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Old 01-10-2021, 11:58 AM   #1
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Alaska Marine Highway Ferry & Dogs

Covid & an open Canadian border permitting, we're planning to take our 19'er up to and tour Alaska this upcoming summer season. We've driven both routes (the Alaskan Hiway & Cassiar) as far as Whitehorse in the past, so to maximize our time in Alaska proper, we're thinking of taking the Alaska Marine Highway ferry either up from Bellingham to Haines, or down from Haines to Bellingham.

I understand that our 14-1/2 yr old Shar-Pei would have to stay in the camper and only be allowed to walk on the vehicle deck at certain times. Also, no doubt get off the ferry during its brief stops in the southeastern Alaskan towns.

If you've taken your trailer & dog on the ferry, I'd like to hear about your experience doing that.

Thank you, in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 01-12-2021, 04:00 PM   #2
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hi we hadnít traveled with our dog on the ferry, but have you checked the price of a ticket from Haines to Bellingham? A 30 foot motor home which is shorter than your trailer vehicle combination and two senior passengers without a stateroom (you canít sleep in your trailer) is $4500 to $4800. Driving is a lot cheaper. We drive all the time. The money you save is like being paid to drive. I can drive it in three days, but I should take five. There is a lot to see. We keep our trailer in Bellingham and drive from Skagway. I would take longer to drive if we had our trailer. Lots of rest stops to spend the night in.
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Old 01-12-2021, 05:29 PM   #3
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we have been thinking about driving to Alaska too. Also like the idea of taking the ferry home but it looked very expensive. What is you route when you drive to from Bellingham to Skagway?
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:55 PM   #4
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Yes. I'm aware our 36' "rig" - trailer & tow vehicle - plus a state room on the ferry is mega-expensive. But being a once in a life-time trip, and having already driven up and back to Whitehorse, I'm not afraid of a "budget buster". Bellingham - Skagway would work too, tho' I've been in Skagway a couple of times over the years.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Fox hunt View Post
we have been thinking about driving to Alaska too. Also like the idea of taking the ferry home but it looked very expensive. What is you route when you drive to from Bellingham to Skagway?
I usually drive down the Cassier Highway (#37) stopping at Dease lake the first night then make a long day of it and drive to Prince George, The last day I can make Bellingham. If you have never driven north I would take the Cassier one way and if possible take extra time to go through Jasper and Banff National parks in Canada. That might make it too much of a trip unless youíre retired. If I were taking the ferry I might stop for a couple days in each port when I made my reservation. Just a thought.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:19 PM   #6
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Thank you for your thoughts, gentlemen.

By the way…

I'm not a "virgin" traveler to Alaska, I've actually been up 10 times. The first time up in 1979, I rode (camped) in the solarium on the Columbia. A wonderful trip. I've canoed / kayaked multi-week trips in the Brooks Range, Katmai, Wood River Tikchik, Prince of Wales Is. All trips planned & executed my/ourselves. No guides. Friends and I bare boat charted Nordic Tugs in SE Alaska several times. I've flown to and in Alaska in commercial & spent two weeks flying up around and back in a private aircraft too.

But even with all that, or maybe because of all that, I know there's still a lot to learn.

I know the ferry's expensive as I had made ferry reservations last year for the Haines / Bellingham route (yes, super early right after they posted their summer schedule), but of course the coronavirus got in the way. (I have the ferry bookmarked and check for its calendar daily to catch the summer schedule early.)

Folks over on FiberglassRV forum suggested that I look at the Prince Rupert - Alaska ferry. Good idea. I hadn't thought of that, haven't been to Prince Rupert, though I've seen it off in the distance from the air. They indicate if the conditions are rough that our dog might be stuck in our trailer for up to 24 hrs. No question he wouldn’t "appreciate" that, so that could be the non-starter. I'll have to investigate how long the crossing would be from Prince Rupert.

Thank you, again. All comments & thoughts are much appreciated.

