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The Cat Goes Caribbean

(November 6, 2003)

There is a new way to make the trip from South Florida to the Bahamas. The Cat is the fastest ferry in North America and can zip 900 passengers across the ocean at highway speedsó55 mph to be exact.  The ferry runs from Port Everglades to Grand Bahama Island in less than two hours.  Better yet, it's much cheaper than flying to the islands.

The Cat

Gliding smoothly over the Atlantic, the 300-foot Cat cuts an impressive figure in the water. This sea monster-like craft is so distinctive that she becomes a major tourist attraction in every port-of-call she visits.

Unlike traditional ships, the Cat's, with its unique catamaran design, doesn't ride on top of the waves but cuts through them. The vessel funnels the power of four 9,500 horsepower engines through four water jets, each pumping the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool of water per second. There are two areas onboard where one can step outside and witness this amazing power. At the back of the ship, jets shoot out a tail of water that's over 20 feet high and 50 feet long. The spray will get you quite wet, but on a hot day, it's refreshing. The viewing deck at the front of the ship provides a great vantage point as well but also a good place for whale, porpoise, and sea bird sightings.

You can travel in style with many of the amenities one would expect of a cruise ship are available.  The Cafe serves snacks and meals all day. There is also a bar and a duty free gift shop, and those wanting to try their hand at gambling will find over 120 slot and poker machines. Seats are airplane-like and plentiful, and allow you to relax and watch the ocean scenery. There's even film entertainment for the kids that is shown on large screen TVs.

If You Go

The Cat will be running from November 1 thru December 21.  Reservations are highly recommended and can be made online or by phone 866-31-FERRY. Costs vary, prices range between $129 and $189 for adults and $70 for children ages 3 to 17.  There are also excellent vacation packages available to many of the island's resorts including Our Lucaya.  

(Note: During the summer and fall seasons (May through October), over half a million people travel on the vessel from Bar Harbor, Maine to Nova Scotia -- cars, trucks, and campers are allowed on those voyages. During the winter months, the Cat migrates south to Florida then onto New Zealand.) 

Related Stories:

The Cat - Fastest Way To A Two Nation Vacation

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