Tickets now on sale for Nova Star Cruises ferry service; website up and running

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

By Tina Comeau

THE VANGUARD

www.thevanguard.ca

 

After months of delay, Nova Star Cruises is now selling tickets for the Yarmouth to Portland ferry service.

The company’s website – which for months included only an apology to the public for the delay in being able to advertise fares and sell tickets – went back up on Tuesday, March 25 with fares, an online booking feature and information about the ferry.

The 161-metre Nova Star is scheduled to make its first daily round-trip crossing from Portland to Yarmouth on May 15.

Initially it had been the company’s plan to begin the ferry service on May 1, but it asked the Nova Scotia provincial government for permission to delay the start of the season by two weeks to better ready itself for the start of the season. The province’s economic minister approved that request.

Nova Star Cruises had announced its fares back in December but had to quickly pull them from its website because it didn’t have the proper permission and certificates from the United States Federal Maritime Commission to sell tickets without necessary monetary reserves in place. On March 20, after the submission of its application, Nova Star Cruises received approval from the commission to start selling tickets. On this same day the company announced it had finalized a seven-year lease with the town of Yarmouth for the Yarmouth ferry terminal.

Past studies done on the ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, and a ferry panel, concluded a cruise-type experience would be the most successful type of service for this crossing.

Nova Star Cruises says one-way fares, which are listed on the website in U.S. dollars, will range from $79 to $139 for adults and $39 to $64 for children five to 12 years of age, depending on the date of travel. Children under the age of five will travel free all season long.

Passengers can walk onboard Nova Star, or bring their own vehicle. Depending on the season, one-way rates for vehicles up to 20 feet, which includes most cars, minivans, pickups and SUVs, are $139 to $199. Rates for motorcycles are $79 to $119.

With two hoistable car decks, plus two decks for oversize vehicles Nova Star has capacity to transport up to 336 cars, or various combinations of cars, RVs, motorcoaches and commercial vehicles.

Fares will change according to the following seasons of travel in 2014. Saver season, May 15 through May 21 and from Oct. 12 through Nov. 2; Shoulder season, May 22 through June 11 and from Sept. 9 through Oct. 11; and, Summer season, June 12 through Sept. 8.

In addition to the ferry company’s website being back up, its Facebook page has also been reactivated. The comments from the public range from excitement over the resumption of ferry service to disappointment over the cost of crossing. Many of the people who fall in the latter category are commenting that the prices are too expensive. A family of four with children over five years old making a return crossing in the summer would be looking at paying around $1,200 US, and that’s without a cabin or food.

The company's website says the fares listed do not include port fees and full payment is due at the time of the reservation.

The website does indicate there is a 10 per cent discount off cabin and vehicle fares when people book a round trip. A 10 per cent discount on cabins also exists for overnight voyages.

Nova Star Cruises is selling the ferry crossing as an experience within itself, saying that during the 10-hour crossing passengers will enjoy “a true cruise experience.” Passengers will have access to three restaurants, including fine dining and a buffet, a theatre, a conference centre featuring live entertainment, a spa, casino, art galley, children’s play area and more.

“Nova Star is the most relaxing and entertaining way to travel between Maine and Nova Scotia – on a convenient schedule and at an affordable price,” says Mark Amundsen, president and CEO of Nova Star Cruises Limited. 

While aboard Nova Star, the company says passengers can relax in the comfort of an assigned recliner seat, with fares from $39 to $49 per chair, or a private cabin that can accommodate up to four travelers, starting at $79 in the saver season and ranging from $99 to $249 for a 10-hour transit during the summer season between June 12 and Sept. 8.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was the first person to make a reservation for Nova Star’s maiden voyage from Portland to Yarmouth on May 15.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Mayor Mood. “This is an historic event for Yarmouth, and the rest of Nova Scotia. There is such strong demand for this service. I believe we’ll be seeing Nova Star sailing into Yarmouth for many years to come. I am truly honoured to make the first reservation.”

The company that has been hired to look after the reservations for the ferry, as well as hotel bookings, in particular those associated with the Nova Star Discovery Program, is in the process of hiring people to serve as passenger service agents and staff the reservation contact centre that will be housed in the Yarmouth ferry terminal. 

“We have had well over 100 résumés thus far and phone interviews began last Friday and Saturday and (are happening) again this week,” says Clark Squires, president of the Bedford-based company Intergy. “We will start to select candidates as early as late this week and training will begin shortly thereafter.”

Staff at the company's Bedford location are handling telephone reservations until the staff in Yarmouth is in place. An online reservation system is also available.

As for the ferry itself, it is en route from Singapore, where it was built, to North America, which is a 10,000-mile trip expected to take around a month.

As of March 25, the ferry – having left Singapore on March 15 – was between Singapore and Suez, Egypt. It is expected to arrive in Suez on March 29.

The ferry's first North American port of call will be in mid-April in Yarmouth.

To book a trip aboard Nova Star visit www.NovaStarCruises.com or call 866-864-6295. Travelers are also encouraged to make reservations on the Nova Star website to avoid wait times.

Cancellations on tickets are subject to a $75 fee. Cancellations within 14 days of departure are subject to a 50 per cent penalty. Cancellations within 48 hours of departure are subject to a 100 per cent penalty. Complete terms and conditions are provided in the Nova Star Cruises Ticket Contract

 

 

Organizations: Star Cruises, Nova Star Cruises

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Portland, Maine Maine Singapore

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • rose-marie davis
    April 09, 2014 - 11:32

    what time does it leave Yarmouth. Would love to have it running before May 15.

  • Chris Lynch
    April 01, 2014 - 16:29

    We travel to Nova Scotia every year and would love to take the cruise. The only problem is the tickets are too expensive for us and our car as we are senior citizens. We would prefer a room and that would really add up the cost.

