As the regulations state, being escorted to the car deck only occurs during the multi-day legs, not every 8 hours unless the weather cooperates. After Ketchikan, you are only allowed on the car deck during port calls.
And don't forget your refrigerated/frozen food. Your propane tanks are turned off and sealed by an AMHS employee before departure. That means that, even if you have a propane-120v AC fridge, it will be off for the entire voyage. So, if you or your pet requires any special refrigerated food or medication, you're out of luck unless you bring an ice chest and buy some dry ice before you embark. BTW, dry ice is easy to find at every Alaska port because that's how all that salmon, halibut, king crab, graying, etc., that sportsmen catch (buy?) are shipped to the Lower 48. Back in the early '70s, I shipped a 20# box of king crab back home as part of my baggage on Western Airlines (remember them?).
Both the car deck access rules and the propane rules are U.S. Coast Guard regulations, not AMHS regs.
We have taken the AMHS ferries multiple times and safety is more important to AMHS employees than is your convenience! On overnight trips, we got a cabin. On shorter trips, you can just sit in airport terminal-style seats in the enclosed observation deck. BUT, on overnight trips you can also bring a sleeping bag and sleep on the deck chairs on the rear deck at no extra cost. The forward portion of that deck even has infrared heaters under an awning. And many Alaskans do travel overnight or even from Alaska to Bellingham in pop-up tents back there.
Retirement is the best job I ever had!
2020 Winnebago Navion 24V, 400w solar, 210ah LiFePO4 batteries, Helwig