Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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Get ready and fasten your seatbelts! We’ve just returned from an Epic Canadian Road Trip, driving from our home in Kalamazoo, Michigan all the way out to St. John’s, Newfoundland (yes, a ferry was involved). Why? Well, I’m the co-founder of Writing Walking Women, and we chose St. John’s as the site of our conference this year – MUCH more on that to come! And, our daughter, Lillie (13), said that every teen should have an epic road trip. SO. 

Here's part of our journey - one of the most fun parts: taking the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland. We traveled with Marine Atlantic Ferries, and it was an EPIC journey, each way. Here's what happened - and some ferry tips, for those of you inspired to travel to Newfoundland via ferry (highly recommended!).

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

To take the ferry to Newfoundland, you arrive at the ferry terminal in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Don't worry - the highway signs are very clear in directing you. Even if you get lost a lot, you won't here (hopefully I didn't just jinx you). Be sure to arrive in plenty of time - follow the instructions on the website, but definitely a few hours before departure.

Signs for the Marine Atlantic Ferry in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland
 
Marine Atlantic Ferry Routes. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Welcome to Marine Atlantic Ferry terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

You'll park in lines according to when you get there. Handicap parking lines are closest to the terminal, and will be boarded first. Marine Atlantic Ferries are extremely accessible - here's more about our experience

Window on the Marine Atlantic Ferry, looking out at Nova Scotia. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Ferry View, Marine Atlantic.. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

View from Marine Atlantic Ferry in Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

The terminal in North Sydney is new - and beautiful! Be sure to head inside - there's a variety of things to see and do, including free wifi, art, a giftshop, and upstairs, a lovely photography exhibit of the ships in Marine Atlantic's history. But what you'll find is what you'll experience on your entire journey with Marine Atlantic - friendly people. It's their hallmark, I believe - and they provide outstanding customer service, and what's more, customer care. This is rare in today's world, and so I was pleasantly surprised.

Marine Atlantic smiles in North Sydney Terminal, Nova Scotia. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Art in Marine Atlantic's North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

So, you're hanging out in the terminal, perhaps scoping out the Newfoundland recipes and taking photos so you can make them later (ahem), and an announcement will be made to return to your vehicles. They board the handicap lanes first, so that you can take the time you need to get onboard and to your cabin. 

Inside the Marine Atlantic North Sydney, Nova Scotia terminal. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Recipes? Yes, please...

Getting ready to board the Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Boarding the Atlantic Vision, Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Driving on...

 

Tips for Taking the Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland

Reservations

You can make a reservation online or by calling. I tried both and preferred calling, so that I could get the accessibility help I needed. The website is clean and easy to use (you'll find that you will refer to it again and again when planning your arrival to the terminal, and also how to get onboard, what to bring, etc.). The customer phone support is friendly (even as far as restaurant recommendations before boarding - thank you, Heather!). 

Ferry to Newfoundland - gorgeous views!. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Let's go!

How to Take the Ferry

You can walk on or take a vehicle. 

Driving onto the Marine Atlantic Ferry, Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Marine Atlantic Ferry - from the parking lot. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Accessible parking onboard the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Cabins

You can rent a cabin, or just hang out in the airplane-like seating they have in several areas onboard. I highly recommend renting a cabin. They go fast, so be sure to book early if you want one! They contain beds (bunks or queen), a desk, and some cabins have a washroom. 

Accessible cabin, Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Accessible cabin (and view!)

View from Accessible cabin window, Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Hallway in Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

The long hallways...

Food

There are many restaurants onboard the ship - so you can pick what you'd like to eat, from family-style to gourmet! There is a snackbar-type restaurant too - with plenty of coffee (whew). There is also a bar up near the front of the ship, on the 7th floor. There will be an announcement when they open and close according to arrival and departure.

Restaurant options aboard the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Snack bar aboard the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Bar aboard the Marine Atlantic ferry, before sailing. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Don't worry, the bar will open once the ship sets sail...

Shopping

There's a gift shop! 

Pets

Did you know you can bring your pet? There's a room for them with kennels, AND a walking area on deck.

Pet area aboard the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Pet area aboard the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

How to Pass the Time

Right when you get onboard and settled, head to the main desk to look at the list of games - and check one out! We whiled away many an hour with Monopoly. There's also a tv in each room, and a WHOLE movie theater with lovely seats. You can also sit in the colorful seating area at the front of the ship, and listen to live entertainment and watch the sea progress in front of you. There's a children's play area (so cute!). You can also play cards on your table in your room, play video games in the entertainment area, or even SLEEP. Oh, the sleep we had on that ship was the best sleep in my life. We got a ship tour - but that's for another article.

Colorful seating on the Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Great places to hang out on the Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Movie theater on the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Playing Monopoly on the Marine Atlantic Ferry. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

On Deck

Weather permitting, be sure to spend some time outside on the deck on the 10th floor. You can take great selfies, watch for whales and porpoises, check out the ship, and breathe in the fresh, salty sea air.

10 decks! Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Selfie with Sr Chief Steward Albert. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Selfie with Sr Chief Steward Albert Edwards

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Upon Arrival

We ferried into Argentia, Newfoundland, and disembarked easily. When we made the return trip and landed in Nova Scotia, we had to go through a washing station to be sure we didn't bring back anything unwanted, on our car.

Bye, Marine Atlantic!. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Plant Quarantine Inspection, Marine Atlantic Ferry Nova Scotia. Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

The Best Part of Marine Atlantic

The people. They are so caring - from our reservations help from Heather to the people guiding us onto the ship to Senior Chief Steward Albert Edwards' very kind help, the people are what make Marine Atlantic special. When you receive this level of care, you want to journey again and again with them. Albert noted that each ship's crew is like a small village - about 100 people, and they are on for 2 weeks at a time. You see this camaraderie and smoothness of working together in all onboard interactions. It's remarkable, and worth noting. 

Sr Chief Steward Albert, Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Hi, Albert!

I also met with Marine Atlantic's St John's staff, and was so impressed with the scope and vision of Marine Atlantic. Their purpose of providing the best customer service is unsurpassed in the travel industry - and each person I have spoken with has shown me this, again and again. 

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Selfie with MA Ferries St John's travel media team: Ashley Roche and Darrell Mercer

Marine Atlantic Ferries St John's, Newfoundland office decorations

Marine Atlantic Ferries St John's, Newfoundland office memorabilia (above and below)

Marine Atlantic Ferries St John's, Newfoundland office memorabilia

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Myself with ship's captain Allan Keeping, Atlantic Vision

You can see this in this amazing profile of a pair of seasoned travelers, who have made traveling Marine Atlantic part of their lives:

 

Learn more:

http://www.marineatlantic.ca/en/

 

Have you taken Marine Atlantic to get to Newfoundland? What was your favorite part?

Rainbow! Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

Every Journey Matters: Marine Atlantic Ferries to Newfoundland

 

 

More Goodness! My guest post over at The Journey:

4 Reasons Why Marine Atlantic Enhances Family Travel

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators

 

 

 

 

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