February 4, 2016 7:54 pm
Updated: February 4, 2016 9:34 pm

US tour operators worried about lack of info on new Yarmouth ferry

WATCH ABOVE: Tour operators in the United States say they're becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of information about the new Yarmouth to Portland ferry. Global's legislative reporter Marieke Walsh reports.


Tour operators in the United States say they’re becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of information about the new Yarmouth to Portland ferry.

The new boat was supposed to be announced in mid-December but nearly two months later there’s still no news on what the boat will be, how much it will cost, or when it will run.

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Two companies contacted say they still plan to use the new ferry for tours this summer, but they will pull the plug in March if operator Bay Ferries still hasn’t announced the new boat.

“We go all over the entire country, and out of the country, and you guys are the only ones that do not seem to be able to give us the information we need at the time we need it,” Sarah Danolfo, manager and tour planner with Gad-About Tours, said.

She said she will cancel her tour entirely if she doesn’t get more information from Bay Ferries by March.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says he’s “concerned” by the company’s cancellation but guarantees a new boat will be found in time for the 2016 sailing season. However, after Bay Ferries missed its December deadline, he says there’s no new deadline for the company to find a boat.

America By Rail officials say it will wait another 30 days before pulling the plug on its plans to use the Yarmouth ferry.

“I don’t like the waffling, they said its in place, its not in place, its not good business,” America By Rail President Tim Swartz said.

Swartz said if the ferry doesn’t get announced in time he will re-route the tour to go by road.

Questions about the new ferry became more urgent after Friendship Tours, based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, cancelled three trips to Nova Scotia this summer because no boat was announced.

After staying mostly silent since it was awarded the ferry contract, Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald released a statement Thursday, saying the company is doing everything it can to find a boat for the 2016 sailing season.

“Because we are competing for assets against other operators worldwide, we are limited in what we can say on the status of our search because of the risk that it would jeopardize our company’s ability to get the best ship in place for the Yarmouth-Maine service in 2016,” MacDonald said.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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