BC FERRIES (Ferries)
Vancouver Island (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Victoria BC)
Spirit of British Columbia ferry Review and Specifications
Specifications of Spirit of British Columbia ferry
|Year built||1993 / Age : 25|
|Builder||Allied Shipbuilders (North Vancouver), Yarrows Ltd. (Victoria)|
|Class||car and passenger ferry (Ro-Ro ship)|
|Ferry route / homeports||Vancouver Island (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Victoria BC)|
|Building cost||USD 130 million|
|Owner||BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC|
|Speed||20 kn / 37 kph / 23 mph|
|Length (LOA)||167 m / 548 ft|
|Beam (width)||28 m / 92 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||18747 gt|
|Sister-ships||Spirit of Vancouver Island|
Review of Spirit of British Columbia ferry
MS Spirit of British Columbia ferry is a Ro-Ro passenger vessel owned and operated by the Canadian company BC FERRIES. The ship has max capacity of 2100 passengers and 470 cars. The vessel was launched in 1993 and currently operates on the Vancouver Island ferry route Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay / Victoria BC (crossing time 1,5 hours).
The ferry Spirit of British Columbia has no cabins (passenger staterooms) due to the route's short crossing distance. Instead, the ship offers plenty of seats (including at a Reserved Seating Lounge with panoramic floor-ceiling windows, satellite TV programming, its own bar, comfortable leather recliners).
Reserved seats are available for pre-booking. These deals (SeaWest Lounge entry fees) are inclusive of Starbucks Coffee, variety of teas, juices (orange, apple), fresh-made pastries, selections of newspapers and popular magazines. At additional cost (fixed price) can be purchased Morning Menu (food and drinks package) inclusive of various baked goods, fresh fruits, cheese platter, crackers, hot oatmeal cereal, yogurts.
Life jackets / vests are stowed in marked lockers on Deck 6 (outside) and at the forward end of Lounge A (inside). Life jackets on the ship are two types - for kids (up to 41 kg) and for adults.
As facilities, the Spirit of British Columbia ship offers:
- Pacific Buffet (forward on Deck 5) is an all-inclusive restaurant with 2- and 4-seat tables and panoramic views from slanted floor-ceiling windows. Pacific Buffet's menu consists of 5 different menus - Brakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Light Buffet, and Dinner. The list of "Regular Menu Items" includes: Brakfast (Scrambled Eggs, Grilled Ham-Sausage, Corned Beef Hash, Shrimp and Pork, Potato Pancakes, Oatmeal and Cereal, Cheese Platter, Salads), Brunch (Omelette, Squash or Mushrooms, Grilled Ham-Sausage, French Toast, Blueberry Flania, Shrimp and Pork, Clam Chowder, Soup), Lunch-Light Buffet-Dinner (Seasonal Vegetables, Clam Chowder, Soup). Salad Bar (Cheeses, Seafood, Potato, Quinoa, Spelt-Kamut)) is offered at Brunch-Lunch-Light Buffet-Dinner. The Beverages menu includes Orange Juice, Milk, Tea, Coffee, Coca-Cola drinks. Rotating Menu Items include Roast Chicken, Roast Beef, Pork dishes, Chicken Wings, Rice, Roasted Potatoes, Mashed Potato, Prawns, Salmon, Caper, Mushroom Ravioli, Vegetable Spring Rolls. Breakfast Bar menu has Fresh Fruit Salad, Cottage Cheese, Yogurts, Dried Fruits, Mini Croissants (Danish Pastries), Toast, Waffles, Oat Bar, Cream Cheese, Whipping Cream, Bran and Frosted Flakes, Granola.
- SeaWest Lounge (forward on Deck 6) is a reserved seating lounge fitted with comfortable reclining armchairs (leather recliners) available for booking / at fee. Reserved seat deals are inclusive of complimentary juices, tea, Starbucks Coffee, fresh-baked pastries, as well as Canadian and International newspapers and magazines. The lounge has a large flat TV (satellite reception) and is served with snacks and drinks by its own bar.
