The Alaska Marine Highway runs the ferries from Prince Rupert north through Southeastern Alaska. The fares are more than twice as high as the British Petersburg, Alaska Columbia ferries, but our stateroom was larger and more comfortable. On the other hand, we waited about three hours to drive on. We left Prince Rupert at 3:30 p.m. and reached Juneau at 4:30 p.m. the next day, Alaska Time.
It rained most of that time, so even though we took a turn around the deck every now and then, we didn't want to stay out. Also it got colder. The food was satisfactory, no more. As was the case on the B.C. ferry to Prince Rupert, there were lots of young people traveling who spread their sleeping bags out on the floor.
The ferry stopped at several Alaskan towns -- Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg -- which can only be reached by water. The Petersburg high school swimming and track teams rode the ferry to Juneau for a meet, doing their homework on board. Through the Wrangell Channel
Each stop was a bit of an adventure. The "owner of the black Toyota with B.C. license plates bound for Juneau" had to get up in the middle of the night at two stops to move his/her truck so the other vehicles could get off. There was time for a passenger to walk ashore and then get back on, but there was no point in the steady rain.
For the most part, all there was to see was forested uninhabited coastline. If the islands got more than a few hundred feet high there would be a snow capped mountain and lots of cascades and waterfalls splashing into the sea. There sure is a lot of wilderness!
We were interested to watch the ferry thread the Wrangell Channel, about 30 miles long and at times no more than two ship's width. Thanks to the Coast Guard for all the buoys and range markers which enabled the skipper to make the passage. He still posted a lookout forward, though!