NEW FERRY SERVICE LAUNCHED
Written by JOAN RAMPERSAD on June 28, 2017
LOVELY ONE TO THE RESCUE
Port-of-Spain — LOCAL tourists and traders would be delighted to learn that there is a new shipping service available, operating between Trinidad and Grenada. The operators also intend to offer travellers special weekend sailing packages which they term, Lovely Long Weekends.
The first such sailing will take place in July when the boat heads to St Vincent Carnival scheduled for July 10 and 11.
Wesley Hall, IT and general manager of Lovely One Shipping Services Ltd is excited about the service his company is embarking on in the Caribbean.
“At present, Lovely One is providing a fast ferry service between the islands of Trinidad and Grenada but our early feature sailing will be to St Vincent for their Carnival. We would be looking at the economics and how long it would take after that initial sailing, before we decide to provide a full-time service to St Vincent as well.” Lovely One is operating from the Cruise Ship Complex in Port of Spain and has security, customs and immigration services in place.
The boat is based in Grenada and leaves there on a Wednesday morning at 5am and arrives in TT at 9am. It leaves Trinidad on Friday at 5am, arriving in Grenada at 9am.
Hall explained why that schedule is in place. “Traders used to leave on a Tuesday night and travel as crew on the same boat with their goods and take some 15 hours to get here and vice versa, but it was deemed risky.
Hence the reason traders were no longer being allowed to travel on those Caricom boats. But since May, since operating on a trial basis, they have been welcoming the passenger service now being provided by Lovely One.” Asked why he felt compelled to offer the service Hall said: “Given the high cost of flying, we decided to do something for these regular people. So we contacted Capt Neville Wade from Dominica, and he decided to purchase the Lovely One boat and after talks with him we agreed to be the agency for it, do the marketing, handle the whole business aspect and push the service, working as a team.
“Now it is much more affordable, much safer, comfortable, less sailing time and so far the traders are on board albeit mostly from Grenada, but we are going to offer Lovely Long Weekends sailing with packages and specials to promote vacation travel twice a month, or any special event happening between both islands.”
Hall said they are working closely together with the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA ), as well as the hoteliers in Grenada, in an effort to put together vacation packages, that will also include ground transfers to and from the boat, and they are also in the process of putting a similar operation in place for Grenadians to come visit Trinidad. The regular sailing costs US$224 return, inclusive of taxes, four hours max sailing time, with passenger service allowing for two regular pieces of baggage, plus one carry on piece.
The four-year-old boat is fully remodelled and certified in St Kitts and Nevis by International Register of Shipping, Maritime overseas consultant (LLC 721 US1 Suite 202, North Palm Beach, Florida, 33408, USA), that meets all international standards, and has been checked by the local port and given certification to operate here.
The boat can carry 250 passengers but if necessary could accommodate 350. But that is not their plan says Hall who insists it’s all about comfort first.
Lovely One, a double-decker boat, is fully air-conditioned with television, a cafeteria, and soon, full Internet access. There is also a sick bay medic on board.
If there is need for packaging, the company would provide that service as it offers a shipping service also. Hall said they work with other boats that would get those packages shipped.
His is excited about the St Vincent Carnival, for which Lovely One will leave Port of Spain on July 6 and return July 12. The price is still being worked out.
For the Grenada Carnival the boat will sail every morning at 5am to Grenada from August 9 to August 12. Those travellers will have the option to return to TT from Grenada from August 16 to 19.
Hall said: “We are still in talks with local guest houses and hotels and also looking to get an audience with the Tourism Ministry to get on board with the programme, because we want to offer special events packages in between the regular sailing schedule.” For more info: www.travellovely1.com or Facebook: Travel Lovely One Shipping Services Ltd.