S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry

S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry, Ludington: Hours, Address, S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry Reviews: 4.5/5

S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry

S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry
4.5
Historic Sites • Ferries
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
The S.S. Badger is the largest car ferry to ever sail Lake Michigan and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the inland sea for 67 years. The ferry takes passengers, autos, RVs, tour buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and commercial trucks across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin from mid-May through mid-October.
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4.5
1,100 reviews
Excellent
698
Very good
307
Average
60
Poor
19
Terrible
16

Tommy599
Two Rivers, WI694 contributions
Great way to skip driving through Chicago
Sep 2021
1 Sept - 2:20 PM leaving Manitowoc sailing East to Ludington on a nice sunny calm sea’s day with no wind.

This was my third crossing using the Badger and it turned into a truly a nice trip. Sure there is always a chance of inclement weather keeping you inside, but most of the sailing days, a crossing of 66 miles of water is usually within nice weather (we understand), as the ship only sails between May to October.
The ship has a capacity of 620 passengers but today there were only 144 on board (Not a lot of cars / camper / trucks on board down on the car deck).
You drive up to the loading dock, they ask you to make sure you leave any weapons or alcohol inside the vehicle.

You leave your keys in the vehicle and crew members drive your car on board with us rubbernecking around the decks and finding a VERY NICE place to sit outside on the boat deck starboard side aft. There was NO need for jackets on this trip as we reallllllly enjoyed the crossing within 75 F degree temps and us sitting in the sun. The only breeze presented was by the forward motion of the ship.

If you REALLLLLLLY want to sleep the ship has about 50 cabins on board for the 4 hour sail
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The movie on board was Sponge Bob thus of not too much interest to anyone

There is an interesting museum on board which depicts the history of the 410 ft long / 59 ft. wide Badger and how the 4,000 HP steam recuperating engines work.
Ship burns coal (uses 50 tons for each round-trip crossing). The clinkers (ash) are taken off in Ludington Mi. for use in making cinder building blocks. The ship (built in 1952) has two 13 ft propellers. Each shaft (95 ft. long) has a 4-cylinder steam engine attached with boilers that supply 500# steam pressure, and if pushed the ship; she has been known to travel at 20 MPH (normally standard speed is 18 MPH).

As we reached the midpoint of the lake (around 33 miles) the Wisconsin shoreline (from our elevation at about 30 ft above the water) disappeared, and the Michigan shoreline started to appear.

The crew drives your vehicle off the ship into a parking lot and as you leave the ship in Ludington = you find your car and drive off.

Note You lose one hour going East from Wisconsin CST to Michigan EST.
Written October 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us! We are glad you enjoyed your trip.
Written October 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sstraveler
Sand Springs, OK168 contributions
Take a ride on the Badger
Oct 2021
My wife and I made the Ludington to Manitowoc crossing. It is a large older, coal burning ship, but that adds to it's character. We passed much of the time playing bingo on board in the lounge, my wife even won a game, receiving a "Wisconsin shot glass" as a door prize. It really is a pint size beer glass, emblazoned with the Badger on the side, nice.
The time passed quickly doing that and it was enjoyable, the bingo caller was entertaining. They also showed a couple of movies, which we missed.
I would recommend not being the first in line to park your car, it may make your car last off the ship, ours was pretty close to last if it wasn't last.
The crossing was smooth with just a gentle rocking, barely noticeable.
The crossing itself takes about four hours, but with waiting to get loaded and unloaded, it is more like six hours to allow. You also cross time zones, so depending on which direction you go, add or subtract an hour.
Written October 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us! We are glad you enjoyed the trip and bingo!
Written October 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mandi G
5 contributions
Relaxing 4 Hours
Sep 2021
What a wonderful way to spend and early fall day! The staff was great, the Ferry has activities for all, and we thoroughly enjoyed just sitting on the deck in the fall sun and gazing upon the vastness of the lake.
Written October 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are so glad you enjoyed the trip - thank you for sailing with us!
Written October 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

krauser848
Pahrump, NV369 contributions
We had a ball1
Sep 2021
We watched the fellow load our rv and Jeep and they were really friendly and accommodating. And the guys who load the vehicles are really good at what they do.
The captain was all smiles and gave me a wave from the bridge.
Not many people on board so there were lots of chairs and lounges available on the deck. You're free to run around anywhere.
The food is typical fast food, warm-ish and mediocre, but they have a bar and fresh popcorn.
We had a ball!
Written September 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are so glad that you enjoyed your trip, thank you for sailing with us! We appreciate it.
Written October 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

