Vista Jubilee leaves Warren in her wake


If you lived in Rhode Island during the 1990s and early 2000s, you’re likely familiar with the unmistakable Vista Jubilee, the Blount-built ferry boat that ran regular excursions out onto Narragansett Bay for nearly 20 years. Last week, the old vessel sailed out of Warren for a new home in New York City.

The Vista Jubilee, which had been for sale for two years, sold to Hornblower Cruises, an enormous cruise ship company that offers dinner cruises and sight seeing tours to the Statue of Liberty, New York’s East River, Manhattan Bay, Niagara Falls and even Alcatraz in San Francisco. Julie Blount said the plan for this season is to run her in the East River and Manhattan Bay, then completely renovate and refit her after the season.

“We may even do the refit here,” she said.

Measuring 114 feet long and 39 feet wide, the three-deck Vista Jubilee was home to countless weddings, dinner parties, high school reunions and other events over its many years on Narragansett Bay. Unmistakable in appearance, she isn’t fast — she specs out at 10 knots cruising speed. But she has a high end sound system, full kitchen, three decks (two of them heated) and other amenities that made her a popular choice for the thousands of passengers who sailed on her over the years.

Much as they loved the boat, Ms. Blount said company officials decided to sell two years ago because they were running out of room at their Water street campus.

“We’ve always had a problem with berthing our boats, because we didn’t have enough space,” she said. “There was never enough room. And we’ve doubled our work force, so there’s an issue with parking that was worse when people were here for cruises.”

The Vista Jubilee sailed out of Warren on Monday, April 28, and arrived at Pier 40 in New York City a few days later.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.