Catalina ExpressÆ quickest vessel to sail next month

SAN PEDRO -- Catalina Express will introduce a vessel -- its fastest ever -- into Long Beach-Catalina service next month. The 300-passenger catamaran will make the crossing to the island from the California mainland at a speed of more than 37 knots. The trip will be accomplished in 50 minutes or less, a saving of at least 25 minutes over that of the companyÆs other boats.

The newcomer will be known as the Starship Express. It was built at the Pequot River Shipworks in New London, Conn., and it completed its sea trials in the East earlier this month. The all-aluminum vessel is currently en route to California -- a 6,000-mile journey from Connecticut via the Panama Canal. Its two decks offer plush interiors, access for passengers with disabilities and an upper-deck lounge.

In its 17-year history, Catalina Express has carried almost 9 million passengers between the California mainland gateways of San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point to the picturesque island retreat 26 miles away. Its fleet of seven ferry-style vessels include one 56-passenger boat, five carrying 150 and a triple-decker with a capacity of 360. The slowest of its craft makes the journey in just under two hours, depending on conditions. Some of the others make the trip in about 75 minutes.

The fares on the companyÆs 28 departures a day are $38 for adults ($34.50 for those 55 years old and over) and $28.50 for children between the ages of 2 and 11.

Catalina Express

Phone: (800) 995-4386 or (310) 519-1212

Web: www.CatalinaExpress.com

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