Nova Star Cruises announces alliance with N.S. company for reservation services

Tina Comeau
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The Nova Star.

By Tina Comeau



Although there is still no definitive date as to when ferry bookings will begin, Nova Star Cruises has announced that it has formed an alliance with a Bedford-based Nova Scotia company to handle the reservation service for the Nova Star ferry.

Nova Star Cruises announced on March 5 that Intergy Applied Hospitality Solutions (Intergy) of Bedford, which operates an on-line booking engine and bilingual reservation center in eastern Canada, will serve as the reservation centre hub for Nova Star Cruises.

Although employees at the centre in Bedford will be available to handle any overflow reservations traffic, the president and chief operating officer of Intergy says the intention is to hire people from Yarmouth who will work out of a reservation centre based here. At minimum, says Clarke Squires of Intergy, they expected to start out with six to eight employees in Yarmouth.

By comparison, when the Scotia Prince operated a reservation centre here they employed around 20 people.

“They’ll be trained so they can do everything,” he says, “Not just ferry reservations, but we’ll be training them so they could book a hotel if someone needed a hotel if they’re traveling across on the ferry and they want to stay somewhere in Nova Scotia.”

This also includes the Nova Star Discovery Program, which is a destination marketing program that has been set up to provide value-added tour packages for ferry travelers.

Although the ferry is important to the Yarmouth area, the ferry service will provide economic stimulus to the entire province. The Nova Star Discovery Program enables guests to combine their ferry passage with shore-based hotels and excursions to further enhance their vacation in Nova Scotia.

“So we’ll be cross training. This will, I believe, be a tremendous opportunity for people in Yarmouth," says Squires. "They will become true hospitality reservationists to provide reservations on the ferry, but also to book those things that people on the ferry would be able to do and see and experience in Nova Scotia.”

As for when reservations can begin for the Nova Star ferry service, that is still being worked out.

Initially Nova Star Cruises had intended to start accepting reservations by the end of January for the new ferry service. But that got delayed to the end of February as the company had to work out details with the United States Federal Maritime Commission, which said the ferry company needed to have financial reserves in place to deal with such issues as having money to reimburse passengers in the event of cancelled crossings. Without this financial reserve in place, the American commission would not allow Nova Star Cruises to advertise fares on its website or start taking reservations. The company even had to temporarily disable their Facebook page.

The ferry company turned to the province of Nova Scotia for assistance and last week the province said that $2 million of the up-to $21 million that the province has allotted for the ferry service would be made available to be held in reserve to satisfy the requirements of the United States Federal Maritime Commission.

Sean Lewis, a spokesperson for Nova Star Cruises, says those details are now being worked out so the company can begin the phase of accepting reservations.

“We’re working with the Federal Maritime Commission in the U.S.,” he says. “Once we have approvals in place we’ll be able to start taking reservations. There’s no timeline for that right now, but obviously we hope it’s in the near future.”

According to media reports, however, there is a 60-day application process in play. Still, Nova Star Cruises continues to insist that May 1 will be the launch of the ferry service between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth.

Lewis says the ferry terminal in Yarmouth will serve as the regional office and centre of operations for Nova Star Cruises, which is where reservations specialists Intergy will hire will be based out of, although, the reservations company says technology also allows people to work from home if need be.

For his part Mark Amundsen, the president and CEO of Nova Star Cruises, says they are happy to have formed an alliance with the Bedford-based company for their reservation needs.

“Intergy’s in-depth knowledge of the Nova Scotia tourism industry and their extensive infrastructure and corporate networks will be an excellent complement to Nova Star Cruises’ marketing expertise,” says Amundsen. “They will help us offer a much broader choice of high quality guest experiences for our customers.”

Intergy says it is equally pleased to be working with Nova Star Cruises.

“We are delighted with this exceptional opportunity to work with Nova Star Cruises and the entire Nova Scotia tourism industry to make Nova Scotia the number one destination in the Northeast,” says Squires. “We believe these programs will help all of Nova Scotia capitalize on the unique opportunity that the Nova Star Cruises ferry service brings to travelers in Nova Scotia and throughout the Northeast United States.”

Squires says people interested in the employment opportunity that has presented itself in Yarmouth to tie in with the ferry service can email résumés to the company at

Squires’ company, which has been offering reservations services for about a dozen years, and Squires himself, who has been in the hospitality industry for what he calls a long time, is excited for the opportunity to work with Nova Star Cruises, and to help the hospitality industry in Nova Scotia.

