Post by Koastal Karl on Oct 28, 2006 8:27:21 GMT -8
hmm, never thought of where that photo could of been. I always thought it was Prince Rupert. But that's interesting. If they went to Alaska they would be in competition with Alaska State Ferries but I dont know if BC Ferries want to go international. That would be a good name for the northern ship.
Does anyone think that BCF has ever considered limited service to Alaska? I know in the 80's they offered limited service to Kincolith(North of Prince Rupert), but my knowledge is limited to that detail, anyone know more about this?
I'm gonna take a stab at this and guess that the PR person doesn't have a clue, nor do they care, nor do they really need too. Only we, and perhaps Alaska residents who for some reason looked at the picture would notice.
Post by Wett Coast on Oct 28, 2006 19:29:37 GMT -8
When I first looked at this picture I thought that the location might be Bella Coola. I will take someone's word that it is in fact Alaska. I suspect someone just found a picture that looked 'northern' and just photo shopped the artist's concept of the new vessel into the picture. That is it. In another picture they photo shopped this vessel onto a QotN postcard.
It is very unlikely that BCF will be operating vessels into Alaska any time soon, especially in mid winter during the Olympics. I highly doubt BCF northern service vessels will see much of a spike in traffic during the Games, unless Prince Rupert's 'All Native Basketball' tournament happens at the same time.
Last Edit: Nov 1, 2006 19:58:04 GMT -8 by Wett Coast
I don't think BC Ferries would go north to Alaska for a few reasons.
The Sonia and QPR replacement will probably not add a lot of extra capacity to the existing runs, which I understand are quite busy during the summer. And the summer is probably the time when a cruise to Alaska on board a ferry would make the most financial sense.
So even if it made sense to do during the summer, BC Ferries probably wouldn't have the capacity to accomplish it. There would probably be a number of costs with such a service too, in terms of customs clearance, any maritime regulations associated with sailing into the US, etc.
Also, what could BC Ferries offer that the Alaska Marine Highway doesn't already?
I think there is a demand - for it. Look at the current Cruise ship business - plus add in a younger sector who would like to get off somewhere and drive back down or drive up - then you have a good business - which would be beneficial to a lot of the smaller ports / towns.
Why not play the Yanks at there own game??
I don't know a lot of people who would want to drive to/from Alaska. I wouldn't mind doing it once, but it's a long long drive to anywhere in Alaska. You've got two main "cities" on the Alaska Panhandle, that's Juneau (Alaska's capital city, with no road access) and Haines/Skagway. Juneau's population is 30,000 and I doubt the population of Haines/Skagway are even half that. Alaska ferries already serves these ports.
From the Alaska Panhandle, it's a long jump to anywhere, and it's all in open waters. Alaska ferries rarely even crosses the Gulf of Alaska to places like Anchoirage or Valdez. They operate on that side of the Gulf too, but they rarely cross it. I doubt there would be a demand for a ferry service between Vancouver and Anchorage. The government wouldn't subsidize it and so it would have to make at least a little money. It would cost a fortune.
If it was done right, there could be a business opportunity in doing what the old steamships did, visiting smaller ports and carrying cargo/vehicles/passengers. There might also be opportunity to run a year round cruise ship out of Vancouver, returning to Vancouver. However, both these ventures would require completely different ships than what BC Ferries has or is building.
Even if we remove the off-the-wall notion of BC Ferries serving Alaska, this idea still doesn't really fly.
The Alaska cruise market is pretty much saturated. Americans are moving in increasing numbers out of Seattle, not Vancouver, and the prospects for future growth from Vancouver is not bright. Simply put, there are quite enough vessels serving Alaska.
If you added a 'cruise ferry' into the mix, where would vehicle drivers want to disembark? Kitimat? What tourist wants to go there, and there's no terminal. Not Prince Rupert- that's already served by ferry. Not the Alaska panhandle- you can't drive anywhere from there. The 'ice fields', likewise, have no road connection anywhere. There may be a few well heeled travellers who might make the long haul to Prince William Sound, but the Whittier- Anchorage area is served by ferry from the panhandle already in summer, and who knows what might be involved in using an unsuitable Alaska State Ferries terminal. Likewise, I can see some people wanting a day cruise from Vancouver to Port Hardy, but not a lot, and the Bear Cove terminal is BC Ferries territory, and probably not adaptable to just any boat.
Now, if you were talking a small, 'pocket cruiser', along the lines of what the Prince George was going to be, several years back; sailing the BC and Alaska coast, and going into some areas the bigger ships can't access- maybe that might be more do-able. I just can't see it working with cars.