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Old 02-06-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
Steve907AK OP
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Taking the ferry from Whittier to Bellingham

Does anyone have any recommendations regarding the quickest ferry to the lower 48? I've looked at the schedule online and it seems a bit confusing. Looking to go this summer but I want to get down there as quickly as possible on the ferry. Any recommendations? Thanks
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Steve907AK View Post
Does anyone have any recommendations regarding the quickest ferry to the lower 48? I've looked at the schedule online and it seems a bit confusing. Looking to go this summer but I want to get down there as quickly as possible on the ferry. Any recommendations? Thanks

A quick enough ferry will be tough to find. I took a scoot to Valdez then hopped the ferry back to Whittier a few years ago. The novelty wore off in about 30 minutes and after a couple hours I thought I might have to slit my wrists.

The ferry all the way from Bellingham is going to be like a six day coma. Might want to contact PAF or Span, etc. and see if it's possible to have them strap your bike to a pallet and then phanagle some way of riding down on the steamship with it. I know they have the ability to take a passenger but I don't know the specifics. It's likely to be more interesting than the ferry and it'd be quicker by half (it's a 3.5 day shot from Port of WA to Port of Anch on the steamer).

Here's the summer schedule but I'd call anyway. Their schedule in my experience hasn't exactly been like the German rail system. At least what they've posted of it in the past.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by steve907ak View Post
does anyone have any recommendations regarding the quickest ferry to the lower 48? I've looked at the schedule online and it seems a bit confusing. Looking to go this summer but i want to get down there as quickly as possible on the ferry. Any recommendations? Thanks
rode the ferry from skagway to prince rupert...36 hours...also have ridden the ferry from haines to bellingham 3 days. Very enjoyable for me. Just sayin'
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:09 AM   #4
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Ferry very enjoyable after days on mc-Try the Fast Ferries

I realize your question pertains to the quickest way to get there but for a lot of us that ride up from the lower 48, the ferry is very enjoyable and beautiful after being on our bikes for 2-3 weeks. There are a couple of fast ferrys that you can use. For example, in 2011, we took the fast ferry from Haines to Juneau and then another fast ferry from Juneau to Sitka. From there on down, I do not think was such a thing as a fast ferry. The fast ferrys cut the time in half. If you are on your bike, you might get off at Prince Rupert and ride the rest of the way (of course, that depends on where you are going). I always tried to book it myself and always found out by calling the Alaska Marine Highway directly they not only helped with the connections, time, etc., it also saved me money. Check into the fast ferries and connections as you may have already done that. Again, the ride from Haines/Skagway to Prince Rupert is amazing, at least for those of us that do not get to experience the Alaska coast very often.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:04 AM   #5
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Fast Ferries

I believe the fast ferries are the Chenega (CHE) and the Fairweather (FWX). The Fairweather is what I have been on going from Hanies to Juneau and Juneau to Sitka.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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We've taken the Prince Rupert to Haines run many times in both directions and have always enjoyed the time off the bike. But always ready to be back on the bike after a couple days on the ship. If I wanted to be on the west coast in a hurry the ferry would not be my choice. Riding the Alcan is, or certainly could be, less time. For most of us the best combo/compromise in time and money is ride to Haines and ferry to Prince Rupert since the Gulf Cross and YPR to Bellingham segments add significant amounts of both. I find the AMHS online reservations system gets what I want but the phone support is good too. If you've never taken the ferry, do it at least once.
I've never heard of getting passage on the freight ships but that would be interesting to try. Anyone ever done that?
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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I would second the above comment from Solarmoose. From Alaska, it is only about 3 days to get past Prince Rupert and only 5 to the west coast and I'm no speed demon or iron-butt type of rider. Plus, the road route will probably be cheaper. I've taken the ferry once about 35 years ago and that was sufficient. I've never felt compelled to take it again. The scenery is great but I prefer the road.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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I'm another who have done most of these ferries, but probably won't again. Gorgeous scenery but being couped up on a ferry boat for days on end with not much to do and expensive/crappy food gets old very fast. The sleeping cabins are expensive phone booths. Some allow you to set up a tent on deck - this would be the way I'd do it if I were to ferry again, but I think any future trips to the N, I'll just ride round trip.

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Old 02-08-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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What Legion said. The info on the net is a bit confusing. I just dealt with that. But they're very helpful on the phone and you'll get the info you need.

The only high speed ferry I know is the Valdez to Whittier route, so normally you do the north to south route in 5 days or so. There are two ships running now from Bellingham. One has a 6 day layover in Juneau, the other only a 6 hour layover, and that wasn't clear from the website. To go to/from Whittier to Bellingham you have to change ships in Juneau. Call them for the summer schedule and whether there is a quicker ferry.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:43 AM   #10
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I have ferried whittier to cordova many times and recommend you just call the ferry office for reservations- the web site is a confusing mess and a chore to wade through. But if you call and ask for a specific date they can have you set up in a hurry.

Taking the ferry is a bit like riding the rails- you won't have a lot to do and if you can appreciate that you will have a good time.

If you can't, you won't.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:22 PM   #11
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We did Haines to Bellingham in August 2012. It left Monday at 6pm and we were off the ferry in Bellingham by 0900 Friday.
It was nice to relax. You need your own tie downs. You can sleep in a tent on the back of the ferry for cheap is that is a concern.

For us it was icing on the trip. A nice relaxing time with beautiful views.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:20 AM   #12
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The Whittier tunnel was one of the unexpected surprises on my trip last summer. A fun adventure all by itself.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by oclv454 View Post
The Whittier tunnel was one of the unexpected surprises on my trip last summer. A fun adventure all by itself.
As long as you don't put the front in the rail
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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Well put!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKittrick View Post
Taking the ferry is a bit like riding the rails- you won't have a lot to do and if you can appreciate that you will have a good time.

If you can't, you won't.
Very well put, Tim. For myself, I can and do.

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Old 02-17-2013, 02:19 PM   #15
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As long as you don't put the front in the rail
I didn't, but could see how you could. That's why I called it an "adventure". When I asked why the motorcycles go last, after all the cars, motorhomes, and trucks, the women said "because the motorcycles kept falling down and they have to send assistance into the tunnel and it's easier to get to the motorcycle if they go last". It was a rememorable two miles!
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