348Becky
Hershey, PA3 contributions
Disappointed with follow through on regulations
Sep 2021
They need to follow through on their regulations. They said masks were required in all their literature. No one enforced it. I complained to the person at the cruise director's office and they said they could not do anything. I will be contacting the Coast Guard.
Written September 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Myles P
2 contributions
Great ride - but SS Badger will not reimburse for car damage
Jul 2021
The staff on SS Badger were really nice and friendly. The trip itself was fairly smooth with no complaints - it was really nice to not have to drive as far as we would've.

However there was some noticeable scratches on the driver side door. By the time we noticed, it was 48 hours after we got home from the ship. When we reached out to be report the incident, we told them that we had a great time on the ship, but unforatuntely there was some damage we didn't notice at the dock. Their response was that the damage was "inconsistent with damage typically reported on the ship."

When we escalated to a supervisor, we were told: "Since your claim was made after the vehicle left our property we have no means of determining the cause or accountability for the damage and must decline to accept responsibility for it."

When you get your car from the ferry, it's extremely chaotic as everyone is racing to get their cars out from the parking lot. We felt rushed to get out of there and didn't think we'd need to check for damage. In addition, they are claiming that they know all possible damage that could have happened on the ship and that what we reported couldn't have happened because it's inconsistent with other damage. This makes little to no sense to me.

We were not looking for thousands of dollars, just a few hundred to help cover the repair to the paint. The whole situation isn't the end of the world, but it's certainly frustrating and a waste of time on both our side and SS Badger.

I wouldn't recommend this service moving forward as there as other ferries providing service across Lake Michigan.
Written September 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Suedrs
Clear Lake, MN109 contributions
Everyone Needs to do Once
Sep 2021 • Family
Very well organized check-in, loading and unloading, ship well maintained and clean, good selection of beverages, movies, bingo and other group games available, on-line reservations system; saved time getting from Wisconsin to Michigan, an experience
Written August 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us!
Written October 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

275GTS
Salem, SC2,854 contributions
Bucket list item for sure!
Jul 2021
We always wanted to take this trip across the lake!

Inspired: the entire staff - everyone was great

Food: all was good

Service: very good

Highlights: walking around the ship

Return: nope - it is off our list
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us! We really appreciate it.
Written August 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

prech786
Anoka, MN21 contributions
Great Experience
Jun 2021
Great experience, I had been on this trip before. Took Son's family and grandkids. Everyone awed by the ship size. Lots and lots to do and see for 4 hours. Got Staterooms, however they can get warm. No AC, no elevators, but hey this is a ship built mainly to transport railroad cars and passengers 70 years ago. BTW Soot alert, LOL, don't stand close downwind of the stack, this is a coal burning vessel!
Written August 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us! Thank you for understanding that we are a National Historic Landmark and that we are authentic to 1953. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your sail!
Written August 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brian R
Northridge, CA856 contributions
Enjoyable!
Jul 2021
I traveled on the SS Badger in both directions. I traveled from Manitowoc to Ludington, and then two days later, from Ludington to Manitowoc. I left my vehicle in the parking lot in Manitowoc.
The cruises were relatively calm and enjoyable. Watching the SS Badger load and unload was very interesting. I wandered around and explored the ship, however I preferred sitting outside and watching the lake.
The Badger is definitely a better choice than driving around the lake!
Written August 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sailing with us, we are so glad to hear you enjoyed your sail. We hope to see you again in the future!
Written August 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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