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Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

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Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

Hello,

We're hoping to travel from Nanaimo to Vancouver on the 14th Oct- Thanksgiving - as a foot passengers. BC ferry website says it'll be busy and there will be foot passenger 'overload' at departure bay. It doesn't seem possible to book the ferry and when I called Greyhound they said having a bus ticket doesn't guarantee a place on the boat. So how bad is it likely to be? How early would you recommend people turn up or is it really not worth it and we should change our plans? Are there likely to be problems with the buses in horseshoe bay as well?

Thanks

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1. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

Capacity is set by the number of people they can accommodate using available life boats and life jackets on board in the case of an emergency, so its important that they don't take on more people than the set limits.

Absolute worse case scenario is that you have to wait one ferry. First come first served, so if a few people are refused walk on entry, you will be first in line for the next ferry.

It rarely happens, and I see they have additional ferries scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend to accommodated the additional traffic. If it worries you, aim for an earlier ferry. I would say that you shouldn't expect to rock up 15 minutes before sailing and get on (which you usually can as a walk on), so just get there a good 45 to 60 minutes prior to your desired sailing to be safe.

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2. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

It depends on what ferry you are planning on catching. But you are mentioning Greyhound which has Horseshoe Bay departure times at 12h30, 2h30, 5 and 7 pm. The Departure Bay ferries from 12h50 to 6h30 pm will be the busiest on the 14th. If you are walking on one of those ferries, I would arrive at Departure Bay ticket office 45 minutes before sailing to ensure getting on board. If you are taking a ferry before the 12h30 sailing, you could allow closer to 35 minutes. You could look into taking the #257 Vancouver Express bus into Vancouver for $2.75 pp. The bus stop is right outside the HB Ferry ticket office and takes 45 minutes into Vancouver (along Georgia St). Greyhound goes to Pacific Central Station. It will be least crazy in the morning, but the afternoon Two-fifty-sevens will be chock-a-block full.

Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

Yes Thanksgiving is perhaps the busiest period of the year for walk on passengers. You will however be able to walk on the boat from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, but as noted above, you may need to leave earlier than you planned. If my memory serves me correctly, for walk on passengers, the ferries around early and mid afternoon are the busiest. If you take a ferry in the morning you should be fine.

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4. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

Remember that Georgia Street is going to be a mess until the end of November. I doubt they will be working on the road that weekend, but that does mean all three lanes will be available, or will they still have only one lane each direction?

Or does the bus use the 2nd Narrows Bridge?

Do you have to head to the airport from the ferry, or just heading to Vancouver?

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5. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

Good point, J0an. If the buses have not set up detour routes, they will come down Georgia. I believe there will be 2 lanes in each direction, instead of 3 each way. At least the buses have priority in traffic, in theory anyway. It's going to be a Test of Metal, in a very non-Whistler way!!

6. Re: Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay Ferry on Thanksgiving advice please

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