Marine Atlantic begins its 2011 summer schedule with a renewed fleet, increased capacity, and improved amenities for customers

Marine Atlantic will begin its summer schedule on Friday, June 17, with its renewed fleet of four vessels that will provide an additional 25 per cent capacity, improved amenities and better reliability for customers travelling between the Island of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Over the past year, Marine Atlantic has completed significant upgrades to its fleet to improve reliability, capacity and amenity offerings to customers. The MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders , the newest additions to the Marine Atlantic fleet, will offer a new sailing experience to passengers with increased seating areas, three restaurant facilities and expanded entertainment options. These vessels will join the recently refitted and upgraded MV Leif Ericson which will be dedicated to transporting commercial traffic on the Port aux BasquesNorth Sydney crossing and the MV Atlantic Vision which will move to the Argentia-North Sydney service providing a hotel-like experience for customers who wish to have easy access to and from Eastern Newfoundland.

"With the enhancements that have been made to our fleet, services and facilities over the past 12 months, our customers will experience improvements that will make their summer travel with Marine Atlantic smoother than ever," said Wayne Follett, President and CEO. "So much has changed since last year that we do expect there will be some bumps along the way this summer but we will continue to improve with experience. The improved reliability, more cabins, increased food choices and better amenities throughout our entire fleet will be welcomed by our customers."

"We are looking forward to a successful Argentia-North Sydney ferry service this year. Reservations for the service have increased by 35 per cent over 2010," said Don Barnes, Vice President, Customer Experience. The MV Atlantic Vision will depart North Sydney Friday afternoon for its maiden voyage to Argentia, arriving in Argentia Saturday morning.

Barnes noted that traffic to and from the Island of Newfoundland has increased significantly over the past several years due the province's vibrant economy and to the growth in the tourism sector and this year's summer schedule is designed to offer the maximum number of sailings possible.

"Our customers have told us that they want as many crossings as possible to move the maximum amount of traffic during our short summer travel season. To work within this context, our schedule offers some early morning departures and arrivals on certain days of the week but the vast majority of our crossings will remain during passenger friendly hours. Adding these early morning departures and arrivals enables more vehicles and passengers to access the service. Without these runs there was potential for leaving thousands of passengers behind on a weekly basis. This summer schedule was developed with the best interests of our business and tourism sectors in mind," said Barnes.

"We expect our customers to experience improvements during the coming travel season; this is just the beginning for us at Marine Atlantic as we continue to move forward with our 5-year renewal and revitalization plan. We are excited with the significant potential and opportunities that will be offered to our customers in the coming years. Our goal is to become a modern and efficient company that provides a reliable and desirable service to our customers; we are working with our key stakeholders to make this a reality," said Follett.

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Media Contact:

Tara Laing, Communications Manager

Tel: 709-772-8974

Email: [email protected]