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Author Topic: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?  (Read 11152 times)

Mdcastle

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Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« on: July 24, 2012, 09:24:53 AM »

One of my trip ideas was to go from Boston or Manchester to PEI and back. I had to cancel it when the CAT ferry stopped operations as I wanted to travel up that way and back down via I-95. Any real chance of ferry service to New England resuming, or is this just wishfull thinking on the part of Yarmouth interests?
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1995hoo

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 09:39:10 AM »

The province eliminated the subsidy and Bay Ferries said the route isn't profitable without it. I doubt it returns unless the province reconsiders, and that would require a SERIOUS hit to tourism revenue—in other words, if overall tourist revenue doesn't drop too much because of people simply changing their focus to Cape Breton Island, the government might shrug off the ferry. Sure hurts the southern part of Nova Scotia, though.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 10:09:45 AM »

One of my trip ideas was to go from Boston or Manchester to PEI and back. I had to cancel it when the CAT ferry stopped operations as I wanted to travel up that way and back down via I-95.

There’s been a lot of press lately on it and how devastating it’s been to the tourist industry with number of Motels/B&Bs and Restaurants that have closed along the South Shore……perhaps if the current NDP government is defeated in the next provincial election, a new government will pump some money into a restoration of the service.

And what is needed is a conventional ferry…..not a Cat. A conventional ferry could handle the truck traffic to the New England markets and not be just dependant on the tourists like the Cat was. 

The ferry was popular for “loop” through the Maritimes……but a straight run to PEI from Boston is about an 8 hour drive and a lot faster than taking the ferry…..conventional or Cat.

Another option right now is to drive to Saint John and take the ferry over to Digby. Digby is about 60 miles from Yarmouth.   
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1995hoo

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 09:25:16 AM »

Thing about the Cat Ferry was the speed involved. The old Scotia Prince from Portland took 14 hours to Yarmouth. The Cat made the same trip in about five hours. The Bluenose took 7.5 hours from Bar Harbor and the Cat made the trip in 2 or 2.5 hours.

I remember there being a lot of bus traffic when we took the Cat both ways in 2008, but I do not recall trucks. I gather from ghYHZ's comment that perhaps large trucks were not permitted, and it wouldn't surprise me. The design of the ramp in Yarmouth wasn't really very good for trucks and the customs facility in Portland was really very small. (I remember taking the Bluenose one-way to Yarmouth in 1982 but I just don't remember what sorts of vehicles were on-board.)

It seems to me that the high-speed ferry is an excellent idea that would benefit the truck traffic as well if the vessel could accommodate them and if the customs facilities at either end were able to handle the commercial vehicles. Consider how all the border checkpoints at the ends of Interstates and the like have a separate area for truck inspections. They'd need a reasonable way to accommodate that.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Mdcastle

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 03:05:00 PM »

Since the "grand loop" I was planning is now out of the question, I was thinking of a scaled down trip of just driving from Boston or Manchester to PEI and back, but would still keep the concept of taking the PEI ferry inbound and the bridge outbound (I love the slogan "You only have to pay if you want to leave." BTW). Assuming I want one full day in PEI and don't drive that fast is this doable in a four night trip?

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Pilgrimway

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 09:07:18 PM »

I can't believe Nova Scotia was so short-sighted as to stop the funding.  I used to take the ferries to Yarmouth from both Portland and Bar Harbor all the time, both during the CAT era and before.  My wife's family lives in the Annapolis Valley and it was a great asset to have the option of taking the ferry to Yarmouth rather than driving around.

I haven't been to Yarmouth since the CAT went offline.  I can imagine the area did take a major hit economically.  Yarmouth is sort of the "end of the world" and you don't drive there unless you have a really good reason to do so.

