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Alaska Ferry Information

The Alaska Ferry information provided below is full of details about various subjects related to your ferry trip. 

Please feel free to read about the relevant subjects. You can always e-mail or call us at 800.327.2571 with questions and we'll discuss your particular situation.

Before you travel it is a good idea to check out this Alaska Ferry Information and read about the few general restrictions  and check-in times. Foot passengers with more than two bags should also see the section on baggage limits . The Alaska Ferry System has staterooms  and meal service  to make your trip more enjoyable. Make sure you check-in with enough time to spare. For our friends who own RV's, there are some special considerations in our RV section .

If you are 65 years or older, be sure to read about special senior citizen rates

If you have a disability, read about accommodations for the disabled . You may also want to apply for a one-year pass for persons with disabilities


The Marine Highway System serves hot meals, snacks, and beverages on all vessels. The M/V Tustumena and the M/V Columbia also provide full-service dining rooms. Vending machines make a variety of foods and beverages available around the clock. The cafeteria menu includes Alaskan seafood, hot meals, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, juices, and snacks. Lounges serving alcoholic beverages are available on most vessels. Alcohol may be consumed only in staterooms or cocktail lounges by persons 21 years of age or older. Alcohol may not be consumed in public areas of the ship, including the solarium.


Cabins are available on most of the ships in the fleet and are always configured as bunk beds. They are all single beds, no other configuration is possible. Staterooms are available on the M/Vs COLUMBIA, MALASPINA, MATANUSKA and TAKU in the Southeast System, and the M/V TUSTUMENA serving the Southwest/Southcentral Systems, and are sold as a unit with two, three or four bunks. Most cabins feature private bathroom facilities. Room service or daily makeup of cabins is not available. However, trash is collected daily and fresh linens are available upon request.

The M/V KENNICOTT, in addition to Four-berth and Two-berth cabins, has a limited number of Roomettes. These rooms have only 2 berths, no linen and no toilet or wash basin. Facing seats with a table for the day make into upper and lower bunks at night. Sleeping bags are welcome in these rooms or bedding can be rented at the Purser's Office. There are restrooms and shower facilities convenient to these rooms.

Passengers without cabins will find a limited number of recliner chairs and spaces to roll out sleeping bags. Many adventurous travelers put up small tents on the deck. Pillows and blankets are available for rent on most sailings. All vessels have public showers.


Please notify your agent if your vehicle is an RV or motor home. While the fares are usually the same as the standard rates these vehicles are reserved under a special code and because of their height, weight and/or width and may be assigned special "over-height" space on the ship. 

Passengers do not have access to the car deck while underway, so RVs and motor homes may not be used for dining and sleeping on the trip. 

Electrical hookups for vehicle refrigeration units are not available, and bottled gas containers on the RV must be turned off and sealed by a Marine Highway employee at the time of boarding.

See our special section with RV Information


Wildlife naturalists from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are often on board to share information about the marine life, birds, plants and other wildlife you encounter on your journey. On some vessels serving the Inside Passage route, artists, musicians, storytellers and performers are scheduled to entertain guests during the voyage. Many vessels have a theater area and show scheduled films and documentaries on Alaska and the outdoors. The gift shops sell magazines, books and Alaskan souvenirs. In addition, some of the vessels have a small video game arcade, card room, reading room and toddler play area. 


Discount fares (usually 25% off) are available for persons 65 and older on all sailings within Alaska. Senior rates are automatically calculated when booking and may not offer the maximum available savings when compared to other special offers. Senior discounts apply to the passenger only, not vehicles. Advanced reservations are encouraged. Proof of age is required. Vehicles, cabins, food and beverages are 
charged at normal rates. Senior rate travel is generally not allowed between, Whittier and Valdez, or any round trip from Homer, Seldovia or Kodiak to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska on the same Aleutian Chain Trip.

BAGGAGE -  [ top]

Foot passengers may bring hand luggage only, with weight up to 100 pounds total. To help passengers get their hand luggage on board, baggage carts are driven from the terminal to the car deck. No baggage carts are available on the M/V TUSTUMENA. 

Passengers are responsible for the handling and safety of their luggage. Baggage handling is not provided and the State is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged baggage. There is no weight limit on luggage carried in or on a vehicle. 

Coin-operated storage lockers are available aboard most ships for storage of small hand-carried items. 

