For a more leisurely mode, travelers can hook up with the Alaska Marine Highway’s oceangoing ferries at Bellingham, Washington, or Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The water route also affords the opportunity to take in the natural splendor of southeast Alaska’s many parks and communities off the road system.
The passage includes vehicles, people and cabins that sell out early, so make reservations as far in advance as possible. On overnight trips passengers frequently sleep in lounge chairs, on the floor inside lounges, or in their small tents on the solarium deck or the stern of the cabin deck. The shower stalls are public on most ferries, and a cafeteria serves food on all vessels.
Pets with a valid rabies certificate and a health certificate are permitted but must be confined to your vehicle, except for exercise on the vehicle deck during specified times or stops. Vehicle access is restricted for most of the trip.
Remember that ferries are not cruise ships. The scenery outside the windows is the same viewed by more than a million cruise ship passengers every summer, but the similarities end there. Bring coolers full of food and beverages, plus blankets, pillows, towels, entertainment and a camera. For reservations, schedules, fares and other information, visit www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs.