Love City Car Ferries, Inc is Operational
The storm has passed without any major impact on the Virgin Islands. After their assessments, the United States Coast Guard opened the USVI ports on Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 9 AM. Subsequently, we resumed our service the same day with a limited schedule. However, as of Monday, August 24, 2020, we are back to business as usual and we are operating our regular post pandemic schedule. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us or give us a call at 340-779-4000. Thank you for your patronage and we look forward to seeing you on board!
Update on our fleet: Love City Car Ferries, Inc. owns 3 car ferries in the Virgin Islands, M/V Capt Vic, M/V Island Vic and M/V Grand Vic. As many of you may already know, the M/V Island Vic was destroyed in the storms. Minor repairs on this vessel is currently being done. Major repairs will require the vessel to be moved to a shipyard. The good news is that that M/V Capt Vic is finally at dry-dock for its bi-annual inspection.
The M/V Grand Vic is fully operational and therefore available for your transportation needs between St. Thomas and St. John. Please keep in mind that we only operate the Vic branded ferries, which are black and white vessels . If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us at 340-779-4000. For more information, please revisit the original fleet update post: Fleet Update. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
M/V Grand Vic is Available for your Transportation Needs Between St. Thomas and St. John, US Virgin Islands
Update on our fleet: Love City Car Ferries, Inc. operates 3 car ferries in the Virgin Islands, M/V Capt Vic, M/V Island Vic and M/V Grand Vic. As many of you may already know, the M/V Island Vic was destroyed in the storms. She is not fixed yet because we used her insurance money as seed money for the building of the Grand Vic. Island Vic will be refurbished as soon as we can fully recoup financially.
You may be wondering, however, what's up with the Capt Vic. That vessel worked tirelessly after the storm and is still a viable vessel for operation. However, we've paid Subbase Dry-dock our deposit since November of 2018 for her bi-annual dry-docking and we are still waiting our turn. Apparently they have a big project going on and we are next in line. Until then, we prefer not to harass Capt Vic too much. We believe she needs some tender loving care, which leaves the M/V Grand Vic.
Grand Vic is available for your transportation needs between St. Thomas and St. John. Please keep in mind that we only operate the Vic branded ferries, which are black and white vessels . If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us at 340-779-4000 during our office hours of Mondays to Fridays between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you on board the M/V Grand Vic.
We get a lot of questions about the checking in process and what you need to do once you make a reservation. Just like you need to check in when you are catching a flight, it is also necessary to check in once you reach the vessel. If you don't, then there is no way of us knowing that you are there.
Follow these five simple steps:
The Motor Vessel Grand Vic that is owned and operated by Love City Car Ferries, Inc arrived in the Virgin Islands late evening on Monday, November 12, 2018. This vessel was built by Steiner Shipyard in Mobile Alabama. However the process to get it to completion was an up hill battle. Nevertheless, we persevered.
No victory is ever achieved alone and thus we give thanks. We would like to especially thank the attorneys and staff at Dudley Topper & Feuerzeig, LLP without whom we would have failed multiple times over. Special thanks to Attorney Kurt Petri and Attorney Gregory Hodges whom we spoke to and interacted with almost on a daily basis. We are grateful for their service. In addition, we would like to thank the crew who brought the Grand Vic down. The M/V Grand Vic is dedicated to the people of the Virgin Islands and as such, we thank you for your patience and understanding. More importantly, we thank the Love City Car Ferries, Inc staff for working tirelessly. We know that the front lines is a tough place to be, especially when you have to encounter angry customers who are tired of waiting in long lines; we appreciate you; you are family. Above all, we thank God for strengthening our faith and our close friends and family for giving us the moral support we needed.
Love City Car Ferries, Inc Board
Grand Vic Pictures
The following pictures were taken at different stages of the building process, while the vessel was still at the shipyard and thus they do not necessarily reflect the actual image today. New pictures will be shared once the vessel has made its inaugural voyage.
