BC Ferries Commit to Ordering 4 Hybrid Ferries
With the intention of standardizing their fleet, enhancing flexibility and enabling their vessels to interchange with one another, BC Ferries believes the additional Island Class ships will create efficiencies that in the end not only enhance the bottom line, but prove more reliable.
The Hybrid ferries are expected to begin service between Nanaimo & Gabriola, Campbell River & Quadra Island in 2027.
Rudder Issues Cause Cancellations on the Queen of New Westminster
Several Vancouver - Victoria ferry departures scheduled for the Queen of New Westminster have now been cancelled.
The following sailings have been removed until the mechanical issue is fixed.
Thursday, Feb. 22 the following sailings are cancelled
From Tsawwassen 4:00pm & From Swartz Bay 6:00pm
Friday, Feb. 23 the following sailings are cancelled
From Tsawwassen 12:00pm & 4:00pm : From Swartz Bay 2:00pm & 6:00pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 the following sailings are cancelled
From Tsawwassen 12:00 PM & 4:00pm : From Swartz Bay 2:00 PM & 6:00pm
Taylor Swift Is Coming To Vancouver BC & BC Ferries Is Preparing
In anticipation of increased demand from Islanders headed to the Taylor Swift concert which takes place on the 6, 7, and 8 of December 2024, BC Ferries will increased their Victoria to Vancouver schedule by 22 sailings
Additional round-trip sailings will be scheduled between Vancouver & Victoria on:
Thursday December 05, three sailings
Friday Dec 6, 2024 two additional sailings
Saturday December 7 , 2024 3 extrasailings
Sunday December 8, 2024 will see 2 added sailings
The sailing times for the added sailings will be posted as soon as they are confirmed
BC Ferries has also added a sailing at 11:55 PM Feb 21 2024, between Vancouver & Nanaimo to provide transportation for Islanders headed home from the Madonna concert in Vancouver
Interesting Fact: When Taylor performed in Seattle during the summer, the increased seismic activity equaled a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.
That's called popularity !Cross Gulf Sailings Cancelled Again in 2024
A shortage of crew has once again forced the 2024 cancellation of the Alaska ferry crossing between Bellingham & Whittier.
The cross-gulf route was the only way for travellers with vehicles headed to or from Alaska to avoid driving through Canada.
Crossing the Canadian border requires all travellers over the age of 18 to have a valid passport and no felonies.
Be aware that DUIs are considered a felony in Canada & may prevent entry into the country.
With respect to firearms, rifles and shotguns can be transported through the border on the way to/from Alaska however handguns are never permitted into Canada.
It is absolutely essential to advise customs officials if transporting any type of firearms and to ensure that the firearms are both locked and have empty barrels with clean barrels
Until the Bellingham - Whittier route is reinstated by the Alaska ferry system, the only way to get vehicles into or out of Alaska without travelling through Canada, is by barge
Barges travel between Seattle and Anchorage / Fairbanks etc every week, year-round, and provide an opportunity to transport vehicles ( no passengers ) between the Lower 48 and Alaska without going through Canada.
Barges from Seattle also travel the Inside Passage stopping in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Haines & Skagway.
Vehicles on barges can be packed with household items but must have no more that 1/4 tank of gas when loaded onto the barge.
For more information on barging call toll free 1-800-686-0446
A Potential New Revenue Stream For The Ferries In Alaska ?
While Alaska State laws do not currently allow casino gambling, it has been suggested that there might be an opportunity for those Alaska ferries that travel 3 miles offshore, to skirt that law and to explore slot machine gambling as a new revenue stream.
After many years of not raising fares to keep pace with either fuel increases or inflation, the Alaska ferry system has found itself heavily in debt, totally underfunded, and due in part to the costly maintenance of an aging fleet, unable to provide the reliable ferry services expected by both the states' residents and visiting tourists.
A litany of events including
heavy "catch-up" fare increases, a short lived dynamic pricing policy, the consistent delay in the release of each new seasons sailing schedules, all coupled with the peculiar decision to disconnect from the once broad international travel agency support, has
combined to contribute to the
beleaguered ferry system loosing ridership.
Would the introduction of slot machine gambling make up for lost ridership revenue by providing a worthwhile revenue stream?
Would onboard gambling contribute to increasing tourist ridership?
Would slot machines be enough of an entertainment enticement for resident Alaskans to pay the ferry ticket cost simply to play the slots?
The Wasilla Republican Jesse Summer believes the answer to all those questions is Yes.
And to that end Mr Summer has reintroduced HB 197 saying that the benefit to be derived from the taxes and gaming on the ferries could generate a new revenue stream of 20+million.
