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“Not memorable”

Black Ball Ferry Line
Ranked #16 of 202 things to do in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Black Ball Ferry Line operates the M.V. Coho passenger and vehicle ferry linking Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island with Port Angeles, WA on the scenic Olympic Peninsula. During the 90 minute crossing, enjoy the ship's many amenities including the cafeteria, gift shop, duty free store, comfortable interior lounges, solarium and pet-friendly areas. Year round daily service is provided. Save big by booking a ferry and hotel stay with our exclusive package deals! In addition to our great prices at the region's favorite hotels, we'll pay your reservation fee for a guaranteed space on your desired sailing time when you book a package. Our Captain and Crew look forward to welcoming you on board the ship!
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed August 25, 2011

Rode this ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I don't know if there is any competition, but I'd be inclined to give it a try if we go that route again. This ferry was low-budget travel. Quality of seating, food, PA system, and restrooms was nothing special. Decor and cleanliness were just OK.

Thank mailstop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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806 - 810 of 854 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2011

We take the Coho from Victoria BC to Port Angeles Washington at least twice a year. Its our holiday boat. Our history with the ship goes back to 1977. This must be the best run ferry on the planet. My understanding is that it hasn't missed a scheduled sailing ... ever, in its fifty plus year history. It is virtually always on time.

Loading and unloading is handled efficiently. We always reserve which gets us on and off ahead the the non reserved vehicles. The ferry is plain, efficient and spotlessly clean. It always looks freshly painted. There is a little gift shop with fairly priced souvenirs and an on board duty free shop which is small but has a good selection none the less. There is a simple cafeteria with the basics.

The only issue with the crossing is there is sometimes some serious roll to the boat because of wind or swell conditions in the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Ferry is in open ocean for about half of its hour and a half crossing. Consider taking some motion sickness prevention. We use candied ginger. It works for us.

The crew members always seem friendly, professional and courteous. Our one issue with their policy is that they allow dogs on the passenger deck and they are usually unmuzzled. They should have kennels on the car deck or a regulation to leave them in vehicles or they be muzzled.

The management know how to run a ferry and we love the Coho.

Thank Cashman777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MVCohoVictoria, Manager at Black Ball Ferry Line, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2011

Dear Traveler,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review our ferry service, and for all your kind words! Our crew works very hard to keep the MV COHO on time and in service for every sailing. Your tip about candied ginger to relieve motion sickness is great, and thank you for your feedback about our pet policy. We do have kennels in our solarium area, and on the interior of the ship only the mid-ship lounge is pet friendly. If you would like to sit in an area free of dogs, both the forward lounge and cafeteria are areas that do not allow pets.

We hope to have you on board again soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2011

Being a person who has lived on an island for most of my life I am a seasoned ferry user. However, I have never encountered anything as erratic as the way they load and unload this ferry. Many times I have been one of the first five to ten cars in the line and have had to sit and watch as they load most every other line before mine. This is frustrating beyond words! Not only does it prevent me from getting a comfortable seat, it also means I will be one of the last to leave the ferry on the other side; as they seem to weirdly understand first on the ferry means first off the ferry. Yesterday, I watched a slow vehicle that I passed about a hundred miles earlier board the ferry long before me and then clear the boarder while I was the second to last car still in line. I'm beyond angry and am very curious as to why this happens consistently. It can't be reservations as that would mean they reserve 99%. Do they carry a picture of me and make sure I'm last? What's the story and am I the only one who notices this? Why does the Blackball company have no email address? Who does one complain to, surely not to one of the surly guys who seem to be the ones who can't load a ferry properly? The Coho is convenient, but from now I think I'll us BC ferries....at least they know how to load a ferry.

3  Thank 47dingos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MVCohoVictoria, Manager at Black Ball Ferry Line, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2011

Dear Traveler,

Thank you for taking the time to review our ferry service. We are sorry to hear that you had a frustrating experience while traveling on board the MV Coho this month. We strive for a high level of customer service and want all of our customer experiences to be good ones.

