DR ferry from Mayagüez, SJ to launch in March
America Cruise Ferries, a joint venture among French, Mexican and Puerto Rican investors, said Thursday its Caribbean Fantasy vessel will make its inaugural trip across the Mona Passage on March 16 from Mayagüez.
The ferry will also serve San Juan, with scheduled sailings from the Puerto Rican capital’s Panamericano Pier on Mondays at 7 p.m.
Mayagüez runs are scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. The San Juan trips, which will take 12 hours to reach Santo Domingo, are priced at $189 per passenger. The eight-hour runs from Mayagüez will cost $169 per person.
The information and reservations systems will be up and running by the end of this month, partner Daniel Berrebi said.
America Cruise Ferries is stepping in to fill the void left by the idling of Ferries del Caribe last year amid a legal dispute over fees at the Port of Mayagüez.
Ferries del Caribe’s Caribbean Express carried about 170,000 passengers, 19,000 passenger vehicles and 11,000 trucks annually. The service was plagued by disagreements between Ferries del Caribe, the private operator of the Port of Mayagüez and the quasi-public Ports Commission.
Berrebi indicated that America Cruise Ferries’ service could be extended to other Caribbean islands in the future.
The new service is expected to sustain some 100 direct jobs and 300 indirect jobs in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock lauded the re-establishment of a “maritime bridge” between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic that will boost tourism and travel between the two destinations.
Economic Development Bank President Lizzie Rosso touted the new ferry service as an opportunity for small and midsized businesses in Puerto Rico to export their goods to the Dominican Republic.
Economic Development & Commerce Department Chief Development Officer Jaime López Díaz noted the previous ferry from Mayagüez spurred thousands of hotel room nights in the western region.
The Caribbean Fantasy has a higher capacity than the service it is replacing. It can carry 1,100 passengers, in addition to automobiles and cargo containers, on every crossing. The vessel boasts recreation areas and 140 cabins.