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“Run Like a Precision Machine”

Black Ball Ferry Line
Ranked #17 of 184 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: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access
Redmond, Oregon
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Run Like a Precision Machine”
Reviewed September 13, 2013

We took the ferry from Port Townsend to Victoria. This organization has everything so precisely organized, we were in awe of how the various cars, campers and big rigs were loaded onto and exited the ferry. I would strongly encourage you to come with your own food. The choices are pretty dismal and prepared well in advance. Other than that, the ferry was clean and an easy experience both going to Victoria and coming back.

Visited September 2013
Thank Lorri W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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801 reviews from our community

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Poulsbo, Washington
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Most Dependable Ferry on the Planet. 1st Class Staff!”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Like many things that get better with age, the Coho Ferry is no exception. I write this review to illustrate the incredible kindness of the staff and their ability to right something that I felt was wrong. I have ridden this Ferry nearly twice a week for 2 years. I have used BC Ferries and Washington State Ferries also but my Ferry of choice has always been the Coho. When it comes to reliability, the Coho is second to none. No other Ferry or Ferry system can even come close to their reliability. This is why I rely on it so heavily. I almost always make a reservation because my job requires that I can go back and forth without worry. Even if the ferry is empty I make a reservation.

Two weeks ago I arrived just after the 3pm Victoria sailing had departed. I was first in the reservation lane and to make a long story short, others were loaded in front of me which is not normal for the dock staff to do. When I inquired about the reason I was given a surprising answer that I took exception to. I wrote a review to let others know about my experience. I had never encountered any issues before that and the Coho shuttled me back and forth over 100 times.

Anyway, the Coho staff is more than a bunch of pretty faces. They figured out who I was and placed me in different location on the pier for my next trip. Even after being the 40th car or so in the lot, they loaded me first. Anyway, if you ever have an issue there is a stellar guy who works the Pier. His name is Levi. He will be the one directing the cars where to park, loading cars, directing cars thru customs as they come off the ship or even running fore and aft on the dock smartly to catch mooring lines thrown from the ship as it is tied up. He is good at what he does and seems to enjoy it.

Now more about the Ferry: The Ferry is old but in magnificent shape. Her lines are just as beautiful today as she was when she was launched. The staff does an amazing job keeping her in tip top shape. I served 24 years in the US Navy and never have seen a US warship in a better shape than the Coho. She dry docks for 2 weeks every winter to get her yearly check-ups done and they really make those 2 weeks count. The furniture is dated but is practical, makes the best use of space and is not uncomfortable.

Some tips: If you have big mirrors on your vehicle pull them in. Carry a soft cloth because they can really pack the cars in tight on the boat. Use the cloth to place between your door and your neighbors door should the need arise. Always set your parking brake. When you get on the ferry you can remove the pieces of paper under your wiper that they place when they take your ticket. Do it now or the possibility exists that you may forget and that little piece of paper can be a distraction once you get going down the road. Try the ice cream. Not bad. When you board, go straight to duty free and fill out the little square piece of paper if you plan on purchasing something. The little piece of paper holds up the line more than anything I have seen so get it done and hold onto it until they open the duty free for sales. They will open about half way across the Strait. The next one is huge. DO NOT board the ferry without replacing your car’s battery if it is question. Too many people do this and can affect everyone behind them on the boat as well as the timeliness of the next sailing. You don’t want to be that person. Use the hand rails. During the crossing the ship can rock a bit. Land Lubbers are strongly encouraged to use caution. If you want to go outside and it’s too windy, get all the way up to the bow (front) of the ship as long as it’s not too rough. The design of the bow creates a wind free zone within about 15 feet of the bow. The upper most deck also has weather and wind protection behind glass but it is still open air.

The crossing itself can provide beautiful views of the Sunset, Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Sea Birds, Salmon, Sunsets, Mountains, Big Ships, Military Ships of various types as well as Surfaced Submarines on occasion and some amazing weather. You almost always see something new and interesting with each crossing.

The best years lie ahead for this magnificent Ferry and her staff. To sail on the Coho is to experience a true Northwest Icon.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank mowhawky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Very expensive ferry”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

$17 one way per person but suppose it is expensive to operate a ferry that size and it is a 1.5 hour trip. Most people appear to take their cars which, unless you plan to tour the entire island, is totally unnecessary. Victoria is all right there when you exit the ferry. Plus their buses run frequently. Most people stay within a few blocks, so save the $60 each way, plus passenger fee, and leave your car in the $6/day parking lot.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank solahna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canmore, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
“Glad to be only taking this once”
Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

Crossed from Victoria to port Angeles with a car and was absolutely infuriated by this ferry service. We had checked on the website the night before to check times as we were going to be driving 2 hours to Victoria.
The site said that there were 4 times available and that the 1030 am and 3pm trips were first come first serve. So we figured it would be best to be at least an hour early.
When we arrived we were asked if we had a reservation because they were pretty full. I found this extremely odd since it said you couldn't on the site.
We ended up not making it on the ferry and being stuck in Victoria for 4 hours.
When we came back to the car and to get on the next "first come first serve" trip. We were one of the last 10 cars to get on because people had apparently made reservations for this. Excuse me!? That is ridiculous.
Once on the ship it was really basic which is fine.. But I found a brochure for the ferry line that said reservations online were discounted compared to booking on the phone.
How can you expect me to reserve when the website says you can't!? Unbelievable.
Will NOT be taking the ferry on the way back.

Visited September 2013
Thank emilyMLE112
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 review, September 9, 2013
Hello emilyMLE12,

Thank you for taking the time to review our ferry service on Trip Advisor.

We’re sorry to hear that there was some confusion surrounding our online reservations process. While we do always leave a portion of the ship open for first come, first serve vehicle spaces, we highly recommend reservations in order to guarantee a specific sailing time. When our online system has a particular sailing marked as “first come, first serve” that indicates that all of the guaranteed spaces have already been reserved. When a sailing has reached the reservation capacity online, the website states: “Each sailing has reservable space and first-come first-served space. Reserved space on this sailing is sold out. The remaining space on this sailing is on a first-come first-served basis. If you wish to try for a first-come first-served spot on this sailing, please phone us the day before travel to obtain a recommendation on how far in advance to arrive on the day of travel.”

As many of our more popular sailing times can fill up a week or two in advance, we recommend making your reservation as far ahead of time as possible. In the future, please feel free to call our Victoria terminal at 250-386-2202 or our Port Angeles terminal at 360-457-4491 and we will be happy to update you on the status of a specific sailing.

We hope to see your on board our ship again in the future.

Kind Regards,
Black Ball Ferry Line
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocean Park, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A day in Victoria”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

On time, smooth ride, comfortable and plenty of room on the boat. We walked on, no car and it was all very efficient, and clean. Easy way to visit Victoria for the day. Good value and little hassle with customs.

Visited September 2013
Thank Gail D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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