Beginning May 15, Nova Scotia-bound travelers have a new transit option from Maine: getting there by cruise-ship-style ferry.
Scheduled to depart at 9 p.m. nightly, the 1,215-passenger Nova Star will launch from Portland to make the 10-hour overnight crossing to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on the province’s southwest coast. The return, daytime trips will depart Yarmouth at 10 a.m.
The ship will blend car ferry service with cruise ship caliber amenities. Diversions will include three restaurants, two bars plus a piano lounge, a casino with two blackjack tables and slot machines, a spa offering massages and facials, a gym, an art gallery, a children’s play area and a shop.
Travelers can choose to reserve one of the ship’s 162 cabins, which sleep up to four people and include a private bathroom with a shower. Another 254 recliner seats modeled on those found in the business sections of airplanes are also available by reservation.
Fares start at $79 ($39 for ages 5 to 12); recliner seats cost an additional $39 each and cabins start at $79 extra.
Provincial tourism officials tout Yarmouth as the start of a local lighthouse trail that follows the Atlantic coast up to Halifax, a center for lobster fishing and a base for exploring the wildlife and tides of the nearby Bay of Fundy.