Perhaps better odds might be achieved if the state simply released each seasons' schedules in a timely manner; worked toward reinstating the popular Cross-Gulf and Prince Rupert ferry routes, and then began repairing their fractured relationship with travel agencies who, by being convinced to again promote exploring Alaska by ferry, could undoubtedly increase ridership.
Barges: A Wonderful Alternative to Driving or Ferrying
Cross Gulf to Anchorage + BC to Alaska Routes Cancelled for 2024
Every week, year-round barges carrying vehicles ply their way between Washington and Alaska. No Passengers - only vehicles.
Barges are reliable, easy to book and are a cost efficient transportation alternative to either driving or ferrying into or out of Alaska for a number of reasons.
1) Barges are not subject to cancellation because of crew shortages
2) Barges depart evey week, year-round
3) Barges serve most Inside Passage ports + Anchorage & Fairbanks
4) Barge prices are comparable to those of the Alaska ferries
5) Barging saves wear & tear on ones vehicle
A barge travelling between Anchorage or Fairbanks and Seattle typically takes between 2-1/2 to 3 weeks.
And for those PCSing or relocating, there are virtually no restrictions with respect to loading your vehicle.
To book, get a cost or simply see barge schedules, go to alaskabarge.com and enter into the Outward
Route (departure port) where you are
Choose "Barge from X to Seattle" and continue on - this will deliver the dates, travel time and costs, but will not commit you to a booking, unless you choose to complete the form by entering your name etc
The Alaska ferry route between Bellingham & Whittier has once again been cancelled.
Alaska Marine advised on Jan 19th, 2024 that they are unable to service either the Cross-Gulf or the Prince Rupert to Alaska routes this summer due to a shortage of crew.
The 5 day cross-gulf ferry trip between Washington and Whittier had enabled travellers taking vehicles to/from Alaska to avoid travelling through Canada.
Without the Bellingham - Whittier ferry, all visitors and residents travelling to/from the state must have a valid passport as the only current access into Alaska, (other than by air) will involve travelling through Canada.
For those people moving to or from Alaska, barges are a great option. Barges can carry all vehicle types and run weekly year-round Seattle to Anchorage (& most other Alaska ports) but they do not take passengers.
( Visit alaskabarge.com for costs and sailing dates or call 1-800-686-0446).
While barging a vehicle is perfect for those moving to or from Alaska, the 2-3 week travel time means barges are not practical for those planning to visit the state for a short holiday.
For any questions regarding travel to Alaska send an email to email@example.com or call 1-800-686-0446
BC Ferries Showing Sold Out For Port Hardy to Prince Rupert
Overheight vehicle space is currently showing as "Sold Out" between early July and early August for vehicles either over 7' high or 20' long.
RVers & Camper drivers seeking to travel during that period should immediately forward their needs to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can secure space on the standby list.
The ferry sails in both directions between Port Hardy & Prince Rupert on the odd days in both July & August ( eg 1,3,5,7 etc).
Standby waitlists are filled in order of request receipts, but this far in advance stand a good chance of being successfully filled.
For more information or to get onto the waitlist, Call 1-800-686-0446 or email email@example.com
Save 25% On Ferry Travel March 01 thru December 31 2024
The 25% off ferry special applies to all Seattle -Victoria ferry travel between 01 March 2024 & December 2024 providing the reservation has been made prior to February 29 2024 through toll free 1-800-686-0446.
The fast ferry travelling between downtown Seattle and downtown Victoria takes approximately 2-3/4 hrs and travels through the Salish Sea.
If lucky, passengers might see the resident orca pods J, K & L foraging for their preferred salmon diet.
Regardless of this lucky sighting, the "mini cruise" is a wonderful way to visit Victoria on Vancouver Island.
And don't forget to visit the world renowned Butchart Gardens located just 45 minutes from where the ferry docks.
A bus dedicated to transporting visitors to the Gardens will meet the ferry and take passengers out to the Gardens and then return to the city in good time for passengers to reboard the ferry back to Seattle.
(Butchart Gardens will be closed between January 22 and February 05)
Ferry Passenger Safety & Comfort A Priority
The high winds and waves resulting from an approaching Arctic Front & which caused sailing cancellations between Vancouver Islands' Tsawwassen Terminal and Victorias' Swarts Bay terminal yesterday, continue.
Gale force winds and predicted high tides have resulted in the cancellation of the 7:00am and 9:am sailings today.
The Clipper Seattle to Victoria ferry is still in dry dock for her annual maintenance check and is not expected to return to service until February 16th.