    • Mario D
      April 17, 2014 - 04:49

      WAY TOO EXPENSIVE 2 ADULTS 1 SMALL CAR ONE WAY DEPARTURE IN JULY from yarmouth to portland 497.00 USD??? + meals and extras if U want a cabin ARE U SERIOUS??? Not worth it...

  • Lisa J
    April 01, 2014 - 12:23

    I can cruise down south for half the price. This is so upsetting, didn't anyone research the pricing. I can drive from Yarmouth to New Hampshire on my girls shoppin trip, ROUND TRIP stopping in Bangor and Portland then New Hampshire, 4 nights 5 days in a NICE hotel for $200 TOTAL which incl gas/hotels. What normal person would pay 4 x that price, and still have to pay EXTRA for a seat, and last time I checked I lived in Canada, why do I have to pay US pricing, isn't it the Canadian Govt given them all our money to get this thing going, so I should be able to pay Canadian dollars at least one way. The whole situation is a slap in the face !!!!

  • Marcia
    April 01, 2014 - 10:39

    I have a summer home in Nova Scotia (since 1978). After checking out the rates and the cancellation policy I, too, made a reservation on the Princess of Acadia instead. I might check out the availability of space on Nova Star the day before I leave. I just want to get to Nova Scotia and really don't need to pay for a "cruise" experience when most of it will be spent sleeping.

  • George
    March 27, 2014 - 22:27

    Does Nova Star Cruises offer a "senior discount"?

  • Theresa Andrews
    March 26, 2014 - 20:10

    Is there a fee for the car in the summer months. JUST CHECKING THE COST FOR 2 ADULTS AND A SMALL DOG

  • Theresa Andrews
    March 26, 2014 - 20:09

    Is there a fee for the car in the summer months. JUST CHECKING THE COST FOR 2 ADULTS AND A SMALL DOG

  • Philippe Frigault
    March 25, 2014 - 16:11

    their ferry, they can keep it when you know i mean, unreal a 24 feet motor home, 1 small dog, 2 seniors, $1,220.00 us = $1,340.00 CDN and to make matters worst , the Digby ferry raise their price also, motor home now go by the foot $8.50, so I would pay about $150.00 more this to go across to St-John NB

  • Stefanie Daly
    March 25, 2014 - 13:55

    Web site is not working. Phone is busy.

  • George Handel
    March 25, 2014 - 12:19

    A 50% cancellation penalty within two weeks, is a BAD deal. One way, with our Suburban plus cargo trailer, will cost us $728. We can do that, but, we will NEVER make a reservation. We will make a reservation on the St. John-Digby ferry instead, and will call Nova Star when we are near Portland, on our way North, to see if space is available. We own a summer home in Nova Scotia, and do the trip several times each year.

    • Paul Berry
      March 25, 2014 - 19:26

      To: Nova Scotia Tourism From: Paul Berry This past week we received our copy of the Doers and Dreamers Guide to Nova Scotia and have been devouring it ever since. The variety of activities, accommodations, and food, to say nothing of the two extra hours of summer sunlight, is amazing! Our plan has been to use accummulated frequent flyer miles to fly from our home in the Los Angeles area to Boston. We had been excited to learn of the return of the ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia. We calculated that using it would give us three extra days to explore throughout the province particularly Cape Breton. With limited vacation time available, this was a very attractive proposition and would greatly enhance our time there. We have been, however, very disappointed to learn the cost of such a plan. For our family of four using the ferry would total almost $1000, an amount that we have decided would be better spent elsewhere. (Though advertised as a "cruise," meals and accommodations are extra. I have never heard of an overnight cruise where meals and accommodations were not included.) (Even the ferry from Saint John to Digby would cost well over $500 for a total of less than 6 hours of sailing time.) Our plan now is to spend some extra time in Boston and then more thoroughly explore the coastal villages of Maine, possibly as far north as over the border into New Brunswick. This is something we had never seriously considered before. Needless to say, we are very disappointed.

    • Paul Berry
      March 25, 2014 - 19:29

      To: Nova Scotia Tourism From: Paul Berry This past week we received our copy of the Doers and Dreamers Guide to Nova Scotia and have been devouring it ever since. The variety of activities, accommodations, and food, to say nothing of the two extra hours of summer sunlight, is amazing! Our plan has been to use accummulated frequent flyer miles to fly from our home in the Los Angeles area to Boston. We had been excited to learn of the return of the ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia. We calculated that using it would give us three extra days to explore throughout the province particularly Cape Breton. With limited vacation time available, this was a very attractive proposition and would greatly enhance our time there. We have been, however, very disappointed to learn the cost of such a plan. For our family of four using the ferry would total almost $1000, an amount that we have decided would be better spent elsewhere. (Though advertised as a "cruise," meals and accommodations are extra. I have never heard of an overnight cruise where meals and accommodations were not included.) (Even the ferry from Saint John to Digby would cost well over $500 for a total of less than 6 hours of sailing time.) Our plan now is to spend some extra time in Boston and then more thoroughly explore the coastal villages of Maine, possibly as far north as over the border into New Brunswick. This is something we had never seriously considered before. Needless to say, we are very disappointed.

    • thomas howard
      March 30, 2014 - 06:35

      I too am disapointed,I live in maine and am from pei.my daughter lives in halifax.I think the ferry would have better luck not going with the whole cruise thing(lower prices) It dosent stand a chance,1200 people 7 days a week!regaurdlees i will do a trip with my wife,take the motor cycle to save a bit.going to plan on the first of june so we can a least get a novelty trip in before it goes belly up. gambeling is for losers.pun intended.