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Car ferry to Alaska?

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Dec 8th, 2005, 10:16 PM
  #1
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Car ferry to Alaska?

Hello fellow travelers!
Ok, I've heard from folks who have driven to Alaska. Now I'd like to hear from anyone who has taken the car ferry from Bellingham to Alaska. (If you took your dog along, so much the better.) How was the trip? Did you get a cabin? Would you do it again? If you took your pooch, how are potty breaks handled? Diapers?!!! Thanks for any information you'd like to share.
Gretchen
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Dec 9th, 2005, 03:47 AM
  #2
 
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Well, I took the Alaska Marine Hwy.ferry from out of Prince Rupert. Is that close enough. I think it took close to three days to get to Juneau. We had a four berth cabin(for the two of us). It had a bathroom and a fairly big window to look out.I didn't take my pooch but, many people did. They have certain times that they announce that you can go visit your pooch. It cannot go with you to your cabin.We loved it. They also, have programs with the staff and they explain different subjects to you about Alaska etc. I remember I was ready to get off but, I would certainly do it again. I do recommend a cabin with a bathroom. You do need to schedule those early.
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Dec 9th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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We went from Bellingham to Skagway. The charge for the car depends on its size/length. Animals must remain in the vehicles but as the previous poster noted, there are scheduled times for feeding and potty breaks. You are expected to clean up after your dog. One person didn't so the owner of the (description of the dog) was asked via the loud speaker to return to do clean up. We also had a 4 bunk cabin. I thought the bathroom/shower unit was great. The upper bunks are stationary which means there's not much space to sit in your cabin. (Compared to the Scotia Prince in Maine which has upper bunks that fold up into the wall.) We used bag chairs but there was plenty of seating around the boat. We had been warned by friends that food wasn't that great. It was okay. You might want to bring some snacks along. We preferred the cafeteria over the dining room. We were on the Columbia which is the largest. Also very much enjoyed the lectures that were given several times during the day. You might check to see if you have to bring your own plastic bags, etc for clean up duty. Our friends highly recommended pitching a tent on the fantail deck. It gets pretty windy. You are expected to bring your own duct tape. I'm not sure if people are allowed to take their dogs off the ferry during port visits. It didn't look like a fun vacation for the dogs. The people who had them looked like they were moving.
If you are thinking about taking your dog on an Alaska vacation, please make sure it is in good physical shape if you plan to do a lot of hiking. Also, pay attention to the temperature. We were there during a hot spell and read about a large, long haired dog dying of heat exhaustion during a hike. Our friends who have dogs with thick coats don't let them do a lot of exercise unless the temperature is below 60. A lot depends on the breed.
It's a nice way to travel.
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Dec 13th, 2005, 12:31 PM
  #4
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Thanks Trisha and dfrostnh,
The ferry does sound like a great trip...for people. I'm still concerned about Nick, my four-footed boy. If we go, we are planning to rent a cabin in Alaska and stay for a month-or more. I can't imagine leaving Nick behind for that amount of time. He's part of the family! So, a few more questions...
How were the temperatures on the ferry? Are the cars on a deck that has the sun beating down on it? I would worry about overheating. (I'm hoping the sun WILL shine some of the time!) Nick has been taught form puppyhood to consider the van his second home. He may not be thrilled by the extended confinement, but, he won't be panicked by it either. We always travel with a supply of cleanup bags. All responsible pet owners should. Hooray for the ferry personel for holding those inconsiderate owners to account.

Please don't worry about us taking Nick hiking in dangerous conditions. I would never risk his health. I'm a volunteer dog trainer with a local service dog training foundation and have been around dogs all my life. Just ask my husband. He'll tell you that I take better care of the critters than I do of him! Fortunately he loves them too.
Thanks again!
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Dec 14th, 2005, 04:56 AM
  #5
 
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Hi cactushugger, you ask some good questions. The car decks are on the lower levels. I have no idea what the temperatures are but they definitely are out of the sun. I think you should make a list of questions and call the ferry office. They were very helpful with my questions plus it's about the time of year when cabin reservations need to be made for the popular months. I don't blame you for not wanting to leave your friend for a month. You also probably have him well trained to obey commands. This is important. Also check with the cabin owners about wildlife in the area. When we stayed in a cabin we were nonchalantly warned that they were having frequent visits by bear and moose. My DIL's lab does not have a problem with moose in the next yard but as you probably know some dogs will chase anything. They did a lot of camping with the dog without any trouble at all. We only did an overnight at a cabin near Talkeetna. (Peters Creek?) The cabins were beautiful but a little too remote for a month's stay. Sounds like you and Nick have a wonderful vacation ahead of you!
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Dec 14th, 2005, 10:08 AM
  #6
 
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I did the AMH thing and met a girl who had a huge dog in her car onboard. She told me she didn't run into any problems. If your dog is the type that has to have constant attention it may be a problem (for the dog).
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