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 Canada and the Coast of British Columbia

BC Ferries in British Columbia, Canada
Exploring BC's Spectacular North Coast

by Ursula and Eldrid Retief

BC Ferries’ newest vessel, the 600-passenger MV Northern Adventure, has brought the rugged northern coast and frontier of Canada’s British Columbia within easy, comfortable and affordable reach of those seeking an unusual cruise experience.

Only two years old but completely renovated and modified for service on the north coast, Northern Adventure sails from Port Hardy, at the northern end of Vancouver Island, on the intriguing Inside Passage to Prince Rupert, the gateway to southeast Alaska and to BC’s Northern and Cariboo regions.

From Prince Rupert it sails to the mystical Queen Charlotte Islands, an archipelago of more than 150 islands and ancestral home of the indigenous people of Haida Gwaii.

Long known as Haida Gwaii, or Gwaii Haanas, the islands have gained a reputation for outstanding natural beauty and a rich First Nations culture. Argillite carvings, totem poles and ancient Haida villages attract visitors from around the world. Sometimes known as the Canadian Galapagos, the Charlottes provide habitat for many different species of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world.

An expanded summer service offered by BC Ferries also opens up the magnificent midcoast between Port Hardy and Bella Coola. Named the Discovery Coast Passage, it provides an opportunity to explore a remote part of the province that has been difficult to reach in years past.

Coastal communities, some serviced only by BC Ferries, are the starting points for holidays that can include kayaking beside a pod of whales, eagles soaring aloft, hiking through old-growth rain forests, and being surrounded by nothing but nature.

The Northern Adventure is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, inside and outside cabins, lounges, a kids play area, a gift shop, regional art displays, and a full service Coastal Cafe.

It offers a variety of accommodation options – 70 cabins, complete with washrooms and showers, as well as four luxury cabins with TVs, DVDs and spectacular views from the bow of the ship.

The Raven Lounge is the main passenger lounge on the Northern Adventure. There are 480 reclining lounge seats with excellent views both port and starboard with very large windows. The centre section of the lounge has a large screen TV monitor for movie watching. There are five onboard LCD TVs, all with satellite and DVD feeds. The ship also features Aboriginal art displays and shopping opportunities onboard the Passage Giftshop.

The 184-seat Coastal Cafe offers a wide variety of hot and cold food options, snacks and beverages, including beer and wine selections. Its extensive menu highlights a variety of fish and seafood dishes.

The Lighthouse Cafe allows customers to relax in the open air during the summer months.

BC Ferries, one of the largest ferry operators in the world, travels to 47 ports of call along 25 stunning routes, taking passengers to British Columbia’s most picturesque coastal communities.

The fleet includes 36 vessels serving communities from flower-laden Victoria on the southernmost tip of Vancouver island to Prince Rupert just 40 kilometres away from the Alaska border.

BC Ferries has a number of packages and promotions, among them SailPass, a single price ticket that lets passengers choose from up to 20 routes to adventure along the BC coast, between the Mainland and Vancouver Island, the Northern and Southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

Travel Schedules are available online at or by calling 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779) from anywhere in North America or (250) 386-3431 from outside North America.

Photo courtesy BC Ferries

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