The Alaska Marine Highway System operates a variety of ocean-going and small vessels, some of which are authorized for Foreign-Trade routes like Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Ships vary in age from the mid-1960's to those that went into service after 2005. Two new ships are scheduled to join the fleet late this decade. Not all vessels operate year around and are taken off-line for service and when passenger/vehicle loads are lighter.
The Alaska Ferries are well maintained, undergoing regular safety inspections, replacement of engines and other components as necessary. Let the agents at Viking Travel help you explore the vessels of the fleet.
The M/V AURORA, was built by Peterson
Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and began service in 1977. The Aurora is 235 feet long, and can transport 250 passengers
and 34 vehicles (20' lengths) at a service speed of 14.5 knots. Because the Aurora is used for short runs, staterooms are not
available, although food service and a solarium are provided
The M/V's FAIRWEATHER & CHENEGA are the Alaska Marine Highway System's first fast ferries with
vehicle capacity. Their main decks have interior seating for 150 passengers in the observation lounge and 109 in the midship
area as well as exterior seating in the solarium. Interior spaces have a combination of reclining airline style seats and
table arrangements with areas for work/study, video games and full service snack bars. Their single main decks hold 35
vehicles and the ships have a service speed of 32 knots. The Fairweather usually sails out of Juneau to Sitka and Petersburg
and occasionally serves Haines and Skagway whereas the Chenega general serves the Prince William Sound area
between Cordova, Whittier, and Valdez.
Forward Lounge on the FVF Fairweather
The M/V COLUMBIA was designed to
carry 600 passengers with a crew of 66. Its two vehicle decks can accommodate 134 vehicles. There are 56 two-berth cabins
plus 3 two-berth barrier-free cabins, 40 four-berth cabins and five cabins that have four-berths with an extra sitting room.
A typical Two-Berth Outside Cabin or Stateroom on most of the ships provides private facilities (toilet, shower and sink)
and a view!
The cabins with the sitting rooms are great for a card party or to use with larger families that don't mind putting the kids on the
floor in sleeping bags.
There is also a dining room, snack-bar, cocktail lounge as well as the ships gift shop, theater-lounge and video arcade are
all available onboard. Two forward lounges afford wonderful vistas of the passing scenery. You can also roll out your
sleeping bag on deck chairs and camp out under the heated Solarium, or, you may want to try one of the two decks ideal
for pitching "free standing" tents and sleep under the stars. The M/V Columbia usually operates round-trip from
Bellingham WA to Skagway AK on a weekly basis during the summer.
The M/V KENNICOTT, is a recent addition
to the Marine Highway Fleet. Built by Halter Marine Group of Gulfport, Mississippi at a cost of over $80 million, the Kennicott
began service in the summer of 1998. Designed by Halter Marine, and Glosten Associates of Seattle, Washington, the Kennicott is
382 feet long, 85 feet wide, with nine decks. She is driven by two 6,69HP Wartsilla 32E diesel engines, and has a service with a
speed of 16.75 knots. The vessel is ocean certified and is also designed to serve as a command and logistics center during an
oil spill or other natural disaster. The ship has a capacity for 499 passengers, provides 320 berthing accommodations and has
space for 80 standard automobiles. The observation lounges and the enclosed, heated solarium give excellent vantage points
from which to enjoy Alaska's scenic splendor throughout her voyage. The Kennicott operates on the Cross-Gulf schedule and
also offers direct bi-monthly service between Washington State and Whittier Alaska (near Anchorage) during the summer.
The M/V LECONTE, launched in late 1973
by Peterson Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The LeConte joined the fleet in 1974. The LeConte is 235 feet long, with
capacity for 300 passengers and 34 vehicles, and operates at a service speed of 14.5 knots. The LeConte is used for shorter runs,
usually out of Juneau, so it does not have staterooms, but food service, cocktail lounge and a solarium are provided.
The M/V MALASPINA, carries 500 passengers,
and provides 53 four-berth and 30 two-berth cabins. The vessel was built in Seattle in 1963 at the Lockheed Shipbuilding yards,
then lengthened and renovated in 1972 at the Willamette Iron and Steel Company shipyard in Portland. The Malaspina is now 408 feet
long, with capacity for 88 vehicles (20' lengths), and a service speed of 16.5 knots. Passenger services include a cafeteria, gift
shop, cocktail lounge, solarium, and forward observation lounge. The Malaspina operates into Bellingham, Washington, during the
winter when the M/V Columbia is out of service. During the summer months it operates from Juneau,
serving Haines and Skagway.
The M/V MATANUSKA, was built by Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock
Company of Seattle and began service in 1963. In 1968 the vessel was lengthened and renovated. It now carries 500 passengers, and
provides 4 four-berth, 23 three-berth, and 81 two-berth cabins. The Matanuska is 408 feet long, with capacity for 88 vehicles,
and has a service speed of 16.5 knots. Passenger services include a cafeteria, gift shop, cocktail lounge, solarium and forward
observation lounge. When you travel on the Matanuska ask us about the great staterooms that are availble at little or no extra
charge! The Matanuska sails mainly within the inside passage during the summer months
from Prince Rupert to Skagway with stops along the way.
Take a stroll on the outside walk-around deck
The M/V TAKU, was built by Puget Sound
Bridge & Dry Dock Company of Seattle and began service in 1963. Renovated in 1981,the vessel is 352 feet long, with capacity
for 69 vehicles, and operates at a service speed of 16.5 knots. It can carry 370 passengers, and has 9 four-berth, and 35 two-berth
cabins. Passenger services include a cafeteria, gift shop, cocktail lounge, solarium and forward observation lounge. The M/V Taku
usually operates bi-weekly from Prince Rupert, BC, up the Inside Passage to Skagway and returns. Alaska residents know when the
Taku is coming by when they hear the distinctive sound of the propeller.
The M/V TUSTUMENA, was built at Sturgeon
Bay, Wisconsin in 1964, sailed Alaskan waters for five years, then was renovated in San Francisco in the winter of 1969. The vessel
is 296 feet long, with capacity for 36 vehicles and operates at a service speed of 13.5 knots. It can carry 174 passengers, and has
8 four-berth, and 18 two-berth cabins. Passenger services include a cafeteria, cocktail lounge, solarium, and forward observation
lounge. An ocean-going vessel, the M/V Tustumena usually operates from Homer and Kodiak
and goes all the way out the Aleutian Chain to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.
The M/V LITUYA serving the Inside Passage route between Ketchikan and Metlakatla, went into service in
2004. At 181 feet overall, she can carry 18 vehicles and 149 passengers. Service speed is 12 knots.