The Coho serving passengers travelling between Port Angeles and Victoria is also in Drydock until the 7th of February.
High-Speed Seattle to Victoria Ferry Service Update
The annual drydock service to ensure the ferry between Seattle & Victoria is in perfect shape for the 2024 season, means there will be no ferry service between the two cities from Jan 08 until Feb 16.
Spring / summer schedules can be found, and reservations from Feb 16 onward, can be made by clicking here.
The fares shown on www.ferrytravel.com are standard fares which can be cancelled or changed.
Discounted fares, which are fares that can not be changed, cancelled or refunded are available through the call centre at 1-800-686-0446
Gross Gulf Ferry Crew Shortage
For the second year in a row, it now appears (but is not yet confirmed) that the Alaska ferry route from Bellingham to Whittier may not be included in the summer schedule due to a shortage of crew.
The cross-gulf Bellingham - Whittier sailing was not only one of the most popular,, but most important visitor and resident routes to Alaska, because it enabled those traveling to the state to avoid acquiring a passport.
Passports are required when changing countries, and without the Whittier ferry route, travellers are forced to pass through Canada if either driving the Alcan Hwy*, or taking the ferry to Haines.
There is only one road into the State of Alaska so there is no alternative to travelling through Canada except by plane.
Canada has strict laws that prohibit the entry of hand-guns, automatic & semi-automatic guns and anyone with a felony conviction.
And in Canada, a DUI is considered a felony, so travellers either without a passport, or transporting "unlawful" weapons, or having a felony conviction, are limited to flying if they want to enter Alaska.
For anyone moving to or from Alaska, and facing an inability to enter Canada, barging a vehicle makes sense.
Vehicles with household goods, including weapons (but with empty chambers) can be loaded onto weekly barges which travel to and from Seattle WA to such Alaska ports as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan etc
Barging vehicles to Alaska is easy, quick and a service much used by the military as they PCS with their families to or from the 49th state.
For more information call 1-800-686-0446
* About 80% of the Alaska Highway is in Canada
BC Ferry Fare Increases In April
On Order: Four Hybrid Electric Ferries
Commencing this April ( 01 April 2024) BC Ferries will raise their fares an average of 3.2% and that increase is expected to apply each year until 2028.
In an effort to stay ahead of demand and minimize the rising cost of the necessary new ferry builds to support an aging fleet , BC ferries has committed to an order for 4 new hybrid vessels.
The company has additionally determined that if BC Ferries is to keep its employees happy and to attract new mariners so labor shortages are minimized, it needs to update its crewing model and raise wages.
All this takes dollars and while the Ferry Commission approved a 9% fare increase, that number was lowered to just above 3% when the BC Provincial Government made a 500 million contribution to the company.
That contribution is contingent on BC Ferries commitment to show a long term, reliable & sustainably affordable plan which will reduce their operating costs over the next 4 years by 10 million dollars.
Four Island Class ferries are on order and by 2027 should bring the BC Ferry hybrid fleet total to ten.
BC ferries believe that by limiting the various classes of ships to now adopting and ordering vessels of the same type, they will enjoy greater flexibility as they can move the ships around various routes and terminals, as demand requires.
Unexpected mechanical issues that are the bain of every ferry company everywhere, and which this past year have plagued BC Ferries, should be diminished with the arrival of the new ships and their ability to move from one route to cover another, should the need arise.
New ferries are expensive but procrastinating new builds only increases the cost.
By ensuring that there are enough ships to enable one vessel to be substituted for another when the unexpected inevitably happens, is the very best way to provide the kind of service ferry travellers both expect & demand.
Kudos to BC Ferries !BC Ferry Costs Never, Ever Marked-Up
As agents for BC Ferries www.ferrytravel.com provides the lowest available costs
for the ferries operating between the BC ports of Port Hardy, Prince Rupert & Haida Gwaii ( Skidegate ).
There is never any mark-up for a BC ferry reservation and experienced agents are available both by email and phone to help, plan, guide & book travel.
The FerryTraveller site is designed to enable quick, easy and safe ferry information and online booking for the reservable Alaska, Northern BC & Washington ferries.
Because the FerryTraveller does not collect data in exchange for information, the entry of names, addresses etc is never required if only a quote or information is being sought .
Passenger ages are however required for price quotes so that any applicable discounts can be applied prior to showing a cost.
All costs for BC Ferries are shown in Canadian dollars.
If needing help the toll free number is 1-800-686-0446 and if the lines are busy a call-back will occur within 2 hrs. Port Hardy - Prince Rupert: Larger Vehicle Space Sold Out
Ferry space for over-height / over-length vehicles seeking July-August travel on the BCF Northern Routes between Prince Rupert & Port Hardy is already very tight with many sailing dates already sold out.
