which ferry YVR to Nanaimo?

Jan 26th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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which ferry YVR to Nanaimo?

I'm headed straight from Vancouver International Airport to Nanaimo and Tofino. Should I drive north to Horseshoe Bay, or south to Tsawwassen to catch the Nanaimo ferry?
oskeptic is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 07:07 AM
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Probably south to avoid the time consuming traffic frustrations you'll have driving through Vancouver City Centre but the frequency of the Nanaimo ferries from Tsawassen is half or less than that from Horseshoe Bay so time yourself accordingly.
GaryA is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 03:14 PM
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The Tsawwassen schedule until the end of February is one every 2.5 hours staring at 5:15 am. In looking at future schedules, I did not see much if any change in the number of departures.

The crossing time is 2 hours. The Queen of Alberni and the Queen of New Westminster are the scheduled vessels on that particular route. They hold about 300 cars.

Two of the ships on the Tsawwassen-Schwartz Bay route are even larger.

I guess the new Queen Mary 2 dwarfs everything around, however. But I doubt it could squeeze through the narrow passages of the islands.
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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It's six of one and half a dozen of the other. However, I think that you'll probably save time by driving north to Horseshoe Bay. Then - once you're in Naniamo - you can drive straight to Tofino, instead of having a long drive from Swartz Bay through Victoria to Nanaimo (2 hours plus, depending on traffic etc.) before heading toward Tofino.

For more information, check out the BC Ferries website:


Borealis is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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Sorry, but you missed the point that there are ferries from Tsawassen to Duke Point in Naiamo. These save the long haul from Swartz Bay to Nanaimo.

The website reference is good though.
icithecat is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:12 PM
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icithecat is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 11:26 PM
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Its a no brainer. Go to horseshoe bay.Its a little further, but you take the trans Canada and its freeway all the way.To get to Tsawassen you go through the crowded urban areas the whole way.
plus its a two hour drive from Swartz Bay to Nanaimo. I do this trip every year and have tried both routes.
I wasnt aware of a Tsawwasen to Nanaimo ferry, but check it out. Probably limited schedules.
jimmoi is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 04:07 AM
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I sure would like to know how to get from Vancouver Airport to Horseshoe Bay by freeway all the way as jimmoi has suggested. Are the urban areas from YVR to Tsawwassen more crowded than through downtown Vancouver? Can anyone help?
laverendrye is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 07:07 AM
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My original advice stands. The Tsawassen - Nanaimo ferries leave approximately every two hours from around 7AM to 9PM and the driving time from YVR to Tsawasen - even without rush hour traffic is about half that of YVR to Horseshoe Bay. It's a no-brainer.
GaryA is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 03:20 PM
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Having driven the return route through Vancouver at a snail's pace, I see no reason why a person would want to struggle through all that to get to Horseshoe Bay. I liken it to a bad day at the dentist's. Go to Tsawwassen.
April is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 08:02 PM
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icithecat - you're right -I forgot about the Tsawassen to Nanaimo ferry.

However, my original "six of one, half a dozen of the other" opinion still stands.

The Tsawassen-Nanaimo ferry sails every 2.5 hours and takes 2 hours to cross.
The Horseshoe Bay ferry sails every 1.0 hour during peak times (every 2 hours during non-peak times) and takes 1 hour and 35 minutes to cross.

So you have to decide whether you prefer heavy traffic + more frequent sailings + quicker crossings OR lighter (?) traffic + less frequent sailings + longer crossings.

Whichever way you choose, oskeptic - if you will be travelling in summer make sure that you make a reservation for the ferry, or you may spend a lot of time sitting in your vehicle at the ferry terminal and waiting for the next one (there is a lot of traffic in the summer, and the ferries fill up quickly). Reservations can be made easily on line or by phone (you can even do it from the airport once you arrive). Check the BC Ferries website for more info about making reservations.

Good luck.
Borealis is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Okay, let's try this again. You should either take the ferry from Tsawwassen or the one from Horseshoe Bay (more often and takes 25 mins. less = 1 hr. 35 mins. vs. 2 hrs) to Nanaimo.

The distance from the airport is about 35 km to Horseshoe Bay vs. 31 km. to Tsawwassen. So in theory the 1/2 hour you save on the ferry overrides the 10 minutes you'll take driving to the Horseshoe Bay terminal. The question is "what time of day". From the airport to Tsawwassen is mostly freeway but you have to go through the tunnel which can back up in rush hour (except they put in an extra lane so that helps).

The drive to Horseshoe Bay means you take the new bridge, then Granville Street and downtown (over a bridge then another to get to the north shore). From there it's all freeway to Horseshoe Bay. In rush hour (about 3 pm to 6:30 pm) it'd be wiser to take the Tsawwassen route; otherwise the Horseshoe Bay route is better.

This doesn't take into account more time on the ferry going through beautiful islands if the weather is nice vs. going through beautiful downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

mcnite is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Ted - Just curious, which islands does the ferry go around on the Tsawassen- Nanaimo route?
Borealis is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2004, 05:47 PM
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By my recollection, the Tsawwassen - Nanaimo ferry route is almost completely devoid of island views.
WillTravel is offline  

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