Steamship Authority is the way to go. I traveled to Maratha's Vineyard on a busy Sunday with no issues. I parked at the Palmer Street Lot about 3 miles from the dock. On the way in I was able to put my bike on the bus rack. It was a quick drive to the dock. The ticket office was quick and efficient. They offer a Military discount that made my crossing with my bike only $16. It was so fast that I was able to jump on the "cargo" ferry early.
I don't recommend the cargo ferry for those looking for the true experience. It is the way big trucks get to the island. There are limited seats and not much rain coverage, as I found out when a rain squall hit.
On the way back I took the traditional ferry. 3 decks and lots of space, it was very comfortable. No rain squalls.
Since I had my bike with me I skipped the bus and rode back. There is a nice smooth bike path that leads right from the ferry dock. I highly recommend it. You can park at the bike path lots further up the trail if you want to save the parking fee. Probably a good option for the more frugal and less encumbered. I wish I had thought of it on the way in.
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