Guide To Taking The Ferry From Seattle To Anchorage

Cruising Alaska’s scenic coastline via ferry is one of the most breathtaking ways to travel between Seattle and Anchorage. As you journey through the Inside Passage, you’ll be treated to dramatic glacier views, chances to spot wildlife like whales and bald eagles, and stops in charming port towns along the way. This guide covers everything you need to know to plan a ferry trip from Seattle, Washington up to Anchorage, Alaska.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The ferry from Seattle to Anchorage takes approximately 3-5 days depending on the route taken.

Overview of Alaska Marine Highway System Ferries

The Alaska Marine Highway System operates ferries between Bellingham, WA and Alaska. This system provides a unique and scenic way to travel from Seattle to Anchorage, allowing passengers to enjoy the beauty of the Inside Passage and explore various ports along the way.

The Alaska Marine Highway System operates ferries between Bellingham, WA and Alaska:

The Alaska Marine Highway System offers a convenient and reliable transportation option for travelers looking to journey from Seattle to Anchorage. The ferries depart from Bellingham, Washington and make stops at various ports in Alaska, including Ketchikan, Juneau, and Sitka.

This allows passengers the opportunity to explore these charming coastal towns and experience the rich cultural heritage of Alaska.

Multi-day journeys with stops at ports along the Inside Passage:

One of the highlights of traveling with the Alaska Marine Highway System is the chance to embark on a multi-day journey along the breathtaking Inside Passage. This scenic route takes passengers through stunning coastal landscapes, where they can witness majestic glaciers, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife.

Along the way, the ferries make stops at ports such as Wrangell, Petersburg, and Haines, providing passengers with the chance to explore these charming communities and engage in various outdoor activities.

Both slow scenic routes and faster direct express options:

The Alaska Marine Highway System offers a range of travel options to cater to different preferences. For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the scenic beauty of the Inside Passage, there are slower ferries that allow passengers to leisurely enjoy the journey.

On the other hand, for travelers who are more time-conscious, there are also direct express options that offer faster and more direct routes to Anchorage. These options provide flexibility and convenience for passengers, allowing them to choose the travel speed that best suits their needs.

Onboard cabins, dining, lounges, and observation decks:

Passengers traveling with the Alaska Marine Highway System can expect a comfortable and enjoyable journey. The ferries are equipped with onboard amenities such as cabins, dining options, lounges, and observation decks.

These amenities provide passengers with the opportunity to relax, socialize, and take in the stunning views throughout the journey. Whether enjoying a delicious meal, unwinding in a cozy cabin, or simply admiring the scenery from the observation deck, passengers are sure to have a memorable and enjoyable experience onboard.

For more information about the Alaska Marine Highway System and its ferry routes, schedules, and fares, visit their official website:

Ferry Routes from Seattle to Anchorage

You can take a direct or scenic multi-stop ferry from Seattle to Anchorage:

If you’re planning a trip from Seattle to Anchorage, there are two main ferry routes to consider: a direct route from Bellingham to Whittier and a scenic multi-stop route from Bellingham to Ketchikan to Juneau to Whittier.

Each route offers its own unique experience and allows you to explore the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

– Direct: Bellingham to Whittier is 41-48 hours

The direct route from Bellingham to Whittier offers a faster journey, taking approximately 41 to 48 hours. This route allows you to reach Anchorage quickly and is a great option for those who want to minimize their travel time.

During the journey, you’ll get to enjoy breathtaking views of the Alaskan coastline and maybe even spot some wildlife along the way.

– Scenic: Bellingham to Ketchikan to Juneau to Whittier is 68-80 hours

If you have more time and want to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the region, the scenic multi-stop route is the way to go. This route takes you from Bellingham to Ketchikan to Juneau to Whittier, offering a longer journey of approximately 68 to 80 hours.

Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore charming coastal towns, witness stunning glaciers, and experience the unique culture of Alaska.

– Scenic stops include Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, and Glacier Bay

One of the highlights of the scenic multi-stop route is the chance to visit several incredible destinations along the way. These stops include Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” where you can indulge in fresh seafood and explore the Tongass National Forest.

Petersburg, Wrangell, and Sitka offer rich Native American history and breathtaking natural beauty. And, of course, Glacier Bay National Park is a must-visit destination, home to magnificent glaciers and diverse wildlife.

For more information on ferry schedules, fares, and reservations, you can visit the official website of the Alaska Marine Highway System ( Whether you choose the direct or scenic route, taking the ferry from Seattle to Anchorage is an unforgettable adventure that allows you to experience the wonders of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Booking Your Alaska Ferry Trip

Planning a trip from Seattle to Anchorage? Taking the ferry is a fantastic way to experience the scenic beauty of Alaska’s coastline. Here are some important things to consider when booking your Alaska ferry trip:

Reserve well in advance for peak summer travel

If you’re planning to travel during the peak summer months, it’s important to reserve your tickets well in advance. The Alaska ferry is a popular mode of transportation for both tourists and locals, and availability can fill up quickly.

By booking early, you’ll ensure that you have a spot on the ferry and can secure the dates that work best for your travel plans.

Vehicle reservations required for driving onboard

If you’re planning to bring your vehicle on the ferry, be sure to make a reservation. Vehicle space is limited, and reservations are required to ensure that there is enough room for all passengers and their vehicles.