If I can, I'd like to help explain our loading process. We certainly do have a procedure of the order we load vehicles and it is based on first come first serve basis with reserved vehicles loading before non-reserved vehicles. Please keep in mind that reserved vehicles pay an additional fee on top of their fare. This fee guarantees their place on the ship so that they don't have to show up at the dock as early, and it also gives them priority loading, which in turn offloads them earlier as well. The reserved vehicles load first in the order that they arrived. We reserve roughly 70 % of the car deck capacity which can average around 60 to 75 vehicles depending on their sizes. After these reserved vehicles, RV's and Semis load on to the ship, then the non reserved first-come first-serve vehicles begin loading in the order that they arrived. We separate the reserved vehicles from the non reserved vehicles on the parking lot, which is organized in that allows us to load cars in the order of which they arrived at the terminal while separating them from those that have reservations. Even though you had arrived early for your sailing in order to assure your non-reserved spot, roughly 3/4 of the load went on before you, many cars of which arrived at the dock later than you. Reserved cars have to show up 1 hour early on the Port Angeles side and 1 1/2 hours early on the Victoria side.

For many years, we did not offer reservations and the entire load was first come first serve, with the loading process following suit in the order at which the cars arrived. All vehicles had to show up quite early and with uncertainty of having a spot during those days. Since offering reservations, our customers have been much happier with our service.

In future we highly recommended you make an advance reservation to ensure your spot on board the ship as well as priority boarding, (especially during the busy summer season). Thank you again for your feedback and we hope to have you back on board again soon.

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Reviewed July 9, 2011

Deep water Ferry, central Victoria, easy to use, good value. Don't forget your passport.

1  Thank Davega1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MVCohoVictoria, Manager at Black Ball Ferry Line, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2011

Dear Traveler,

Thanks for taking the time to review our ferry service! We are glad you had a positive experience and hope to have you on board again in the future.

Thanks again!

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Reviewed June 29, 2011

Normally I don't like to complain as a company shouldn't be judged by one employee, but I was so completely appalled by what happened to my family that I feel it necessary to warn others.

My husband and I took our 12 month old to Victoria for our first family vacation. When we crossed on the Coho it was really easy and nice, but on our way home our daughter started to interact with another baby, about 11 months old. They weren't crying or upset, they were laughing and squealing (but not too loud) at each other. There were people laughing and enjoying two happy babies, and others were sleeping or just reading and enjoying the ride. Than a man came to the front of the boat, where we had been sitting since the beginning. He sat down, and within 5 minutes screamed at the top of his lungs, "SHUT UP!!!". He woke people up and scared the babies who both started crying. Another passenger got a crew member and complained about the man, not saying anything about the babies, just this man who screamed and was being out of line. The man then said he reacted like that because of the babies being loud and screaming. The crew member than came to me and the other mother and told us we had to quiet our children or move to another area of the boat.

Other passengers told the crew member that the babies weren't the problem, but the man was. The crew member said that he spoke to the man and he would be quiet so therefore we must keep the babies quiet. When other passengers spoke up to point out that the man had just come to the area and that if he didn't like it he needed to leave, the crew member proceeded to say that he was interested in only making it comfortable for everyone, and since the babies were the problems that they needed to be kept quiet.

There was no regard for our two families, or our babies. We tried our hardest to keep them quiet, but after that they only cried and were upset. I can't tell you how many passengers came up to me to say how sorry they were, and to reassure the other mom and me that our babies were fine and were not disturbing them. The other mom and I had to walk our babies around the boat during unsafe conditionas as it was very rough seas, because of this one person and because of the lack of support from the crew member.

After being a long time customer of the Coho, I am not sure I will ever feel comfortable on the boat again, and I recommend others with small children think twice before traveling on the Coho again.

7  Thank shellytravel08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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