Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007. Post written by: Jim

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal – Vancouver to Victoria Ferry

Last tuesday, my wife and I were headed on our way to Speedway Motors in Victoria to test drive some Porsche Caymans, and eventually made a purchase. To get there, we had to take the Tsawwassen ferry. Having lived in vancouver all these years, it’s sad to say that I’ve never been to victoria, nor made an attempt to go there… Until now.

Never having been to Victoria, I had absolutely no idea how to get there! Good thing there’s a thing called google. :)

After a little searching, I found the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Victoria) ferry schedule here. The boat leaves every odd hour starting at 7am, and ending at 9pm. I then called to get some driving directions, and it turns out that you can make reservations for the ferry ride.

vancouver victory ferry terminal
Line up of cars waiting to get on the ship.

Since I’ve never been to the Tsawwassen ferry, I had no idea if it was going to be busy, or how much of a lineup there would be to get on the ferry. Obviously, during peak times, there’s a chance the boat might get full, and you’d have to wait for the next ride, which would be a 2 hour wait. So I decided to make a reservation for the 11am ferry, and to make reservations costs and extra $18CAD on top of the ferry costs, which is around $35 for a vehicle (I drove a SUV, might be cheaper for sedans?), and about $10 for each person in the car. It cost us about $55CAD for a one way trip, not including the reservation costs.

To get to the Tsawwassen ferry is quite easy, go south on highway 99, and exit on to highway 17 – then follow #17 all the way to the end, and you’ll come up to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. After paying at the toll booth, you are directed to a waiting lane.

Around 11am, the ferry began unloading, and cars that came over from Swartz bay were beginning to exit the ferry boat. This took about 10 to 15minutes. Once all the cars were unloaded, our line started moving, and we drove straight into the boat.

Tsawwassen ferry terminal
Parking inside the ship. You are supposed to park within 24inches of the car infront of you.

I believe the boat has 5 or 6 decks, and 3 of which are for parking cars. Decks 4 and 5 were passenger seating areas which also had restaurants, and lounge areas. There is also a buffet on the ferry boat, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out. The boat ride is rather smooth considering the sheer size of the ship, and the boat ride takes about 1.5hours going from Tsawwassen ferry to Swartz Bay.

Tsawwassen vancouver to victoria boat ride
Passenger seating areas on the ship.

We arrived in Victoria at around 1pm, and by the time we got to downtown Victoria to the car dealer, it was around 1:30pm.

I don’t think booking a reservation is necessary, unless you must absolutely be on the boat at a certain time. Otherwise, save yourself the $18CAD, and get to the ferries a little early. We did not have a reservation for our return trip at 5pm, and although there was a huge line up of cars, we still got on the ferry.

Note: There seems to be alot (I mean alot) more cops on the road in Victoria than vancouver. I don’t know if it’s always like that, or they had some kind of crack down on speeding activity, but on one stretch of highway 17, I counted probably 3 or 4 police cruisers. And unfortunately for me, I got a speeding ticket for $138! And it wasn’t even a cruiser that caught me speeding, but cops positioned on highway overpasses! So drive within the speed limit when you’re in Victoria!

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