Victoria & Vancouver Island is a wonderful place to get away from it all. Close to Vancouver and Seattle we offer all the pleasures of an island retreat mixed with the conveniences of a provincial capital known as the Garden City of Canada.
The 160 metre long Coastal Renaissance Super-C class BC Ferry is capable of holding 1,500 passengers and 370 cars. This is a picture November 2007 of the ship leaving Europe enroute to BC. Although this ferry is a double-ender one end has been closed in for the voyage across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast. Along with its sister ships the Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Celebration, the Coastal Renaissance will be in service in 2008.
BC Ferries provide fast frequent car-ferry service between the BC mainland and Vancouver Island. Travel time on the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria is approximately 95 minutes. During the summer season these large vehicle carrying ferries operate every hour on the hour from early morning to well into the night. During the winter, they operate every two hours, with some exceptions. Complete schedule and fare information is available on-line at BC Ferries.
If you are driving up from Seattle it is a 2-hour drive to the border, then a 20 minute drive to the BC Ferry terminal in Tsawwassen.
TIP #1: Reservations are helpful when you have a plane or cruise ship to catch, however, they have a 1/2 hour open window. If you are ok to wait in line for an hour or so and don't have to be somewhere at a specific time then the reservation may be more bother than it's worth.
TIP #1a: Here is an example of a BC Ferry reservation gone bad
TIP #2: In most cases if your destination is Victoria you would cross the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay to Vancouver Island. If your visit to Vancouver Island includes north of Victoria to Tofino, Campbell River or even just Nanaimo then the sailings connecting Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo are a wonderful alternative to one of your sailings. Horsehoe Bay will place you in West Vancouver north of all the downtown Vancouver hustle and bustle. From there you can either go north along the Sea-to-Sky highway towards Squamish and Whistler, or slightly south across the Lions Gate bridge through Stanley Park and in to downtown Vancouver without having to endure all the traffic going through Vancouver from the south end. Of course, crossing to Vancouver Island from Horseshoe Bay and then driving south to Victoria is also a very scenic way to arrive
Vehicle reservations are required to travel from Orcas Island and Friday Harbor to Sidney, B.C. and are also available, but not required, on sailings between Anacortes and Sidney, B.C. These reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance by calling (206) 464-6400 (Seattle area), or 1-888-808-7977 (in WA state) and require a non-refundable credit card deposit which will be applied toward the fare on the day of travel. Credit cards are not accepted at the toll booth. Please refer to on-line Fares. Spaces on the ferries are apportioned to the various islands, so boats sailing to multiple destinations may depart with empty space. Peak traveling times from Anacortes are from 10 am to 6 pm weekdays and all day Friday and Saturday. Arrive at least 60 minutes in advance (two hours on Fridays and Saturdays) if you are bringing a vehicle on board or if you plan to park it in Anacortes and walk on. Peak traveling times from the San Juans eastbound are from 8 am to 6 pm daily and all day Sunday, after 10 am. Arrive at least 90 minutes in advance.
M.V. Coho is a scheduled year round vehicle and passenger ferry operating between Port Angeles, Washington, and downtown Victoria. Sailing time is approximately 95 minutes. Complete information on their services is available on their Web Site.
Black Ball Transport M.V. Coho
Port Angeles: (360) 457-4491
Victoria B.C.: (250) 386-2202
Toll Free: 1-800-833-6388
Victoria Clipper passenger-only ferry from Seattle
The Victoria Clipper operates a daily high speed foot-passenger only, catamaran service between Seattle and Victoria year round.
Toll Free: 1-800-888-2535
Victoria is also served by the Victoria International Airport, as well as regular float plane service to the Inner Harbour in Downtown Victoria. Scheduled Helicopter flights from downtown Vancouver are also available.