The only option you have now is the Saint John-Digby ferry.  That's a 3-hour run, but it's not quite as "romantic" as going into Yarmouth.
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Dougtone

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 05:53:31 AM »

The Maine to Nova Scotia ferry service may be making a comeback...
http://bangordailynews.com/2012/09/10/business/nova-scotia-commits-to-reviving-canada-maine-ferry-service/

It won't be ready for my Nova Scotia trip in a few weeks, but I suspect the ferry service will return in 2013 or, more likely, 2014.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2013, 03:26:17 PM »

And it's back.
http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1166855-deal-signed-yarmouth-ferry-on-schedule-for-may-relaunch
I looked into flying into Portland, but the there's one flight a day each way and car rental isn't that much cheaper than Boston, so I'm thinking of just flying there. Is it crazy to think of driving from Charlottetown to Boston in a single day, or the scenic route from Yarmouth to Sydney?
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ghYHZ

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 07:44:41 PM »

Schedules and reservations online now. First trip is May 15

http://novastarcruises.com/
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Alps

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 11:14:03 PM »

I'd like to congratulate Mdcastle for bringing back this ferry!

TEG24601

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2014, 09:29:28 PM »

I miss the old ferries of the late 80s.  There was even a Casino onboard, and since you are in International waters for much of the trip, anyone can gamble.  It was awesome, especially in the eyes of a 5 year old, able to gamble.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2014, 05:14:57 AM »

Yes there’s a Casino on the new Ferry.......but I don’t know if a 5 year old can still gamble. First crossing was on Thursday night from Portland.

http://novastarcruises.com/on-board/entertainment/

http://www.thevanguard.ca/News/2014-05-16/article-3727729/Nova-Star-arrives-to-big-Yarmouth-welcome/1
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1995hoo

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2014, 08:18:44 AM »

Yes there’s a Casino on the new Ferry.......but I don’t know if a 5 year old can still gamble. First crossing was on Thursday night from Portland.

http://novastarcruises.com/on-board/entertainment/

http://www.thevanguard.ca/News/2014-05-16/article-3727729/Nova-Star-arrives-to-big-Yarmouth-welcome/1


Back on the old Bluenose in August 1982 I played the slot machines at age 9, but I was with my father. As I recall, the casinos on both the Bluenose and the Cat Ferry were solely slots, no table games or video poker or the like. I imagine if you are with your parent and he gives you some coins or bills so you can hit the button while he's there with you, they won't care.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

TEG24601

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2014, 12:00:37 PM »

Yes there’s a Casino on the new Ferry.......but I don’t know if a 5 year old can still gamble. First crossing was on Thursday night from Portland.

http://novastarcruises.com/on-board/entertainment/

http://www.thevanguard.ca/News/2014-05-16/article-3727729/Nova-Star-arrives-to-big-Yarmouth-welcome/1


Their website says 19 and older, which is disappointing, given it is traveling in International waters.
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They said take a left at the fork in the road.  I didn't think they literally meant a fork, until plain as day, there was a fork sticking out of the road at a junction.

oscar

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2014, 12:14:26 PM »

Back on the old Bluenose in August 1982 I played the slot machines at age 9, but I was with my father. As I recall, the casinos on both the Bluenose and the Cat Ferry were solely slots, no table games or video poker or the like. I imagine if you are with your parent and he gives you some coins or bills so you can hit the button while he's there with you, they won't care.

A friend imagined that, when she had her daughter pose for a photo at one of the video slot machines in the Las Vegas airport.  She got yelled at by airport security.  Minors aren't allowed near those slots at all.
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1995hoo

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2014, 12:36:42 PM »

Back on the old Bluenose in August 1982 I played the slot machines at age 9, but I was with my father. As I recall, the casinos on both the Bluenose and the Cat Ferry were solely slots, no table games or video poker or the like. I imagine if you are with your parent and he gives you some coins or bills so you can hit the button while he's there with you, they won't care.

A friend imagined that, when she had her daughter pose for a photo at one of the video slot machines in the Las Vegas airport.  She got yelled at by airport security.  Minors aren't allowed near those slots at all.

