Nova Star arrives to big Yarmouth welcome

Tina
Tina Comeau
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Published on May 17, 2014

Looking into Lobster Rock Wharf as the Nova Star arrives. Amelia Kunhardt photo/Porttland Press Herald

Published on May 17, 2014

As the Nova Star arrived last Friday, a swivel gun cannon – a new edition to the waterfront – was fired. SAM TURPIN PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Nova Star sailing in. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Waiting for the Nova Star. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Nova Scotia flags flap in the wind. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Nova Star arrives in Yarmouth. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

It was a Yarmouth-Nova Scotia-Canadian welcome. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Greeting the Nova Star as she arrives in Yarmouth for the first time with paying passengers on board. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Lining up the ramp. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood gives a wave. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Vehicles disembark from Nova Star. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

The Maple Grove/High School Memorial Club greeted vehicles coming off the Nova Star. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

The Maple Grove/High School Memorial Club greeted vehicles coming off the Nova Star. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Nova Star CEO Mark Amundsen with a Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce Nova Star commemorative coin. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

The Maple Grove/High School Memorial Club greeted vehicles coming off the Nova Star. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

It was a festive atmosphere in Yarmouth. The RCMP got into the celebrations as well. FRED A. HATFIELD PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

A wave from the Nova Star. FRED A. HATFIELD PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

A festive welcome in Yarmouth. FRED A. HATFIELD PHOTO

Published on May 17, 2014

Members of the Maple Grove/Yarmouth High Memorial Club were on hand to greet the Nova Star and its passengers. FRED A. HATFIELD PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Port side.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

A kayaker keeps a safe distance.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Crewmembers waved a cheery greeting.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Crowds lined the dock at Lobster Rock wharf.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

Published on May 16, 2014

Tying up.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

By Tina Comeau

THE VANGUARD

www.thevanguard.ca

 

One thing is certain, Yarmouth knows how to put on a welcome, especially when it’s years in the making.

Such was the case on Friday morning, May 16, as people turned out on the waterfront, at the ferry terminal and in front of the Nova Scotia Visitors Information Centre to welcome the Nova Star as it arrived here from Portland following its maiden voyage of the 2014 sailing season.

While the ferry service will help to generate economic activity throughout the province, there’s little doubt that it means the most to Yarmouth, which hasn’t seen any ferry passengers disembark at the ferry terminal since the summer of 2009.

(You can view a video of the Nova Star's arrival by clicking here.)

Nova Star Cruises aims to carry 100,000 passengers on the Nova Star this summer.

On its maiden voyage company CEO Mark Amundsen says they carried 82 vehicles and “just north of” 300 passengers. The ferry can accommodate up to 1,215 passengers.

While Nova Star Cruises had been hoping for more people on the maiden voyage, Amundsen called it a good number to start out with as they are still getting used to operating the ferry service. He says the company knows the highest volume of traffic will come in July and August.

Last week Nova Star Cruises announced that all kids under the age of 18 will now travel for free on the cruise ferry and anyone who books a trip this season by a June 15 deadline will receive a 20 per cent discount on their trip. Since it had first advertised its fares, Nova Star Cruises was seeing a lot of complaints on social media that the rates were too high. Amundsen says they want to ensure that families use the ferry, as this is one of the prime targets in their business plan.

“Our business plan is family centric . . . When we put the fares out that children under 18 were free our phone lines got bombed,” he says. “We want to re-energize that market.”

Amundsen says the maiden sail went wonderfully. He says there was a lot of excitement on board the vessel as it came into Yarmouth harbour. “Looking out the window we were just so giddy,” he said.

That excitement was evident in speaking with Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, who sailed across on the Nova Star. Mood had been in the States for the week leading up to the crossing. She christened the ship in Boston and took part in the ribbon cutting in Portland. She said the Nova Star exceeded her expectations.

“When people get on that ship they’re going to know why it’s called a cruise ship,” she said. “It’s top quality, beautiful, clean, friendly staff. I tried to do every corner of the ship, I don’t know if I did them all.”

The mayor said she encountered a lot of excitement over the resumption of the ferry service while in Portland, Boston and Portsmouth.

“Lots of excitement, lots of questions. The family ties were just unbelievable and the amount of people that said, ‘I’m coming back because the ship’s back and my family is there,’” she said.

On Lobster Rock Wharf last Friday, people began gathering shortly after 7 a.m. People kept scanning the horizon for the boat. Finally they caught a glimpse of the Nova Star as it was rounding the Cape Forchu Lighthouse.

“There she is!” shouted someone. “I see her!”

Although the Nova Star had already visited Yarmouth last month, this was the first time she was transporting paying passengers.

Yarmouth residents Louise Zinck, Doreen Rogers and Colette Randell brought a Nova Scotia and Canada flag with them to the wharf to wave as the ship sailed past. Others had brought flags as well.

At the ferry terminal, on Forest Street and at the Nova Scotia Visitors Information Centre, the atmosphere was electric as passengers came off Nova Star. The Maple Grove/Yarmouth High Memorial Club lined the sides of Forest Street, waving flags, cheering and clapping as vehicles drove by. Local residents joined them in extending a welcome. In some of the vehicles bearing American licence plates, people waved Nova Scotia flags out of their windows and some of the passengers held cameras and smartphones out of their windows and their sunroofs to capture their welcome.

“It’s obviously a great day to celebrate the accomplishments of everybody that’s worked so hard and relentlessly and tirelessly to get this done,” said Yarmouth resident Neil MacKenzie, who sailed across on the boat after spending time in Portland promoting the area and the province with his Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association colleagues. He credited the provincial and federal governments, the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership, Nova Star Cruises and others for “never giving up on this need to connect back to our U.S. neighbours.”

Yarmouth tourism operator Brian Rodney called the resumption of ferry service a true team effort that involved many people. The reward for those efforts will now dock here daily for the next few months and hopefully many years to follow, he said.

“It’s a pleasure to see the reality of it. We’ve seen pictures, we’ve heard talk about it, but it’s here,” said Rodney. “We have it, it’s here, we’ve got to use it or we’ll lose it, it’s as simple as that.”

One couple that was thrilled to be using the ferry again was Bill and Gene Logue, who live in Georgia. In the past they’ve sailed to Nova Scotia on The Cat. The last trip they made to the province, in the absence of ferry service, was by driving the distance by car. Asked how sailing here compares to driving here, Gene Logue said, “I love the driving, but I love the boat too.”

Her husband, though, was quick to interject.

“Since I do the driving, I love the boat,” he said. The couple said they were amazed by the reception the boat and the passengers received when they arrived in Yarmouth.

“It was emotional,” said Gene. “I teared up.”

Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill, the province’s minister of natural resources, was another person who was all smiles on Friday.

“It’s been a long day coming to get this boat back and as you can see everybody is just feeling really positive about it,” he said. “Now we need to focus on making it work, making it successful. I think we can really do that. If we put the determination that we put into getting the boat back, into making it a success, I think we can make it last for a long time.”

 

 

 

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Portland

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Recent comments

  • Philippe Frigault
    May 17, 2014 - 05:25

    Question: out of the 300+ passengers I wonder how many got a free trip ? Question 2- Are kids under 18 yrs old allowed in the Casino?? Comment: I guess after all the comments made by peoples [ including me] they are dropping down their prices , but think now for a minute, the lower the Canadian dollar goes, the more expensive your trip will be, so should they not be working on this as a priority for Canadians Customers. I don't think they will be running this ship for a long period of time being only at 25 % capacity Time will tell, good luck.