Nova Scotia

Yarmouth ferry relaunch delayed by 2 weeks to May 15

The ferry service planned between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine, will not start on May 1 as originally planned. Instead, Nova Star Cruises said Wednesday it will begin operations two weeks later, on May 15.

Ferry operator Nova Star Cruises pushes start date for Portland-Yarmouth ferry crossings

The ferry service planned between Yarmouth, N.S., and Portland, Maine, has been delayed by two weeks and will not start on May 1, as originally planned. (Government of Nova Scotia)

The relaunch of the ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine, will not start on May 1, as originally planned.

Nova Star Cruises, the company in charge of the crossings, said Wednesday it will begin operations two weeks later, on May 15.

“The vessel is due to arrive in North America on April 15 and we will have a port of call in Yarmouth, N.S.,” said Lisa Arnold, the vice-president of Nova Star Cruises.

“I think the change in date just had to do with a lot of different things, and we felt that we would be best prepared for the maiden voyage on the 15th."

The Nova Star ferry will dock in Yarmouth Friday morning. (STM Quest)

“It’s only fitting that Nova Star come to Yarmouth first,” said Mark Amundsen, president and CEO of Nova Star Cruises, in a press release.

“It’s just for a brief stop to test the ship-to-shore interfaces at the ferry terminal, but it’s sure to be a very exciting day — not just for us, but also for all the people of Yarmouth. They have been waiting a long time for this.”

A spokeswoman with the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism confirmed the government had received and is considering a request from Nova Star Cruises to change the start date. She said any change in the ferry's schedule requires Minister Michel Samson's approval.

Earlier this month, CBC News reported Nova Star Cruises ran into delays getting permission from U.S. authorities to sell tickets.

Nova Star Cruises needed to submit an application to U.S. authorities proving it had enough funds to reimburse customers if the service is cancelled, but that paperwork had not been submitted with fewer than two months before the expected launch date.

The ferry left Singapore on March 15 and began its 16,100-kilometre journey to the Gulf of Maine. The journey is expected to take about a month, with the ship arriving in North America around April 15.

The Nova Scotia government has committed $21 million over seven years to restoring the ferry service, which will operate between Yarmouth and Maine. The federal government has pledged $2.5 million to upgrade the Yarmouth terminal.

“The new cruise-ferry service will be a great economic benefit to Yarmouth and surrounding areas," said Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, in a news release.

"We are excited for our ship, Nova Star, to come in.”

Renovations at the Yarmouth terminal are nearing completion in preparation for the start of the new cruise ferry service. There will be up to 16 full- and part-time reservation specialists and up to 11 security and operational personnel employed at the Yarmouth terminal.

Nova Star is a joint venture between Quest Navigation in Maine and the builder of the ship in Asia. The ferry can carry 1,200 passengers and includes restaurants and a casino.