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Ferry to Swartz Bay

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Manchester
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3 posts
12 reviews
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Ferry to Swartz Bay

Hi there,

My husband and I are travelling from the UK to Vancouver, picking up a car and heading to Vancouver Island at the start of a 15 day holiday. We leave Vancouver for Victoria on Monday 4 August and have an open ferry booking to Swartz Bay for that day. Our travel agent recommended an open booking and just advised us to arrive an hour and a half in advance of when you want to travel. I understand that 4 August is a public holiday in Canada (and that it is also Pride weekend - which is a big deal where we live in Manchester and attracts thousands of people!). Are ferries likely to be very busy that day and would we be best advised to book a specific time?

Thanks very much!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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1. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

Hi Katy, welcome to the forum ~

There is no such title as open ferry booking. There is general boarding, a.k.a. first come, first served. That is what your TA is referring to. There are days of the week and months of the year when arriving 1.5 hours ahead of sailing works well for general boarding. August 2nd for example, the Saturday that not many take a ferry as they want to be at destination for the whole weekend.

In your case you really should make a reservation for the ferry you want to be on. Then you have to show up at the ticket booth between 30-60 min in advance. Not 29 min. On Aug 4th, general boarding will likely require 2-3 ferry waits so if you want to get going on time, make a ressie.

Booking outside of 7 days is $15 I believe. I think 14-18 days in advance for that weekend would be fine.

Edited: 14 July 2014, 14:19
Manchester
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3 posts
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2. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

Hi MuftiVancouver,

Thanks so much for your response, much appreciated and we will take your advice - I would rather not sit at a ferry terminal all day!

Thank you!

Edmonton, Canada
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3. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

definitely make a reservation

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

<<Our travel agent recommended an open booking and just advised us to arrive an hour and a half in advance of when you want to travel. >>

What a load of bunk. I'm sorry, but that makes me think you need to cross check the rest of what you've been told by the travel agent just to make sure its all true. This part definitely isn't.

Mufti outlined it well, but this is just so annoying (that you would be fed a line like this from a travel agent) that I feel it bears repeating - you can arrive first come, first served, or you can reserve a spot on a specific sailing. For the majority of sailings, pulling up to the terminal an hour ahead of time is good enough, but there are a few key days in the calendar when you could find yourself waiting 2 or 3 sailings to board. The August holiday weekend is definitely one of those times.

You will need to provide a credit card number to make the reservation. They have a firm window when you may claim that reservation - no more than 60 and no less than 30 minutes before sailing. You provide the same cc you used to make the reservation, and then they charge you the total cost for the sailing (around $85 for car + 2 adults I think...haven't looked lately).

Glad you asked before hand! :)

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

As for the PRIDE crowds, the parade and street events are on Sunday the 3rd. The throngs will be gone by Monday so it shouldn't impede in your travels within the city. Like others have said…reservations though are a very good idea.

If you are here and want to see the Parade, Beach Ave is great spot.

Edited: 17 July 2014, 03:39
Manchester
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6. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

Thanks again for all your advice. Vancouverite67, in fairness 'open booking' was just me paraphrasing, not a direct quote from the travel agent! Thanks for all the comments and help.

7. Re: Ferry to Swartz Bay

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