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How to Get to Newfoundland by Ferry and What Is the Best Ferry to Take to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia?


New Newfoundland Ferry starting in 2024

The latest update on the brand new marine Atlantic ferry is awesome. This new ferry boasts greater fuel efficiency compared with anything else in the Marine Atlantic fleet. Because it uses an environmentally friendly fuel source, this vessel has a lower ecological footprint and is better for marine life. It’s also quite comfortable with improved overnight stays for travellers. That is great news when it comes to taking the Newfoundland Ferry to Newfoundland in 2024.

What is the name of the New Newfoundland Ferry?

The brand new Newfoundland ferry is called the Ala’suinu (Pronunciation: Ah-laa-sue-in-ou), which means “traveller” in Mi’kmaq. This is part of Newfoundland’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous people. It’s a good thing.

What is the best ferry to take to Newfoundland in 2024?

If you’re looking for the best experience during your next Newfoundland ferry crossing, be ferry specific.

All the ferries are nice, but the brand new Newfoundland Ferry called the Ala’suinu is an obvious choice for anyone looking for extra comfort at no extra cost.

Did you know you can choose the ferry you will sail on when booking your ferry tickets to Newfoundland? You can do this over the phone or you can book online. Simply pay attention to the vessel name in the booking calendar when making your reservation and choose Ala’suinu. This new ferry has updated sleeping quarters and additional comforts that will make your ferry crossing to Newfoundland this 2024 a breeze.

What Ferries go to Newfoundland?

This question depends on where you are coming from. You can take a ferry to Newfoundland from Labrador and Quebec (the Northern part that borders Labrador). A ferry also connects the French Island St. Pierre et Miquelon to the town of Fortune in south-eastern Newfoundland, but by far the most popular ferries are the ones that connect Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Over 95% of all visitors to Newfoundland arrive by ferry to Newfoundland from a ferry that departs from the small community of North Sydney, Nova Scotia, that’s situated on the north of Cape Breton. It’s important to note that there are two ferries to choose from when departing from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and they take you to very different locations, so be sure to choose the right ferry to Newfoundland.

Is there a bridge to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia?

There is no bridge from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. If you have visited other Atlantic Canadian island provinces like Prince Edward Island or the island of Cape Breton you have probably arrived at these islands by bridge since they’re closer to the mainland part of Canada. Newfoundland, however, is a lot further offshore and there is no bridge that connects the island of Newfoundland to Mainland Canada

What is the best way to get to Newfoundland?

Because Newfoundland is a big island off the east coast of mainland Canada, getting there means you will either have to fly or take a ferry.

Can I sleep on the Ferry to Newfoundland?

Having a snooze on the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland is a great idea if you’re making the ferry crossing from North Sydney to Port-aux-Basques and a necessity if you’re planning on taking the longer ferry from North Sydney to the Newfoundland port of Argentia.

A limited number of berth accommodations, which are private rooms with a bed and shower, are available for rent on both crossings at an additional cost if you’re looking for maximum comfort during your ferry to Newfoundland. There are also quite comfortable reclining chairs onboard both ferries if you’re unable to secure a berth or want to rough it a little during your crossing.

Sleeping on the ferry to Newfoundland
An example of a cabin berth on the Marine Atlantic ferry from North Sydney to Port Aux Basques

Is there a restaurant on the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland?

Yes, all ferries have restaurants on board and offer everything from small snacks to a full-on buffet and fine dining. It’s always a good idea to bring a few extra snacks on board with you but there are plenty of food options available onboard. If you chose to eat at the buffet or one of the sit-down restaurants, see if you can get a table next to the window since the views on a nice day can be breathtaking.

Below is an informative video from Josh the Travel Guy, in this video, he’ll show you what to expect on the North Sydney to Port-Aux-Basques route.

What is there to do on the ferry crossing to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia?

There is no shortage of things to do on the ferry crossing from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. On a nice day relax outside on one of the sun decks and look for whales, seabirds, and marine mammals. If you’re lucky enough to take the ferry from Nova Scotia to Argentia you will also have the rare opportunity to see the remote southern coast of Newfoundland which is only accessible by boat and showcases large cliffs, stunning scenery, and a plethora of wildlife viewing opportunities.