“Our goal here, from day one in working with Nova Star, is to have an excellent presence in Yarmouth, to be able to train people in Yarmouth to be able to take these calls as multi-talented reservationists and in this case, it’s also about selling Nova Scotia,” he says, adding the ferry is a conduit to get people to this province “to see and do all of the great things that they can experience.”

“Yarmouth is the gateway and Yarmouth will benefit tremendously from the service, and we all know the challenges that Yarmouth has had,” says Squires. “And so while we know Yarmouth will benefit in a great way, also will all of Nova Scotia.

“I’m excited for Yarmouth and I believe with the collaboration of Nova Star Cruises and Intergy, and with the strength and knowledge that we have in what do, and working with Nova Star and their passion for what they’re doing, I think it’s going to be a very good alliance.”

Organizations: Star Cruises, Intergy Applied Hospitality Solutions, Federal Maritime Commission

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Yarmouth, Bedford Eastern Canada U.S. Portland, Maine Northeast United States

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Recent comments

  • Robert S Sims, Jr
    March 22, 2014 - 15:00

    Very excited to see a new vessel to go to Yarmouth. We used to take the Blue Nose from Bar Harbor when I was very young. Now we get to take our kids.

  • gordon b . smith
    March 20, 2014 - 12:57

    great to have this ready to go and do you have aticket fees chart yet and if so please send me one by e-mail

  • Janice Ortmann
    March 09, 2014 - 10:31

    I read with interest as I am travelling from Scotland in August so hope the ferry is up and running for we tourists How long is the crossing and estimate of cost would be great

  • Lynn Nickreson
    March 08, 2014 - 06:56

    I am ready to make my reservation. Can't wait!

  • philippe frigault
    March 07, 2014 - 14:29

    and now, Ladies and Gentlemen, that lovely ferry from Yarmouth to Portland, might not go because they don't have the permission yet to travel between the 2 places, IS THIS A JOKE OR WHAT< WHAT BUNCH OF IDIOTS>, this saga has to end soon and somebody better wake up and smell the coffee, I'm so ashamed of saying I live or I'm from Nova-Scotia , unreal, just unreal

  • kathleen richardson
    March 06, 2014 - 18:31

    I cant' find out anywhere the PET policy for the new ferry. Will there be kennels for pets? May people now, especially seniors travel with their dogs . Any information would be appreciated.

  • TCB
    March 06, 2014 - 09:43

    I don't know what your comment is referring to, but perhaps you have misread the article. The agents are being trained to assist in a one stop kind of in-bound call environment. The cruise ship is NOT selling packages only, their primary function is to book transportation only, but they will be able to assist if additional assistance is requested, such as helping to book a destination lodging or something like that. As for you feeling that they should offer options that are less expensive, I am at a loss to find what you are referring to. The new revised prices have not yet been posted. The ferry will cost what it costs, it will not be for everyone, nor will it be affordable by everyone, that is the way transportation is these days. This is a luxury vessel, and with the amenities they have on board, those traveling on it will be expected to pay according, and this vessel is designed for the discerning traveler who has disposable income and is willing to pay for an upscale experience. I truly look forward to having a luxury class transportation mode finally serving this area. Now if only Yarmouth could neaten and organize itself up a bit and become a bit more enticing, we might have a chance on making this a destination rather than a drive-through point as people go to preferred tourism destinations.

  • Robert W.
    March 05, 2014 - 20:25

    Just a simple question. At the moment there is the ITB 2014 ( Intern.Touristic Berlin ) trade fair in Berlin GER. Is there a delegation of Yarmouth to represent our community and the return of the connection to the US? Which part is our Int.Airport playing, beeing all time ready for whom? This important part of Chain Supply Management is totaly out of the focus. But why? Hopefully our call for help towards the travelers and visitors will not trail off behind the tricontyline. We need publicity and connectivity to Halifax and furthermore to be someone again. There is still a lot to do to achieve nearly the quality of the beautiful bocklets against the actual impression. Many people are very busy to do their best and let me just say thank you for their efforts.

  • WPH
    March 05, 2014 - 17:34

    I feel you should offer other options that are less expensive. I just want transportation, I already have a vacation planned.