Subi & The 5

Alaska Ferry – MV Kennicott

All aboard!

As we waited in the Bellingham Cruise Terminal Long Term Parking for our ship to arrive…suddenly it does! Almost 2 1/2 hours early! We planned on going over to the Ferry Terminal and watch it come in but they fooled us. It was supposed to be 9am so we got up early and checked the vessel location and it was already in port! Well, so we went over and visited anyway. Check-in wasn’t for a few hours yet.

The MV Kennicott was constructed in 1998 and has a 499 passenger capacity and can carry approximately 70 vehicles of 20 feet long. There are 4 berth and 2 berth cabins but they reserve quickly.

Check-in time was scheduled for 3pm but we saw other RVs entering around noon or so. We went over and talked to the person working at the check-in kiosk and he told us that we needed to go to the main terminal building to check-in and then come back with the vehicle tags and he would let us in. Off we went. Soon we were parked and in line.

We waited a few hours before we could drive our motorhome onto the vehicle deck. Our route will take us to 5 ports (Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau) and finally Haines. The ferry continues on to Skagway after Haines. The Kennicott is advertised as a roll on roll off ship (RORO) but it seems like they don’t use it. Everyone embarked and disembarked on the side doors. We got on and we parked quickly. We had lots of room between vehicles which, for us, is extremely unusual. We are used to being packed in so tight that we can barely get through to the steps. We didn’t see any vehicles tied down except for motorcycles. We understand that they will tie down vehicles when crossing the Gulf of Alaska.

The first stop was to the Purser’s office to pick up cabin keys! The Purser handles all questions and problems and provides updates and information for the sailing and ports. They would also update the port times continuously.

We had a 4 berth cabin with a private restroom along with bedding, pillows, and towels which the 2 berth cabins don’t provide. You either bring your own or rent them for $3.

The cabin is simple and plain but clean and effective. We saw the 2 berth cabins, some with just a sink and the others with none. They really felt like a closet. We were happy with ours and proceeded to explore the ship. But first, we had gone through some safety presentations and Norm decided to try putting the life jacket on. It seems simple as most of us have put on life jackets before. WELL, it took Norm about 5 minutes to get the buckles undone and buckled up again. But he did it! I guess I am drowning.

The ship has a cafeteria style cafe along with a dining area to sit and eat your food. There was a nice selection of food which would be cooked upon ordering (which meant some long lines at times) along with daily specials, soups, salads, non alcoholic drinks, snacks, breakfast items, etc. The daily specials would eventually run out but we never experienced any of the other food being depleted like we had read about.

There was also a bar next to the cafe which sold alcoholic beverages. The rule is you can drink alcohol either in your cabin or in the bar but nowhere else. I am sure everyone abided by that!!

There is a main enclosed Observation Deck in the front (bow) of the boat which seats maybe 150 people and includes theater style chairs, table and chairs, and booths. There are jigsaw puzzles and games available for anyone to use along with a theater with frequent showings of information about Alaska. There are also additional aft lounges which are smaller along with seating areas throughout the vessel. We never had any problem finding a nice quiet place to sit unlike ferries in Europe which can be quite crowded and many times the floor was the only option.

And for those who don’t want to cough up the big bucks for a cabin there is always the option to bring your own tent and/or sleeping bag and camp. There are several places designated for campers on the deck outside and also in a heated solarium on the top deck. There are also pay lockers to store your valuables while camping. You are encouraged to bring your own food if you would like and there is a microwave and toaster in the dining area along with a “pay for” coffee machine available 24 hours a day. There is an ice machine which dispenses a small bag of ice for 25 cents. There is NO sleeping in the other lounges or seating areas.

We went up on deck before we departed and we had nice views back to the Bellingham Cruise Terminal just as the Schooner Zodiac was setting off for a sail.

We departed basically on scheduled at 6pm and off we went. Our first port was Ketchikan and it would be an approximately 37 hour sail. It turned out to be a beautiful evening and also very nice the next day. On the way out of Bellingham we were greeted with the fins and spouts of Orcas. We would continue to see this for the rest of the trip. We also saw a convocation of eagles gathered around the water, maybe a big school of fish?

After we completed passing Vancouver Island we encountered some bigger waves and some people had trouble walking but it wasn’t for long and soon it was smooth sailing again.

We slept like babies with the gentle rocking motion and the white noise! Terrific!


  1. Thanks for sharing your travels, I enjoy seeing everything and learning about where you go. I am a current View owner considering moving to an I-5 or possibly a Europa.

    1. Great, thanks. You can’t go wrong with any of your choices. The View is great but so is the I-5 and the Europa. Just depends on your personal choices. We DO love the Europa! Go for it!! Ha, ha…..

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