The Alaska Marine Highway System began taking summer season reservations Monday.
The schedule covers May through September 2018. It lists pretty much the same routes and port calls as this year’s summer season.
Ferry spokeswoman Aurah Landau said the schedule hasn’t changed a lot since a draft version was released for comment in October. But it details plans for Prince William Sound sailings that weren’t listed before.
“That was left blank due to budget questions,” Landau said. “And we heard from Cordova that they really wanted service there and we were always planning to give them service. But then this new schedule documents how this service will happen.”
Reservations can be made through FerryAlaska.com or by calling 1-800-642-0066. They also can be made at any ferry terminal during open hours.
The schedule is based on a spending plan that the Legislature could change. If the budget is cut, officials say reductions will most likely hit next winter’s schedule.
Mechanical problems sometimes disrupt ferry service.
No one can predict all breakdowns. But Landau said the fleet’s in pretty good shape right now.
“We haven’t seen any repair issues since the draft has come out and we don’t anticipate any repair issues changing the schedule. Most of the boats have been in long overhauls recently, so we’re looking like we’ll be in pretty good shape for the summer,” she said.
The current year’s schedule shifted after the ferry Columbia struck an unknown submerged object. It resumed sailing at the end of October.
And this winter’s schedule has been reduced because the ferry Malaspina needs extra repairs. Sailings to and from Prince Rupert will be canceled for two months beginning Dec. 22.