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Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

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Chicago
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Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

Hi,

Does it make sense to pre-buy online ferry and parking tickets? Is there any risk of tickets selling out if I got in person? I arrive July 24th at Mackinac City. I'm not sure which line to buy or if it makes sense. Any input would be appreciated!

Indianapolis...
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1. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

It depends on how many people you have going as to whether to buy tickets online first. You can usually find the best package deals online, if you are travelling with children or several adults. Otherwise, prices are about the same (unless you have a package deal from one of the island hotels). They won't sell out, but depending on the time of day, you could have a wait (which you would whether you buy tickets online or not). I would suggest getting to the ferry line as early in the day as possible. Late morning or lunchtime lines are usually the longest. But they are never very bad.

As far as which ferry line to take, it truly doesn't matter as the prices are all about the same. However, many of us "regulars" certainly have our loyalties. Check out this recent thread on that entertaining discussion:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g42423-i351-k36499…

Enjoy your trip!

Chicago
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2. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

Thanks Kdets!

Appreciate the input. And I did look through past threads, and the general consensus is that free parking is safe? I will probably valet and park in the "outdoor unsecured lot." The websites make it sounds like you are leaving your car in the ghetto or something!

Indianapolis...
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3. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

All of the parking is safe. I've honestly never heard of problems. That being said, one of the reasons we prefer going out of St. Ignace is that the parking is so close and convenient. The parking in Mackinac City is usually a farther walk. But then we always self park.

Atlanta, Georgia
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281 posts
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4. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

I'd suggest buying your tickets in advance to save several dollars per ticket. Star Line has three adult roundtrips for $61, the best deal I've seen. Most are $21 RT purchased online, $24 at the dock.

I agree that I've never heard of any parking issues, but do what makes you feel most comfortable. We just returned from a visit and chose the fenced lot with the valet option since we were there for an extended period, but we usually use the free lot for short visits.

Arnold runs the largest boats (catamarans), but Shepler's and Star Line boats can also handle a crowd and it's seldom you have to wait beyond the next boat.

All three companies run efficient operations and are well-versed in guiding passengers through ticketing, unloading of baggage and parking. The dock porters want to help since tips are a big part of their pay and they're usually quite helpful without being annoying.

Hope you have a great trip!

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
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4,445 posts
229 reviews
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5. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

pj813, I was a plice officer in Mackinaw City for two years and I read the local paper even today. It must have happened sometime, but I have never heard of one of the cars being broken into.

As far as tickets selling out. They do not sell you a specfic seat, just a ticket, so when you buy it does not determine your getting on the boat. If a ferry is full, you wait 30 minutes for the next, or there is a chance that if it really busy and they have one available, they will put another one on.

But there is not risk of being stranded. They will run an additional boat at the end of the day if the last scheduled ferry is full.

Sheplers has the identical online special to the one mentioned for Star Line.

Edited: 07 July 2010, 13:44
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6. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

Yes! Save some bucks! Sheplers 3 adult tix for $61...usually $24/each.

7. Re: Pre-buy online Ferry tickets?

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