More Ferry Options Coming!

Discussion in 'General Open Forum' started by Dogbreath, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

    Well this outfit has the money & experience in other markets let's see what happens!

    Clipper plans Victoria-Vancouver ferry for 2018, obtains vessel


    Clipper Navigation has acquired the 52-metre Halunder Jet catamaran from its parent firm, FRS

    Just over a year ago, Clipper Navigation announced it intended to establish passenger service between Victoria’s Inner Harbour and downtown Vancouver.

    Then last spring the Seattle-based company had to put those plans on hold after it realized it didn’t have the right vessel for the job.

    The company has now found the vessel it has been looking for and Clipper promises to have the service established by the spring of 2018.

    It will be the second ferry service between the harbours after V2V Vacations announced it will start a ferry service on May 1.

    “Clipper has been committed to ensuring that we have the right vessel for this route,” said chief executive Tobias Haack. “For more than 30 years, we have safely and reliably operated ferry services around the Salish Sea, and we know that customer comfort is again paramount for our new Vancouver to Victoria route.

    “Halunder Jet is the perfect addition to the Clipper fleet and aligns with our high standards for customer service.”

    Clipper found the vessel, the 52-metre Halunder Jet catamaran, amid the fleet owned by its parent company, Förde Reederei Seetouristik. The vessel currently operates in the North Sea between Hamburg and Heligoland and can carry 579 passengers and travel at speeds up to 36 knots.

    “We are really excited about this vessel and our ability to move forward with this service,” said chief operations officer David Gudgel. “We’ve been looking at that route for a long time.”

    Passenger service between the two harbours hasn’t been tried since the Royal Sealink Express shut down in 1993 after losing millions of dollars due to low ridership after just 19 months.

    But starting this summer, Australia-based V2V Vacations will run a 254-passenger ferry between the Inner Harbour and Vancouver.

    Gudgel said a lot has changed since the early 1990s. “We’ve been watching both cities grow significantly. There are a lot of dynamics between Victoria and Vancouver and the population bases have certainly changed,” he said. “And look at the numbers of people travelling annually between Victoria and Vancouver on B.C. Ferries.”

    Last year, B.C. Ferries reported a 4.5 per cent increase in vehicles to 1.92 million between Victoria’s Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, while passenger numbers on that route jumped 4.2 per cent to 6.1 million people.

    “It’s hit a critical mass, and we believe there is a market for it,” said Gudgel. “Victoria has grown as a destination and we’ve seen the numbers grow in hotel occupancy and hotel room rates — we are just bullish on Victoria.”

    Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria, said the addition of another ferry service comes at the right time. “More access is a good thing for the destination. We are seeing strong underlying demand, like we have never seen before,” he said. “We need more capacity and access.”

    Nursey said more transportation options mean choice both for individual travellers and for wholesalers.

    “As business-to-business providers, they will have more choice as to whom to partner with,” he said. “This is a really good thing for our overseas tour operators which will ultimately keep prices competitive.”

    Gudgel said their new vessel will be key to their success.

    At 52 metres and with a motion-dampening system, the Halunder Jet was built for use in rough North Sea waters, where it has operated since 2003.

    “Those are significant conditions and it has done well on that route,” he said, noting it has only been operated seasonally so it remains in excellent condition.

    That will allow Clipper to put it into service shortly after it arrives on the West Coast.

    It will operate on its current route through October, when it will be loaded on a heavy-lift vessel to be transported to Vancouver by December.

    Gudgel said some minor refits need to be done in terms of new seats, replacing the European electrical system with a North American one, new paint and rebranding.

    He could not provide estimated travel times between the two cities, though he said at 36 knots it can travel 20 per cent faster than Clipper’s existing vessels.

    Because of its size, it also offers a full kitchen, assigned seating and a chance to offer different classes of seating.

    They have not yet determined ticket prices.

    There is room for the Halunder Jet at Clipper’s Belleville terminal, though ramp systems will need changes to accommodate the ferry.

