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ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

dallas
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ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

Hello, two of us will drive from Vancouver airport to Ucluelet on June 27 and then back to the airport on July 1. Our flight to Dallas will depart at 23:30, originally, I plan to take 16:45 ferry at Departure Bay. I just realized that July 1 is the Canada Day, will there be lots of traffic along the way? Is a ferry reservation needed? Thank you!

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Vancouver
Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
Ucluelet
Ucluelet
Vancouver Island, Canada
Dallas
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Texas
Canada
Canada
North America
6 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

Most of the regulars will say you need to allow more time than that to take a ferry to the airport and be at the airport 2 hours in advance for US Immigration and Customs Pre-clearance before boarding the plane.

There are some mis-adventures that can happen on the ferries. Very rare but when they happen one does not want to be on that ferry or waiting for that ferry. Some have been people jumping overboard causing the ferry to have to stop, launch a life boat and search for the passenger. One was a pleasure boat which burst into flames causing the ferry to go to their assistance. One was a bomb scare just before sailing when everyone had to get off the ferry while a search of the whole ferry was done. It is probably a good idea to allow more time, which would give you a contingency back up such as a later ferry. You are already thinking about how you can make sure you are on that flight.

June 27th could be a busy day too, with school officially out on the 28th. Families could be travelling on the ferries on the 27th. The 1st July, is a Sunday, smack in the middle of the long weekend. Most people will travel on the Friday and the Monday so that they can be at destination for the whole weekend. However, the roads and highways in the Vancouver area will be busy with general travel. I think it's worth making a reservation for the same reason that you want to allow more time to get to the airport - to make sure you catch that flight.

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Vancouver
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British Columbia, Canada
Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

I would absolutely make a reservation, in both directions, for the ferry you want to take.

Also, please confirm you are getting the rental car from the airport location. You will want to avoid Budget there. If you are indeed getting the car at the airport, and need to return it there, consider using the Duke Point ferry terminal, rather than Departure Bay. That way, you can avoid having to drive through the downtown of Vancouver.

Using Duke Point terminal will have you docking at Tsawwassen, south of the city, and much closer to the airport.

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Vancouver
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Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

With a 23:30 flight, you want to be at check in absolutely no later than 21:30, which means driving onto the airport grounds by 20:30, which means arriving at the ferry terminal by 19:30 which means leaving the island by 17:00, which means being AT the terminal on the island by 16:00, which means being away from Pacific Rim by noon (as there is road construction, I'm allowing extra time there.)

That is assuming there are NO problems in transit. One glitch blows everything out of the water and you miss your flight. You may be just fine with sorting something out with your airline after the fact. Some people blow off flights all the time and it always seems to work out for them.

If there is a problem that leaves you stranded on the island for some reason, sorting out an alternative can take 4-5 hours. There are other ferry routes, but they are all full and busy and you have to get to one of the other terminals and deal with the congestion and delays, etc etc.

Have you considered just flying to and from the island, rather than Vancouver? That solves a problem for such a short trip. The ferries are pretty, but if you are only going to Tofino and back directly, why have that extra 6 or hours of travel. Fly to Nanaimo or even right through to Tofino and save a day.

Otherwise, I'd pull that trip back as much as you comfortably can. If you can be away in time to make a noon ferry instead, then you have some time to play with. Head to the really charming village of Steveston which is only about 45 minutes from the airport (depending on traffic) if you end up with a smooth run and time to kill.

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4. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

Personally I'd leave after breakfast in Ucluelet and make your way to Nanaimo. Pick a terminal that suits you best and reserve a spot. Have a bit of extra time in Vancouver. Walk the seawall and then head to the airport. Peace of mind is worth a fortune.

As for the delays noted in post #1 these are so very very rare that they are notable. It is a good idea to give yourself extra time however the predominant reason is extra traffic volume causing slight delays.

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calgary
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5. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

Oh that timing leaving Ucuelet and catching an international flight out of Vancouver the same day just gives me the shivers thinking of all that could go wrong. Agree with V67, fly to and from the Island instead of the ferry.

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dallas
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6. Re: ferry reservation between 6/27-7/1

Thank you so much everyone for your great input and advice! We've been to Vancouver Island when we did the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle tour several years ago. We really enjoyed those islands as well as the BC ferry rides as they are very scenic. This time we will start our journey in the Rockies (6 days), and then 5 days in Vancouver city. We've decided to go back to spend some time in Ucluelet since we liked the wild pacific trail very much last time. On the 27th, we will pick up a rental car from Avis in Yaletown and then drop two relatives at the airport before head to Ucluelet. Flying to the island is a good option since the ferry ride with an automobile is not cheap. Just checked the airfare, seems flying to Nanaimo has more flight options and cheaper ($239 round trip). I wish I asked this question a bit earlier.

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