Nova Star opens its doors to public; but work just beginning

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By Eric Bourque - TC•Media

On Day 1 of the Nova Star’s two-day visit to Yarmouth people got to see the exterior of the ship. On Day 2 the ferry opened its doors for media and public tours.

During the event on the ferry on Wednesday, April 16, Owen John, vice-president of sales and marketing with Nova Star Cruises, said things are going well as far as reservations are concerned.

“We knew there’d be strong demand for the maiden voyage in May and also the following weekend,” he said. “However, we’re also seeing bookings for dates throughout the entire first season, including September and into October, so that’s really encouraging.”

He made the remarks to media representatives and other guests aboard the ship after the first round of Wednesday’s tours. Tours of the ship for the general public were scheduled to start later in the day Wednesday.

Referring to one of the pledges he made last September on behalf of Nova Star Cruises – that the ship would bring 100,000 passengers through Yarmouth this year – John said, “We remain confident that we can and will surpass this goal in our first season.”

He described marketing as a “critical component to succeed” and he said the ferry operator has done or is doing a good deal on this front.

Marketing also is a priority for the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, whose CEO, Patrick Sullivan – another of the speakers aboard the Nova Star for the April 16 event – talked about some of the efforts to promote the province in the Boston area, some involving the Boston Red Sox. He said the World Series trophy (won by the Red Sox last year) will be travelling to Nova Scotia on the Nova Star.

Other speakers included Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, who again made a point of noting how the community, government, the ferry company and others came together to make the new ferry service possible.

Even the waiting she had to do to get on the vessel – there was a security process involved in getting on board and it took awhile to get people together – apparently didn’t lower the mayor’s enthusiasm for this moment.

“It took four years (to get a ferry back),” she said. “What’s 20 minutes? I would have stood in that line until suppertime.”

Like some of the day’s other speakers, she said that while getting a new ship is tremendous, it’s now a matter of making the service a success, making sure the Yarmouth area is as ready as it can be to welcome the tourists the vessel will bring here.

“Now the real work begins,” she said. “It’s about every single one of us stepping up.”

The Nova Star is scheduled to begin its regular sailing schedule between Yarmouth and Portland in mid-May.

The ship – which arrived in Yarmouth at noon Tuesday after a month-long journey from Singapore – is 161 metres long and can accommodate about 1,200 passengers and over 330 cars.

Among other things, the ship has over 160 cabins, three restaurants, fitness centre, spa, conference centre and theatre, art gallery, casino, lounges, a children’s play area, retail store and duty-free shopping.

Organizations: Nova Star Cruises, Boston Red Sox, Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Boston, Nova Scotia Portland Singapore

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