BC Ferries has daily service between Tsawwassen, about an hour south of Vancouver, and Swartz Bay, at the end of Highway 17 (the Patricia Bay Highway), about 30 minutes north of Victoria. Sailing time is about 1½ hours. Fares are C$14.85 per adult passenger and C$49.25 per vehicle each way. Vehicle reservations on Vancouver–Victoria and Nanaimo routes are optional and cost an additional C$15 to C$17.50. Foot passengers and cyclists don't need reservations.
To reach the Tsawwassen ferry terminal from downtown Vancouver, take the Canada Line south to Bridgeport Station and change to Bus 620. In Swartz Bay, BC Transit buses 70 (express) and 72 (local) meet the ferries. However, if you're traveling without a car, it's easier to just take a Pacific Coach Lines bus between downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria; the bus travels on the ferry.
BC Ferries also sail from Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver, to Nanaimo, about two hours north of Victoria—convenient if you're traveling by car from Whistler or Vancouver's north shore to Vancouver Island.
An excellent option is combining four hours of whale-watching with travel between Vancouver and Victoria, offered by the Prince of Whales. The 74-passenger boat leaves the Westin Bayshore Hotel in downtown Vancouver daily at 9 am (June-early Sept., one-way C$190), arriving in Victoria at 1 pm; there are also departures from Victoria's Inner Harbour at 1:45 pm (one-way C$145).
The Victoria Harbour Ferry serves the Inner Harbour; stops include the Fairmont Empress, Chinatown, Point Ellice House, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, and Fisherman's Wharf. Fares start at C$5; multiple-trip and two-day passes are available. Boats make the rounds every 15 to 20 minutes, daily, March–October. The 45-minute harbor tours cost $22, and gorge cruises cost $26. At 10:45 am on summer Sundays, the little ferries perform a water ballet set to classical music in the Inner Harbour.
BC Ferries (250/386–3431 or 888/223–3779. www.bcferries.com.)
Prince of Whales (250/383–4884 or 888/383–4884. www.princeofwhales.com.)
Victoria Harbour Ferry (250/708–0201. www.victoriaharbourferry.com.)