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Shelburne, Nova Scotia
Previously announced ferry schedule for 2005
Previous failed Shores Atlantic ferry services to Shelburne:
1999: Massachusetts-to-Nova Scotia Ferry proposed by Mayor Comeau and Massachusetts senator Bruce Tarr. "Things are going very well," says Mayor Comeau.
2001: "Shelburne-Glouster ferry possible for 2002", Mayor Comeau. "Everyone is coming on board", says Gene Hartigan.
A proposed ferry between Boston and Nova Scotia that would let passengers bring their cars, gamble, eat, or shop during the trip could set sail as early as next month.
Shores Atlantic LLC, the group that would operate the new service, is in final talks with the owners of the Scotia Prince, the 300-cabin ship they hope to lease, and with the Massachusetts Port Authority for dock space, said Eugene Hartigan, one of five investors in the venture.
If all goes well, final contracts between the parties could be signed this month, clearing the way for the inaugural 14-hour cruise sometime between July 1 and Aug. 1, he said.
The ferry would be the first such regular service connecting Boston's waterways with Canada's Nova Scotia, and could boost Massport's efforts to bring more cruise passengers through the Port of Boston. The number of passengers taking cruises from Boston has risen and tumbled in recent years, even as Massport has worked to draw more ships and more passengers.
Several cruise lines offer Caribbean, trans-Atlantic, and Bermuda cruises from Boston. This year, Massport expects 225,000 passengers to board cruise ships here, up from 199,453 in 2004.
Massport spokeswoman Danny Levy confirmed the talks, but said that several regulatory and community approval hurdles still need to be cleared.
The group is negotiating with Massport over the use of two potential docking locations for the ferry. Hartigan said the group prefers a deep-water berth along the Mystic River in Charlestown, a site that has ample parking.
''We look at the ship as a fun vehicle for people who maybe wouldn't take a Caribbean cruise, but would take a two- or four-day trip to Nova Scotia," Hartigan said.
If the new ferry sees the light of day, it would replace a defunct service that until last year ran between Portland, Maine, and Nova Scotia. Scotia Prince Cruises, the company that used to operate that service, canceled its 2005 schedule in April, citing ''dangerous levels of toxic mold" infesting the cruise terminal it had leased from the City of Portland, according to a statement from the company's chairman, Matthew Hudson, posted on its website.
Officials for Scotia Prince Cruises did not return calls from the Globe, but Gary Wood, Portland's city attorney, confirmed that the cruise company has filed a lawsuit against the city.
''Our view of why they stopped running out of Portland is very different from their view," Wood said. The city plans to countersue and has leased the terminal space out to a bus company that is running trips to the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut, he said.
Portland's loss could end up the gain of Bostonians and others willing to travel here for an overnight cruise filled with gambling, shows, or just relaxation.
Hartigan said the Portland lawsuit should not affect his group's efforts to lease the Scotia Prince. The ship can accommodate 1,000 passengers and about 185 cars, and the fares would range from $100 to $200 per round trip. He said the company could be profitable with roughly 250 people on each trip.
The ship carried an average of 700 to 800 passengers per trip when it was running from Portland, Hartigan said.
Initial plans are for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening departures from Boston to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, with return trips on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. Shelburne is a two-hour drive south of Halifax.
On Sundays, the group would operate a $50 per person ''family cruise to nowhere" that would take between four and six hours and travel a short distance into the Atlantic and back to Boston.
The cruise season would last through October, Hartigan said.
Once onboard, passengers could play slot machines and other gaming tables, watch a show in a 237-seat theater, or use a spa.
|Could the Scotia Prince find a new home in
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Herald, May 29, 2005: Brian Medel
YARMOUTH, N.S. -- A group of American investors hoping to set up a ferry service between Shelburne, N.S., and Boston is negotiating a lease for the M.V. Scotia Prince.
The proposal calls for the ferry to sail early-evenings from Boston on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning this summer.
It would make the 12 to 14 hour trip from Shelburne on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Gene Hartigan, one of the investors with Shores Atlantic LLC of Boston, said an announcement could be made in a matter of days.
"It's less about whether it will become a reality but more about when it will begin,'' he said.
"I would say the window right now would be between July 1 and August 1. Obviously it would be an abbreviated season.''
Lydia Deinstadt, manager of the the Shelburne Visitor Centre said it would be the economic boom that the town needs.
The ferry can accommodate one-thousand passengers and 185 vehicles.
Earlier this year the owners of the Scotia Prince cancelled service between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, N.S., after 35 years of operation and put the ferry up for sale.
Scotia Prince Cruises has filed a $20-million claim against the city of Portland for its alleged failure to address toxic mould at the city-owned International Marine Terminal.
City officials claim to have made $1.2 million worth of improvements to the ferry terminal and were looking for another tenant, possibly The Cat, the high-speed ferry that runs now between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Nova Scotia.
Portland officials acknowledged the potential loss of revenue, but defended their decision to terminate the ferry's $400,000-a-year lease after the cruise company cancelled the 2005 season.
December of 2001: Gene Hartigan of Shores Atlantic, announced that a ferry service from Massachussetts to Shelburne would commence in May of 2002. Mayor Comeau committed $400,000 (U.S.) to required engineering work.
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