Cabins for all sailings throughout the summer months are also selling quickly & many dates are now gone.
If planning to travel with a camper, trailer or RV during June, July, August try to select your desired ferry sailing dates ASAP to avoid disappointment.
If you are not delivered a price* & have requested a cabin, try removing the request and instead choose Aurora Lounge seating.
* If a requested component is not available on the sailing chosen - no price will be delivered. Remember that It is never necessary to enter all your personal info ( name, address, ph etc etc ) if only seeking a quote as the lowest price will always be shown before names etc are requested.
YVR To The Island Ferry Terminals
Increased airport traffic headed to the Gulf Islands & Vancouver Island have resulted in numerous questions about which services are offered to take passengers to the ferry terminals at both Tsawwassen (30km)and at Horseshoe Bay.
The Tsawwassen ferry terminal is the departure point for the ferries to both the northern and southern gulf Islands, as well as to Victoria at Swartz Bay and Duke Point Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
From Vancouver International Airport (YVR) there are two shuttle bus operators providing dedicated service to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
Skylynx operates a 50 minute shuttle 4x a day at a cost starting at $60 and the Wilson Group provides the same service 2x a day service.
Taxis & Ubers provide a faster ( approx 30 minutes) and more flexible time alternative service: Taxi at a cost of between $65-$80 or Uberat a cost of about $43
To travel from YVR to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal for the sailing to Nanaimo at Departure Bay is a bit more costly.
A Taxi taking about 40 minutes would run approximately $75-95.00
A lesser cost but more complicated route, would be to take a combination of the skytrain from YVR to downtown Vancouver and from there an express bus to the Horseshoe Bay ferry Terminal.
Help for land transportation to either ferry terminal is available at the YVR Information desk.
Crew Shortages Continue to Disrupt Ferry Services
Since Covid-19 ferry companies in both BC & Alaska have been plagued by a shortage of crew.
In 2022 the route between Ketchikan & Port Hardy and the only International ferry connection between Alaska and British Columbia was cancelled for the complete year due to a shortage of crew.
To ferry Port Hardy to Ketchikan takes about 5 hours and with an average cost of around $500 for a standard car and driver, the route was not only affordable, but enabled visitors with limited time to spend only a day or two if desired, in Alaska.
The only alternative to entering the 49th State by sea was, and continues to be, the 2 day ferry from Bellingham to Ketchikan at a considerably greater cost.
BC Ferries has suffered the same crew shortage fate.
Tempers flare as angry passengers are delayed or stranded as sailing after sailing is unexpectedly cancelled due to crew shortages.
Impact On Reserved Passengers Resulting from An Unexpected Ferry Cancellation
Seattle to Victoria On the Ferry Is A Mini-Cruise
When a sailing is unexpectedly cancelled, whether due to a shortage of crew, a mechanical issue or inclement weather, passengers with reservation on the cancelled sailing will be loaded on the next available sailing but AFTER those passengers booked on the following sailing.
If booked on a 9:00 sailing which is unexpectedly cancelled, reservation holding travellers will be loaded on the next sailing after those who have reserved the 10:00 sailing but prior to those with no reservation.
Travelling through the Strait of Juan de Fuca - defined as a channel and renamed the Salish Sea in 2008, the high-speed catamaran makes the journey between Victoria and Seattle almost every day, year-round.
The ferry carries just over 500 passengers & completes the crossing (at an average speed of 36 knots) in just under 3 hours.
A limited number of discounted tickets (non changeable, non cancellable & non refundable ) can often be purchased by calling 1-800-686-0446 well ahead of a desired travel date -but a standard ticket, including port taxes, fuel charges etc can be had for around $96 per person by clicking on www.ferrytravel.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On landing in Victoria there is plenty to see and do.
Numerous attractions like Butchart Gardens, the Royal Provincial Museum, fabulous shopping shopping - are all particularly enticing for visitors using the strong US dollar.
On travelling to Seattle, the ferry lands at Pier 69 in Elliott Bay.
The Seattle Aquarium, wonderful seafood restaurants, the famous Pike Place Market and SAM ( Seattle Art Museum) are all only a short walk from the pier.
Absolutely do not miss the stunning Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum located on Harrison Ave in the Seattle centre.
With numerous whale sightings - humpbacks near the Straits western end, the resident pod of easily recognizable black and white killer whales everywhere, and on occasion if you're lucky, the Gray whales who use the waterway to rest- this ferry trip is really a mini cruise.