The Nova Star.
By Tina Comeau
The province has approved a request by Nova Star Cruises to push back the start-up of the ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth from May 1 to May 15.
“Everyone wants the ferry to succeed, and as a government we said we would do whatever we can to get the boat back in the water,” says Tina Thibeau, a spokesperson for the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “The ferry company says things will go more smoothly with a mid-May start and the minister has approved their request.”
The approval by minister Michel Sampson was made on Thursday, March 20.
A day earlier the company received the necessary approval from the Federal Maritime Commission to be allowed to start selling tickets for the service.
Nova Star Cruises estimates it will be in a position to start selling tickets by the end of next week. Details will be provided to the public when ticket sales can commence.
The company says postponing the start-up of the season by two weeks is the right decision.
“We have been working within a compressed timetable in order to get everything in place to commence service,” says Mark Amundsen, president and CEO of Nova Star Cruises. “It’s a very complex process. We don’t anticipate the change to have a significant impact on our business, but those extra two weeks could prove to be very valuable in our final preparations.”
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In Yarmouth on Wednesday, March 19, where it was announced that a ferry terminal lease agreement had been reached between the ferry company and the town of Yarmouth, Nova Star Cruises chief operating officer Steve Durrell was asked about the two-week delay to the season.
“You can always use more time, but more time costs more money,” he said. “It’s a decision we had to make. We think it’s the right thing to do to make sure we’re ready.”
The Nova Star ferry is on route from Singapore. It is expected to make its first North America port of call in Yarmouth in mid-April. After a brief visit here the ferry will go to Portland where it will be outfitted for the onboard casino, along with modifications needed for the onboard theatre.
The ferry will also make ports of call in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Boston before making its maiden voyage of the ferry season from Portland to Yarmouth on May 15.