Cross Sound Ferry in Orient will soon add another boat to its fleet to expand service to and from New London, Conn. during peak summer travel times.
The company is currently renovating a 50-vehicle, 300-passenger boat to add “all the bells and whistles” of the fleet’s other vessels to its passenger cabin, said Stan Mickus, director of marketing for Cross Sound Ferry.
Ridership on the ferry has increased to pre-recession levels, Mr. Mickus said, so the company wanted to add a vessel to offer more service at the most popular times.
“The impetus came from the demand we’ve seen for the traveling public over the past couple of years,” he said. “This vessel will serve to meet that demand that we see during the peak summer travel period and travel.”
Once it launches in June, the boat will slot into the existing schedule so that ferries run more frequently. However, it will not run year-round and will likely be taken out of service each winter, Mr. Mickus said.
The vessel (currently called the PAMLICO, though that name will change once it is up and running) had been a ferry in North Carolina for several years before Cross Sound Ferry purchased it.
It is considered a “mid-sized” ferry, smaller than the four major ferries, each of which hold between 80 and 120 vehicles, Mr. Mickus said. Workers are currently adding airline-style seating, a bar and food service options to the PAMLICO.
“The cabin as it presently stands is sparsely outfitted,” Mr. Mickus said. “We’re going to expand the passenger cabin and we’re going to outfit it similarly to what you see in our other large-scale ferries.”
Photo: The PAMLICO was recently purchased by Cross Sound Ferry for use on its route from Orient to New London, Conn. (Credit: Courtesy)