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Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Tucson, Arizona
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Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

I read an old post about the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver and if a reservation was necessary on a Saturday. It sounded like it wouldn't be necessary. What about on a Tuesday in July? Should we chance it and just try to show up early? Thanks for your thoughts.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Hi FerndaleGirl ~

I think you would be fine if you showed up on a Tuesday about 1.5 hours ahead of the ferry you want to catch. Except for Tuesday July 2nd which is the day after Canada Day and bound to be busy at least in the morning half day with people waiting a day from the Monday to get back home.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Agreed. It depends entirely on how long you are prepared to wait. If you want to be able to pull up at the ferry terminal 40 minutes before your sailing and be on your way, waiting a minimum of time, then get the reservation. If you want the flexibility of turning up at the ferry when it suits you and you don't care if you end up waiting 2-3 hours for a ferry (but probably less), then don't worry about it.

You can check online how the ferry reservations are looking and make one on short notice if you feel you may need one after all.

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Thank you for your help with this.

Nanaimo, Canada
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4. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Our rule of thumb, for ourselves and guests to Nanaimo, is if you need to be somewhere at a specific time, or have a tight schedule, then a reservation is a must. If not, and you are prepared to wait, then just arrive, as Mufti notes, about 1.5 hours before and you should be fine.

Fridays and Sundays are the busiest days, however any ferry can be busy or full depending on a multitude of factors. Reservations are inexpensive and give great piece of mind.

Enjoy your visit to Vancouver Island!

BD

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Hey Dave: Regarding reservations....We're departing Horseshoe Bay for Departure Bay, Friday Sept. 13 as foot passengers. We've got to arrive in Nanaimo before Budget closes, so definitely don't want to miss the ferry. Are reservations applicable only to passengers with cars, or do they apply to foot passengers as well?

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Are reservations applicable only to passengers with cars, or are they available for foot passengers as well?

Edited: 11 May 2013, 20:00
Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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7. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Reservations are only for cars. Very occasionally foot passengers are cut off loading because of high ferry traffic but this is rare. As you're travelling after school is in you should be fine if you are at the ferry terminal 1/2 hour before sailing time. I wouldn't cut it any closer than that though. Also you might want to take a ferry that's a bit earlier if budget closes early..ferries do run late and sometime breakdown. For example today the Duke Point ferry is out of service because of mechanical problems.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Can be a risk when taking a ferry on the same day you have an important appointment.

Perth and Kinross...
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9. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

The first time we visited in Summer a few years back we were heading from Victoria to Whistler via the Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay and, not knowing better, turned up without a reservation.

We arrived before the ferry departed but because it was busy we had to wait on the next one.

Thankfully we were in no great rush and it was no big deal to wait but if you have a deadline to meet, better to book in advance.

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Reservation necessary for BC Ferry

Thanks. Good to know. By the way, in one of the threads, someone stated erroneously that there is a Blue Bus Express (#257) from the airport to Horseshoe Bay. It actually runs from downtown to Horseshoe Bay, taking 43 minutes. From airport, one must take Skytrain to City Center and catch 257 at Georgia & Seymour. Pass it along, please.