Oh... And you might ask... Why's does a guy who's boated, kayaked, flown, & hiked Alaska from the north to the southwest to the southeast want to drive... Well... Because I haven't done that yet! :-)
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:08 AM   #7
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Ketchikan - Rupert is around 6 hours.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:56 AM   #8
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Ketchikan - Prince Rupert in 6 hrs. Very helpful information. Thank you!
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Old 01-14-2021, 03:14 PM   #9
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Last I heard, the Alaska Marine Highway is not running the Ketchikan to Prince Rupert run. Its a combination of cost savings and the border closure. The later may (who knows) open up. Stay tuned! Check out www.ferryalaska.com.
About dogs: when not transiting open water Queen Charolotte Sound or Dixon Entrance or rough water, you can go down to the car deck every 2 - 3 hours to "walk your dog". Also there is usually a 45 minute stop at the various towns where you and your dog could smell the grass. For those so inclined .... the towns along the route are generally linear cities and if you had a bicycle with you you could see the entire town and get back in that time. Best to ask about that policy when buying your ticket though.

I for one am very heart broken about what's happening to our ferry system. I used to take them whenever time allowed but for the most part they are now priced out of my pocket. Sad!

Tom


PS: I may be driving my trailer up from Bellingham. I priced the run from Skagway to Juneau for just my Tacoma and my person (to include the trailer Id have to call in) anyway the price for that short run was about $400.00. Trailer more. A couple years ago it was $90.00. Think I'll go to Mexico instead .... beers are cheaper!
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Old 01-14-2021, 03:54 PM   #10
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Yes, the whole ferry situation has gotten very sad. It used to be one of my favorite ways to travel Alaska.
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:03 PM   #11
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Having driven the Alcan 17 times and taking the ferry once, I'd hold my nose and take the ferry only if you can get a ferry into Sitka. The layover is longer than 12 hours due to the tide. There is lots to see in Sitka, the totem park, the Russian orthodox church, the museum, the small boat harbor. Another place to spend a day off the ferry passing through is Juneau. A stateroom is not necessary on the ferry as the solarium has padded deck chairs that fold flat. That said, with a car I can drive from Fairbanks to Seattle in 3 days. Obviously longer with a trailer. Both the Cassiar and Alcan are paved all the way. Potholes are abundant. The Cassiar has better scenery being between 2 mountain ranges. Both roads have sufficient fuel stops.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:00 PM   #12
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And I thought I drove the Alaskan highway a lot. Seventeen times, wow! I have never driven it with a trailer or camper but if I did I might take a week. On the Cassier there are lots of rest stops you could just stop and spend the night. Lots of towns my wife would like to spend more money in.
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Old 01-15-2021, 01:30 AM   #13
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I would love to have taken the ferry at least one way but the two times I traveled to Alaska I drove because I didn’t want to put my dog through the trauma of the ferry. Even though my RV was a familiar home for my dog, being alone for such long periods of time seemed cruel. My dog and I loved the drive and we enjoyed both of our trips.
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Old 01-15-2021, 01:56 AM   #14
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I have looked at this in the past. I am far from retirement, so not for a while. The cost of the ferry is mega expensive, but it is a once in a lifetime trip as I am much further away than most of you. If we were to go to Alaska, we would take the ferry back. The time on the ferry would really break up the driving and the scenery would be amazing.

Is it expensive? A few years ago we attended a wedding in Cancun, it cost us close to $8500 for the 4 of us for 1 week.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:18 AM   #15
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Starving Hyena: Thank you for the info about walking the dog, and that the Rupert - Ketchikan route is currently inactive. Good info.

I hope that by late spring / summer with proof of vaccination the Canadians will let us in. But of course, that doesn't mean the Rupert - Ketchikan ferry would open again.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:40 AM   #16
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Lots of folks ferry up and save the harder drive for the return, but since the 90ís both roads have been in pretty good shape, so I doubt it matters as much now.
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