Marine Atlantic Ferries also offer games rooms for kids, a bar, and a movie theatre that plays family-friendly movies for everyone to enjoy. Make friends with the locals, explore the outer decks, and enjoy the journey.

Enjoy the Movie Theatre on the ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia
Enjoy the Movie Theatre on the ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia

What is the best ferry to take to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia?

This summer 2024 means more options and more comfort for anyone travelling to Newfoundland on the ferry. Traveling to Newfoundland by ferry from Nova Scotia means you now have three options to choose from. Marine Atlantic is the company that operates ferries from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. All the ferries are comfortable and huge, with restaurants and movie theaters on board.

One of the ferries Marine Atlantic operates, the MV Caribou, used to be the largest ferry in the Newfoundland fleet, but now it is the second largest to the newer Ala’suinu, it also has the largest getty in Canada, so it feels more like traveling on a cruise ship than a car ferry. This new ferry runs on natural gas, has low emissions, is fancy, and is nice for the planet.

Ferry routes between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
Ferry routes between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

Be sure to choose the right ferry since one will take you from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to the community of Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland on the West Coast of Newfoundland while the other will take you to the port of Argentia in Eastern Newfoundland, close to the capital city of St. John’s.

The ferry that goes to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland, from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, operates year-round while the ferry that goes to Argentia, Newfoundland, operates seasonally. Here is a breakdown of the two ferry options that connect Nova Scotia to Newfoundland so that you can make the best decision:

OPTION 1: Take the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland

The trip by ferry to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland, from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, takes approximately 7 hours. When you arrive in Port-aux-Basques you will be on the West Coast of Newfoundland, 900km from the capital city of St. John’s and approximately 300km from Gros Morne National Park.

Options for Getting to Newfoundland by Ferry
Getting to Newfoundland by Ferry

If you are planning to primarily visit Western Newfoundland or plan to start your adventure in Western Newfoundland and spend a few days exploring and adventuring across Newfoundland as you make your way to the east coast, this is a good ferry to choose. If, however, your plan is to start your visit to Eastern Newfoundland near the city of St. John’s and the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve, taking a ferry to the port of Argentia may be a better option for you.

The cost of taking the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques, starts at just $35.65 per adult passenger and $101.95 per car. If you’re traveling in a larger vehicle, like an RV, there are additional charges along with a 25% fuel surcharge.

This ferry operates year-round and offers multiple sailings every day. During peak season and holidays the ferry can book-up fast so be sure to reserve a spot. You can reserve any Marine Atlantic ferry online or by calling the Marine Atlantic Reservations number at 1-800-341-7981.

OPTION 2: Take the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Argentia, Newfoundland

Taking the ferry to the Newfoundland port of Argentia from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, is an adventure in itself and a great choice for anyone planning to visit St. John’s and the east coast of Newfoundland. This ferry ride is like taking a mini ocean cruise and is a great experience, especially if you have fine weather during your journey.

This ferry journey to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia takes you along the south coast of Newfoundland and is one of the best ways to view this remote part of the province. The area along Newfoundland’s south coast has the highest concentration of Blue Whales, the largest animal in the world, and the ferry journey along the south coast of Newfoundland offers world-class nature and wildlife viewing opportunities.

During fine weather, this ferry will often have a marine biologist on board to help you understand what you’re looking at which means if the weather and visibility is good during your ferry crossing, the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland, is like being on a marine safari.

The cost of taking the ferry to Argentia from North Sydney starts at $99.80 for adult passengers and $207.35 per car. If you are driving a larger vehicle like an RV or are towing a trailer expect additional charges along with the standard 25% fuel surcharge as is standard on all Marine Atlantic ferry crossings from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. The Argentia ferry is a seasonal ferry that runs from June to September.

The ferry crossing from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland, takes approximately 17 hours, but with so much to see and do during the journey, it feels much shorter. This ferry departs from North Sydney on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and departs the Newfoundland port of Argentia on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

I’m planning to see all of Newfoundland, should I start my adventure on the west coast in Port-aux-Basques or on the east coast in Argentia?

