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Steamship Authority prepared for summer travel season

Posted: May 26, 2021

Limited concession sales resume; travelers urged to remember mask mandates before traveling

FALMOUTH (May 24, 2021) – With Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer on the horizon, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is preparing for a robust season of travel to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – and it is issuing some helpful reminders and updates to its customers before they come on board. 

“Especially as we emerge from this long period of uncertainty, we at the Steamship Authority are eager and excited to see summer travel begin again,” said General Manager Robert B. Davis. “All of our employees, including bus drivers, ticket sellers and captains, are ready to welcome our customers back on board, whether they are heading to their favorite island for the day, week or season.” 

The following are some specific items that travelers should keep in mind for the 2021 season.

Masks still required: Despite recent announcements from state and federal officials that have relaxed or eliminated mask guidelines in certain circumstances, there has been no change to the requirements that apply to travel on board our vessels, our buses or within the terminals. Travelers who stay in their vehicles for the duration of their trip do not need to wear a mask, but need to do so if they exit their vehicle for any reason.

Limited concessions now available: After being closed due to COVID-19, limited food and beverage sales are now available on certain Steamship Authority vessels. The Authority’s concessionaire, Centerplate, is offering prepackaged food and beverages on a limited basis and only on certain vessels as they continue to ramp up their operations.

Initially, concessions will be offered daily on the M/V Iyanough, the M/V Island Home, the M/V Nantucket and, on weekends, on the M/V Woods Hole. However, not all trips may have concessions available, so please plan accordingly if you need something to drink or eat for your trip. Food and beverage service is not available at our terminals at this time. We ask customers to remember they may only lower their mask while they are eating or drinking, either inside or outside on the vessel.

Book now: For customers who wish to bring their vehicles with them to the islands, reservations are strongly recommended, as vehicle space on vessels in the summertime is extremely limited. Additionally, Fridays-Mondays during the summer, along with other high-travel periods, are designated as “reservation only” days and no standby travel will be available. Although demand is high for vehicle reservations, there are still options available for travelers who can make their trips at less sought-after times, such as mid-week or early/late in the day. Visit www.steamshipauthority.com/reservations for details or to book a trip.

Reservations are also required for passengers wishing to take the high-speed ferry service aboard the M/V Iyanough, which takes only one hour dock-to-dock on the Hyannis/Nantucket route.

Reservations are not required for passengers traveling without a vehicle and using our traditional ferry service to either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard

eFerry ticketing available: Customers can take advantage of the Steamship Authority’s eFerry ticketing program on all of its routes. On its traditional ferry service to both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, the ticketing system is paired with a responsive mobile payment option, alloing customers a quick, convenient and contactless method to buy their tickets and hop on board their ferry.

Traditional ferry tickets can be purchased on the web at app.steamshipauthority.com, where customers can simply choose their route, their fare and the number of tickets before paying with the Apple Pay or Google Wallet mobile payment methods, or by using a debit or credit card. Within seconds, the tickets are then loaded to the customer’s Apple Wallet or Google Pay and are ready to be redeemed at the terminal. The eFerry tickets use near-field communication technology, commonly called NFC, for redemption instead of asking passengers to scan a barcode displayed on a smartphone.

Reservations on the Authority’s high-speed service between Hyannis and Nantucket must be made online at www.streamshipauthority.com or by calling its reservation office. An email confirmation then allows customers to load those tickets into their Apple Wallet or Google Pay, which can then be redeemed via their mobile device when boarding the vessel.

Nantucket Unaccompanied Drive-on/Drive-off Services resume: The service was suspended due to COVID-19 but has now been resumed at both the Hyannis and Nantucket terminals. Additional safety protocols have been put in place, including a requirement that customers complete a health wellness questionnaire, which will be provided to them at the terminal, and clean their vehicle interiors prior to an Authority employee entering it.

The popular service allows, for an additional fee, customers traveling on the Hyannis/Nantucket route to leave their car at the terminal and travel as a passenger on the M/V Iyanough, the Authority’s high-speed ferry. Authority personnel will then drive their vehicle on a later vehicle ferry; the vehicle can then be picked up by the customer at its destination port.

Stay up-to-date: Travelers are urged to check www.steamshipauthority.com for the latest updates before they travel; they can also find links there to sign up for the Authority’s eNews and travel alerts. A special web page, www.steamshipauthority.com/2019coronavirus, lists updates specifically related to precautions and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers can also follow the Authority on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Since 1960, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has served as the transportation lifeline to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard year round. The Steamship Authority is the largest ferry service to the islands and offers the most frequent daily departures for passengers, automobiles, groups and trucks. In 2019, over 3 million passengers and over 670,000 vehicles were transported to and from the islands. Our U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews are committed to the highest level of safety at sea while our vessels offer comfort and convenience with spacious seating, snack bars, free Wi-Fi and TV on board.

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