PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A cruise ferry between Portland and Nova Scotia was christened in Boston on Monday in a nod to supporters' anticipation that the ship will draw tourists from around New England.
The Nova Star's first commercial voyage to Nova Scotia is scheduled for May 15. Pam Mood, the mayor of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where it will dock, and Canadian Consulate General Patrick Binns of Boston were among the dignitaries at the christening at the Black Falcon Terminal on Boston's waterfront. Canadian tourism officials and the ferry's operators have said they will focus the ship's marketing efforts on Boston.
"Our plan is to put 100,000 people in this ship a year, so it's all of New England — it's a regional thing," said Dennis Bailey, a spokesman for the ferry service.
The effort makes sense since Boston is New England's biggest media market, said Greg Mitchell, economic development director for the city of Portland. Portland officials hope the ferry provides residual economic benefits for the city via increased tourism, he said.
"The net result will be drawing more people to the waterfront in Portland," Mitchell said. Each passenger is expected have an economic impact of about $100 for Portland, he said.
The 528-foot cruise ferry is expected to accommodate 1,200 passengers and include such amenities as a casino, retail store, spa and fine dining. It will make daily roundtrips to Nova Scotia.
The ship also represents a restoration of ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, which had been interrupted for several years. The Scotia Prince ran from 1982 to 2004 and The Cat, a high-speed ferry, operated from 2006 to 2009. The Scotia Prince topped out at about 150,000 passengers per season.
The crossing to Nova Scotia, about 185 nautical miles, is expected to take 10 hours. The ferry will leave from Portland at 9 p.m. for an overnight cruise.
The ship will be host to a ribbon cutting on Portland's waterfront Wednesday.