I have a feeling Las Vegas is probably a lot pickier than the ferry operator due to Nevada having pretty strict laws about not even allowing kids into casinos, period. Atlantic City may be similar—I never saw any kids anywhere inside the casinos there. (I have never been to Vegas.) On the Cat Ferry I don't even recall there being a staff member in the area around the slot machines other than occasionally passing through, but then it was a smaller vessel than the Bluenose. The Bluenose had a bar area adjacent to the casino. In either case, a ferry obviously has a far smaller universe of potential violators than an airport or other land-based facility!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 12:53:37 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

mrsman

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2014, 03:22:13 PM »

Back on the old Bluenose in August 1982 I played the slot machines at age 9, but I was with my father. As I recall, the casinos on both the Bluenose and the Cat Ferry were solely slots, no table games or video poker or the like. I imagine if you are with your parent and he gives you some coins or bills so you can hit the button while he's there with you, they won't care.

A friend imagined that, when she had her daughter pose for a photo at one of the video slot machines in the Las Vegas airport.  She got yelled at by airport security.  Minors aren't allowed near those slots at all.

I have a feeling Las Vegas is probably a lot pickier than the ferry operator due to Nevada having pretty strict laws about not even allowing kids into casinos, period. Atlantic City may be similar—I never saw any kids anywhere inside the casinos there. (I have never been to Vegas.) On the Cat Ferry I don't even recall there being a staff member in the area around the slot machines other than occasionally passing through, but then it was a smaller vessel than the Bluenose. The Bluenose had a bar area adjacent to the casino. In either case, a ferry obviously has a far smaller universe of potential violators than an airport or other land-based facility!

When I used to take trips to Las Vegas with my parents when I was younger, the rule seemed to be that a minor was not allowed near any gaming device, machine, or, table.  But it was impossible to have minors avoid the casinos altogether since most of the hotels were built in a way that you had to go through the casino to get to any other part of the hotel.  So to travel between a hotel room, the front desk, parking lot, exhibition halls, restaurants, or the main entrance to the Strip you go through the casino.  As long as you kept moving you were alright.

The newer casinos in this area (Maryland) were designed to separate the gaming from the other venues.  I've been to the Maryland Live Casino in Arundel Mills and they can pretty easily guard who comes and goes through the casino.

As far as international waters are concerned, I would think that there should be no age requirement set by a government, but the companies that operate the boats don't want a bad reputation as a place where teenagers can go to gamble, so the ship's authorities set the age minimum.
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Pete from Boston

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2014, 12:35:38 AM »

Same old story, different details:

Nova Star ferry service shortens season by three weeks

"Before the ferry season began, the company had predicted it would carry at least 100,000 passengers. To date, it has carried 45,000 passengers, the company said in a news release."
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Mdcastle

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2014, 10:23:13 PM »

I got on one of the last trips before they shut down for the year. They blew through their entire subsidy the first year, but on the other hand they only announced the previous winter that they were resuming service, not time for a lot of people, especially large tour groups, to make plans to use it the next year.







« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 10:32:40 PM by Mdcastle »
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Pete from Boston

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2014, 02:01:38 AM »

Any comments on your experience?
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Mdcastle

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2014, 09:28:05 AM »

*The online reservations system is not "user friendly". I couldn't get it to complete a reservation, so I had to call an agent to help, who told me that even the fields not marked as require actually are.

*It was rather expensive, even with the discounts they were offering it was over $300 one way for two people, an interior cabin, and a car (although it's offset by not needing to rent a hotel for the night trip, and the gasoline saved)

*It wasn't at all intuitive what to do and how to get there. Most ferries I've been on you register/pay at a toll booth like structure and get in line. Some signs once we got off the interstate might have been nice- I had to check my map. When we got there it was dark and there were no signs telling us what to do. We drove towards where the end of the boat was up to a guard, who asked to see our "boarding passes". Of course we didn't have any, so he told us to park in the grass and walk to a building all the way across a large parking lot to get them (and of course there was a line there). When we got back there were several other cars parked there too.

*You really do want a private cabin for night trips, if you have multiple people and a car the marginal cost is worth it. The recliners for those that don't are better than airline seats but aren't La-Z-Boys. You can reserve recliners, but others have reported no one bothered to check tickets. Showers are available for lounge passengers, but they apparently charge $5.00 to rent a towel. Cabins fill up a lot sooner than general seating, the boat was built for short trips across the English Channel where there'd be a different ratio of people renting cabins; the company bought it at a liquidation sale after the original buyer cancelled. If the

*Wifi is available at $5 an hour. Plugs in the cabin are 240 Volt and they have both UK and German varieties. Others have reported staff will loan you an adapter (not a converter) if you ask them so you can plug in a computer or charger or something. The in-cabin bathrooms have drinkable water and a small two pin plug that flips out from the light that's switchable between 120 and 240 and can take either American or Euro plugs, labeled "shavers only".

