Starting Monday, Marine Atlantic is offering pet-friendly cabins for travellers who don't want to leave their pets in kennels or alone in their cars during ferry crossings.
The ferry service operates two routes, with crossings between Sydney, N.S., and Argentia, N.L., and Sydney and Port aux Basques, N.L.
The change was sparked by customer demand.
Marine Atlantic launched a pet-friendly cabin pilot program last year. Due to its success, the company said it is now making eight cabins available for people who want to keep their pets with them.
The price is about $40 more than one that isn't available for pets.
Shaun MacLean likes the change. He's from Cape Breton originally, but now lives in Labrador.
He travels to Cape Breton a few times a year, but has avoided taking the ferry. He didn't want to leave his two dogs in a kennel for the six-hour crossing. That meant driving 36 hours.
"What we've done historically is travel the long route from Happy Valley-Goose Bay through Quebec and New Brunswick to eventually land in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton to avoid that six-hour time that the dogs would be without us," he said.
More than 2,000 bookings already
Since being announced last week, the pet-friendly cabins are being booked up.
"In the first 24 hours when we announced, we had over 2,000 bookings for the pet-friendly cabin, so it's proving to be very popular," said Darrell Mercer, spokesperson for Marine Atlantic. "The feedback that we are hearing from customers is that it's a welcome addition."
While there aren't any restrictions on the size of pets allowed in cabins, there is a limit of two pets per cabin.
Mercer also said that Marine Atlantic will be using the first few months to determine if there will be a need to increase the number of pet-friendly cabins.
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