New ferry schedule has few changes

Ferries run from Bellingham, Wash., to Haines and Skagway. Ships also sail across the Gulf of Alaska and to Southeast ports. (Map courtesy AMHS)

Ferries run from Bellingham, Wash., to Haines and Skagway. Ships also sail across the Gulf of Alaska and to Southeast ports. (Map courtesy AMHS)

The ferry schedule for this fall, winter and spring is now available online.

Marine Highway System spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says it covers sailings from Oct. 1 through April 30.

“For the most part people will see a kind of similar schedule to last year. There’s always a few variations depending on community events that occur throughout the wintertime,” he says.

He says some changes were made in response to requests from port cities.

For example, Juneau-Hoonah roundtrip sailings will be on Thursdays and Saturdays. They were originally scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays.

Also, Skagway was added to Thursday sailings that start in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Those ships had been scheduled to turn around in Haines.

Woodrow says budget cuts that affect summer sailings will not extend into the off-season schedule.

“The marine highway’s view is that the winter schedule is already bare bones and it really has been brought down to a level where you couldn’t reduce it much further,” he says.

Schedule details are posted on the system’s website, FerryAlaska.com. The reservations line, 1-800-642-0066, also has the information. The system no longer offers a printed schedule.

The state-operated marine highway sails 11 ferries to 35 communities from Bellingham, Washington, to Unalaska-Dutch Harbor.