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“Marvelously friendly crew, fantastic seamen” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Alaska Marine Highway System - Day Cruises

Alaska Marine Highway System - Day Cruises
Mile 13.5 Glacer Hwy at Auke Bay, Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-3941
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Ranked #26 of 88 Activities in Juneau
Type: Ferries/ Boats, Sightseeing Tours
Attraction details
Lexington, Michigan
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Marvelously friendly crew, fantastic seamen”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

Traveled with marine engineer and was fortunate to get tour of the bridge and a dollar tour of the engine room. Wonderful experience, extremely competent, capable crew. Sat in observation deck at night to observe navigation thru narrows. These people know how to move this large vessel thru very tight water. Professionals to the max. Stateroom though small was adequate and very clean. (It isn't new or a cruise ship). Food decent and reasonably priced. I'd do it again in a second. Very friendly crew.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Juneau, Alaska
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Marine Highway”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

All the boatrs are great in their unique ways. The terminal is out of the way in Juneau - you have a mile hike to get to a bus stop at DeHaarts store. Most boats have good food, nice people. On most boats you can rent a blanket and/or a pillow for just a buck or two to sleep in the reclining chairs. Wildlife often seen in the summer.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Relaxing but spectacular”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

The marine highway system is fabulous and I cannot wait to visit again. The ferries are immaculate, reliable and the scenery spectacular. It was recommended to me and I tell everyone I see that it is a travel experience second to none. It has been 6 months since we traveled and it is still as fresh as it was yesterday.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alaska
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Cruising Alaska”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

This Ferry is very big and fun to explore. as usual as sson as we got on board we went to the kitchen to satisfy our insecurity of not being at home. I love the solarium where you pitch a tent and camp out on deck. there are also minin heaters up on the ceiling of the solarium.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“The Only Way To Travel In Alaska”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

I sailed from Whittier to Juneau on the Kennicott and from Juneau to Prince Rupert on the Taku. Although the Taku was smaller, the onboard experience was similar between the two ships.

I was initially planning to take a cruise from Whittier to Prince Rupert (or Vancouver as need be), but after being frustrated by tantalizingly low prices that were immediately yanked away with a declaration of "per person, assuming double occupancy," and "specials" that I wasn't allowed to have, I discovered the ferry was not only cheap and convenient, and quoted the actual price of the rooms, but it also went directly to Prince Rupert.

So unless you want to be strip-searched or molested to get on an airplane and end up missing all the scenery, then the ferry is literally the only way to travel through roadless Alaska.

On the Kennicott, I booked a "roomette," which is extraordinarily cheap and very small and linens cost extra (since they're often booked by campers with sleeping bags). On the Taku, I had a full-size cabin. In the former, I had occasional problems opening the bunk at night; in the latter, the beds are permanent fixtures with slightly insufficient headroom in either bunk. In both cases, the beds were extraordinarily uncomfortable even by the standards of, say, a train rather than a hotel.

Ferry food is resoundingly "meh." It's boring, bland, and very expensive (and isn't included in the fare of even the most expensive rooms). If you are traveling on the M/V Columbia, you will have access to a full-service restaurant; all other ships have only a cafeteria.

Onboard activities are limited. The Taku had a movie on board (the Kennicott may have as well), and there's a wide variety of viewing lounges and outdoor decks, but even with scenery, I found myself bored at times; internet is out of the question unless you bring your own satellite uplink.

At $574 plus meals, the ferry wasn't honestly that much cheaper than a discounted cruise fare ($838, including meals) and a cruise would have been much more luxurious, but earlier booking would have yielded a cheaper ferry ticket and the discounted cruise fares seem all but impossible to actually find; that one literally vanished overnight.

Furthermore, the ferry staff were extraordinarily friendly, while my experience with cruise staff (on a Princess/Holland America cruisetour) tended to range from obnoxious to Friendly® which might be better described as "courteous;" polite and professional but laced with the subtle undertone that they hate their jobs and hate you as well. The other passengers on the ferry ranged from backpackers to locals (I boarded the Taku with an Alaska state senator) while the passengers on the cruise would have consisted entirely of cruise passengers, who, from my cruisetouring experience, seem to be the worst kind of tourist.

And of course, had I booked the cruise, I would not have stopped in Yakutat, a charming (tiny) town that doesn't even have cell service.

So basically, if you want to travel within Alaska (or to/from Alaska), and you want to do so via the scenic route, traveling with native Alaskans, doing so fairly cheaply, and without any violations against your person or dignity, and you're willing to sleep in a somewhat uncomfortable bed, eat expensive boring food for a few days and bring a really good book with you, then the ferry is the best choice.

I certainly don't regret booking it.

I am, however, baffled as to why Tripadvisor classifies transportation as "attractions" when it's clearly a separate category.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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