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Alaska Marine Highway System
Posted February 26th, 2013 - 11:23 am by from Beijing, China (Permalink)
Hi there,

is there anybody who did a trip with AMHS ferries? I wanted to make a reservation on their website, but am a bit confused now. Maybe you can help...

For the dates I want to travel they have room for passengers, but the cabins are not available anymore... Somewhere I read that you can sleep on deck. Is that true? But the price is the same! So is there no reduced price if you have to sleep outside??
If it´s really true that I can sleep on deck or whereever - how is it? I mean do I have to sleep under the stars, in the wind and maybe rain? Or is there a big room or so where I can lay down my matress??

I wanna go to Unalaska from Homer. It will take 3,5 days. Do I have to bring my own food or are meals included in the fare?

Thanks for your help :)

Posted February 27th, 2013 - 3:32 am from Haines, United States
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Posted February 27th, 2013 - 10:46 am by from Beijing, China (Permalink)
Hi Ali,

great, thanks a lot! :)
Sounds nice to sleep in the "Solarium" and meet locals and travellers.
I´m looking forward to it. Will make my reservation now.

Good travels to you Ali.


Posted March 4th, 2013 - 4:11 am by from Portland, United States (Permalink)
I am a big fan of the AK Marine Highway and used it a lot when I lived in AK. When I moved up there I did get a stateroom, but only for the first trip - every other time, even in the middle of winter, I opted to sleep in the solarium (you want to go directly there as soon as you can get on the ship so you can get a good spot). If you want a bit of privacy but still the communal aspect (and lower cost) of sleeping on deck, you can set up your tent on the upper aft decks of most of the ferries - bring a roll of good duct tape to use in place of stakes (this works better with free-standing tents, but you must tape them down or they are very likely to blow off the ferry with your bags when you are not weighting them down with your body).

Posted March 4th, 2013 - 9:41 am by from Anchorage, United States (Permalink)
I am happy to let you know about this particular route on the Ak Marine HWY. I would have given the same advise as the above CS'ers if I had not taken the trip from Homer to Dutch in May last year. It is a much smaller ship than the Southeast ferries that go thru the inland passage. I know how nasty the weather can be in the Alutians and traveling with a friend, we booked a stateroom. So glad we did as the solarium is not the fun party area you find on the bigger boats. There was only one brave soul camped out there on the windy deck next to the (loud)smokestack. No reclining lounge chairs out on this deck. Nice for a good view of the amazing passage, but not not a place I would like to sleep. And I love the solarium on the other lines. You CAN sleep inside in the reclining lounge or claim one of the table areas and you will meet the locals esp if you go on the May runs when people are going home to the villages. It is really fun-but pretty cold out there then. Actually, I would recommend going later in the summer when it is greener out on the Alutians. Then the deck might be warmer, too-but still noisy. You didn't say when you were planning to go. As for the reservations-you can always call the 800 number and talk to an agent. I loved the trip and also, the food was good and not THAT pricey. You can stock up on food in Kodiak as there is an all day layover there. If you have any questions-feel free to contact me. It is an amazing trip, but much different than the inland passage!

Posted March 4th, 2013 - 10:02 am by from Beijing, China (Permalink)
Hi you good people,

I´m amazed by the amount of friendly answers here. Thanks, that´s so nice of you. I already feel very welcome in Alaska :) It´ll be my first time.

Thanks for explaining the prices. While doing my reservation I found out myself that I have to book cabins additionally and that the "normal" price is for the solarium and so on.

Well, I booked and paid already. I will go on board in Homer on the 9th of July and will arrive in Dutch Harbor on the 13th of July. I will leave Unalaska two weeks later, will get off the ferry on the Kodiak island on 29th July and eventually end up in Homer on the 6th of August.

So I have two weeks on Unalaska and I definitely want to go out hiking and camping. I´m fine with bad weather - my happiness to be there is my inner sun :D I know that I first have to ask the natives if I am allowed to enter their land, but I hope they will help me. If I have enough money I´m thinking about to take a flight to Atka too, but it all depends on the money.

I will arrive by plane in Anchorage on 2nd July and after staying maybe two days I wanna hitchhike my way to Homer.

Ok, thanks so far.
I´m looking forward to my Alaskan once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Posted May 21st, 2013 - 4:37 pm by from Kodiak, United States (Permalink)
We have CSers here in Kodiak as well, so make sure to check the sub-groups for each town you're going to be spending time in. Lots of outdoors stuff here!

I always just sleep on the floor in the lounges on the ferries. Cheap, and no big deal. Definitely bring some food! There is free hot water and a free microwave, but that's about it. They don't want you using camp stoves on-board, but you can bring them off at each stop and cook dinner/etc with the time they give you in port. You usually have between 45 minutes to a couple hours.. some stops have as much as 3-4 hours, but not frequently.

Posted May 22nd, 2013 - 5:16 am by from Beijing, China (Permalink)
Hi Starr,

thanks for coming back to me and thanks for your advice and that you share your AMHS experience with me. I can't await to be on the ferry. It sounds so nice. I will definitely bring enough food.
I will arrive on Kodiak island on 29th and will stay for a week. Let's meet there Starr! I'll send you a couch request closer to that date and hope you'll be around by then.

Ok, greetings from Mongolia :)


Posted March 4th, 2013 - 3:04 am by from Juneau, United States (Permalink)
To explain a little more -- the ferry prices are per person and additional price for rooms (per room, not per person), cars, bicycles, etc. so you have not paid for a stateroom with your basic ticket. Many of us take our sleeping bags and pads instead of getting a stateroom because it is less expensive (and can be fun, depends on your mood and fellow travelers). I haven't taken the ferry to or from Dutch Harbor. I have been to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and really enjoyed hiking around and exploring. Weather can be nasty, go out anyhow as you can find places to tuck out of the wind for a break.