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Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

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Odense, Denmark
posts: 33
Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Hi everyone

Can anyone please tell me how far in advance I need to book a spot for an RV on the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island in mid July?

Do I have rescheduling options if I miss the departure I have pre-booked?

Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 32,645
reviews: 52
1. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

I would go for 3 weeks in advance. The fee is completely non refundable and non changeable.

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 679
2. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Unless you are on a very tight schedule(which I don't recommend, it's a holiday :-)) there is no need to make a reservation. They leave every hour, so if you miss one, have a little stroll and a cup of coffee and the next one will be docking before you know it.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 32,645
reviews: 52
3. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

I think Wallie has the right idea about taking it easy. It's always nice to have no pressure. It is possible that enough first come-first served vehicles will be arriving at the ferry terminal on any given day (except maybe Saturday which can be a slow day on the ferries) in the summer to create 2-3 sailing waits. There are I believe 3 types of vehicles that share the ferries: large commercial tractor trailers and commercial coaches, campers/RVs/cars and trailers, and cars. There is allocated space for each category on board. Except for the commercial vehicles which I believe get priority, as they are doing business, the other categories fill to capacity and the extra vehicles wait for the next ferry. If you want to make it to your destination when you want to get there, the cost of $15 (in advance of 7 days) or $17.50 (within 7 days) is IMO a small price to pay for smooth sailing.

Both Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen terminals have a market of shops and food for people to enjoy while they are waiting for their ferry .... or for the 2nd or 3rd ferry. :-) You can develop defensive moves to keep the seagulls from moving in to steal your French Fries.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 14,542
reviews: 42
4. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

If you are traveling on a Friday, Sunday or Holiday Monday, then a reservation in advance is a very good idea. It becomes less important if you are traveling mid-week. At a peak travel time (long weekends) you occasionally get 4 or 5 sailing waits for overheight vehicles (and an RV counts as an overheight usually). In mid-July I would be prepared for a minimum one sailing wait at any time, so a two-hour wait if you don't have a reservation.

Waiting a couple of hours in Horseshoe Bay is actually lovely. You can park your vehicle and then walk out into the village to eat, drink or shop, or just buy and ice cream and sit in the park.

Victoria, Canada
posts: 3,295
reviews: 2
5. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

3 weeks in advance is a little, no..a lot premature. I would advise booking 72 hours in advance of the day you plan to travel. You should be fine . Sheesh, 3 weeks??? Give me a break. it's not like they are booking an audience with the Pope for Goodness sake

www.bcferries.com/res/visc_faq.html#advance

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 32,645
reviews: 52
6. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

When we took the ferry the 4th week of last July, I looked a week in advance for a reservation. The 9 and 10 am ferries were sold out of ressies and coming back days later the 2 ferries in the afternoon that would have got us back into Vancouver by dinner, probably the 3 and the 4, were also sold out of ressies. The other ferries were available but they would have made us use our time poorly.

Edited: 12:48 am, March 30, 2013
Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 6,758
reviews: 70
7. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Ditto booking early. ..last year I needed a ferry on July 5 and the two most convenient were booked..ended up using Duke Point instead. ...and we only have a car.RV space can get filled..and I can think of better ways to spend holiday time other than sitting in a ferry terminal.

Victoria, Canada
posts: 3,295
reviews: 2
8. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

They only accept a certain percentage for reservations. I still maintain you don't need to reserve as far out as some say. If you plan on travelling during a holiday or just after,( as traveler 47 did) it might be more difficult.

As Wallie pointed out, just take your chances if the reservations are full. It doesn't mean you won't get on the ferry at all.

Sitting at the ferry dock sucks for us locals who travel the ferry all the time.. but as a visitor, it might be a unique experience, depending of course on the weather

9. Re: Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

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