Steamship Authority Postpones Summer Reservation Openings After Latest Website Snafu

Jason Graziadei •

Hazlegrove 4718
Photo by Cary Hazlegrove |

After yet another failure of its website this week, the Steamship Authority announced Friday that it was postponing summer reservation openings while it further investigates the cause of the problems that left many customers unable to book reservations online on Thursday.

Describing the issues as "technical challenges" experienced by island residents and homeowners who qualified for the "Headstart" program this week, the boat line stated the general reservation opening for Nantucket that had been set for next Tuesday, Jan. 23 would be postponed. New reservation opening dates will not be announced until an internal investigation and further testing of the Steamship's system are completed.

The "Headstart" program will continue through Monday as planned, the Steamship stated, allowing those year-round residents and seasonal homeowners who qualify to continue making reservations through Jan. 22. Customers attempting to book vehicle reservations on Thursday ran into a host of problems, including “504 error” messages, non-working dropdown menus, and long queues in the virtual waiting room. It marked the third year in a row that the Steamship Authority's website has buckled under high demand.

“Each year our IT team takes preparing for these days very seriously, and they have been hard at work for several weeks performing multiple load tests of our reservation process and testing our waiting room product. That preparation did not indicate there would be any issues for this week’s reservation openings,” Steamship general manager Bob Davis said. “I want to be completely sure we have identified and addressed any remaining issues before we make the decision to open reservations,” Davis said. “These reservation opening days are the start of our customer’s summertime journey with us, and we always strive to make it as smooth a process as possible. We look forward to announcing new opening dates to our customers as soon as possible.”

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