Alaska state ferries’ 2023 summer ferry schedule shows more cuts to service

the state ferry Kennicott
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Kennicott near Ketchikan. (CC photo by Jay Galvin)

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced significant changes to this year’s summer ferry schedule running May 1 through Sep. 30.

The mainliners Columbia and Kennicott will not be sailing at the same time, decreasing ferry service to Prince William Sound and Southeast communities. That’s because the state doesn’t have enough crew to run them, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Sailings across the Gulf of Alaska from Whittier to Southeast on the ferry Kennicott are postponed until more crew is hired. The Columbia will be the only ferry, serving Southeast’s main run between Juneau and Bellingham, Washington.

The Tazlina, which serves the northern panhandle, is also offline due to short staffing. And the mainliner Matanuska is out of service due to repairs.

For the Kachemak Bay region, the ferry Tustumena will sail the Southwest route along the Alaska Peninsula-Aleutian Chain to Dutch Harbor once a month, from May to September. There are regular scheduled port calls to Homer, Seldovia, and Kodiak Island, including the city of Kodiak, and villages of Port Lions, Ouzinkie and Old Harbor.

In Prince William Sound, the ferry Aurora will continue a regular route calling on Valdez, Whittier and Cordova. It will call on Chenega Bay and Tatitklek twice a month.

According to the state’s announcement, until officials hire additional crew to sail the Kennicott, port calls to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Yakutat are also on hold.

You can see the full Alaska Marine Highway 2023 summer ferry schedule here.

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