CAT Ferry offers a real Taste of Nova Scotia
Cruising across the Gulf of Maine at an average speed of 35 knots between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on the CAT Ferry certainly offers a unique and very comfortable means of getting between these two ports. The 5 hour passage seems to literally fly by as there is so much to see and do on board.
Having the opportunity to sail her inaugural 2016 crossing from Yarmouth -Portland on June 15th and returning on June 16th, it was a pleasure to meet folks from all over the world. A couple from Switzerland cycling North America, several business people from Nova Scotia and many US States including Florida who had tied the ferry into their meeting schedule. And of course there were many of us who were onboard travelling to our destinations. One couple had just spent a couple weeks travelling Nova Scotia and very much enjoyed golfing at Cabot Links. He couldn’t stop talking about the local caddy he had and how knowledgeable he was. They were already making plans to return with friends.
On the return trip to Nova Scotia we had the chance to chat up with many folks who were just arriving for their vacation. Helping them chart their course was such fun, but there were those who were just returning to their summer homes as well and very much enjoy the crossing.
So Much to Sea!
Pulling yourself away from the viewing areas searching the horizon for indications of marine life, will be a challenge as the potential of seeing basking shark, humpback whale and seabirds, along with the fishing fleet is there’s a everything from movies on screens, a play area for kids, and even a Visitor Information Centre staffed by folks from
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores so you can get additional trip planning done while on board.
The CAT also boasts an amazing selection and showcase of Nova Scotia products! having contracted local Yarmouth area businesses to provide the services, there is a great selection which will continue to expand.
Scotia Market, the onboard Gift Shop is teeming with local artists works, many whom we have featured here at White Point, and even a number we had never heard about and enjoyed discovering – for example East Coast Ketchup, original and zesty!
Nova Scotia recently introduced the
Good Cheer Trail – a showcase of Nova Scotia wineries, craft breweries and distilleries. You can get a good start on the trail right here onboard the CAT. Check out some of the selections listed on their beverage menus
Extensive and impressive Nova Scotia
including selections from: Wine List
selections from all over Nova Scotia too including: Craft Beer
It was a delightful surprise to also meet Susan while onboard. She is the onboard Marine Biologist. Logging, monitoring and sharing observations means she is able to tell you exactly what you are seeing, and any changes in the season, year over year. We hope she’ll be starting a Blog to share what she is learning so we can be better prepared when we are on the observation deck – which is everywhere because there are windows everywhere!
So tips and suggestions:
Bring a sweater, sometimes it gets cool out on the deck, and you’ll want to spend some time out there – it is so relaxing. You may also want to bring along sunscreen.
Everything is located on one deck – making it easy to walk about and see everything.
There are reclining chairs mid-ship with windows that looked very inviting.
Don’t anticipate having wi-fi while on board although they are looking into how to make it available. But to be honest, it’s just a distraction anyway.
Bring a book, board game or deck of cards to entertain yourself if necessary.
The Food is delicious and very reasonably priced, so plan to grab a bite. Menu is limited yet varied with panini’s, sandwiches, and salads along with desserts – and they are all locally made in Yarmouth!
If you are walking on from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – there is an overnight parking lot at the Yarmouth Regional Airport. In Portland there are a variety of parking lots in the Oceans Terminal area.
Onboard, just like the reservations program is done in American dollars, but there are debit machines at all points of sale.
If you are a walk-on passenger, there are no day lockers but there is a shuttle van that moves you on and off the CAT, you can leave your luggage securely on the van when in transit.
Car/Motorcycle/RV travellers seemed to board and disembark with ease, you will not have access to the car deck once in transit, so bring a backpack with items you’ll want while onboard.
Arriving in Yarmouth, if you need a car you can reach out to
Enterprise Car Rental
And oh the sunsets … the 2:30pm departure from Portland means the sun sets during your crossing. If you are fortunate to be onboard on a clear evening, be sure to keep an eye on the skyline, and head out on the Stern Deck (with a sweater) and your camera, as the sunset is a breath-taking experience.
Bay Ferries, who operates the CAT ferry, has a great
website, be sure to visit it and check out their daily schedule for 2016, specials and more insights!