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Isle Royale Queen IV Boat

Copper Harbor, MI, USA
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Isle Royale Queen IV Boat
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Erin C wrote a review Jul 2021
7 contributions1 helpful vote
Very nice family owned company. You can tell they all take pride in what they do and how they serve their customers! Pack a small bag with drinks, snacks and a deck of cards or some activity for kids as the trip is long! Take Dramamine if weather looks rough. We all got seasick on return voyage as the seas were a bit rough. Back of the boat seems to be less bumpy also.
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Date of experience: July 2021
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HeatherChadwick wrote a review Jun 2021
Saranac, Michigan1 contribution
It was fantastic! Very friendly family staff. It was a little pricey! But it was worth the trip. It was beautiful. And isle Royale didn’t disappoint. It was beautiful!
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Date of experience: June 2021
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Steve5863 wrote a review Dec 2019
Avon, Ohio13020 contributions4085 helpful votes
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Departing from Copper Harbor, the Isle Royale Queen IV is the only daily ferry service from Michigan to Isle Royale and the also the fastest. While their website says the trip takes about 3 hours, this must be under ideal conditions as our trip out took about 3.75 hours and our return, with light winds and calmer waters, took a bit under 3.5 hours. Our trip both ways was pleasant and the time passed quicker than anticipated. With the ferry departing at 8 am, the parking lot opening at 7 am, and with the recommended check-in of 30 to 45 minutes in advance, it is certainly helpful to stay at one of the several accommodations in Copper Harbor; we enjoyed our stay at the Belle Vista, a block away. After check-in, all gear is first stored on top of the ferry before passengers are boarded. If you are concerned about weather, we would recommend that you put you gear in plastic bags then pack them inside your pack or duffle. There is a small snack bar on the boat that also sells some basic supplies such as Dramamine. Upon arriving at Rock Harbor on Isle Royale, the gear is off loaded and waiting for you when you disembark. On your return trip, the process is followed in reverse. We found the process and staff to be relatively quick and efficient. Given the relatively quick transit times, a day trip to Isle Royale on the Isle Royale Queen IV is possible but we would not recommend this as even under ideal conditions, one is left with only a couple of hours on the island. This is simply not enough time to get away from the developed area of Rock Harbor and experience the beautiful, pristine boreal forest that covers most of the island. As with all the services related to Isle Royale, capacities are very limited so we would recommend booking your passage months ahead to be sure you get passage on the dates that coordinate with the rest of your trip, especially if you are travelling during the peak time of the second half of July through the first three week of August.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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plad19 wrote a review Nov 2019
Madison, Wisconsin166 contributions16 helpful votes
Three friends and I took the Isle Royale Queen IV from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale at the end of August 2019. We purchased our tickets and parking online about 3 months ahead of time. We stayed at the Bella Vista Motel just one block from the ferry the night before. We arrived at the parking lot around 7:15 AM (the lot opens at 7 AM EASTERN TIME). It seemed to take forever to get parked and unloaded but it was only about 15 minutes (just seemed so long because I was so excited about the trip). There was already a line of about 5 or 6 cars in front of us. The parking attendant accepts your payment or checks for your name if you paid online ($10 a night w/ a max of $30 for cars- more for RVs or vehicles w/trailers). The attendant would then walk you to a specific spot in the lot. The lot is a large unsecured field that looks like it could get very muddy. I felt safe leaving my car there, the lot is right across from the ferry landing and surrounded on two sides by the King Copper motel. If you want, you can drive down the dead-end road and drop off your luggage closer to the dock and then park your vehicle. The Isle Royale Queen recommends arriving 30-45 minutes before the 8 AM departure time (Remember Michigan is Eastern time). The scene at the ferry landing was chaotic. There was the outdoorsy crowd with backpacks, kayaks, and canoes and folks with suitcases for staying at the lodge. We checked in at the office and then milled around till the crew started shouting instructions. We lined up and gave them our backpacks. Each person is limited to 70 lbs. of gear; I did not see them weigh anything, but since the gear gets hand loaded onto the top of the deck super heavy bags might be checked. Each person is also limited to a small carryon bag, I took my day pack. We had heard we would have to take our stove fuel out of our backpacks, but they only asked for “home-made” fuel containers to be stored separately. Despite what seemed like chaos we got loaded in a timely fashion and the ferry left right on time. The crew was very laid-back, funny and professional all at the same time. You could tell they all really enjoyed their jobs. The trip over to the island was awesome. I sat out on the raised part of the deck below the bridge the entire way (except for a short restroom and hot chocolate break). At one point I was the only person out there – it was so amazing. It was cold and windy, but they supply cushions and blankets. Mid-way across you can see both the island and the UP. Once closer to the island the deck became very crowded. Inside the ferry was nothing fancy, it was mostly tables with bench seats. There was a lower section that looked more private and maybe had room to lay down depending on the crowd. I did notice it was very warm inside when I visited the restroom. As expected, the restrooms were small but like the rest of the ferry clean and well kept. There was a snack bar with the basics: candy bars, chips, soda, juice, coffee, hot chocolate (3 flavors), and a few packaged bakery goods. There may have been more but I was just interested in the hot chocolate so I could keep warm to stay out on the deck. Our passage over was pretty smooth. I’m not sure how high the waves were, maybe 2-4 feet. We did hit some pretty good swells about halfway over, but it only lasted about 15 minutes. I thought they were fun (especially since they didn’t last long) but they made some people seasick (or more seasick). I forgot to time how long the trip took but I believe it was just under 3.5 hours. Our return trip was incredibly smooth, the waves on the lake were only about a foot. We left right on time and made great time returning to Copper Harbor. Once docked and unloaded we just waited a few minutes while the crew unloaded our backpacks. They unload them from the top deck and set them on the landing, it was easy to spot your bag as it was being pulled down so you could go over and they would hand it right to you. While our trip was pretty much perfect – great weather, a smooth lake, and no delays -do not count on that. While we were on the island there were very high winds. In order to beat the rough afternoon lake, the ferry left early instead of at the scheduled 2:45 PM. Starting the day before they placed signs around Rock Harbor, stating that the ferry would leave at noon. If you were out backpacking and returned expecting to catch the ferry at 2:45 PM you would have been really disappointed. A member of our group needed to leave a couple days before the rest of us so she rushed back from Daisy Farm campground suspecting that the ferry might leave at noon. Turns out that was the plan, but due to the Voyageur (coming from Windigo) being postponed by the high winds they waited for the Voyageur to arrive and deliver a passenger that had been delayed elsewhere on the island. In other words, be prepared for the unexpected, the ferry can be delayed, canceled or leave early. I read that they seldom cancel so be prepared for a rough trip in rough weather (it isn’t called the Barf Barge for nothing). I can not wait till my next trip to Isle Royale and I am definitely looking forward to taking the Isle Royale Queen from Copper Harbor.
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Date of experience: August 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Hannah wrote a review Nov 2019
20 contributions39 helpful votes
The staff was wonderful and it was evident they love their jobs. Be sure to follow their instructions for loading and unloading and the ride is a piece of cake! They load all luggage onto the boat beforehand and it's waiting for you when you get off. You are allowed to keep a small personal item with you. There is a small coffee shop next door during loading, do you can get some good drinks and pastries there while you wait. Otherwise, there is a snack bar on the boat if needed. The ride itself was smooth and went by quickly. It can get a little warm inside but you're able to go out to the front or back of the boat and get some fresh air, which is refreshing. Overall, would absolutely use them again!!!
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Date of experience: August 2019
2 Helpful votes
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