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Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

San Jose, California
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Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

We booked a trip to visit Vancuver/Victror in Labor Day weekend. We plan to take Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry on Labor Day (Monday) afternoon, spend two nights in Victoria, and come back on Wednesday morning. I wonder if it is necessary to make a reservation for going to Victoria on Labor Day afternoon and coming back Wednesday morning. I thought the trip to Victoria on Laborday afternoon should not be so crowded as it approches the end of long weekend. But I heard there would be lot of students going back to schools during Labor Day weekend. Also do we need a reservation for coming back to Vancouver on Wednesday morning? We have a flight to catch in the afternoon. Hope locals can share some info with us. Thanks in advance.

Sechelt, BC
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1. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

Yes. A most definite yes!!! Even if you plan to travel very early or very late. It will be the best money spent.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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2. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

Labour Day is often unpredictable for ferry loads (though it would seem to be a very busy day, some years it isn't) but for peace of mind I'd spend the $15!

For the way back you most likely wouldn't but since you have a flight, again that $15 would give you peace of mind.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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3. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

Yes, I think you will want to. But it's early days yet.

On the BC Ferries website: http://www.bcferries.com/ : you will see at the top an orange rectangle saying "Travel Advisory." The advisory is for the upcoming Canada Day weekend on Friday. Choose your route from the list and check out what they advise the busy times are. Although it is not guaranteed, the pattern will likely be similar on Labour Day weekend.

For example, on Thurs June 30, the 6 and 7 pm ferries are closed to ressies, the morning ferries on July 1st are closed to reservations until the 1 ferry. All ferries from the 1 have availability and on July 3rd, all ferries, all day have ressie availability.

One suggestion: Check on availability about 3 weeks ahead of Labour Day. If availability starts to close off, get a ressie. It's $15 if booked 7 days in advance, within 7 days it's $17.50. If you decide to not reserve make sure you get to the terminal about 1h15min / 1h20min ahead of the sailing you plan to take. You won't need a ressie on Wednesday Sept 7th, but again get to the terminal a good hour ahead of sailing.

Comox,British...
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for Victoria
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4. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

If it's about saving 15 bucks then on the way over if you dont mind sitting in the parking lot if you miss a ferry or two then you're good and if it is a nice day out well it's not too bad,you can walk around and the terminal has several places to get a bite and some shops to browse etc. but for making your flight on the way back I wouldnt hesitate

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

We just came back from BC trip. We made reservations for peace of mind. It turned out that it was not necessary to make reservation on BC ferries. There were 30-34% full when we got to the ferry both ways. I think it all depends what day you travel. For heading to Victoria in Labor day afternoon and coming back to Vancouver in a regular morning, the reservation is not necessary.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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6. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

Hi Kev_CA_99,

I agree that it does depend on what day you travel. It also depends on a myriad of other factors. Some years the Labour Day ferries are chock a block with super long waits other years not. Ferry lineups are as predictable as weather forecasting.

The best advice one can give about reservations on ferries is to make a reservation if you want to be somewhere at a specific time. Otherwise arrive an hour early and take your chances. I have waited in the middle of winter on a Wednesday afternoon, for no discernable reason, too many times :-(

7. Re: Need reservation on BC ferries on Labor Day?

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