PS. The uniformed personnel on the docks are usually employed by the Virgin Islands Port Authority or its agents. Car ferry services are paid on board the vessel only.
Happy Valentine's Day from our family to yours. No matter how busy we get, we ought to say a special thank you to that special someone in our lives. Hope your day is special and memorable. Remember that St. John is the island of love so feel free to visit soon and let us know if you need any assistance with your booking. Have a wonderful day!
Inspection was Yesterday and the Capt Vic is back on the run today, Thursday, June 30, 2016
Yesterday was hectic for everyone, with M/V Capt. Vic having to go through its regularly scheduled annual United States Coast Guard Inspection. As a result, the vessel was down for most of the day. However we worked closely with the Coast Guard and thankfully the vessel is in full service today.
We understand that without the M/V Capt Vic, the congestion, especially in Red Hook was horrendous. Today is going to be different because both the M/V Capt Vic and the M/V Island Vic are operational and will be able to handle the flow of traffic.
Thanks for your understanding and see you on board.
Satellite Images of Red Hook, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
At times it can be confusing when trying to find the departure terminal for car ferries going to St. John from Red Hook, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. These satellite images can help. Take a closer look before you begin your adventure to Red Hook.
The following are noteworthy:
1. Passenger and car ferry departures are both in Red Hook.
2. Passengers leave from the Urman Victor Fredericks Marine Facility
3. Big landmarks in Red Hook that are helpful in finding the car ferry dock are the American Yacht Harbor and the pond. Red Hook Road runs by both of these landmarks.
4. Red Hook Road is route 32.
5. If you are coming from Smith Bay you will pass the pond on your left and the car ferry entrance will be your first left after the pond.
This being said, just use your intuition, and any devices such as maps, etc. Also don't be afraid to ask questions. Once you are in Red Hook, it is almost impossible to miss the departure terminals to St. John. We look forward to seeing you on board.
One of the most frequently asked question is whether or not passengers have to stay in their vehicle once they have boarded Love City Car Ferries' vessels for a ride between St. Thomas and St. John. The simple answer is no. Once on board, you are free to exit your vehicles and walk around.
We would caution you, however, to keep safety in mind. Prior to departure, other vehicles are still boarding. So if you have small children it is imperative that you pay attention to their whereabouts and treat the deck of the car ferry as you would any other thoroughfare where cars are in motion. When the vessel has departed cars are no longer in motion but at the same time the vessel is, so still be careful. Pay attention to all signs because there are places on board that passengers are not allowed.
Love City Car Ferries' M/V Island Vic has a lounge area where you can sit back and enjoy the sea breeze and the views. Our other vessel the M/V Capt Vic has a small seating area around the house, on the second level. So use your sea legs, especially if the waves are rough, meaning walk slowly and with a steady gate. Enjoy the ride and if you are the least bit hesitant you can always wait comfortably in your vehicle.
The Virgin Islands is part of the Leeward Islands Archipelago, a group of islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Politically there are United States Virgin Islands a dependent territory owned by the United States of America and there are British Virgin Islands owned by the United Kingdom. There are four main islands in the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, and Water Island. Love City Car Ferries, Inc. has ferries operating between St. Thomas and St. John. The distance between these two islands is approximately 3 miles.
This three miles is one of the most picturesque views in the Caribbean and it takes approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on the weather, etc., for the car ferry to traverse this divide, known as Pillsbury Sound.
With the beautiful views, It feels like you are in paradise when you are finally on board the vessel and on your way. One can’t help but to look in wonder at the changing shades of blue in the crystal clear waters. If you look with the expectation of a child, you will probably be able to sight dolphins or even a whale every now and then. So have your camera ready and just relax and enjoy the ride.
Post by Hadiya Sewer
My internet connection is incredibly poor and my computer recently crashed. Therefore, I often travel to my parents’ office at Love City Car Ferries to work on my dissertation in the morning. I am in the office by 6 am. Though I try to focus on my academic work, I often find myself answering phone calls, running payroll, and performing other administrative tasks for the company.
