The operator of the new ferry between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, will offer free tours of the vessel on May 10 in Portland.
Since the Nova Star arrived in Portland Harbor two weeks ago, the company has received many emails and Facebook messages from people asking to come aboard, said Owen John, vice president of sales and marketing for the operator, Nova Star Cruises.
He said that many people have been visiting the Ocean Gateway terminal to see and take photographs of the 528-foot-long ferry, which was built in Singapore in 2011 but has never been put into service.
The ferry will be making daily round-trip crossings between Portland and Yarmouth, beginning with its maiden voyage on May 15.
The ferry operator will conduct tours of the vessel from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10, on a first-come, first-served basis. The ship will depart the following day on a promotional tour that will take it to Boston and Portsmouth, N.H., but no other tours for the general public are scheduled.
To board, visitors will be required to show government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, and sign in and out with security personnel. For safety, visitors will be required to wear flat-soled shoes because the walkway or deck surfaces may be uneven and slippery, company officials said.
The vessel arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, from Singapore on April 15, and the operator gave tours to the public the following day. About 1,200 people toured the ship, including 22 journalists.
The tour was limited to the ferry’s seventh deck, which contains most of the public areas, including a fine-dining restaurant, a buffet and a pub.
At the bow, there’s a piano bar with large windows that offer panoramic views. The piano is being installed in Portland.
There’s also a bar in the casino. The table games and 70 slot machines have already been installed in Portland.
The seventh deck also has an art gallery that will display work by artists from Maine and Nova Scotia.
The ship has 162 cabins, including two large “Owner Suite” cabins that will cost $249 a night in the summer. The least expensive cabins will cost $99 in the summer and $79 in the spring and fall.
The cabins are bright and colorful. The ship’s decor, created by a Danish designer, has the clean, simple lines of Scandinavian design.
The ship will sail with a crew of about 130 people. Because the ship is flagged in the Bahamas, the operator can hire people from around the world. Many will be from the Philippines and will board in Portland.
Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: [email protected]