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Old 03-25-2016, 01:06 AM   #1
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Some Alaska ferry questions from a newbie

First Alaska trip! In Seattle now waiting for it to warm up a bit, then will be taking the ferry (just for the experience and the view of the inside passage) from Prince Rupert to Haines/Skagway with a stop in Juneau on the way. We are leaving from Prince Rupert because it is a lot less expensive than to leave from Bellingham, plus we'd like to see some of BC. Then from Haines it's the highway the rest of the way north. Vehicle is a Winnebago View.

1. We have a cat. With food and litter box he will do fine on his own, my understanding is that the animal can stay in the RV and you are allowed to tend to it when you are in port?

2. Should we book directly with the Alaska Marine Highway System or use an agent such as alaskaferryvacations.com, or does it matter?

3. How much time should we allow in Juneau? Aren't planning on going too in-depth, mostly just want to poke around a bit and get the feel of the place. Is a day or two enough?

And of course any other related tips would be appreciated!!
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:50 AM   #2
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We booked directly with Alaska Marine Hwy System for one of our trips to Alaska. Our second trip we drove up and back.

For pets, as you're traveling under way they will give you some time and naturally, when you arrive into ports.

For Juneau, our ferry stopped there and there were buses waiting if we wanted to take a drive to Mendenhall Glacier - which we did. Other than that we felt we didn't want to spend a night or more just for another 'city' experience. If you do spend a night or two you're going to have to really plan in order to get the next ferry out. We also had a fairly long stop at Ketchikan which we really enjoyed. It, also, was enough time so we didn't stay overnight. Our ferry trip ended at Skagway.

We got a room (really, a closet) and if we did it again we'd just sleep on the comfy lounge chairs on deck - inside or out.

We had very nice weather May 15 and the waterfalls along the way were running fast, the bears were looking for fish on shore, the whales were jumping...just a perfect trip. The food wasn't gourmet but it was good.

That early, the college kids were onboard heading for their summer fishing jobs. They opened their little tents outside on deck, brought out their guitars and it became very festive.

Are you driving back? Enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:19 AM   #3
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Yes, driving back. Will continue from Haines up to Alaska, then back down through Alberta (Banff, Jasper NP, Calgary) to the US, then back to the east coast (our origination point), will be maybe 12k miles total before it's done. Whew.

That's an interesting comment about Juneau, I hadn't considered the hassle of getting the rig off and on the ferry again vs. the actual entertainment value. Perhaps just hoofing it a bit while we are in port is a better idea, certainly easier logistically.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
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Have you looked at schedules yet? How much time will your ferry be at Juneau? Like I said, when we got off there were tour buses waiting for whoever wanted to go to Mendenhall Glacier and I believe there were some buses to tour the city. We didn't have time to do both so we chose Mendenhall. They get you back to the ferry on time - no worries.

Getting your RV off will be no problem but the problem will be getting a good schedule to get back on another ferry. They don't run every day.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:52 PM   #5
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We did exactly what you are planning a few years ago (like 1986). We spent several days in Juneau but took a float plane to a fishing village for a couple of nights to visit our daughter who was working there. You can see Juneau in a couple of days.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting a boat to Haines or Skagway, just make reservations. I would do it directly with Marine Highway. We're planning on sleeping on the deck but there was a cabin available so we took it.

Another option is to hop over to Vancouver Island, drive up the island, then take a BC ferry to Prince Rupert.

I would like to Island hop going up but I think it would be better to do it with something smaller than our 35' plus toad.

We did visit Skagway and Sitka on a later trip with bicycles and no RV. Both were well worth it.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:10 PM   #6
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We spent about 4 hours in Juneau - took a water taxi (Fjord Express to Juneau - Fjord Express to Juneau - 1-800-320-0146) from Haines - probably the BEST excursion we were on during our 3 month trip! Had already visited many glaciers, so didn't go to Mendenhal. Had a nice lunch watching Otter seaplanes land and take off and strolled around downtown. I'm sure if you were there for a couple days you could find things to do, but we were happy with our short visit. ST
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