Nova Star will end season three weeks early; Oct. 13 as opposed to Nov. 2

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Nova Star departing Yarmouth for Portland. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Nova Star Cruises Ltd. has announced that it will shorten its 2014 sailing season and focus on preparation for the 2015 season.

Nova Star will make its final 2014 sailing from Portland, Maine on the evening of Monday, Oct. 13 and arrive in Yarmouth on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 14. Originally the ship was to have sailed until Nov. 2.

Nova Star Cruises is directly contacting individuals and companies with reservations after Oct. 14 to advise them of the change in schedule. The 650 impacted passengers who had booked thus far will be provided with a full refund and either a free reservation for the remainder of this year or a 50 per cent discount for the same booking in 2015.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience the shortened season will have on our passengers,” said Mark Amundsen, President and CEO, Nova Star Cruises. “For the long-term success of the service, we have decided to end our first season earlier than planned and will focus our efforts on building business for next year.”

In October the ferry service traditionally focuses on transporting motor coach tours, which can take one-to-two years in advance to secure. The timing of Nova Star Cruises’ selection to operate the ferry service hindered the company’s ability to secure adequate motor coach business for this year’s fall sailing season. Nova Star Cruises will carry 23 motor coach tours this season and already has 31 booked for 2015.

“We have been making good progress securing motor coach business for next year and we are confident that we can further increase our motor coach and other business lines by focusing our efforts in October on business development,” said Amundsen.

In a media release Nova Star Cruises to date it has carried more than 45,000 passengers. The majority of those passengers crossed in July and August, with August being the busiest month. The number of bookings that month slightly exceeded 20,200.

“We are pleased with passenger feedback and numbers for our first season, which highlight that there is a growing market for a cruise-ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine,” said Amundsen. “We have also learned a lot about the market for our service and will work to make adjustments to our offering and schedule for the long-term viability of the service.”

Nova Star Cruises is currently in discussion with the Province of Nova Scotia to determine appropriate start and end dates for the 2015 season.  Upon completion of the 2014 sailing season, Nova Star will temporarily lay-up in Yarmouth and the company will continue to search for winter work opportunities and alternate lay-up facilities.

By early on into the season the company had already needed to access all of the $21 million that had been set aside by the province of Nova Scotia for the first seven years of the service to be used for marketing, start-up and operations. According to the agreement that was struck prior to the launch of the service, $12 million was going to be dispersed in the first year with $1.5 million each year afterwards.

Of the money provided by the province, $5 million was for money Nova Star Cruises had accounted for in its business plan when, again prior to the start of the season, the governor of Maine had said the state would assist the Maine company in accessing a $5 million line of credit. That didn’t materialize.

Organizations: Star Cruises

Geographic location: Portland, Maine, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • John Townsend
    September 13, 2014 - 19:02

    So glad to see the Nova Star has found a winter run !. In any new business venture, the first season of business is really not a true indicator of the future of any business., considering the last minute, yet important details such as the booking of tours, and tour buses., there simply was no time for the booking of tour buses, which had a negitive impact on numbers I'm sure. Nova Star Cruises is not has no Federal Gov.'t. substidy, as does the Digby ferry, and most if not all passenger carrying ferries in Canada. I have little problem with the 21 million, it was dispersed as and when it was required...if more provincial monies are need next season, in 7 months, or 7 years makes little difference to me.....The most important question concerning Nova Star cruises and the one that commentors have not broached is how many new jobs in Nova Scotia have been created, new business start ups, former businesses re-opening after closing as a direct result of the ferry shut down.revenues generated, room nights, meals, fuel sales etc. the spin offs, that and that alone will determine the viability of the Nova Star. One established bed and breakfastin Yarmouth had the busiest Juneor July since opening their business, and this was when 2 ferries were running. The Mayor of Yarmouth is very positive about the impact on Yarmouth, and Yarmouth business...(Her comments can be viewed on ustream under yarmoth Town Council Meetings. Again look forward to a great 2015 season for Nova Star Cruises

  • Richard C.
    September 10, 2014 - 08:13

    Whoever authorized the release of $21 million that was supposed to last 7 years needs to be investigated for any kickbacks for doing so.

  • dumbfounded
    September 08, 2014 - 15:22

    I guess in the good months of july and august they gave money back to the taxpayers? so with all 21 million gone, wonder what they will want next year? and the year after that? and if they were only to get 12 million this year, HOW DID THEY GET 21 MILLION? oh boy, the things we allow to happen-

  • Hubert Cumberdale
    September 08, 2014 - 13:54

    Good business move considering only 600 passengers for the last three weeks. Next year they will come very close to their 100,000 passenger goal. VErn went on boat said it was nice.

    • Philippe Frigault
      September 09, 2014 - 05:09

      it is nice to DREAM, they cried for help and we gave them the 21 million, they gave us a little break on the fares and we responded by bookings trips, now they stop the season short, they CANCEL our bookings and they want more money !!!!! "Life is like taking the Yarmouth ferry, you never know what you are going to get"