- Coastal Cafe (aft on Deck 5) is a self-serve buffet restaurant furnished with 4-seat dining tables and offering panoramic views from slanted floor-ceiling windows. The Cafe offers a wide variety of healthy and fast food items, such as Bread Garden panini sandwiches, burgers and fries, wraps, sushi, fresh-made salads, hot and cold entrees ("White Spot" food station), dinner plates, Pirate Paks (kids menu), carving station, various breads, desserts, light snacks, beverages (including beer and wine by the glass).
- Coast Cafe Express (forward-midship on Deck 5) offers delicious snacks, fresh baked food, hot and cold beverages (including Starbucks coffee drinks).
- Passages Gift Shop (forward-midship on Deck 5) has a great selection of gifts, jewelry, watches, sunglasses, beauty products (brand cosmetics and skincare), fashion and casual clothing, toys, books, magazines, aboriginal silver giftware. The boutique sells premium brands, like Killtec (sports clothing), Helly Hansen (outdoor apparel and shoes), FarWest (clothing), Nine West (shoes, handbags).
- In front the Gift Shop is located an ATM (cash money machine).
- Reception Desk (Chief Steward's Office / midship on Deck 5) provides passengers with assistance, purser services, information on British Columbia tourist and leisure destinations, as well as info on all BC FERRIES amenities and services.
- Kids Zone (midship on deck 6) are two indoor playground areas for children. Both rooms are nautically-themed and fitted with comfortable leather chairs, toys and TVs for watching cartoons and playing DVDs.
- Work / Study Stations (midship on Deck 6)
- Video Zone (midship on Deck 5) is a small cinema room.
- Elevators (passenger lifts) accessing all decks
- Parents Room (forward-portside on Deck 6) is a baby changing room.
- On its top-deck the ferry has a helipad - helicopter landing area (helideck) used in cases of emergency.
- The ship is equipped with life rafts (with capacity 100 or 50 persons each).
- Each Coastal-class ferry has 36 controllable CCTV cameras at various locations, allowing the Navigation Bridge officers to monitor all onboard areas.
- The Navigation Bridge (forward on Deck 7) is inaccessible to passengers.
- The ship is equipped with 6 marine evacuation chutes (on Deck 6 / portside and starboard) used for emergency passenger evacuation. Each evacuation station is fitted with 2 life rafts (canister-type, capacity 200 persons each). There are also 2 rescue boats (forward on Deck 6).
- There are numerous fire extinguishers located in all passenger-accessible deck areas (both interior and exterior), as well as manual fire alarm / pull stations. All passenger decks also have installed the modern "HI-FOG Water Mist" fire protection system. Vehicle Decks have installed manual "deluge" (fire sprinkler) and drenching systems.
- For passengers with disabilities, the ship provides a limited number of wheelchairs. Reservations are required at least 24 hours before departure.
- Service dogs are permitted in ferry terminals, as well as onboard the ships.
All onboard emergency instructions are displayed in staterooms, on the TV screens and at the ship's assembly stations (aka muster stations). In case of emergency, the use of elevators / passenger lifts is forbidden.
BC FERRIES deals
The company offers gift certificates available for purchasing both online and onboard (in the Gift Shop), Denominations are in 10, 25, 50 and 100 dollars. Gift certificates can be used also for paying ferry fares, for onboard purchases (Gift Shop, Restaurant, SeaWest Lounge) and for purchasing "BC Ferries Vacations" packages.
- "BC Ferries Vacations" are "ferry and hotel" packages that combine roundtrip ferry (ship travel) with 1-night hotel (inn) stay at discounted pricing.
- The majority of ferry-hotel packages available for booking via BC FERRIES are inclusive of 2-, 3- and 4-night accommodation (in resorts, hotels and inns). The longest vacations are of 5-, 6-, 7- and 10-nights.