My parents started this business with a great deal of grit. My father saved money that he earned as a sanitation engineer and my mother worked at the company while she was still in graduate school. Like many local Virgin Islanders, they had to use a plot of their forefather’s land as collateral. I spent a great deal of my childhood learning the ins and outs of the car ferry business. In junior high and high school, I woke up at 4 am to work as a cashier on the 6 am trip to St. Thomas before heading to school for 8 am. After school, I’d work as an administrative assistant in the office. I woke up early on many weekends to work with my father on the barge.
In our family, Love City Car Ferries is a labor of love. Our vessels, the Motor Vessel Captain Vic and the Motor Vessel Island Vic, are named after my great-grandfather, Victor William Sewer. Sea faring is in my blood. If you click the above link, you will see that Captain Vic played a pivotal role in the development of the marine industry on St. John. His father, Lancelot Sewer, was a sailor back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and he sewed (needle and thread) the sails of sailing ships, hence our name Sew-er. Our family lineage can easily be traced back to the East End of the island, an area well known for a tight knit community of “creole people” who made their living on the ocean for many generations. We run this company to honor our ancestors and keep our heritage alive. We do it to provide a service for our community. We do it to make a living.
Nevertheless, local car ferry owners in the St. Thomas – St. John district face a great deal of challenges. These companies and the families that run them are in a precarious position. The island is undergoing a rapid gentrification process and local businesses help to safeguard local capital. Many of our ancestors have been on island for well over 250 years if not longer. These companies allow us to survive the ever increasing land taxes, the food dessert, the predatory lending practices, the downside of a colonial administration, and the like. They give us hope in the possibility of a stabler tomorrow.
Since returning home, I have heard many customers complain about the car ferry services. Some people note that the barges are too late. Others are upset when we cannot wait for them. Customers get angry when they can’t get a non-refundable ticket refunded. Customers are frustrated when the barge is full and they get left behind on the dock. Many more are disgruntled when they believe that another customer was allowed to cut the line and board the vessel before them. Some believe that the company has lost a love and compassion centered approach. Few people call us to ask a question before voicing their frustrations to the public.
We take love, compassion, and our customers concerns very seriously. At Love City Car Ferries, we do our best to balance the needs of our customers with economic survival. We leave on time whenever feasible. We try to wait for late customers if their situation is dire and the wait time is within reason. A great deal of complaints emerge from misunderstandings. Examples: We never let customers cut the line arbitrarily. We take reservations and we have a Sea Miles Club; these customers are guaranteed a spot on the vessel or given preferential boarding, respectively. At times, the barge is late for reasons outside of the captain’s control- high traffic on the dock, refueling, light maintenance, and waiting for a customer who really needs to catch a plane or get to a funeral. Other times, we want to wait for a customer but we can’t. We get fined for being excessively late. If we wait too late, we are also increasing traffic on the other side.
Since the car ferries are a lifeline between the islands, we understand why our customers get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. However, we ask that you have a bit of compassion with us as well. We are not a large corporation. We are a small family run business and we’re just human.
If you have not noticed, many of the car ferry companies in the area are facing steep financial struggles.
While the vessels appear full, the profits are not high. 80-90% of our charge customers do not pay their invoices on time. We provide our employees with a fair wage, health care insurance, and a 401k plan. Unfortunately, When you couple all of the above with vessel insurance, vessel mortgate, maintenance costs, fuel costs, Port Authority fees, and the like, these companies are barely staying afloat.
Our compassion centered business model is crippling us financially. We allow our customers to ride the vessel even when they haven’t paid for previous services because we understand that things can be hard and we know that people need to be able to travel between the islands. We try to keep the costs as low as we can because we know that moving between St. Thomas and St. John shouldn’t be a luxury. For those who are from St. John, the ability to cross Pillsbury Sound is a necessity.
