Ferry to Nantucket- help?

Old Jun 25th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Ferry to Nantucket- help?

I am coming from Connecticut and try to decide between Woods Hole and Hyannis (are there other places too?)- which is a better bet? Is the high speed ferry really noisy? We are taking our first vacation from our one year old and want things to be as relaxing as possible. Thanks for your help.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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There are two ferry companies serving Nantucket - Steamship Authority and Hy-Line. Both have detailed websites. Both depart for Nantucket from Hyannis. There is another, seasonal, high speed ferry that leaves from Harwich Port called the Freedom Cruise Line.

In the busy season and on weekends, reservations are essential for the high speed ferry trips. And, it's best not to book the fast ferry after the last "slow" ferry of the day, as trips are occasionally cancelled due to weather (whereupon you can take a "slow" ferry so as not to "lose" a night's lodging on Nantucket, where there are rigid cancellation policies).

Regardless of the ferry trip you plan, it is essential to allow plenty of time for getting there, parking the car, picking up/purchasing your tickets.

Typically, you will have to park off site, and take a shuttle back to the ferry dock. If you have a lot of belongings/bags, best if one drops the others off, parks the car and returns.

You may want to compare the cost of flying from Hyannis to the high speed ferry (not sure about fares for babies). We like to cruise over and fly back. We leave the car at the Hyannis airport.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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djkbooks says most of it very well, but two points:

1. the new Steamship Authority fast ferry is a much larger and more stable vessel than the old one and is much less likely to be cancelled for weather. It just started a month or two ago, and I rode it in heavy weather the first week without any distress. It is not noisy.

2. flying is very noisy because you are in 9 passenger Cessna 402's which are not pressurized. The trip is very quick from Hyannis, but if you want to fly and are coming from CT, you can fly Cape Air from Providence or New Bedford and avoid all the traffic on Cape Cod.

3. (Yes, I know I said "2", but I changed my mind). The classic way to arrive in Nantucket is on one of the big old car ferries. They take 2 hours and 20 minutes, but they have food (good chowder) and lots of outdoor benches where you can get a tan and watch the boat traffic on the way over. It is very relaxing, and it is also the cheapest way to go.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Akislander makes a good point about the "slow" ferry. It really is a fun and relaxing ride. And, there are two complimentary "newspapers" available on board (also available once you arrive in Nantucket) chock full of seeing and doing, restaurants, etc.

It is quite the thrill to be at the front of the boat (with your camera) as the ferry approaches Nantucket Harbor!

But, we really like flying back. Only 20 minutes in the air, and you can leave whenever you like without worrying about the ferry schedules/crowds.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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djk: Regarding the parking. We parked across the street from the dock at a lot owned by a restaurant. They charge the same as other lots, and you can walk to the boat. Not familiar with the idea of taking a "shuttle" back to the dock.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 09:14 PM
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Parking near the Hyannis docks depends on when you visit. It is not unusual during the summer and on weekends for all the lots within walking distance to be chock full. The parking attendants at the dock will direct you to the nearest lot with spaces, and a shuttle runs around picking everyone up.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 03:21 AM
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Looking back on it, I think I last went in early fall, so maybe the parking wasn't as crowded as it might be in summer.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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I am staying in Hyannis & hope to get to Nantucket - especially to get my chocalate chubby. I did not realise that the ferries would be as full as you are reporting. Martha's Vineyard yes but not Nantucket. I went to MV last year & had no trouble with the ferry so can you confirm if midweek sailings are that full. I can't guess yet what departure we will get but hoped to get the last sailing back to Hyannis - probably the steamer.
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