    The V2V Vacations service, expected to launch May 1, will leave the Inner Harbour from beside the Steamship Terminal Building.

    New Clipper ship in action on the Elbe River in Germany

  2. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    V2V is in trouble. Having worked for Clipper and knowing Pier69 and its operations and also its extensive experience in that business I just dont see how the other company is going to compete. The price is crazy V2V is trying to sell. Going to be interesting. Its still will be challenge for many with sea sickness and sucking in sticks and debris in intake. Its not uncommon for Clipper IV to come in late on one engine.

    That is significant investment for Clipper and probably pretty exciting for the Victoria group dock and operations staff.
    Dogbreath likes this.
  3. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

  4. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    The other ferry service will most likely tank. It's hard to compete with clipper vacations as they will probably market packages with hotels just like they do with Seattle. Most likely why they waited. What is great though it could mean that some of the dock and support staff at terminal in Vic will not get laid off as they usually do at end if season. I hope they keep some jobs for them. Darryl the old CEO that retired has talked about doing that route for years. I think they stayed away from it because of what happened with fast cat project by bc ferries. Remember there was a harbour to harbour service Van to Vic. It got into some tax and regulatory problems with bc government. Then the fast cats came. You can fill in blanks....

    The only downside is they suck in sticks. Its very common for clipper 1 and 4 to come in late on one cat engine to Vic. They also tend to pitch not roll. So if you get motion sickness it's not the boat to be on. They aren't the best in rough weather. Clipper 1 had a railing torn off one year trying to go out rough weather.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  5. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    V2V is on the hard with engine troubles. They missed the entire month of August I'm pretty sure.........
  6. kaelc

    kaelc Well-Known Member

    Yeah, ride by it near the Victoria bridge fiasco every week. They have the seats covered in plastic so looks like they are doing interior work? The tourist market is ripe for a good premium service but tourism growth is kind of capped with hotel rooms all booked for the next few years and NIMBY's saying no to AirBnB. Clipper is the most knowledgable player, has existing staff and facilities in place so can likely have the best pricing. Fingers crossed the new ship works out and there is a little more space on BCF.
  7. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

    So further developments- Clipper is bowing out of the Vic-Van route and using their new ship for the Seattle run

    • SEATTLE (December 6, 2017) – People traveling between Seattle and Victoria, B.C. will soon enjoy travel aboard Clipper’s newest high-speed fast ferry, Clipper V, starting service in spring 2018.

    Clipper’s newest and fastest vessel, Clipper V is a 52-meter (170 feet) high-speed catamaran that will carry 440 passengers and travel at speeds up to 36 knots. Prior to arriving in the Pacific Northwest, the vessel operated in the North Sea between Hamburg and Heligoland, Germany as part of the fleet owned by Clipper’s parent company, FRS.

    Clipper V’s record of safety and reliability on the North Sea route make it the ideal vessel for the similar waters of the Salish Sea, and its motion dampening system will ensure it consistently delivers a comfortable ride for customers across the scenic Pacific Northwest. Following the vessel’s arrival via heavylift carrier in December, Clipper V will be transferred into drydock for final interior modifications before starting service in the new year.

    Clipper V will feature three classes of service: Economy, Vista (window rows) and Comfort (business class). Comfort Class will be Clipper’s version of business class, featuring a spacious private cabin area, complimentary snacks and refreshments as well as leather seats. The vessel will also have a gift and duty free shop with locally sourced goods, as well as a full galley and onboard menu featuring regional food and beverage options along with Clipper’s trademark in-seat attendant service from onboard staff.

    “We’ve been huge supporters and contributors to Victoria and Seattle’s tourism sectors for more than 31 years,” said David Gudgel, CEO of Clipper. “In that time, Seattle has grown and changed significantly with increased demand for travel between the two cities. Victoria has also grown tremendously as a destination city with so many attractions to offer. Clipper V is the perfect vessel for us to provide an even better customer experience while matching market demand.”


    V2V is re-starting service Dec 27 with some excellent prices.

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