Another grim ferry-tale

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My wife and I just spent nearly $1,000 to travel on Marine Atlantic crossing from Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques and returning via Argentia.

The Atlantic Vision prepares to dock in Port aux Basques after her maiden voyage on April 1, 2009. — TC Media file photo

That was the cost for two of us with our car and a two-person cabin each way.

My biggest beef was the price of the cabin and some personal confusion as to the difference in price each way (same cabin with same amenities).

We could have enjoyed two nights in very good hotels with a lot more room and amenities than these little sleeping nooks, at a lower price.

No wonder Marine Atlantic’s travel volume is dropping.

It’s cheaper to fly to Newfoundland and rent a car. We sailed on the Atlantic Vision from Argentia. It’s a nice ship. We decided to have dinner in the à la carte Flowers Restaurant but were taken by surprise when we arrived for dinner at 6:30 p.m. to find a waitress taking names and redirecting patrons to the bar.

At the same time, one of the two dining rooms in the restaurant wasn’t even in service.

It seemed they were understaffed for the volume of business that night, although it wasn’t a very busy crossing, and had no Plan B.

We sat patiently for more than 45 minutes and then went to the buffet restaurant in frustration.

Before we did so we tried to get an explanation for the delay, but all we got was “it won’t be too much longer.”

Actually, we overheard the waitress calling our names 65 minutes after she first took them.

During our attempt to find out how long the wait was going to be, a gentleman in a ship’s officer’s uniform (the purser?) strolled by, noted our distress but did nothing to find out what the problem was and walked away.

Who trains the service personnel?

They don’t seem to understand that patrons need to be kept informed when delays are inevitable.

Marine Atlantic’s staff didn’t seem to be able to rectify the situation, or else they didn’t give a damn.

You can be assured that we will think long and hard about travelling on Marine Atlantic in the future. We both have family in Newfoundland and travel there frequently.

When I figure our how to do so, I will write a not-so-flattering review on Trip Advisor.


Desmond Colohan

Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • I's the b'y that takes the plane.
    July 13, 2014 - 12:16

    People enjoy traveling on ships. It adds to the maritime experience - which is why tourists come here in the first place! These ferry runs could be much more profitable. I don't understand why people in management and government don't realize that if prices were reasonable rather than outrageous and service very good, more people will use the service more frequently and profits will be higher. I recently flew to Nova Scotia and rented a car, when I would have much preferred to have crossed by ferry and taken my own car, because I needed to travel on Tuesday or Wednesday and the Argentia run did not cross on those days. You would think it would at least run every second day at the height of tourist season.

  • Duffy
    July 10, 2014 - 18:22

    Yes we are held prisoner by the Federal Government and the prices we have to pay to go and come off this Island. We have NO elected (MP's) that ever does anything other than a little speech once in awhile at election time - they are all but useless. BUT we deserve the government we have because the answer is to every election vote out every incumbant regardless of stripe to get their attention. Here on the Island we still however vote for the party our parents did even if Mickey Mouse was running.

  • Mike
    July 10, 2014 - 17:13

    Problem is very simple to solve. DON'T VISIT NEWFOUNDLAND

  • tourist tom
    July 10, 2014 - 15:54

    marine atlantic and air canada.. seems both have the same customer service . they should both have the same mission statement " if you enjoy travelling with us it wasn't our fault" I share your pain Desmond.

    • edwartt
      July 11, 2014 - 13:32

      Tourism Tom :: There is a difference Marine Atlantic is a crown corp with a constitutional mandate to provide service to NL. We were just too stupid at confederation to put in a cost structure or price structure. Air Canada is a private company they have competition to choose from and can do what they want ,however they have added flights lately.