2016 marks an exciting year for Bay Ferries Limited and for vacationers in both Canada and the United States: The CAT is back!
After a six-year hiatus, a fast ferry will once again travel between our two nations, from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and back again.
You'll be able to start your two-nation vacation half-a-day earlier by taking the ferry to Yarmouth; avoid 12 hours of driving while you relax and enjoy The CAT’s amenities, and land in Yarmouth less than six hours after you leave Portland.
Meet the Fundy Rose…
After more than 40 years of transporting passengers and vehicles over the Bay of Fundy between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS, the Princess of Acadia was retired last summer, and the new ferry, Fundy Rose, was introduced to travellers. The sleek, 400-foot-long (124 metres) blue-and-white vessel can hold up to 774 passengers and is known as a roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry, where you drive on and off the vessel easily.
The Fundy Rose was named in honour of Rose Fortune (1774-1864), an African-Canadian woman who was born into slavery in Virginia and, as a child, escaped with her family to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Rose developed a business in the town, transporting luggage from vessels, including ferries, to homes and inns, and later became the first female police officer in what is now Canada.
The vessel’s powerful engines will speed you across the Bay of Fundy in 2 hours and 15 minutes, while you enjoy the comfort of the passenger lounges inside or take in the sights and fresh air from the open decks. Enjoy a meal at the Acadia Eatery, a snack or beverage at the licensed Crow’s Nest, or a Starbucks® coffee or tea drink at the Mid Ship Café. Take in a movie in one of the two entertainment lounges, or check out the local products and souvenirs at the Fundy Treasures Gift Shop. Throughout the summer months, there is local live entertainment on board, and free WIFI access throughout the vessel at all times of the year.
The Fundy Rose has a fully equipped Visitor Information Centre to help travellers plan their explorations around the Maritimes. Bay Ferries offers a supervised Children’s Program during the summer months. Truckers wanting to relax will enjoy the new Trucker’s Lounge. If you’re travelling for work, the Business Centre has free wireless Internet access, laptop pods and three onboard computers. The vessel is designed for accessibility throughout and features on-board elevators for those requiring mobility assistance.
Vacationers travelling on board the Fundy Rose can get an insider’s look at attractions in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by checking out the Ferry Trail.
Bay Ferries CEO, Mark MacDonald, explains how the company settled on The CAT as its new vessel for the Portland-Yarmouth run. “We needed a certain size of vessel to accommodate the traffic requirements for the route. We wanted a fast ferry, one that would save travellers significant time on their travel to Canada, and we want people to be able to wake up in New York—or Boston—or Ottawa—or Allentown—and spend the night in Southwest Nova Scotia.” he says.
An extensive search was carried out by brokers on behalf of Bay Ferries Limited, and a suitable vessel, a high-speed catamaran, was sourced and leased from US Military Sealift Command. “Because the two previous ships that we ran under The CAT brand had such positive and long-term recognition with travellers,” MacDonald continues, “we chose to bring that name back to introduce our new ferry route.”
While on board The CAT on route to Yarmouth, or travelling to Portland, you’ll be able to enjoy food service, movie lounges, a kids play area for families, and a gift shop featuring choice items from local artisans. Cats and dogs can be transported on The CAT in the special kennel area; it’s recommended that guests travelling with pets book as far in advance as possible to ensure availability.
With its proud nautical history, it seems only appropriate to arrive in Maritime Canada by sea, as you pass by the striking lighthouse at Cape Forchu and arrive in the historic town of Yarmouth.
Located on the southern tip of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth is the gateway to the province, well-known for its proud seafaring history and thriving seafood fisheries, especially Atlantic lobster. Stay in the town and sample the fantastic local seafood for yourself; get to know the natural history of the area via the hiking and cycling trails, and the human history of the area through the museums, artisan shops and galleries. There’s a thriving farmers market year-round on Saturday mornings, and a host of unique shopping and dining opportunities just minutes from the ferry terminal.
You can then choose to travel through the Acadian region of Clare and into the fertile Annapolis Valley, following the Fundy shoreline of Nova Scotia, or take the South Shore route following the Atlantic side of the province. Both routes will lead you on scenic drives and through welcoming communities to the capital city of Halifax and beyond to further adventures in Cape Breton, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island, or on to Newfoundland and Labrador.
And when you’re ready, The CAT will speed you home again.