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   Frequently Asked Questions

Using the Lake Express high speed ferry is fast, easy and convenient.

These FAQs cover some of the questions we encounter most often as we work with travelers planning trips on The Lake Express.

How do I buy tickets?

You can purchase tickets for the ferry on our website, by calling 1-866-914-1010, or by visiting one of our terminals. We advise that you do this well in advance of your trip to ensure that there is space available as popular trips often sell out. A limited number of stand-by spaces may be available for sold out trips – call for details. Tickets must be purchased for each member of your group, including infants, and for your vehicle.

What will I need the day of my trip?

We require that you show one government-issued valid form of photo identification at the time of check-in and ticketing. There is no need to bring a confirmation or to remember your reservation number as our system keeps track of advance reservations by your name.

What is the boarding process?

Boarding for each departure will begin roughly 90 minutes prior to the departure time, and last until 15 minutes before scheduled departure – at this point our gates close and the ship begins its departure process. All passengers need boarding pass ready for boarding. For those traveling with a vehicle: We ask that only one passenger drives the vehicle on board while the others in the party board on the passenger ramp. Exceptions will be made for those with special needs or small children. The driver will need their own boarding pass as well as the vehicle pass at this time. For those traveling without a vehicle: Walk-on passengers will board on the passenger boarding ramp. We ask that the first round of boarding be reserved for our passengers with special needs or children, followed by those in the premier cabin, and then general boarding. Once on board, seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you will need special assistance in boarding, please let one of our Customer Service Representatives know upon checking in.

Are wheelchairs available to Lake Express riders?

A limited number of wheelchairs are available for use in the Milwaukee and Muskegon Lake Express ferry terminals. While we cannot guarantee their availability, the Lake Express staff is ready to provide assistance to special needs passengers as they arrive and board the Lake Express. The vessel itself features an accessible restroom and the vessel itself features an elevator and many other accessibility features. Please contact our reservations staff in advance of your visit if you have special requests.

If I buy a ticket for my vehicle, does that include my fare?

Vehicle tickets do not include the driver; passenger and vehicle tickets must be purchased separately, and every passenger ticket guarantees a seat inside the cabin. Under United States Coast Guard regulations, passengers are not allowed to stay in their vehicles on the car deck while the ship is underway.

How much luggage am I allowed to carry?

Passengers traveling with a vehicle keep all luggage inside the vehicle except items they may need while on board. Once the ship is underway, no one is allowed on the car deck— you should take what you need when you board. For those traveling without a vehicle, complimentary curbside luggage check-in is available at each terminal for large pieces of luggage. Please try to limit checked luggage to 2 items per person. Smaller bags and carry-ons may be brought on board as long as they fit under your seat.

Are gift cards available?

Gift cards may be purchased for any dollar amount, redeemable for Lake Express ferry tickets. To learn more or to purchase a gift card, call 1-866-914-1010 or visit us at one of our terminals.

Is there parking available at the terminal?

Safe and secure parking is available at our terminals in both Milwaukee ($5.00/day) and Muskegon ($5,00/day), to be paid upon arrival. Parking fees are set by each respective municipality as owners of the local ferry terminals.

There is no charge for short-term parking under 3 hours.

Can I travel with my pets?

Pets may travel aboard the Lake Express, either in a designated kennel on the vehicle deck or inside your vehicle. If the animal is traveling inside the vehicle, be aware that U.S. Coast Guard regulations require that all windows remain rolled up for the duration of the trip. If you choose to put your pet in one of our complimentary kennels, please request it at the time of booking. Our crew does their best to check on your pets, ensuring that your dog or cat has a safe and happy experience. Livestock and other animals may not be transported, and no animals will be allowed in the passenger cabins with the exception of service animals.

Can minors travel alone?

Minors traveling aboard the Lake Express must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Exceptions may be made when certain conditions are met, and these passengers must have Lake Express authorized and notarized paperwork in order to travel. To learn more about this, please call 1-866-914-1010, or visit a terminal and speak to a Customer Service Representative.

Can I eat and drink on the ship?

A full menu of food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available for purchase on board the ship as you cross Lake Michigan.

Additionally, guests may bring personal-size food items onto Lake Express using appropriate containers.  Glass containers, coolers and alcoholic beverage carry-ons are not allowed.

How early should I arrive for checking in?

Check-in begins an hour and a half before each departure, and closes 15 minutes before each departure. We ask that passengers arrive at least 45 minutes ahead of time.

Are there restrictions on vehicle size? What about trailers?

The Lake Express carries vehicles that fall within the guidelines of 8 feet 6 inches tall, 8 feet wide, and 18 feet long. Please be aware that height restrictions include anything mounted on top of the vehicle, for example racks with bicycles, and that length restrictions include anything mounted to the back of the vehicle. Towable trailers may be allowed, as long as they do not exceed 8 feet 6 inches tall, 8 feet wide, and 18 feet long. Trailers must be booked separately from vehicles. For the correct fare, please be sure to measure trailers from the hitch/end of the vehicle to the back end of the trailer. Please see the rates and fares page for more information, or contact a Customer Service Representative at 1-866-914-1010.

How are motorcycles secured?

Lake Express provides tie-downs or you may supply your own to secure your motorcycle during travel . You will be responsible for securing your own motorcycle.

What's it like inside the ship?

Once you drive onto the ship or board on the passenger ramp, you will head upstairs to one of the cabins. There are two different types of passenger cabins available: Classic and Premier. Both fares guarantee a seat in one of our newly-renovated and updated cabins; seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please see our rates and fares page for more information. While on board, passengers may wish to walk around or sit outside for a bit. Seats are available on the upper stern and on the sun deck for you to enjoy the view of Lake Michigan, though you may want to limit your time outdoors due to windy conditions. Passengers are free to walk around inside the cabin while the ship is underway.

Is there other transportation available at the Lake Express Terminals?

Ground transportation options are available at each terminal.

Taxis service is typically available at the Milwaukee and Muskegon ferry terminals during arrivals.  Our customer service staff can help call for taxi service if none is present.

Additionally, both the Milwaukee and Muskegon ferry terminals are served by popular ride sharing apps.

The Muskegon terminal is further served by Go2.  Go2 works like a minibus that comes when you want, allowing you to access the Muskegon Metro Area without needing a car. Download the Go2 by MATS app or call 231-227-3550 to schedule your ride.

How far is the Lake Express Muskegon terminal from West Michigan destinations

The Lake Express provides easy access to popular destinations including the following (distances from the Muskegon ferry terminal:

Grand Haven – 16 miles

Grand Rapids – 42 miles

Holland – 37 miles

Ludington – 61 miles

Pentwater – 47 miles

Saugatuck – 48 miles

Whitehall – 20 miles

How far is the Lake Express Milwaukee terminal from Wisconsin destinations

The Lake Express provides easy access to popular destinations including the following (distances from the Milwaukee ferry terminal):

 

Green Bay – 120 miles

Kenosha – 31 miles

Madison – 82 miles

Oshkosh – 90 miles

Racine – 22 miles

Sheboygan – 61 miles

Sturgeon Bay, Door County

Wisconsin Dells – 124 miles

How can I send you a message or contact you?

Our callcenter is currently closed for the offseason.  Tickets and reservations for the 2024 will be available in late January.

During the offseason, our office can be reached by phone 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central, Monday through Thursday toll free at 1-866-914-1010.

You can also send us a message at any time using our contact form. Emails are monitored during normal business hours.

 

 

 

Voice mails are only checked a few times a week. We do not book via phone. ALL BOOKING IS HANDLED ONLINE HERE.

The High Speed Experience

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