- Most 3-night accommodation package deals for island destinations are "3rd Night FREE".
- The package-inclusive ferry tickets are for 2 adults and 1 car.
- Most ferry vacation deals are inclusive of complimentary parking for BC FERRIES customers.
- These vacation / getaway package deals are offered in the following British Columbia destinations: Campbell River (also fishing trips), Cowichan Bay (Resorts), Victoria, Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Courtenay (Resorts), Chemainus,, Nanaimo, Sooke (Resorts), Tsawwassen, Langley, Burnaby, Parksville (Resorts), Ucluelet (Black Rock Resort, Shoreside Suites), Salt Spring Island (Resorts, Shoreside Cottages), Madeira Park (Resorts), Powell River (Beach Gardens Resort), Mayne Island (Resorts), Pender Island (Resorts), Quadra Island (Resorts, fishing trips), Galiano Island, Qualicum Beach, Kelowna, Whistler, Brentwood Bay, Kamloops, Penticton, Vernon (Resorts, also golfing), Tofino (Beach Lodges), Osoyoos, Port Hardy (wildlife tours, also rafting), Prince Rupert (wildlife tours), Haida Gwaii (all-inclusive package),
"Inside Passage" 1-day ferry cruises (overnight crossings) are offered in the summer (June through September) with departures from:
- (ship Northern Expedition or Northern Adventure) from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, Bella Bella, and Klemtu
- (ships Northern Expedition and Northern Sea Wolf) from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, Bella Bella, Klemtu, Bella Coola, Ocean Falls, and Shearwater
- (ship Northern Expedition) from Bella Coola to Port Hardy, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, and Shearwater
- (ships Northern Sea Wolf and Northern Expedition or Northern Adventure) from Bella Bella to Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Bella Coola, Ocean Falls, and Shearwater
- (ship Northern Expedition or Northern Adventure) from Klemtu to Port Hardy, and Prince Rupert
- (ships Northern Sea Wolf and Northern Expedition or Northern Adventure) from Ocean Falls to Port Hardy, Bella Coola, Bella Bella, and Shearwater
- (ships Northern Sea Wolf and Northern Expedition or Northern Adventure) from Shearwater to Port Hardy, Bella Coola, Bella Bella, and Ocean Falls.
On select Holiday voyages, BC FERRIES offers discount fares when booking early morning and late evening departures. Ticket prices start from $39 (for 1 standard car with driver). These discounts are offered for the following destinations: Vancouver-Victoria (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay), Vancouver-Nanaimo (Tsawwassen-Duke Point) and West Vancouver-Nanaimo (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay).
Follows a list of car decks related safety procedures:
- Disabled passengers or those requiring specific assistance should visit the ship's Information Desk, open 24-hours).
- Apply handbrake and place the vehicle in park or 1st gear position. Switch off the ignition, alarm, electrical equipment, headlights. Gas cylinders, if any, must be switched off. Lock the vehicle.
- From your vehicle take only valuables and essential hand baggage.
- Make a note of your vehicle's location and garage deck number / stairway before leaving the car deck.
- Access to the ship's vehicle (cargo) decks during the voyage is prohibited.
- Smoking on vehicle decks, as well as in cabins and passenger loungesis forbidden.
- Wait for the onboard announcement before returning to your vehicle.
- In order to avoid air pollution, don't start the engine until instructed.
The shipowner BC Ferries (founded in 1960, headquartered in Victoria, BC Canada) is a Canadian state-owned company providing daily scheduled passenger and vehicle (RoPax) ferry services between mainland Canada and British Columbia islands. The company is ranked North America's largest (followed by "Washington State Ferries") and the world's 3rd largest. BC FERRIES fleet's newest and largest vessels are the two Spirit-class ships (Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island) and the three Coastal-class ships (Coastal Renaissance, Coastal Inspiration, Coastal Celebration).