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Alaska ferries and Yukon

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My husband and I are planning a trip to British Columbia and the Yukon this summer.
We are flexible as to when we go - thought perhaps May-early June or Sept. would get us away from the summer time crowds. We want to visit friends in Penticton and then we were thinking of taking the Alaska ferry system to Skagway and then going on to Whitehorse. Has anyone done this? Also, what would be a good way to return to Vancouver instead of taking the ferry again.
We will likely fly to B.C. from Ontario and we will not have a car, except perhaps a rental when we visit Penticton.

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    Pauline: I haven't done the whole trip, as you have described it, but I did live on the Central and North Coasts of B.C. for 7 years. Weather wise, I would recommend early September over May and June, if you don't want to go during the peak summer period. I have seen many a cruise ship go by in May and June, immersed in thick fog, or heavy rain. There are no guarantess weather-wise, but I think statistically, you are better off in September. Also, as you may have discovered, the Alaska State Ferries get booked up very early, especially for cabin space, as I believe they start taking reservations, January 1. An alternative that some people do, is to book B.C. Ferries from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, and then take Alaska State Ferries from there. I have heard that it is easier to secure bookings from there. You also delay spending Amereican dollars for a little while, and you are basically travelling the same route. I have only been up as far as Petersburg on the Alaskan Panhandle, ( which I would strongly recommend as a destination), so I can't comment on the rest of your planned trip.

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