From Aerosmith to The Lion King — Nova Star goes big with its vacation packages

Vocalist Steven Tyler (L) and guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform during their "Aerosmith: Let Rock Rule" tour at The Forum in Inglewood, California, last month. (Reuters photo)

Vocalist Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform during a concert in Inglewood, California, last month. (Reuters photo)

When the Nova Star launched in May, it picked up where previous ferry services left off, offering daily trips from Portland to Nova Scotia and back again.

There were — and still are — a lot of amenities on-board, like a casino and multiple restaurants, but it was a fledgling up-and-back ride.

The Nova Star cruise ship travels daily between Maine and Nova Scotia. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

The Nova Star cruise ship travels daily between Maine and Nova Scotia. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Now the folks at the Nova Star want tourists to consider their cruise ship a longer term vacation prospect, and they’re hauling out the big names to get that message out. The ferry service announced today a slate of tour and excursion packages that make the Nova Star look less like a seafaring Downeaster train and more like a Carnival cruise.

A couple of standout choices are a multiday trip that includes tickets to Nova Scotia’s Cape Fest, held on Sept. 12 and headlined by the iconic American rock band Aerosmith, or another that provides Canadian tourists a direct pipeline to the Broadway production of The Lion King in Boston.

Said Danny Morton, Nova Star’s cruise marketing and business development director, in a statement:

We’re very pleased to offer our new packages as we continuously pursue our mission to provide our guests with the most amazing experiences. Our partners at Atlantic Tours and North American Traveler share in our goal, and as a result, we have created some outstanding tours that are both convenient and cost-efficient for our travelers.

This new and high-profile selection of multiday excursion choices comes as Nova Star is already reporting a significant rebound in its ticket sales after a bit of a rocky start.

The Aerosmith trip has double rates starting at $899, while The Lion King trip — which obviously involves a stint on the train to make the link from Portland to Boston, and includes a hotel room — has double rates starting at $745.

Another option is the “Maritime Magic” tour from Portland, 11 days and 10 nights including a bus tour of Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, and another is a 14-day/13-night trip circling Newfoundland and Labrador. Others focus on getting Portlanders up to the Bay of Fundy or Canadian tourists down to the shopping in Freeport.

Double rates for the week-plus-long excursions range from $2,700 to $3,700, for what it’s worth. Visit the Nova Star website for details or to get tickets.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.