First look at new high-speed ferries for downtown Vancouver to downtown Nanaimo service (PHOTOS)

Apr 19 2023, 4:12 pm

Step onboard Hullo, the new high-speed passenger ferry service directly linking downtown Vancouver and downtown Nanaimo.

Vancouver Island Ferry Company (VIFC) announced the brand name of its service today, while also reaffirming its plan to launch the service in Summer 2023.

As well, its provided a first glimpse of its initial fleet of two high-speed catamaran vessels to provide both frequency and operating reliability through redundancy. Both brand-new ships are currently undergoing final tests and sea trials at the Damen Group shipyard in Vietnam, and they will begin their Trans-Pacific journey to Vancouver Island in May.

The vessels carry an exterior livery colour scheme of the deep green of the Salish Sea, light beige for sandy beaches, and orange for the coastal Arbutus trees.

Each ship fits up to 354 seated passengers, with guests able to reserve seats in the tiers of comfort (economy), premium, and business. On board the ships, passengers will have access to a fresh selection of treats and free WiFi.

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high-speed catamaran vessels

One of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high-speed catamaran vessels

One of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high speed ship

One of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

Additionally, VIFC announced construction begins today on modifications to the Nanaimo Port Authority’s waterfront property at 100 Port Drive to establish Hullo’s downtown Nanaimo terminal, including a guest welcome centre, 400 vehicle parking stalls, electric-battery vehicle charging stations, and traffic flow and public transit connection considerations.

Hullo’s downtown Vancouver terminal will be located at Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre on the northwest side of Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Building, sharing the seaplane facilities. This facility was also previously used for the unsuccessful luxury V2V Vacations service to Victoria.

“The vessels are built and going through rigorous sea trials and the terminal areas are in the process of being upgraded to welcome our guests. Hullo is in ship-shape and almost ready to serve its communities,” said Alastair Caddick, CEO of VIFC, in a statement.

“We have assembled a passionate and experienced team, recruiting impeccable individuals who will offer BC travellers an enjoyable, reliable, and efficient travel experience to and from the mainland. After carefully listening to the needs and expectations of British Columbians, we are thrilled to provide a service that strengthens connections between friends and family on both sides of the Georgia Strait.”

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high speed ship

One of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high speed ship

One of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo high-speed catamaran vessels

Both of Hullo’s brand new high-speed catamaran ferries at the shipyard in Vietnam. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

As for service operating details, VIFC states each one-way trip between downtown Vancouver and downtown Nanaimo will take 70 minutes. In contrast, the BC Ferries crossing time between West Vancouver and Nanaimo is 100 minutes each way, which does not include the driving time between downtown Vancouver and the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.

Hullo will operate frequently daily, starting with up to seven roundtrip sailings per day from early morning to late evening — providing a quick and convenient way for people who live on Vancouver Island to commute to their work in downtown Vancouver and enjoy concerts and sports events.

The complete details for Hullo — including fare rates, sailing schedules, and amenities — will be released in early June ahead of the start of service in late Summer 2023.

v2v vacations vancouver

V2V Vacations’ V2V Empress vessel berthed at Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Building in downtown Vancouver. This luxury service discontinued in early 2020 before the pandemic. Hullo will use this same facility for its downtown Vancouver terminal. (V2V Vacations)

hullo vancouver island ferry company nanaimo terminal

Construction groundbreaking of Hullo’s Nanaimo ferry terminal facilities, on April 19, 2023. (Vancouver Island Ferry Company)

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