Hornblower enters the U.K. tour boat market

Written by Marine Log Staff
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Image source: City Cruises

Chicago-based Hornblower Cruises & Events has completed its purchase of City Cruises, the U.K.’s biggest tour boat operator. The milestone deal extends the Hornblower Group’s international footprint into the U.K. market for the first time. It also follows its recent Canadian expansion, and purchase of Boston Harbor Cruises last month

“We are incredibly excited to acquire City Cruises, which we believe to be the best leisure cruise operator in Europe today. We have long had the ambition to enter the European market, and it makes perfect sense to start our journey in one of the most iconic cities in the world,” said Terry MacRae, CEO of Hornblower. “Under the expert stewardship of Gary and Rita Beckwith, City Cruises has earned an enviable reputation, and we are honored to build on their legacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Founded in 1985, City Cruises is carries three million guests each year. A fleet of 20 vessels offer dining, sightseeing and charter cruises, alongside speedboat rides, as well as cruise experiences on the River Ouse in York and Poole on the south coast.

“We believe the sale of City Cruises to Hornblower will take the brand to the next level of success, said Gary Beckwith, City Cruises founder and CEO. “We believe the sale of City Cruises to Hornblower will take the brand to the next level of success. We have always been at the forefront of change and believe our growth and success over the years is testament to our commitment to embracing innovation, constantly investing in our vessels and our customer experiences, and our dedication to providing outstanding customer service every day of the year. We have been honored to be at the helm of City Cruises and believe the business we started will further flourish and grow under Hornblower’s ownership.”

Hornblower Cruises & Events President, Kenneth Svendsen, leads the combined company. All staff will be retained, with founders Gary and Rita Beckwith assisting in the transition.

In addition to expanding its portfolio through mergers and acquisitions, over the past five years, Hornblower Cruises & Events has invested $50 million in guest experiences, innovation and technology, while adding new builds to the fleet alongside a program of innovative fleet enhancements and upgrades in a drive to become even more guest centric.

With the completion of this acquisition, Hornblower Cruises & Events now operates a fleet of 157 vessels offering dining cruises, sightseeing, private charter, water taxi and ferry brands in the U.S., Canada, and now the U.K.

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