Expanding Canadian Presence with Dining and Sightseeing Cruises on the St. Lawrence River
CHICAGO, May 2, 2019 – Entertainment Cruises, the nation’s leading dining and sightseeing cruise company, today confirmed the acquisition of 1000 Islands operator, Gananoque Boat Line (“GBL”). The completion of the transaction further extends the company’s presence in Canada, where it already owns Toronto-based Mariposa Cruises and expands its portfolio to 53 vessels serving upwards of 2.6 million guests across 12 locations in North America.
“Gananoque Boat Line is more than just a boat company; it is a cornerstone of the local community,” said Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises. “As a company, Entertainment Cruises prides itself on our involvement in, and partnership with, the communities we serve, so the bringing together of our two organizations felt like a natural fit. The acquisition of Gananoque Boat Line marks another exciting step in our company’s growth strategy and is a sign of our continued commitment to the cruises and events industry.”
“The 1000 Islands region, with its endless shorelines and spectacular natural beauty is an area best explored on water,” said Paul Sanett, Vice President Marketing & Growth of Entertainment Cruises. “We are excited to have found such an enticing opportunity on the idyllic St. Lawrence River, and together, look forward to extending our offering and provide extraordinary experiences to our guests in this market.”
Gananoque Boat Line is the 1000 Islands largest hospitality cruise operator. Its fleet of all-aluminum, triple-decker vessels offer scenic dining, sightseeing, special events or private charter cruises for up to 500 guests from its Gananoque base, which is located, some 3 hours from Toronto, 2 hours from Ottawa, and 3 hours from Montreal. The town is also just 15 minutes from the border crossing into New York State via the 1000 Islands Bridge.
“Gananoque Boat Line has come a long way since 1951 when three Gananoqueans began operating the Linda’s on the St. Lawrence,” said Harry Clarke and Chris McCarney, owners of GBL. “The company’s success over the last 68 years is due, in no small part, to the support of the town and people of Gan. As part of industry-leading Entertainment Cruises, the boat line, its team, the people and town will benefit from an engaged partner that understands the importance of community, is committed to protecting the waterways on which it sails and can bring a level of scale and scope that secures the boat line’s future for many years to come. This is a bitter sweet day, but we feel excited for Gananoque Boat Line under their leadership.”
Going forward, Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises will lead the newly merged company. Neil McCarney, currently Operations Manager of Gananoque Boat Line, will be promoted to General Manager. Given its longstanding and admired heritage, the business will continue to operate under the Gananoque Boat Line brand and will remain headquartered at its Gananoque base. It is anticipated that
there will be no impact to existing operations at this time, with both companies operating independently for the foreseeable future.
Today’s announcement reaffirms Entertainment Cruises’ continued confidence in the sector where it now owns and operates a portfolio of nine distinctive, award-winning dining cruise, sightseeing, private charter and water taxi brands in coveted destinations such as Alexandria VA, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, National Harbor, Norfolk VA, Philadelphia, New York, Weehawken NJ, Washington D.C., Toronto, and now Gananoque, Ontario.
Over the last five years, Entertainment Cruises has invested over $50 million in its fleet, technology and guest experiences, and recently launched Odyssey Chicago River, a luxurious glass-enclosed dining cruise vessel with an entirely new 360-degree panoramic perspective. The company has also just completed a winter program of innovative enhancements and upgrades across multiple vessels in a drive to become even more guest centric, unveiling a multi-million dollar transformation of Odyssey III, its luxurious Washington, D.C. flagship dining vessel last month. For more information, visit www.hornblower.com.
About Gananoque Boat Line
Operating since 1951, Gananoque Boat Line is the 1000 Islands oldest and largest hospitality cruise operator with a fleet of five vessels. With an emphasis on exceptional hospitality and service, the award-winning company offers a wide-ranging selection of cruise experiences from sightseeing to dining to private events exploring the spectacular St. Lawrence River. For more information, visit www.ganboatline.com.
Entertainment Cruises is the premier provider of water-based dining, sightseeing and transportation experiences in North America. Over the last 40 years, the company has continually redefined the domestic marine hospitality industry, establishing a portfolio of nine distinctive, award-winning brands that are available in coveted destinations such as Alexandria VA, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Norfolk VA, Philadelphia, National Harbor, New York, Weehawken NJ, Washington D.C., Toronto, and now Gananoque, Ontario, following the recent acquisition of Gananoque Boat Line. Continuously innovating to elevate guest experience, the company recently debuted Odyssey Chicago River, a luxurious glass-enclosed vessel that pairs upscale dining and entertainment with an entirely unique 360-degree panoramic perspective that fully immerses guests in the spectacular architecture and vibrant energy of the Chicago River. Today, 2,900 full-time and part-time shipmates operate a fleet of 53 vessels, delivering over 27,000 cruises to upwards of 2.6 million guests each year. For more information, visit www.hornblower.com .