in Ketchikan due to forecasted heavy winds.
Cancelled ferry sailings for Kodiak, Port Lions & Ouzinkie
Gale force winds, heavy seas, & freezing spray, have caused sailings to Kodiak, Port Lions, and Ouzinkie for Sunday and Monday, December 30-31, 2018 on the M/V Tusutmena to be cancelled.
On Sunday, December 30, 2018, the M/V Tusutmena will make its scheduled ferry stop in Seldovia & will then return to, & remain in Homer until resuming her regularly scheduled sailings on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
Alaska Ferry Service Cancelled
Mechanical issues have caused the F/V Fairweather to cancel her ferry sailings on Dec 29 & Dec 30 however
the M/VLeConte will take over the Fairweather's Lynn Canal voyage on Sunday, December 30, 2018.
The Sunday ferry schedule for December 301, 2018 on the LeConte will be:
- Depart Juneau at 8:00 am to Arrive Haines at 12:30pm
- Depart Haines at 1:00 pm to Arrive Skagway at 2pm
- Depart Skagway at 3:00 pm to Arrive Haines at 4pm
- Depart Haines at 5:00 pm to Arrive Juneau at 9:30pm
Alaska Ferry Space Sells out Well in Advance of Summer Travel
Every year travellers are disappointed because they are unable to travel the most popular ferry routes in Alaska because they waited too long to secure space.
If planning to ferry Bellingham Washington to Whittier Alaska or visa versa, or to ferry Valdez to Whittier (either way), it is essential to book as early as possible.
The ferry serving the Valdez <-> Whittier route is almost always sold out of vehicle space by June.
To avoid travelling through Canada, the only route available to vehicle driversis the ferry Bellingham <-> Whittier.
Driving the highway does not avoid a quick dip into Canada.
With only 10 sailings in either directions each year, summer ferry space to Whittier is usually sold out by February.
(Whittier ferry service is only 2x per month beginning in April & ending in September)
To secure ferry reservations either call 1-800-686-0446 or for faster service book directly online at www.ferrytravel.com.
BC Ferries cancels sailings on major route due to high winds
High winds and heavy seas have forced BC Ferries to cancel the 12:00PM sailing from Vancouver (Tsawwassen terminal) and the 2:00PM ferry sailing from Victoria ( Swartz Bay)
New announcements will be made closer to the schedules 4:00 PM and onward sailings.
If holding BC Ferry reservations on the Vancouver or Victoria sailings please call 1-888-223-3779 to secure the most updated information.
Poor Weather causes BC & Washington Ferry Cancellations
After a day of gale force winds and stormy seas, most BC & Washington ferry services have resumed.
BC Ferries are again operating along the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands and between the Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Both the Seattle ferry to Victoria (Clipper) and the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria (MV Coho) anticipate resuming their normal ferry schedule services on Friday 21 Dec.