Trip report: Alaska Marine Highway between Juneau and Ketchikan

In Adventure, Alaska Travelgram, Cruises by scott

Traveling on the ferry is the best way to see Southeast Alaska “up-close and personal”.  We sailed on the Matanuska from Juneau to Ketchikan. Here’s a shot of the dock in Auke Bay, which is where the ferry dock is located about 12 miles north of Juneau (five miles north of the airport):

Our stateroom was small, but functional.The meals were served cafeteria-style. We had our choice of hot dishes, pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers or salads. I opted for the Shrimp Salad, featuring Alaska seafood! 

On board, we met a great mix of travelers, mostly from Wisconsin. They were aboard two buses which drove on the ferry in Juneau. They had been on a journey through Fairbanks and Denali National Park before getting back on the ferry in Skagway for a trip to Prince Rupert, B.C. Other travelers included campers who slept outside underneath the solarium on the top deck. Check it out:


Local riders included a small group of kids going back home to Craig, Alaska after visiting Echo Bible Camp near Juneau. Lots of friends and families traveling between the ports of Petersburg, Sitka, Wrangell, Ketchikan and Juneau.

Remember, on the ferry, you’re welcome to bring your own food aboard. There are public showers, so even if you’re “camping” on the top deck or inside on the overstuffed chairs, you can clean up! 

We called in Sitka (at 3:30am), Petersburg and Wrangell.Petersburg was our only “daylight” port-of-call:

Between Petersburg and Wrangell, we sailed through the Wrangell Narrows. “Narrows” is the right word. The passage was barely wide enough for the ship to sail through! 

After arriving bright-n-early in Ketchikan at 4:30 am, we walked boldly through the pouring rain to our hotel across the street, the Best Western Landing.

There are several specials on the Ferry right now, including:

a. See Alaska Pass. If you start or finish your travels in Prince Rupert, B.C., you can save as much as 25 percent off your ticket. Plus, you can choose three stops in Southeast Alaska. 

b. Driver goes free. This is a great special if you’re driving your car on board the ferry! Starts Oct. 1.

c. Save 30 percent this winter. Starting Nov. 1, you can save up to 30 percent on your ferry ticket. 

Watch for updates. We’re headed back on the ferry this afternoon. Rumor has it that the m/v Taku has FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS!

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