After a two-year hiatus, Nova Scotia’s iconic Bluenose II has announced it will be inviting passengers back onboard for cruises this summer.
The Bluenose II crew had previously been unable to offer their typical sailing trips due to COVID-19 restrictions. But Emily Sollows, director of communications, said the cruises will be returning on June 10.
Sollows said the crew has been preparing the vessel for sail since April 1.
“The first couple months are spent sanding and painting everything on the ship and getting all the sails ready,” she said.
“Right now, they’re putting the sails on and putting the lines up, which is all an exciting time.”
Most of the cruises will take place in the Bluenose II home base of Lunenburg. The ship departs from the dock, passes through Battery Point, and sails through the Lunenburg Bay, before returning to the port. The cruise takes two hours in total.
Despite spending most of its time in Lunenburg, the Bluenose II is also scheduled to arrive in Halifax for cruises in September. The ship will be sailing to various other towns throughout the province including Yarmouth, Shelburne, Louisbourg, and North Sydney.
“We try to go to as many events in the province as we can,” Sollows said.
“Everything from community festivals to things like the world championships, or places where they’re showcasing Nova Scotia to the rest of the country or the rest of the world, we can help be a part of that with the Bluenose II.”
Despite the pandemic postponing the Bluenose II from offering cruises to the public, the organization made a point of sailing to different ports throughout 2020 to thank Nova Scotians “for their resilience” over the year.
They were also able to provide tours of the ship’s deck last summer in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bluenose’s launch.
Sollows said the Bluenose II carries a lot of significance for people in Nova Scotia.
“A lot of people will come on board and tell us stories of family members who used to build canoes or used to sail on schooners or tall ships like this one,” she said.
“Nova Scotians can connect to the story that Bluenose II is still able to tell in this day and age.”
The Bluenose II was launched in 1963 after the original Bluenose was damaged during a sailing trip to Haiti in 1946. The original ship, built in Lunenburg, had represented Canada worldwide and symbolized Nova Scotia’s influence in the fishing and shipbuilding industries, according to the website.
The vessel maintains its cultural significance to this day, with its image being showcased on the Canadian dime and Nova Scotia licence plate.