|When You Go
Alaskas Inside Passage
Ferry Arrangements: Make sure every traveler has either a passport or official birth certificate available to show officials, especially for reentry back into the United States. For Alaska Marine Highway Ferry reservations and schedules check the Web link below or call 1 -800-642-0066 / 1-800-764-3779 / 1-800-665-6414 from Canada or Fax 1-907- 277-4829. Within Washington State call 1-800-585-8445 or 1-360-8445. Tip: Some ferry-connecting airlines and trains, including Canada's Via Rail, offer big discounts, especially for seniors, for May and June travel. Links and phone numbers for airlines, trains, and auto rental companies can be found in the Travel Info section of this magazine.
When to Go: Some seasonal activities such as Glacier Bay boat tours and community summer plays run mid-May through mid-September. Northbound ferry traffic increases through June, peaks in mid-July and remains heavy through Labor Day. Southbound traffic increases the second week in July and remains heavy through Labor Day, then drops off sharply. Summer travel reservations should be made by early December if traveling with a vehicle. Passengers walking on generally have no problem anytime. Even in the peak season though, there often is car space north of Ketchikan to Juneau. Ferries run year round.
Rates: Children under two are free, 2-11 approximately one-half price, pets free between Alaskan ports, adults full fare with the exception of specials during the off season. Vehicle fare runs according to length. Motorcycles, cars, campers, trailers, and small trucks require special fees. Bicycle and kayak fares run according to pounds. Berth rates vary according to inside or outside cabins and number of passengers traveling. Rates: call 1-800-642-0066 / 1-800-764-3779. Payment must be made at least 45 days before sailing. No out-of-state personal checks are accepted. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are accepted by telephone 1-800-642-0066 and 1-907- 465-3941.
|Special Considerations: If you do not have a sleeping berth, there are recliner lounge airline-type chairs for sleeping. You can pitch a tent on the deck or place a sleeping bag on a chaise lounge chair beneath the solarium, or on the floor inside walkways. Towels, pillows and blankets can be rented if you do not bring your own. You may go to your vehicle when the ferry is in port, but you are not allowed to do so en route unless accompanied by a purser escort. When en route away from your vehicle, carry binoculars, camera, film, medicines, pad and sleeping material (if necessary), sunscreen, reading material and snacks.|
Food: The ferry Columbia offers seated dining service in the dining room and a snack bar. The other ships have cafeterias. For each meal, cooks prepare at least three entrees, including a seafood dish, fresh salads, sandwiches and soup. Prices are very reasonable. However, you can still carry aboard whatever food items you wish. Cooking on board by passengers is prohibited. In some ports, there is a long enough layover to depart the ferry and sample local cuisine or purchase food items. Make sure you know the stopover and departure times, otherwise the ship may depart without you.
Seniors and Handicapped: The Alaska ferry system offers passage at 50% of the adult fare to seniors 65 and older between Alaska ports on the smaller ferries, the LeConte, Aurora, Bartlett and Tustumena, except for restricted sailing's May 1 through September 30. The rate does not include meals, rooms and vehicle. From October 1 through April 30, seniors may travel on all ferries within Alaska at 50% off the adult fare. People of any age with a certifiable physical or mental disability may apply to the ferry system for a $25 one-year pass enabling them and an attendant (if required by a physician) to travel at 50% off the regular passenger fare October 1 to May 1. Write Alaska Marine Highway System, Attention: Pass Desk, P.O. Box 25535, Juneau, Alaska 99802 for details and application.
While You Are There:
Useful Web Links:
Additional Information (Books):