Unaccompanied baggage is not allowed on board Alaska Marine Highway vessels. It is considered freight and must be shipped via commercial carrier or U.S. mail.


Pets are allowed on-board, but there are restrictions. The animal's owner or attendant must possess a current health certificate for the animal (issued within 30 days of travel) in order to transport it through Canada or into Alaska. 

The transportation of birds is regulated. Contact U.S. and Canadian Customs for requirements. 

Dogs, cats, and other household pets are charged $25 to/from Bellingham, and $10 to/from Prince Rupert. There is no charge for a certified service animal traveling with a disabled person. Animals not in vehicles must be in suitable containers (not provided by the State), must be cared for by the owner, and must remain on the car deck (except certified service animals. 

Owners may attend to their pets needs on the car deck only while vessels are in port. Due to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, passengers are not allowed on the car deck while vessels are underway unless accompanied by a Marine Highway employee. Accompanied pet calls are announced approximately three times a day by the purser on extended voyages such as between Bellingham and Ketchikan or Juneau and Whittier. 

For information regarding transportation of larger animals such as horses or cattle, please ask your reservation agent.


Any vehicle that may be driven or towed legally on the highway may be transported. Vehicle fares are determined by the vehicle's overall length and width: Fare catagories are 10' and under; 15' and under; 19' and under; 21' and under. Vehicles over 21' are priced in one foot increments based on overall length. Vehicles 8-1/2 to 9 feet wide will be charged approximately 125% of the listed fare. Vehicles over 9 feet wide will be charged approximately 150% of the fare listed for the vehicle length. If you are towing a vehicle, the overall connected length is used to determine fares. It may be less expensive to drive your 2nd vehicle on instead of towing it as longer vehicles are priced at higher rates. 

Unlimited access to the car deck is prohibited while the vessel is underway. Crew-escorted trips to the car deck are allowed during longer voyages. You also have access to your vehicle while the vessel is in port. 


Drivers of vehicles with long overhangs are advised, that due to the large tidal ranges, the angle of the transfer ramp may cause damage to undercarriage units, such as holding tanks or plumbing. Vehicles longer than 25 feet may experience high centering at the top of the transfer bridge at low tide level. The State of Alaska will not be responsible for these types of damage claims.


Construction vehicles, and/or vehicles hauling freight, are required to provide a certified weight slip showing combined overall weight of the tractor, trailer/van and load. Because weigh stations are not always available at the departure port, truckers should obtain a weight slip before leaving the point of origin. 


All motorcycles must be fully secured on the car deck using the appropriate tie-downs. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure this is completed properly. Rope may be obtained from car deck personnel for lashing purposes but it's generally advisable to bring your own tie-downs. Motorcycles without sidecars or trailers will be charged at the 10 foot vehicle rate. Otherwise, the overall length vehicle rate applies.


Bicycles, kayaks, and very small boats (under 100 lbs), will be charged at the "Alternate Means of Conveyance" rate. If the boat exceeds 100 pounds, it will be charged at the "Vehicles to 10 feet" rate. Larger boats must be on a trailer and will be charged the appropriate vehicle rate by length.


Non-drivable vehicles and vehicles not accompanied by a driver will be assessed a surcharge of $50 to/from Bellingham, $20 to/from Prince Rupert and $10 to/from all other ports. The Marine Highway does not provide for loading or off-loading vehicles. It is the shipper's responsibility to provide the service. If the shipper makes no arrangements to load the vehicle, it will not be loaded. If the shipper does not remove the vehicle from the vessel upon arrival, one of the following actions will be taken at the discretion of the State: 
(1) the vehicle will remain on the vessel and the shipper will be charged for additional shipping; 
(2) the vehicle will be removed from the vessel by a commercial towing company at the shipper's expense; 
(3) the Alaska Marine Highway System will remove the vehicle and the shipper will be charged $100 before the vehicle is released. 

Alaska law is very specific about smoking in public facilities such as State ferries. Smoking is restricted to the outside decks and posted areas only. The State reserves the right to refuse passage to any person apparently under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any person whose conduct would be considered dangerous or objectionable to other passengers. Any person who attempts to gain passage in a fraudulent manner, or any vehicle in an unsafe condition, will be denied boarding.

