Beyond Niagara


In this week’s issue of Canadian Travel Press, executive editor, Bob Mowat reports that as Hornblower Niagara Cruises sails its way into its first season in the Niagara Gorge, the travel trade here shouldn’t be too surprised by all the new things that it has put on the itinerary. Consider the fact that today Hornblower has over 1,000 employees and operates 70 vessels.

Hornblower Inc.’s chairman and CEO, Terry MacRae will tell you that “we’re one of those companies that’s an overnight success after a third of a century in business. More people know about us now than ever before. But in 2014, we will probably carry right around 8 million visitors on our boats in one place or another.”

He relates that originally Hornblower was a charter yacht company that morphed into a charter yacht and dinner cruise company, then added a harbour cruise, whale watching, and other activities.

“In 2006,” he told Canadian Travel Press, “we started providing service to Alcatraz Island, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area — which is a National Parks Service Concession, so that’s basically a federal government contract. We take about 1.5 million people a year to Alcatraz, which is one of the top attractions in San Francisco after the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf.”

In 2008, Hornblower won a National Parks Service competitive bid to operate the ferry service to the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island National Monument.

“We depart from both New Jersey and New York and we go to each of the two islands. We carry about 4 million people there. So as I like to say, we celebrate the world’s greatest symbols of Liberty, Hope and Freedom in New York and in San Francisco, we celebrate the world’s greatest symbol of incarceration. What falls in between is kind of the honeymoon in Niagara. You have the opportunity there for three of the most iconic boat cruises anywhere in the world and as we like to say it’s kind of a trifecta.”

For the full story, in this week’s digital edition of CTP, click here.