What is the story on Hornblower?

I had thought of them as a small tour boat operator, but now they seem to be operating ferries, tour boats, ships, offshore wind, and so on, all over the place. They seem to be posting lots of job ads.

Who owns Hornblower? What’s their background? Finance? Where did they get their money? Are they buying up a lot of companies and boats, or just being hired to operate them? What are their plans for expansion?

I hate to see good small family companies being bought up by bean counters.

Hornblower is owned by management and private equity firm, Crestview Partners .

Source: About – Hornblower Corp

Hornblower operated a number of different ventures but often under different names and branding. The dinner boats always had the name “Hornblower” in it so you probably only thought of that side. They also have Seaward Services which operated federal and military contracts, they operate a number of National Parks concessions like Statue and Alcatraz. As well as American Queen Steamboat Company. They’ve been on rapid expansion over the past decade though through acquiring companies, and from winning the NYC Ferry operating Contract. A few years ago they bought out their largest competitor in the dinner boat space, Entertainment Cruises(they operate a lot of those Spirit of ____ boats). They also bought out Journey Beyond in Australia, and City Cruises UK in London. Most of those acquisitions were made possible by Terry MacRae, the owner, partially selling to Crestview Partners, and Crestview infusing a ton of investment into to company. The pandemic allowed them to cut out some of the underperforming fat, and redundant management left over from all these mergers, but some still persists. They have a CEO from an entertainment background steering the ship now. There’s a wide array of talent across these divisions so some might seem like a shitshow and some have great crews and management. You have the same thing in any other marine company that’s spread across multiple divisions and ports.


Thank you for this informative post based upon industry knowledge, not just what’s on Wikipedia.

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Is that allowed here?


Yes. And I apologize for not thanking you often enough for your informative posts.


@tugsailor They do not have a good record of treating employees right. I know folks that had generally bad things to say about working there.

Here’s an article:

I know the union for NYC Ferry had major issues ongoing with Hornblower in 2020