VICTORIA — BC Ferries’ new mega-ship will have its inaugural sailing from Vancouver Island this holiday Monday.
The Salish Sea, a former Spanish cruise ship named La Sátira, can carry 11,630 passengers and 1,082 vehicles.
Because of its size, BC Ferries says it will only need one sailing at 6:05 a.m. All other sailings will be cancelled.
BC Ferries says it’s considering rolling out the once-per-day schedule permanently, depending on traveller reaction. The company says with only seven sailings per week, they expect some people will be concerned about lineups. But BC Ferries says the sheer size of the new ship will ensure that “most traffic” will make it across the water.
Besides the massive capacity meaning it can carry a day’s worth of passengers, the Salish Sea runs on electric energy, and requires 22 hours to be plugged in to charge.
In its former life as a cruise ship, the Salish Sea initially had a casino, eight restaurants, and a climbing wall. BC Ferries says it has replaced those with ten identical gift shops. “We really want to make sure our guests have every opportunity to buy our reading glasses or Chinese-manufactured sweaters,” said spokesperson Janice Sindiran.
BC Ferries also says in order to pay back the $420 million it spent to purchase the vessel, they will be selling “Junior Captain” tickets, where passengers will be able to operate the ship, unsupervised, for ten minutes at a time.
To celebrate the inaugural run, BC Ferries says it is bringing back the much-loved “Sunshine Breakfast” for the next month. The company would not confirm what the “eggs” will be made of this time around.
Because the Salish Sea is not wheelchair accessible, guests with mobility issues will need to take a water taxi. There is currently a three-week backlog.
Vote Nathan Poe.