The much-heralded New Year’s Day launch of the Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry service was delayed due to high waves and strong wind.
Royal Passenger Liner Co. had promised 15 days of free rides from Bali Hai Pier to the Prachuap Khiri Khan resort city at 9 a.m., but the boat never left the pier. Managing Director Preecha Thanthipura was disappointed, but said passenger safety was the first priority.
He noted that a test run had been made on Dec. 30 with an empty ferry and, even then, the trip encountered problems due to stormy conditions in Hua Hin.
On Jan. 1, the Meteorological Department warned of wind-driven swells up to four meters high. The disappointed passengers were offered a free ride to Koh Larn instead.
Marine Department Director Ekaraj Khantaro said the next test run was rescheduled tentatively for Jan. 4. The official start of service remains set for Jan. 12.
The Chinese-made catamaran ferry can seat up to 320 passengers on two decks. The lower deck is for economy class while the top deck is reserved for business and VIP class. All luggage, bags or parcels are scanned before loading onto the ferry for security and safety demonstrations are made when all passengers are seated.
Up to 200 free tickets for each day of the trial run are available only at the ticket office and are subject to availability.
Plans call for a daily sailing at 8:30 a.m. with a return trip at 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost 1,250 baht for economy class with higher, yet undetermined rates, set for VIP and business class.
Royal Passenger Liner will operate off the fourth jetty from the Bali Hai bridge where the company made improvements over two days, including installation of the luggage and freight scanner in just two days.
The Marine Department inspected the pier, the bridge, water levels and more before the first test run and Royal Passenger Liner had both the hull and engines inspected in separate tests in the last days of 2016.
For ticket reservations and inquiries, contact the ticket booth at 038-488-999. Parking is available at the automated parking garage near Bali Hai Pier.