Originally Posted by Steve Carlson
When we got to Prince Rupert we found to our dismay that the ferry was on strike. But the ferry to the south was a different line and still running, so we went down to Vancouver instead.
Yes the ferry from Prince Rupert north to Alaska, and south to Bellingham is the Alaska Marine Highway System, whereas the ferry south from Prince Rupert to anywhere in Canada is the BC ferry system. Nicer ferries but definitely more expensive. When comparing those 2 options in 2015, it would have cost about the same to go from Vancouver to Prince Rupert (ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, drive few hours north, then ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert) as it was to go from Bellingham to Skagway on the Alaska ferry - which takes you twice the distance. Sure it wasn't luxurious, and many people sleep in tents (which they allow people to set up in some portions of the outdoor decks, zip-tied into rubber padding on the ground), but we managed to get a tiny berth which allow my wife and I to sleep in a bunk.
And yes, as I understand it, Americans driving to Alaska (or the other way) can drive through Canada but need to go "directly" and so aren't able to do any sightseeing (some have been given tickets for stopping to snowboard in Whistler and the such) so until the border is 'opened' it's probably not ideal if you want to sight-see. Doable, but you'd have to drive "direct". if it's any consolation, Canadians from other provinces also have restrictions in BC (i.e. can't book any provincial campgrounds or Rec sites). With this new UK variant and slow roll-out of vaccines, who knows how long the restrictions will be in place. We're bummed we can't go to down to WA state parks (had to cancel 2 bookings last summer) but that's the price of trying to stop this damn virus.