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How soon to book ferry?

Charlotte, NC
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14 posts
31 reviews
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How soon to book ferry?

I'll be making a trip this June, driving a loop beginning and ending in Anchorage. One leg of the trip will be a ferry (with car) from Valdez to Whittier. We already have a specific date in mind, and would probably prefer the faster ferry. How far ahead should one book this?

Since you pay in advance, I'd just as soon wait another month or so unless I'm taking a huge risk of getting closed out. Thanks.

Destination Expert
for Ketchikan
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2,251 posts
51 reviews
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1. Re: How soon to book ferry?

I might be wrong about this, but it's been my experience that the Alaska Marine Highways uses your credit card to hold your reservation but doesn't actually make the charge until you have your tickets in hand which I pick up at the ferry terminal window....at least I can't ever remember seeing advance charges and I've traveled by ferry at least a dozen times including a trip earlier this month. That said, if you need passage for a CAR on any ferry in the state, I would make reservations right away. Walk on passengers who like sleeping in chairs can get away with waiting to buy tickets but cargo space and staterooms can go fast in the summer.

hudson valley,ny
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279 posts
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2. Re: How soon to book ferry?

I booked the Marine Ferry Whitter to Cordova, Cordova to Valdez for the first week in June w/car and the charges where taken. You can reserve and they will hold the reservation for a short time without payment.

Halifax, Canada
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46 posts
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3. Re: How soon to book ferry?

I have booked the ferry from Valdez to Whittier for a trip in late May and the full charges were on my next credit card bill.

Adirondack, New York
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4. Re: How soon to book ferry?

mruts, because you're traveling with a car try to book your ferry asap. You will be charged a full amount at the same time.

Actually you have two payment options. The first is paying at the time of booking. The second option is a delayed payment. If you book any time today you'll have until tomorrow night (11:59 PM Alaska Time) to pay. Your credit card will be charged at that time. If you book your ferry on Friday and decide to delay your payment you have until Monday 11:59 PM (Alaska Time) to make your payment. If you need to cancel or make changes to your reservation you can do that up to 7 days before sailing. There is a $10.00 fee involved for each segment of your travel if a car is involved. If you have to cancel within 7 days there are additional charges. There is no charge for cancellation or changes if only walk-in passengers are involved.

The above rules applied only oif you book directly with the Alaska Ferry. www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/schedules.shtml. You can pick up your tickets on the day of sailing at the ferry terminal.

If you use a booking agent like www.alaskaferry.com then cancellation is 25% any time after a full payment is made regardless whether you pay for foot passengers only or if a car in included.

My husband and I have a several segments already reserved for July and then our return passage from Haines all the way to Bellingham. Our credit cards were charged (and now already paid in full) for every segment of our travel which means we paid already a few thousand dollars. We are traveling with a car and also reserved outside cabins with full facilities. I just noticed that during our September return sailing there are already some cabins not available.

Reserve your ferry very soon.

Edited: 28 March 2011, 15:39
Las Vegas, Nevada
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4,345 posts
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5. Re: How soon to book ferry?

You do not have to pay for the reservation right away. You have 14 days from the date of the reservation to pay. If you don't pay in 14 days they will cancel the reservation.

If you need to cancel - there is no charge to cancel so long as you do it 14 days or more before the sailing.


Edited: 28 March 2011, 18:55
Charlotte, NC
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14 posts
31 reviews
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6. Re: How soon to book ferry?

Thank you for the advice. I will be on a trip in late April, had hoped to wait until after to book, but I'm now thinking I'll get the passage booked this week. It would not be great to have to drive from Valdez to Seward just because of wanting to wait to pay...

Juneau, Alaska
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366 posts
68 reviews
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7. Re: How soon to book ferry?

booking with AMH is like playing cat & mouse with airfares. Many of the ferries fill up fast, but you can always keep your eye open and check availability on a daily basis. Valdez to Whittier is a busy route, and if you are on the Chenega then I'd suggest you book your car space as soon as you can. Its rare that these ships fill up with PASSENGER space unless there's a major event going on, but car space typically goes first.

8. Re: How soon to book ferry?

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