If you’re planning to see all of Newfoundland, meaning you want to start by taking a ferry to one side of the island and then depart from the opposite coast, consider taking the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia and begin your Newfoundland adventure on the east coast close Newfoundland’s capital city of St. John’s and the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve. This area is a great place to start your tour of Newfoundland since it has the largest concentrations of migratory seabirdswhalesboat toursrestaurantsculture, and people. The eastern part of Newfoundland is also home to the East Coast Trail, a well-developed network of coastal paths dedicated to showcasing Newfoundland’s natural beauty.

Starting on the east coast of Newfoundland has many advantages, including better access to rental cars, proximity to Newfoundland’s largest airport, big shopping districts, restaurants, and everything else the populous Avalon Peninsula has to offer.

After getting acquainted with Newfoundland on the east coast, you’ll have a better idea of what the province is like and what you want to see best on your journey east. Since the ferry from Port-aux-Basques to Nova Scotia is shorter, it’s best to save this one for last when you’re out of steam and making your way back to mainland Canada.

Taking the Ferry to Newfoundland
Taking the Ferry to Newfoundland

Can I walk on the Ferry and hire a rental car in Newfoundland?

Yes, rental cars are available in Newfoundland and on both coasts but reserving one in advance is key. Rental cars often sell out in peak summer season and competition for certain models can be fierce. If this is your plan be sure to reserve well in advance for the best possible experience and price.

This summer 2024 is already shaping up to be a busy tourism season. Ferry bookings are up, the farmers almanac is showing a favourable forecast, and everyone is excited for old friends and new.

Are you planning a ferry crossing to Newfoundland this summer 2024? Be sure to book early and plan around your reservation. Booking for the new Ferry to Newfoundland, the Ala’suini, are already booking fast. If you can get on this vessel this summer, do it. With increased capacity and comfort on the North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland, ferry, this summer 2024 Newfoundland Ferry Booking will feel more like a cruise and less like a passenger ferry.

43 Responses

  1. I live in Rockport, MA and have visited PEI three times. I love PEI – Driving own car is the way to go. We flew once from Boston to PEI and rented a car which was just a hassle and waste of time and funds. I want to visit, stay and explore Newfoundland. I prefer the long slow crawl up the East Cost of Maine threw the Bay of Fundy, CA. (nothing fancy-nothing too rugged)I have 6 weeks so where do I take the main land route ? Do I ferry to Novia Scotia or I have missed a beat here…to get to Newfoundland? I understand the we need a ferry (6 hours or so) so get to Newfoundland but from the continent what is best route?
    Thank you-my heart is calling me home and I appreciate this post.

  2. Hi, my friend and I are visiting NFLD this June. Can you rent a car in St John’s and leave st Port aux basque?

    1. That’s a good question, I think it depends on the rental agency. I would call the Marine Atlantic Terminal, they would tell you which car rental places are close by.

      1. There aren’t any car rental places in Port aux Basques. The closest is a 3hr drive before you get to Port aux Basques, at the airport in Deer Lake.

        1. Really? Someone is missing out on that business. You could rent a small u-haul and drive it to Deer Lake car rental place. Or take a taxi … but that sounds super pricey.

        2. Often times people will rent a car in Nova Scotia and drive it onto the ferry. Some visitors are also savvy in their searches and are able to find a non-traditional rental car such as from a moving rental company (think the pick-up trucks and small vans companies like U-Haul and Enterprise rent). Rental car availability is limited in peak seasons, with car rentals often being the choke point in people’s itineraries.


    1. Yes, always book in advance. Create an account on the Marine Atlantic site (https://book.marineatlantic.ca). Always Book ASAP, you can cancel without extra charges and get a full refund if needed. I tell people to book asap even if it’s not the date you want because they get a lot of cancellations and people rescheduling, so you can check the site and reschedule to a better date without any fees or worries.

  4. Fantastic info and thanks
    Quebec here 👋with eventual plans to visit Newfoundland. Researching the options and damn our Canada is big.

    Thank You!

  5. Good morning!

    I am looking for a printable version of the information on this site. If that is possible that would be terrific. If not, thank you just the same for having such excellent details.
    I would like to take one of these routes toward the end of August 2021 so any information is helpful.

