To travel between Vancouver and Victoria, you can fly or ferry—and from March to October, you can cruise aboard a stylish and ever so comfortable catamaran, the V2V Empress with V2V Vacations.
This direct passenger-only service cruises part of the Salish Sea, along a particularly scenic stretch of British Columbia’s coastline, meandering through Active Pass and the idyllic Southern Gulf Islands. Although this isn’t a whale watching vessel, the crew are eager to point out the marine wildlife along the way which very often includes resident and transient killer whales, humpbacks and a host of other interesting sights.
Departures on either side leave from downtown; in Vancouver, this means the Olympic Plaza at the Vancouver Convention Centre, located a short walk from Canada Place; in Victoria, you’ll leave from the Inner Harbour’s historic Steamship Terminal, the focal point of Victoria’s charming waterfront and across the harbour from the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel.
What Makes V2V Vacations Different From Other Ferries?
While harbour to harbour is a convenient draw to make the trek between Vancouver and Victoria, it’s the route itself that commands attention: spindly arbutus trees—native to Southern BC only—line bluffs and rocky outcroppings, their reddish trunks eye-catching in the sun; the bright blue Salish Sea, at times either mildly choppy or calm and flat; and dreamy seaside cottages dot the water’s edge of Mayne, Pender, and Galiano islands as you sail through Active Pass, the narrow channel that separates them.
There’s no need to jostle for position to take in the views either. The V2V Empress is outfitted with panoramic windows and the comfortable chairs offer a wonderful vantage point.
The Royal Class Experience
There are two classes of seating on board; Royal Class and Premium Class.
For those looking for a more tailored experience, Royal Class is your best bet. Between the excellent service team, there to greet and look after you from the moment you board to the three-course meal served right at your seat, Royal Class feels like a well-kept secret. Royal Class offers a smaller, more intimate area, located on the upper section of the vessel. Premium Class occupies the entire main deck and offers guests the opportunity to purchase local menu items as well as local wines and beers should they chose.
In Royal Class, the inclusive menu offers a choice of three options for each course and focuses on seasonal and local ingredients. A welcome drink and seasonal pastry—in the case of breakfast, a fizzy orange and a raspberry and white chocolate scone—is served upon first boarding. This is followed by a choice of frittata, quiche or a brie and jam filled croissant. Endless coffee is available upon request. A complimentary alcoholic beverage is offered, in addition to being available by purchase local beers and wines in both Royal and Premium classes. (Likewise, the afternoon sailing also offers a lovely selection of locally prepared menu items.)
With Royal Class, there’s no need to leave your seat if you don’t want to—but it’s not something we recommend: you’d be missing out on the dazzling, open brightness of the sea and the salty sea breeze from the upper sundeck. Royal Class guests have unlimited access to the deck and we suggest taking full advantage.
You’ll also find individual USB and international charging ports at each seat and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the journey.
But modern conveniences aside, there are views worth putting your phone down for. You may just find a few of them on board V2V Vacations.
What You Should Know Before You Go
- V2V Vacations also offers a wide range of accommodations and experience packages including a Fly and Sail experience with Harbour Air and day trips that include transportation and admission to The Butchart Gardens.
- Bring warm layers; on inclement days the sundeck can be chilly. Flip-flops or sandals are not recommended for the upper deck.
- Check-in starts 30 minutes before each sailing departure and closes 10 minutes prior to departure.
- Both ports see frequent taxi service, although staff can call one for you too.
- Guests are allowed one piece of luggage and a carry-on; be sure to check out the information page for weight restrictions before you go.
- Premium Class (the main deck) is wheelchair accessible and in both Vancouver and Victoria.
- For more information, check out their FAQ page here.
V2V Vacations Schedule
V2V Vacations sails seasonally from March 15th, 2019 to October 31st, 2019:
- March 15th – April 15th, 2019 and October 1st – October 31st, 2019: Daily departures from Vancouver at 8am, and daily departures from Victoria at 2pm.
- April 16th – September 30th, 2019: Day Trips to Victoria Schedule – daily departures from Vancouver at 8am, and daily departures from Victoria at 4:30pm.
To learn more about V2V Vacations, see all of their current offers, and book your trip, visit V2VVacations.com.