Balearia Bahamas Express cruise ship in the Port of Miami.

Balearia Bahamas Express Ferry

The Balearia Bahamas Express is sleek and sexy – and if it was a cruise ship, it’s not big and gigantic like the majority of cruise ships which we see in the Port of Miami. But it’s not. It’s a FERRY.

This ship has been docked for over a day, so I’ have done a bit of research about this newest entrant at the Port of Miami. But no matter what I find it’s a beautiful ship if I’ve ever seen one.

According to online chatter, this ship will act as a ferry between Miami and Bimini:

Initial plans for a ‘dry run’ this upcoming [Memorial Day] holiday weekend have been scrapped, but according to Leslie Bethel, president of the Notarc Management Group, Bimini residents should not have long to wait before they see the first tourists arrive. “The launch and service are on target for late May/early June,” Bethel said.

Notarc has been an integral part of bringing the ferry service to Bimini, along with the Capo Group which owns the Bimini Bay Resort. Bethel said it will take 15 to 20 days for the vessel to arrive in Miami. Its last location was a port in Spain. Once the vessel is in Miami, it will go through some retrofitting for amenities and will undergo test runs, Bethel said.

Bethel has confirmed that the vessel will come directly into the government dock in Alice Town, Bimini. Some maintenance dredging of the waterways leading to the dock will be necessary to accomplish this, but Bethel said that work will commence before ferry service begins.

The fact that the vessel will come into the government dock should bode well for many of the smaller local participants in the tourism industry in Bimini. The dock is close to the local straw market, and opportunities should be created for taxi and water-taxi operators, tour guides, restaurant owners, and other entrepreneurial endeavors.

The ferry, named ‘Patricia Olivia’, will be operated by Spanish ferry operator Balearia, but under the name “Bahamas Express” Bethel said.

Future plans are in the works to extend the ferry service into Grand Bahama, Guardian Business has learned. The details of the Grand Bahama aspect of the operation are still in the works, however.

According to a release from Balearia, the crossing from Miami to Bimini will take around two hours. The vessel will leave Miami at 9:00 a.m. and return at 8:00 p.m., allowing visitors a full day to enjoy Bimini’s offerings. The ferry plans to operate daily, except for Wednesdays. The vessel sails at 32 knots and in addition to the 450 passengers it can hold, it can also accommodate 80 vehicles. According to a press statement released yesterday, passengers will enjoy amenities like a café bar, a duty free store, an onboard casino, and first class accommodation. Balearia is offering initial one day excursions at $99 plus taxes, according to the release.

Information Source: The Hull Truth