The vessels do not have a ship's doctor, and medical services consist of first aid only. Ship-to-shore radiotelephone service is available for emergency use only. Satellite telephone service is available on some vessels but should not be relied upon due to the mountainous areas in which the ferries operate. Cell phones have limited use except when near communities on the schedule. Electrical current on board is 110-volt, 60-cycle AC. Power is unprotected from surges and brownouts. Use of personal computers is not recommended unless you have a UPS unit to protect your equipment. Wireless access is limited to areas close to towns and WiFi is not available onboard. Electrical hookups for vehicle refrigeration units are not available, and there is no refrigerated storage on board for passengers' commodities. 


Any walk-on passenger traveling with legal firearms or weapons is required to check these items with vessel personnel. All firearms must be unloaded and ammunition stowed separately from the firearms. Unloaded firearms may be securely locked in a passenger's vehicle. 

Concealed weapons are not allowed on any vessels. Handguns are only permitted in Canada by specific application and RCMP approval for EACH Canadian Provience. This must be done well before transiting Canada. 

You are NOT permitted to carry hand weapons to or through Canada without permit. Any person arriving at a Canadian port of entry with a restricted weapon will be required to return the weapon to the United States. Canadian Customs will not hold weapons pending your return to the U.S. 

Failure to declare possession of a restricted weapon will result in seizure of the weapon, possibly your vehicle and prosecution.
Additional restrictions: non-U.S. citizens arriving into the U.S. with firearms must obtain a permit from the Department of Justice. Approval could take up to six weeks. ATF&E Website

Check with Customs in the U.S. or Canada before attempting to enter either country with a weapon.  


Explosive, highly flammable materials, corrosives, etc. may not be transported on the Marine Highway. Bottled gas containers, such as those used by recreation vehicles, must be turned off and sealed by a Marine Highway employee before being transported. Small portable containers of fuel (5 gallons or less, limited to 2 containers) are permitted but must be properly sealed, labeled with your name for identification, and turned over to vessel personnel for proper storage while en-route. 


During the summer, reserved vehicles are required to check in at the terminal prior to posted vessel departures as follows: 

-Bellingham and Prince Rupert: 3 hours 
-Skagway, Haines, Juneau, and Ketchikan: 2 hours 
-Petersburg 1.5 hours
-Homer, Whittier and Kodiak: 2 hours (Except Whittier Cross-Gulf sailings: 3 hours 
-Sitka: Call 907.747.8737 one hour before the arrival time listed in the schedule
-All other ports: 1 hour

Lengthy check-in times are needed so that the vehicles can be arranged in the boarding lanes for safe and efficient loading. Passengers with vehicles who do not arrive on time may find that their reserved space has been given to someone waiting on the standby list. 

It is suggested that passengers without vehicles check in early. AMH suggests the following: Bellingham two hours prior to departure, and 1 hour before departure at all other ports. Local knowledge has shown that ticketed walk-ons boarding 30 minutes before departure rarely have problems. 


Using the Alaska Ferry System sometimes involves crossing international borders between the U.S. and Canada. Passengers boarding ferries to or from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada require U.S. or Canadian Customs clearance before entering the country. Passengers traveling north of Skagway will encounter an international border as will travelers on the Haines Highway. If you have had a DWI (DUI) or other legal problem which may prevent you from entering Canada from the US, we suggest that you obtain permission to enter Canada prior to your arrival. We suggest that you contact the Canadian Immigration Service to obtain a Visa to enter Canada in advance of your arrival at the border. You will need to apply for the Visa at the nearest Canadian Consulate Office to your home. The final authority for granting admission into Canada is Canadian Customs. Should you have any questions regarding your status, please contact Canadian Customs in Prince Rupert British Columbia (Pacific Time Zone) by calling 250-627-3003. The alternatives are probably limited to flying to/from Anchorage or departing to/from Bellingham for access to the Inside Passage.

If you reside in the U.S. and will be traveling through Canada in connection with your Alaska trip you need a passport to re-enter the USA. Foreign visitors to the U.S. or Canada should be aware of the visa requirements pertaining to your home country. Should you have any doubt, feel free to e-mail us with particulars describing your situation.


Native-born citizens (adults, children and infants) should carry a birth certificate together with photo identification or a passport. Driver's licenses alone are not proof of citizenship. 

U.S. residents who are not citizens should carry their Alien Registration Registration Card.

Canada Customs officials will require travelers to show proof of sufficient funds for the trip. Motorists may be asked to show their vehicle registration card or proof of title and liability insurance coverage. 

Permanent residents of Canada who are not Canadian citizens should have their Landed Immigrant Visa.

