Saturday, June 20, 2009
Yesterday, I had some business in Victoria; So my wife and I took the ferry from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria). For the trip to Victoria, we caught one of the Spirit class of ferries. We had a buffet breakfast on board (all you can eat, about $17.00 per person). You get a nice window table, if get there early enough.
"Spirit class" (BC Ferries' web page)
These vessels are 11,700 ton ships, built about 16 years ago, can carry over 400 cars at a time, and were the "stars" of the BC ferry fleet on the Vancouver-Victoria run until the arrival of the Super-C ferries within the last year, or so. They are capable ships, and are an important part of BC's transportation system.
Since we hadn't been on one the new ships yet, we arranged to return on the "Coastal Celebration", one of the three new Super-C class ferries. These are somewhat smaller than the "Spirit" vessels (10,100 tons - about 370 cars at a time). The major difference is that they are "double-ended", so they head straight into and out of their docking berths. By way of contrast, the Spirit ships need to turn around before they dock (Swartz Bay) or after they leave(Tsawwassen) the dock.
Super-C class (from BC Ferries' web page)
In other respects, the new ships have perhaps slightly more comfort and convenience in the on-board services, but they don't differ substantially from the older ships in that regard. A ferry trip to Vancouver Island always feel like a "mini-cruise" to us - the beautiful scenery through which BC Ferries' ships sail makes this a "word-class" experience, in our opinion. If you intend to visit Vancouver Island, this is a nice way to go.