In short, it’s a bit painful to hear people speak so negatively of the various car ferry companies’ owners. I have academic theories that lead me to believe that there is this way in which many pathologize local entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. Quite frankly, it’s not fair. When I wake up in the morning and head to the office at 6 am, both of my parents are already working. With a few exceptions, they work from 5 am to 8 pm seven days a week to keep their customers happy. I don’t know how Love City Car Ferries or any of the other car ferry companies are going to survive with customers who, for whatever reason, do not pay invoices in a timely manner and others who see us as a heartless corporation rather than a small family business.
Several local businesses have gone out of business over the years. Some of us look back on the days when they were open with a sense of nostalgia. Others write a history that suggests that these companies never existed. Yet, it’s important for us to remember that some local businesses still exist and these companies need our help to survive.
Due to recent events in the market, both of Love City Car Ferries, Inc's vessels are on the Red Hook to Cruz Bay Route
M/V Capt Vic faithfully works the route between Red Hook, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John. However the M/V Island Vic usually goes between Subbase, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John.
However, due to recent events in the market, the M/V Island Vic has been authorized to run a regularly scheduled route between Red Hook and Cruz Bay. This change has taken place in an effort to foster commerce and thereby alleviate any congestion on the docks, especially since Red Hook and Cruz Bay usually have three car ferries operating. With the addition of M/V Island Vic, on this route, it will have three car ferries operating once again.
We are asking heavy duty vehicles like construction and concrete related trucks to catch the M/V Island Vic while the regular traffic can continue to catch the M/V Capt Vic. However, we will not deny the boarding of any vehicles; this is just our preference.
If there are any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us:
Are you visiting the U. S. Virgin Islands for the first time? Well there are many things to get used to, our sing song Caribbean dialects, our laid back approach to time, the new sounds of Caribbean rhythms playing almost everywhere you go, of course the food...so good! But one of the biggies for many people is driving. It takes a bit of getting used to and each of the 3 big Virgins offer its own unique experience. Here are five reminders.
1. We drive on the left. Though we are a US Territory and this is Americas Paradise, we still do drive on the left. I guess it is reminiscent of our Danish colonial times. Switching to driving on the left is difficult at times. What you have to be especially particular of is making turns. One trick is to pay attention to the drivers in front of you and when you are turning think LEFT. Some rental car companies place signs in the vehicle as a reminder.
2. Our roads are narrow and curvaceous, in comparison to what you may be accustomed to elsewhere. They are comfortable to drive on but you have to get accustomed to it. Take your time because at times you may see an animal wandering in the road and the driver in front of you may or may not be in any sort of a hurry. Don't be alarmed if someone stops to speak to a friend standing along the side of the road. These things happen. Relax and know that even with these set backs, it doesn't take long to get where you need to go.
3. There is a ban on texting and driving as well as on any cell phone usage while driving. Just don't do it; you will get pulled over if a cop sees you and with our steep hills, who wants to run the risk of running off the road.
4. Speed is limited; no 65 mph and up driving on these small curvaceous roads. If you want precise info on the speed limits visit the Virgin Islands Highway Safety Laws website. It makes perfect sense to slow down and enjoy the scenery.
5.Wherever you are going start early. Give yourself some time. If you are coming to catch Love City Car Ferries' M/V Capt. Vic you will need the time to get there. Just relax on the dock and wait for the black and white ferry to arrive.
Have fun when you get here!
Love City Car Ferries, Inc.
We hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving break. For us it was a time well spent with friends and family and of course with you, if you rode with us on that day. Though Thanksgiving 2014 has passed, we will always have so much to be thankful for.
The following discounts are our way of giving back. Two of them last all year long and one of them is for Cyber Monday only. All of them can only be received by booking online or on our Facebook page. Once you book you may need to enter a discount code. Where discount codes are required, they are given below.