Published: Jul 24, 2018
Last Updated: Nov 16, 2023
With Skagway and Haines both being chock-full of adventures to discover, it can be tough to decide what to do and where to spend your time while you are in port. The good news is; you don’t have to choose! You can do both with the convenient Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry which shuttles adventure seekers between the two ports via the Lynn Canal, the longest and deepest fjord in North America. You’ll think you’re on another tour, with the cascading waterfalls and wildlife you’ll see along the way! Use this guide to help calculate timing between your cruise port times, fast ferry times, and excursion departure and end times. We'll outline a couple of examples so that you can do it all and not have to worry about missing your cruise ship or excursion!
Say your cruise ship is docking in Skagway from 6:00am to 9:00pm and you really want to raft and get up close and personal with some wildlife in Haines on the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Rafting Tour and you would like to book the 1:00pm excursion. The Skagway small boat harbor, where you catch the Fast Ferry, is very close to your cruise ship dock, only about a 5-15 minute walk. To make your 1:00pm tour time, you’d want to catch the 10:00am fast ferry to Haines, arriving at 10:45am. This will give you plenty of time to grab lunch or wander around Haines before you are met by your guide and whisked away on your adventure. This tour is a 4 hours in length so it will have you done by 5:00pm which would then allow you to catch the 6:00pm ferry back to Haines with plenty of time to board your ship before it departs!
If you are docking in Haines and want to experience Alaska’s official sport of dog mushing, the Skagway Mushers Camp & Sled Dog Adventure is a great option! Not only is it an incredibly popular tour - because PUPPIES - but at only 3.5 hours it can usually be fit into a port stop in Haines. Ships docking in Haines are usually in port for 12+ hours, giving you ample time to sightsee and make the most of your days. If your tour starts at 10:00am, at the latest you'd want to catch the 9:00am fast ferry arriving in Skagway at 9:45am so that you can meet the tour operator by 10:00am near the dock. A close situation like this would require a bit of hustle on your part, but it's doable! Once the tour ends promptly by 1:15pm, you could catch any of the afternoon ferry's back to Haines as long as you're back in Haines and on your ship at least 30 minutes before it's scheduled departure.
You’ll want to reserve your roundtrip fast ferry tickets immediately after your tour has been confirmed with Alaska Shore Excursions and ticket vouchers have been sent to you. The ferry is a relatively small boat and tickets can sell out fast. We do not recommend waiting until you’re in port to purchase ferry tickets, especially if you have a tour booked, as there is no guarantee of same-day tickets.
Go ahead and maximize your stops in Skagway and Haines! With a little easy planning, the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry makes it possible to see more beauty than you bargained for.