Clipper Ferry

The Clipper Ferry: Slow Boat to Seattle…and Back to Victoria

Fifty bucks round trip.  Pretty much the only thing I needed to hear to get the hell out of town and get my butt to Seattle.  I’ve long had the travel bug but I don’t get to indulge in the big trips like I use to so I really relish the small ones.  Plus, I’d never taken the Clipper ferry from Victoria to Seattle and hey, a new experience is a new experience.

The Order:
I planned on taking the 5pm Friday ferry and returning on the noon Sunday.  We arrived a little late so the boat was pretty much full.  Who knew that if you combine cheap tickets with the States’ Black Friday shopping equaled a little interest.  Well we found our seats with a little negotiation and made our way to Seattle for a 2.5+ ride.  Not much to do while on the boat but watch half-interesting nautical/city trivia and drink.  Thankfully the drinks are pretty cheap compared to other services (yes BC Ferries) so we partook in the hooch to speed up the trip.

The only real encounters you have with staff is with either the servers that come around to take your duty free and food/drink orders or the border guards making sure you aren’t smuggling small firearms into the U.S.  But, let’s be honest, the personality of a border guard is usually the same as a paper clip (and I mean the old grey metal ones, not the crayola colour ones.  Those have pizzazz).

The Service:
Really there wasn’t much to it.  When we arrived it was so packed we’d have to use elbows and inappropriate “wet willys” to get people to move but the staff were great at navigating the terrain and finding spots for you.  Very well oiled machine.  And they do try to keep you together.

The food service is really just “what do you want” and “here it is in child proof wrapping” but if you had any questions or suggestion requests, they were very accommodating.  I wasn’t sure about my time away versus how much alcohol I could get duty free but my server gave very detailed and accommodating information with examples of his own knowledgeable experience.  He was polite, smiled and was there when we needed him.

This wasn’t designed to be an entertaining and high-class service event but a simple, inexpensive transport.  And it was exactly that.

The Conclusion:

2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.  It’s not like you did anything wrong not to get the top rating.  You did what you needed to do and flashed a little personality but it wasn’t outstanding.  It wasn’t like I was using you for the service.  But to get from Point A to B, well done.

Service Rating System:

Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.

The Tip:
The truth will set you free.  And it may save you from losing a table.  One of the greatest things I learned from serving is always let your table know what’s going on.  Your customers/guests will always be more understanding and patient when they feel they are being kept in the loop.  If you made a mistake, tell them.  If the cook screwed up the first order, tell them.  If something is going to take 30 minutes, tell them.  It’s in no one’s best interests lying because if you get caught or it doesn’t work out the way you said it would, that table will not only not tip you but will probably never come back AND tell every one they know.

Have a good rapport with your kitchen and your manager so you can keep your table up to date and hopefully take care of a drink or two if it really gets too long.  (sucking up with alcohol never hurts)

One Comment

  • I can’t believe you said “relish”. Didi it cut the mustard? See what I did there.

    I am pleased to discover that suitable beverages are served for the 2.5 hour droning excursion down south (aka: booze).

    I definitely have this experience on my must do list for the future. And not just because of the booze…honest.

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