Reserve and Plan

Travelling with us this holiday season?

What to expect, travel tips and planning ahead

Holiday Season Travel Tips banner

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and we’re adding 171 extra sailings to make travelling easier for customers sailing between Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. We’re encouraging customers to plan ahead and have put together the following information to assist you. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on board and helping you get to your final destination.


171 extra sailings from Thursday, December 19 to Wednesday,
January 1

  • 128 extra sailings on the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay) route, including:
    • 6 a.m. departures from Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay on December 23, 26 and 27
    • 10 p.m. departure from Tsawwassen on December 21

  • 37 extra sailings on the West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Nanaimo (Departure Bay) route

  • 6 extra sailings on the West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Sunshine Coast (Langdale) route

View sailing schedules »


Peak travel times over the Holiday Season

Select a route from the drop down menu to see the best times to travel if you don't have a reservation.

 

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Tsawwassen to Duke Point

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Duke Point to Tsawwassen

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Horseshoe Bay Departure Bay

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Horseshoe Bay to Langdale

Holiday Season Busy Sailing Times Langdale to Horseshoe Bay


Travelling between Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Salt Spring Island?

Customers travelling between Swartz Bay and Salt Spring Island are reminded that from December 20 to January 1, the 60-vehicle Bowen Queen will be on the route replacing the 90-vehicle Skeena Queen, which is undergoing a mid-life upgrade. The Bowen Queen will do two additional round trips per day on the route so the maximum number of customers can be accommodated. However, BC Ferries expects peak sailing times will still be popular. There will be a revised schedule in place to accommodate as many customers as possible. Due to the smaller capacity of the Bowen Queen, customers travelling in vehicles from Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island may experience longer lineups. Customers connecting with busses may see longer waits upon arrival at the terminal due to the revised ferry schedule.

View the modified December 20 – January 1 schedule »


Book in advance

We encourage customers to reserve early to guarantee a spot on the sailing of their choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush.

Bookings start at just $10 when booked 7 days in advance. Customers may also travel without booking in advance, but will travel on a ‘first come, first-served’ basis. Non-reserved vehicle traffic may experience higher volumes at popular times and may experience sailing waits.

Make a reservation »

Depending on traffic volumes, reserved customers may be loaded on either the upper or lower vehicle decks to balance the distribution of vehicles on the ship, maximize the number of vehicles loaded and facilitate on-time departures. We need to load more than one lane at a time to adhere to our schedule. Please arrive early and advise the ticket agent if you have any special needs, and we will do our best to accommodate your request on your confirmed sailing. If we are unable to meet your request, you will have the option to travel on the next available sailing where your request can be accommodated.


Terminal parking

During the holiday season, parking lots at our terminals tend to fill up quickly. If possible, we strongly encourage customers to take public transit or to arrange to be dropped off at the terminal. At Tsawwassen, a Park & Go service is available near the start of the causeway.

View terminal parking information »

View current parking volumes at our major terminals »

When parking lots are at capacity, we will advise via Twitter @BCFerries.


Arrive early & check-in quickly

We encourage customers with advance bookings to arrive at the terminal 30 to 60 minutes before their scheduled departure. If you’re travelling as a foot passenger, we recommend you arrive 45 minutes early for your anticipated sailing. Non-reserved vehicle traffic may experience higher volumes at popular times. Please refer to current conditions and plan accordingly.

Follow traffic control flaggers, and inform the ticket agent of your booking upon arrival to expedite the check-in process.


Be prepared for sailing waits if you don't book ahead

At popular times, if you are travelling without a booking, you may experience sailing waits.

Did you know? On reservable routes, a sailing wait only applies to people without bookings, when a vessel has reached capacity. Customers who make bookings are guaranteed to be on their sailing of choice when they arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. Reserved traffic moves smoothly. If a sailing wait occurs, it means that non-reserved traffic will be placed on the next available ferry. 


Let the Holiday spirit take you away

Customers planning to explore B.C. this season can book their Holiday getaway with BC Ferries Vacations. Packages to coastal destinations like Victoria, Parksville, the Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver include hotel accommodation, return ferry, a $50 Chevron gift card, and festive extras. Visit online or drop by the BC Ferries Vacations Centre in downtown Vancouver at 1010 Canada Place. 


Make the Holidays magical

BC Ferries’ gift certificates make great stocking stuffers, and are available in Passages and online. Get your shopping done on board at Passages. There are two promotions running until December 24:

  • Buy two pairs of Sock it To Me socks and get the third pair free
  • 30% off Native Northwest items featuring traditional Salish weave pattern by local Coast Salish Artists Leila Stogan

Starting on December 11, the Pacific Buffet will be serving a seasonal carved turkey menu that includes roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and vegetables. The Pacific Buffet is available on the Spirit of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and Coastal Celebration.​ ​


Know before you go

BC Ferries is committed to providing a safe and respectful workplace. Abusive conduct or comments will not be tolerated and may result in a denial of service. If you see unlawful or inappropriate behaviour, report it to the nearest BC Ferries employee. 


Keeping you informed

Follow us on Twitter @BCFerries for sailing status, current conditions, travel advisories and service updates throughout the holidays. Here are some additional travel tips to help ensure your journey with us is as pleasant as possible.


We're here to help

Extra crew and staff will be ready to welcome and assist you at the terminals, onboard and in the Customer Care Centre.

Customer Care Centre
Contact us on Twitter: @BCFerries
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-10pm / Sat-Sun 7am-7pm