    Thank you kindly,

  6. Hello we are planning to be there 8 or 9th of august ,
    Is it open ? The ferry to Newfoundland.
    We are travelling from Montreal and we are both fully vaccinated .
    We are on vacation and we are planning to go from Montreal to deer lake .
    We need to take the ferry to port-aux-basques

  7. Hi, I have been in Ontario this 20 plus years since my last been home. Now retired and planning to move back but covid seems to ba a problem getting there. I can’t seem to find the proper information on driving through provinces. It seems New Brunswick and Nova Scotia has its borders closed to regular travelers. Do anyone know how this works now, can I drive through or not?? Thanks

    1. Also from Ontario, Toronto. My daughter lives near Gander. I advised her that I am getting my second Covid shot next week. That being said she stated there will no problem going to NFLD and I will not need to Quarantine upon arrival. My plan is to drive thru to get the ferry to Argentina, NL and then hit St John and take the east coast drive to her house. Visit a few days then continue on to Port Aux Basque.

  8. My buddy has a Prevost 45 ft. And a stacker trailer 22ft. How much would cost and how many days in advance thanks

  9. First of all, this is a very nice website, good work.
    As a senior saving is very important to us. I can’t find anywhere whether the cost of taking a car includes, or doesn’t include the driver. Most ferries I’ve used over the years include the driver. Do these ferries include the driver in the vehicle pricing?

    1. Hey Robert. Great to hear from you. As far as I know, vehicle rates do not include the driver or passengers. Those would be separate, if I understand it correctly.

      If instance under the Port Aux Basque to North Sydney Crossing (https://www.marineatlantic.ca/sailing-information/ferry-rates/port-aux-basques-nl-north-sydney-ns), under vehicle rates, you’ll see a regular car (or small pick up truck) would be: $114.19

      Then under passenger, you’d need to pay 43.78 per adult.

      But again, I may be wrong, it might be best to call the Marine Atlantic people to get the most updated rates (1-800-341-7981), and always book ahead of time with these ferries.

    2. Hey Robert. Great to hear from you. As far as I know, vehicle rates do not include the driver or passengers. Those would be separate if I understand it correctly.

      For instance under the Port Aux Basque to North Sydney Crossing (https://www.marineatlantic.ca/sailing-information/ferry-rates/port-aux-basques-nl-north-sydney-ns), under vehicle rates, you’ll see a regular car (or small pick up truck) would be: $114.19

      Then under passenger, you’d need to pay 43.78 per adult.

      But again, I may be wrong, it might be best to call the Marine Atlantic people to get the most updated rates (1-800-341-7981), and always book ahead of time with these ferries.

  10. If you bring your dogs with you for option 2 ( Nova Scotia to Argentia ) is there a place for them to do their business? 17 hours is a long time to hold it! Thanks in advance for the help!

    1. Im headed there myself to deliver a trailer also.
      If you dont mind telling, how much did it cost.
      I’m given $600 for transport and tolls. So I’m hoping it covers it roundtrip.

  11. All helpful information, as we’re planning a trip to Springdale next July. My partner was born there, moved to Ontario at an early age, and we are gathering tips on music, eateries, attractions. The ferry information is obviously quite important,
    and great to know in advance to book a berth. Thanks much.

      1. Just a heads up! This article is pretty informative and a great read for travellers to Newfoundland! However, the MV Caribou has been scraped for 9 years and there are 2 ferries that run between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, MV Highlanders and MV Blue Puttees. A third vessel, the MV Atlantic Vision makes the seasonal North Sydney to Argentina route. All 3 vessels were built less than 20 years ago, are modern and beautiful. I live 20 minutes from Port aux Basques and I have sailed on these new vessels a few times and my dad was the Chief Officer on the Blue Puttees. The ferries are a great way to begin your journey to our beautiful island of Newfoundland.

        1. Thanks, Matthew! I’ll be sure to update this post with the new info. Reach out if you want to write an article for us, you seem to know a lot about the Newfoundland ferries!

  12. This is great information to me , because it’s my homeland ..I always wanted to go back and explore now I am an adult.

    My.parents were born there and my mother grew up in plancha Bay ..she often talked of her childhood memories and my Grand Mother …its exciting to know I woke these Paths and form.memories if a life time to treasure

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Whale House Guest House offers luxury boutique private suites with outdoor hot tubs overlooking humpback whale feeding grounds. Located next to the east coast trail in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just 30 min from downtown St. John’s.

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