Customs Offices, Phone Numbers, and Hours:

Haines Highway at Pleasant Camp
U.S. Customs: 907.767.5511
Canada Customs: 907.767.5540
Hours: 7:00 a.m. -- 11:00 p.m. Alaska Time
Through traffic is prohibited when the border is closed.

Prince Rupert Open for ferry arrivals and departures only. Passengers proceeding into the USA from Prince Rupert will be inspected by US Customs in Rupert before departure.
Canada Customs: 250.627.3003
Canadian Customs Website

U.S. Customs:     250.624.5351
U.S Customs Website

Skagway/Frazier/Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Road - U.S. Customs: 907.983.2325
Hours: Manned 24 hours year-round unless road conditions or work by the Department of Transportation prohibit travel;
Canada Customs: 867.821.4111
Hours: Manned 24 hours during spring and summer through October, 
closed to traffic into Canada at night during winter.

Border Crossing hours and policies are subject to change at any time. Call ahead if you are planning on a border crossing at odd hours or have specific questions as to duty-free allowances.


American Safari Cruises The moment you step aboard the yachts of American Safari Cruises you'll know you have found something special. Your Captain personally welcomes you and the crew greets you with hors d'oeuvres and champagne as your yacht adventure begins. You have become a pampered guest, one of the very few, who will leave the crowds behind to cruise at fingertip closeness through some of the most magnificent destinations in western North America.

InnerSea Discoveries Break out and indulge your adventurous side on activity-rich small ship journeys that explore up-close the breathtakingly pristine wilderness and nearby cultures of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Orbridge - Destination Specialists Experience the world up close with Orbridge, a new breed of tour operator with a focus on select destinations, intimate departures, and superb educational enhancements. Call us for availability on any of our departures to Alaska, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, and the Florida Everglades, all featuring top accommodations and small, deluxe ships. Toll Free at: 866-639-0079.

M/V Sikumi Enjoy the beauty and wildlife of Alaska from the luxury of your own small cruise ship.

Sea Quest Kayak Tours & Whale Watching Trips Join a kayak quest for whales with biologist guides in the world's premiere whale watching waters: San Juan Islands of Washington, Baja Peninsula of Mexico, and Alaska. Since 1989!

Tongass Kayak Adventures Discover why the Inside Passage of Alaska and our homeport of Petersburg offer some of the best sea kayak trips in the world. Day trips, overnight camping and custom adventures in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.

Travel Guard Insurance Travel Guard travel insurance plans include travel insurance & assistance that travels with you. Coverages may include: Trip cancellation due to terrorism & other named unforeseen events, trip delay, lost baggage, medical emergency, & others. Purchase online for immediate coverage. Certain coverages are subject to purchase requirements. See each coverage for details.

The Boat Company Alaska Cruises between Juneau and Sitka

The MILEPOST - All the North Travel Guide The MILEPOST®: Legendary Alaska trip planner and Alaska travel guide to the highways, roads, ferries, lodgings, recreation, sightseeing attractions and services along the Alaska Highway to and within Alaska, including Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

Whale Song Cruises - Petersburg Set sail with a 30-year Alaska resident who is anxious to introduce Whale Song Cruise guests to the spectacular sights of what many say is the most beautiful part of Southeast Alaska.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad - Skagway to Whitehorse Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, a designation shared with the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. The WP&YR railway was considered an impossible task but it was literally blasted through coastal mountains in only 26 months. Join us on a historical adventure aside the Chilkoot Trail.

Bellingham, Washington RV Park offers pull-thru sites with full hook-ups, wi-fi, direct T.V. and a modem station. Sites have 20/30/50 Amp electrical service. Big rigs and pets are welcome. We are 15 minutes to the Alaska Ferry dock, minutes from whale watching, the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island Cruises. They're close to shopping and a large variety of restaurants, with-in minutes of several golf courses, an hour to Mt. Baker and hiking, and just south of the Canadian Border.

Changes & Specials  |  Ports  |  OnLine Reservation Form

Viking Travel, Inc.
101 N. Nordic Drive
P.O. Box 787
Petersburg, AK 99833
Tele 907-772-3818
Fax  907-772-3940
Toll Free 800-327-2571
US and Canada

Viking Travel, Inc.

Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed Sunday
(All Times Pacific)
©2000-2012 Viking Travel, Inc. | 101 N. Nordic Drive | Petersburg, AK 99833 | Updated 19 January 2012 |