*Food ranges from "expensive" to "outrageous", and does close late at night. The supper buffet seemed expensive relative to the choices, so we ate sandwiches at the bar. The breakfast buffet was cheaper and better.

*They wake you up only 20 minutes before they want you to vacate the cabin for the public areas, so you may want to set an alarm if you want more time (none are provided).

*You are not allowed to go down to your car during the voyage, take a backpack for a change of clothes and stuff you'll need.

*The staff that have contact with the guests, like the cashiers, speak good English. Some of the other ones, like the traffic directors and housekeeping, not so much.

*Others have reported a choppy voyage. We had no issues, including my sister, who gets seasick if the road is a bit curvy. You could feel the engine a bit but it wasn't an issue. There was a lot of stuff rattling in the cabin, which was distracting. I finally got up and pushed the vent back towards the ceiling which fixed the worst of it.

*There's a duty free store for booze and smokes and a casino, if those are your things.

*Expect a bit of a wait at Canadian customs. Other people have reported as such, and there were only two agents working the outgoing cars.

*There's a nice visitors center right up the hill from Yarmouth where you can get a good picture of the boat.

As I noted, the company is still optimistic for next year (and got another $5 million subsidy). There's some businessmen that think they have a better idea and propose find a more appropriately sized boat and think they could be successful but the present ferry won't.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2014, 09:32:36 AM by Mdcastle »
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ghYHZ

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2015, 06:16:52 AM »

The Nova Star’s second season begins today and already appears it will be better than last.

Bookings are way up and I guess that can be expected as they had a full year to advertise. There are 90 Bus Tours alone booked so far. Last year….a total of only 19.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1290394-nova-star-predicts-surpassing-passenger-goal
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Pete from Boston

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Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2015, 06:39:58 AM »

Here we go again.


Federal judge orders seizure of Nova Star ferry

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge in Maine has ordered marshals to seize the ferry that runs between Maine and Nova Scotia after a Portland company claimed it’s owed more than $200,000.

...

The order came a day after the Nova Scotia government said it was giving the boot to Maine-based Nova Star Cruises and giving another shot to a company that previously operated the service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

...

Mark MacDonald, the chief executive of Bay Ferries, said in a statement last week that the company wants to work with the province in ‘‘rebuilding this key transportation corridor.’’ The company currently operates ferry service between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2016, 06:19:37 PM »

The CAT came Back!..... between Portland and Yarmouth.

Bay Ferries......they currently operate between Saint John NB and Digby NS and Caribou NS to Prince Edward Island will now also operate the ‘new’ CAT Ferry between Portland Maine and Yarmouth NS.

This is the former Hawaii Superferry and currently the USNS Puerto Rico.  Bay Ferries will lease it from the US Navy.  (I believe it’s currently docked in Philadelphia)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ferry-yarmouth-maine-numbers-1.3505846 

Bay Ferries once operated another CAT Ferry on the Maine run until 2009.
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Re: Any chance of Yarmouth ferries coming back?
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2016, 05:32:59 PM »

The CAT came Back!..... between Portland and Yarmouth.

Bay Ferries......they currently operate between Saint John NB and Digby NS and Caribou NS to Prince Edward Island will now also operate the ‘new’ CAT Ferry between Portland Maine and Yarmouth NS.

This is the former Hawaii Superferry and currently the USNS Puerto Rico.  Bay Ferries will lease it from the US Navy.  (I believe it’s currently docked in Philadelphia)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ferry-yarmouth-maine-numbers-1.3505846 

Bay Ferries once operated another CAT Ferry on the Maine run until 2009.
I took the old CAT many years ago between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth and loved it. It was 3 or so hours to make the crossing, which I believe was half the time the Bluenose took.
I hope CAT 2 is a success. I would think Bay Ferries knows what it's doing.

HTC6525LVW

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