Whether you’re traveling with a car, RV, or motorcycle, make sure to indicate the type and size of your vehicle when making your reservation.

Inside cabins offer amenities like showers

If you’re looking for a more comfortable journey, consider booking an inside cabin. These cabins offer amenities like showers, allowing you to freshen up during your voyage. Relax and unwind in the privacy of your own cabin, making your ferry trip a truly enjoyable experience.

Be aware that inside cabins tend to book up quickly, so make sure to reserve yours early.

Dining rooms and lounges provide meals and relaxation

During your ferry trip, you’ll have access to dining rooms and lounges where you can enjoy delicious meals and relax with fellow travelers. Indulge in a variety of food options, ranging from casual snacks to full-course meals.

Take in the breathtaking views while savoring your meal, and make new friends along the way.

Pet policies available for travelers with dogs

Traveling with your furry friend? The Alaska ferry has pet policies in place that allow passengers to bring their dogs on board. Make sure to review the specific guidelines and requirements before traveling with your pet.

It’s important to keep in mind that space for pets is limited, so it’s advisable to make a reservation for your dog in advance.

By following these tips and booking your Alaska ferry trip in advance, you’ll ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey from Seattle to Anchorage. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure along the scenic Alaskan coastline!

Highlights of Ferries from Seattle to Anchorage

Passing through the scenic Inside Passage waterways

One of the major highlights of taking the ferry from Seattle to Anchorage is the opportunity to pass through the breathtaking Inside Passage waterways. This scenic route offers stunning views of towering mountains, lush forests, and pristine waters.

As the ferry glides through the narrow channels, passengers can soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscape and witness nature’s grandeur at its best.

Spotting wildlife like humpback whales, orcas, seals

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted to know that the journey from Seattle to Anchorage offers ample opportunities for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales gracefully breaching the surface, orcas playfully swimming alongside the ferry, and seals lounging on the rocky shores.

Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera to capture these incredible moments.

Sailing past glaciers and islands

Another highlight of the ferry ride is sailing past magnificent glaciers and picturesque islands. The awe-inspiring sight of massive glaciers calving into the sea is truly a sight to behold. The ferry will navigate through a labyrinth of islands, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness the raw power of nature and marvel at its wonders.

Stopping in charming port towns

During the journey, the ferry makes stops at several charming port towns along the way. These towns offer a glimpse into the local culture and provide an opportunity to explore their unique attractions.

Whether it’s browsing through quaint shops, enjoying delicious seafood, or immersing in the local history, these port towns add an extra element of charm to the ferry experience.

Onboard entertainment and Passage naturalist talks

The ferry from Seattle to Anchorage ensures that passengers are entertained throughout the journey. From live music performances to movie screenings, there’s never a dull moment onboard. Additionally, the ferry also hosts Passage naturalist talks, where experts provide insights into the wildlife, history, and geology of the region.

It’s a great way to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the journey.

Tips for Taking the Ferry to Alaska

Prepare for potentially cold and wet weather

When embarking on a ferry journey from Seattle to Anchorage, it’s important to be prepared for the often unpredictable weather conditions along the way. The Alaskan waters can be chilly, and rain or fog is not uncommon.

Make sure to pack warm and waterproof clothing, including a good raincoat and sturdy shoes. Layering your clothing is also a smart idea, as it allows you to adjust your outfit to the changing temperatures.

Don’t forget to bring a hat and gloves to keep your extremities warm, and consider packing thermal socks for extra comfort.

Bring binoculars and a camera

As you sail through the stunning scenery of the Inside Passage, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of majestic mountains, glaciers, and wildlife. To fully appreciate these sights, it’s a great idea to bring binoculars and a camera.

Binoculars will allow you to spot wildlife, such as whales and eagles, from a distance, while a camera will help you capture those unforgettable moments. Don’t forget to bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera, as you’ll likely be taking many photos along the way!

Pack motion sickness remedies if prone

If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s wise to come prepared with remedies to alleviate any discomfort. While modern ferries are equipped with stabilizers to minimize rocking, some individuals may still experience motion sickness.

Over-the-counter medications, such as Dramamine or Bonine, can be effective in preventing or reducing the symptoms of motion sickness. Ginger candies or ginger ale can also provide relief. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Take advantage of onboard food and amenities

During your ferry journey, take advantage of the onboard food and amenities available to make your trip more enjoyable. Most ferries offer a variety of dining options, ranging from casual cafeterias to full-service restaurants. Treat yourself to a delicious meal while enjoying the scenic views.

Additionally, many ferries have amenities such as lounges, observation decks, and even onboard entertainment. Take the time to explore the different areas of the ferry and make the most of your journey.

Flexible itinerary for unplanned delays

When planning your trip, it’s important to keep in mind that unforeseen delays can occur due to weather or other factors. To avoid any potential stress, it’s wise to have a flexible itinerary. Allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to adjust your plans if needed.

Consider booking accommodations in advance for any overnight stays, but also have a backup plan in case you need to make changes. Having a flexible mindset will help you navigate any unexpected situations and ensure a smoother and more enjoyable ferry experience.


Traveling from Seattle to Anchorage by ferry allows you to cruise through Alaska’s breathtaking Inside Passage and scenic coastline. You can choose direct or multi-stop routes ranging from 2-5 days onboard. Booking early, reserving cabins and vehicles, and packing properly will ensure a smooth and unforgettable ferry trip to Alaska.

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