Posted February 15th, 2018, 03:42 PM
Any opinions on the mail run boat? it sounds so cool. Is it worth going on & is there a lot to see.
I'm from Portland, and I've recommended the mail boat run several times here on CC. It runs twice daily, but the later run is too late for cruise ship passengers. It gives a great tour of Casco Bay and the Calendar Islands (so called because there's one for every day of the year), and an initiation to the unique nature of island living. The boat brings more than mail for the islanders, when they come to the mainland for groceries, they are specially packed at the store, and brought by the store to the dock, and palletized by island (each person's name on each box), along with coolers for perishables, and the islanders will come down to the dock and collect their groceries. Other times it is propane delivery day, and the boat will drop off quantities of the large propane tanks for the islanders. The islands typically have an elementary school on each island, but for middle and high school, the kids have to take the 45 minute ferry ride to the mainland. Mainland schools have special dismissal times to allow the kids to be bussed to the ferry terminal for the ride home.Thanks for information. Any opportunity to get off at one of the islands and walk around for a few minutes? I realize that the milk run is only 2 - 3 hours so this might not be possible.
Thanks for information. Any opportunity to get off at one of the islands and walk around for a few minutes? I realize that the milk run is only 2 - 3 hours so this might not be possible.Depends on the cargo. If they are wrestling with the monthly Propane delivery, you could get 10-15 minutes. And it doesn't come back to the island until afternoon, so if you get left, you'll have to find an islander with a lobster boat to take you back to the mainland.
I'm from one of the islands the ferry stops at and I always recommend the 10AM down bay trip. Grab a cup of coffee/snack before you board because there's nothing on the ferry but a couple of machines with soda and candy.Thanks for this detailed information, MEcruzr. Is there a way to get the bay map ahead of our cruise or can you point me in the right direction to get one once in port? Thanks much!
FYI, you don't need to buy the "tour". Just get a ticket to Cliff Island. It's the last island out. Stay on the ferry (all tickets sold are round trip) and come back. Bring your own map of Casco Bay. The one they give tourists isn't much better than a placemat!
Also.. if you're 65 or older ask for the senior rate. Last summer tickets to Cliff were $11.25, senior fare was $5.75. There's a ticket kiosk in the waiting room by the wall of windows if the line at the counter is long.
Most islanders are very friendly people. Strike up a conversation and you'll learn a lot about the islands! Riding that ferry gets BORING when you do it all the time. I love talking to the tourists.
Oh... and bring a sweatshirt or something if you plan to sit up top. It can be nice and warm in town but out on the water chances are good it will be chilly.