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RI Fast Ferry Welcomes Ava Pearl to Fleet

The 150-passenger ferry gets passengers to Martha's Vineyard in 95 minutes.

A delivery delay hasn’t slowed things down for Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s newest addition. The $6 million Ava Pearl was christened earlier this month at its dock at Quonset Point.

Smaller than the company’s other vessel – the 400-passener Millennium – the Ava Pearl can accommodate 150 passengers and features a snack bar, five satellite televisions and indoor and outdoor seating. (For those prone to seasickness, state-of-the-art technology aboard the ferry offers a smoother ride.)

“Riding on the new ferry is kind of like you’re on a private Learjet,” said Charles Donadio of RI Fast Ferry. “Sort of like a ‘business class service’ feel to it.”

A trip to Martha’s Vineyard new high-speed ferry takes about 95 minutes. The ferry makes the run three times a day, seven days a week.

The Ava Pearl will be solely dedicated to the company’s Rhode Island to Martha’s Vineyard route, replacing the Millennium – which will now be used for sightseeing tours on the bay. In response to the cruises’ increasing popularity, RI Fast Ferry will now have cruises seven days a week – up from three days a week.

The new vessel suffered its first hiccup before it even got to the Ocean State, after a . The delay forced the company to cancel its America’s Cup cruises, offering passengers a water view of this year’s race. Aside from the delay and cruise cancellations, things have gone smoothly over the past few weeks for the fledgling ferry. Donadio said its first weekend of service sold out.

“I’d highly recommend reserving tickets beforehand for the weekend service,” said Donadio.

The arrival of Ava Pearl marks the start of a series of upgrades and changes that RI Fast Ferry plans to implement in the coming years. According to Donadio, the company is looking to build a 4,000 sq. ft. waiting terminal with views of the bay and a food and beverage area. A new dock for the ferry is also in the works.

For more information, visit Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s website.

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