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Old 06-10-2014, 13:36   #1
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BVI Ferry Service

Does anybody know what is going on with Road Town Fast Ferry (St Thomas to Tortola)?

Their web site isn't working to purchase tickets. The news update on the home page is dated 2013, and there is no news about the current outage.

On bestofbvi.com I found this notice:
"INTERRUPTION NOTICE: Road Town Fast Ferry hereby informs the public that all scheduled trips between Tortola and St Thomas will be suspended from Monday, September 22, 2014 to Sunday, October 12, 2014."


Anybody know what is going on? Are they still going to be in business?

Thanks,
-SEC
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Old 06-10-2014, 13:58   #2
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I don't know about the current situation, but the ferry's were having problems when we were there this summer. Lack of passengers, lack of money and possibly bad management have resulted in many of the ferry's being taken out of service. The few that were running were in need of maintenance. Our scheduled ferry was not running on our return and we had to take a different ferry. I saw one of the fast ferry's making so much smoke I initially thought it was on fire.

A few of the local guys from the charter company were really worried that the ferry companies could not all survive on the available business. Maybe this has finally happened.
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Old 06-10-2014, 16:15   #3
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I bought a round trip ticket on Fast Ferry this summer only to find they simply were not running the day I arrived and had not been running for several days. No, they don't give refunds so I had to buy another ticket.

Do yourself a favor and heed the advice I ignored. Don't buy an advanced ticket. Buy one when you get to the ferry docks from whatever boat is leaving next. The one problem with that advice is the possibility of a lot of people ahead of you in line.
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Old 06-10-2014, 20:12   #4
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I second that opinion. We don't even call anymore. Just show up


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Old 06-10-2014, 21:23   #5
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Heed the wise advice of TL and Happy.


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Old 07-10-2014, 06:17   #6
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I will add a great, big DITTO! Do not buy tickets in advance. Just go to the ferry terminal and buy tickets for the next ferry going to where you want to be.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:09   #7
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Soon come dat ferry, mon!

Welcome to the tropics!

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Old 07-10-2014, 08:32   #8
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I did find this article about the situation:
The BVI Beacon - Seaweed shut down ferry company, owner says
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:42   #9
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

I did have advance tickets for the Fast Ferry. The other ferry did not require us to buy another ticket, they honored the FF ticket.

It was a weekday and not a lot of passengers, so I can't say what would happen on a busy weekend.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:55   #10
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Its slow season, so variable schedules are kinda the norm. Its not good business just to say "hey, we are not going mon because not enough passengers to pay fuel and costs." Its easier to say "mechanical breakdown". One is their fault, one is "not".

When we went down not too long ago, they were packed... standing room only.
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Old 07-10-2014, 13:56   #11
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

The best thing to do is just walk to the ferry terminal, and ask what the next ferry to head to Tortola is.

I never buy my tickets ahead of time, and use the ferries a couple times a month.
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Old 07-10-2014, 14:07   #12
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Best thing to do is just fly into Tortola and avoid the whole ferry mess and hassle. Plus get a great aerial view of the islands.
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Old 07-10-2014, 14:50   #13
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by maytrix View Post
Best thing to do is just fly into Tortola and avoid the whole ferry mess and hassle.
I have the choice of a non-stop 5-hour flight right to STT or a three-hop 10-hour trip to EIS.
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:21   #14
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by sec906 View Post
I have the choice of a non-stop 5-hour flight right to STT or a three-hop 10-hour trip to EIS.
That can happen.

We flew into San Juan PR, then a puddle jumper to Tortola. Right about the spectacular views of the islands from a smaller plane. Only wish the photos were digital from back then!

But nothing beats a big jet direct from the mainland to the islands without having stops.

Have a great trip, however you get there and once you're there, too.
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:52   #15
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Re: BVI Ferry Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by sec906 View Post
I have the choice of a non-stop 5-hour flight right to STT or a three-hop 10-hour trip to EIS.
Well, if you are counting the leg to EIS, you should also factor in the ferry as a leg in the trip as well. Still looks like St Thomas is less time overall.

For us, we are able to take a red eye to San Juan so we're on Tortola between 9am and 12pm rather than going through St. Thomas and getting there by the end of that day. So we gain a whole day. Travel time is certainly more and in our next trip there's 4 legs (BOS-JFK-SJU-EIS), but we work a full day and take a 9pm flight and are on the island 12 hours later - albeit a little tired.

If all things were equal, we'd go for the shorter flight too. Other benefits to flying in/out of Tortola though are after 10 trips you can join the VIP club and get expedited arrival and if you sign up for Global Entry, you can speed through customs on the return as well. In the end, we've found there to be a lot less waiting. Cost can be the other factor though too, St Thomas can often be cheaper.
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