Summer 2020 Bellingham to Whittier Ferry

Nov 20th, 2019, 11:45 AM
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Summer 2020 Bellingham to Whittier Ferry

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Alaska next summer. I am considering taking the ferry from Bellingham to Whittier with a standard four door SUV and four adults. As the fare calculator on the website seems to be not working, what can I expect to pay for this trip and how often does the ferry run?
oriole4008 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2019, 01:00 PM
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Looks like your first post; welcome to Fodor's!

Next summer's ferry schedule won't be out for some months to come, and you should know that Alaska state budget cuts are throwing a number of ferry routes and frequencies into real question. A couple have already been discontinued, and service level reductions are expected system-wide, but few details have come out.

Last year, there were (I believe) one or two monthly same-ship sailings between Bellingham and Whittier, but you could also sail to Juneau from Bellingham, change boats, and carry on to Whittier a couple of days later. I can't find an archived 2019 schedule so can't be more specific.

For a one-way trip with a standard vehicle (under 16 feet long) an April 18, 2020 sailing (latest dates now available) will take 5 days (Saturday - Thursday) and will cost $2452 for the vehicle and one passenger (presumably the driver.) With four passengers it would be $4687. Note that is transportation only; a cabin sleeping four with bath and shower on that sailing will cost an additional $1242 (price for the cabin, not per person) but you'd probably want two cabins, which would put the grand total somewhere around $7300.

So you can see it's drop-dead expensive. And that's one way. And doesn't include meals.

So the obvious question... are you sure?

Some alternatives just to contemplate.

1. Cruise up, rental car, fly back. The cruises can be quite affordable - sometimes under $1500 per person for a cabin with a balcony. Not bad considering it's transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment. You don't say how long you'd be visiting, but while rental vehicles can be pricey, advance booking (way in advance, like now) can keep costs under control. One way flights from Anchorage back to the lower 48 (say Seattle) are quite reasonable, e.g. $128 most days in June.

2. Ship the vehicle, cruise or fly up, drive back - or v.v. You can ship your vehicle from Tacoma WA to Anchorage for around $1700 (northbound) or $1500 (southbound) using Totem Ocean - https://www.totemaritime.com/alaska/...les-rvs-boats/ You might consider driving up or back; it takes around a week from the western US, on paved roads.

3. Fly both ways, rental car. Obviously this would overfly Southeast Alaska (Inside Passage etc.) but you might consider making one of the legs a "multi-stop" one, with a stopover in one of the communities in SE Alaska. My vote would go to Sitka, as it's the prettiest town in the region, generally skipped by the cruise ships as its harbor can't handle the big ones, and is full of history, scenery, Native American culture, etc.

Again, welcome!

Last edited by Gardyloo; Nov 20th, 2019 at 01:03 PM.
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