Hornblower Group finalizes ShoreTrips purchase

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Business agreement handshake [Credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock.com]
The acquisition of ShoreTrips was the third of a shore excursion company by the Hornblower Group. Photo Credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock.com

Hornblower Group has finalized its purchase of the failed cruise excursion seller ShoreTrips and will revive the company under the same name with "support" from its founders, Barry and Julie Karp, the company announced on Wednesday.

Hornblower last month won a court-monitored bid to buy ShoreTrips' assets for $1.8 million, free and clear of all responsibility for debts that included nearly $5 million in customer payments for canceled trips.

The Milwaukee-based company was put up for sale after the Karps last year filed for receivership under the Wisconsin state alternative to federal bankruptcy protection.

While Barry Karp blamed the pandemic for the company's woes, advisors have questioned where all the customer money went and why it wasn't placed in escrow until travel was complete, as had been promised on the company website.

In a press release announcing the close of the sale, Barry Karp said the companies "share the same values of delivering one-of-a-kind experiences and that the sale represented "the best outcome for us, for the future of ShoreTrips, for our devoted team of core staff members and for our many loyal travel advisors and their clients."

"We look forward to being part of this next venture, and we are excited to see ShoreTrips thrive with Hornblower Group in 2021 and beyond," he said.

Asked for more details on the Karp's involvement going forward, a Hornblower spokeswoman said only that ShoreTrips "will be run by Hornblower, with Karps as support."

The acquisition brings to three the number of shore excursion companies now owned by the Hornblower Group, which is also the parent company of the American Queen Steamboat Co., Victory Cruises and a number of day- and dinner-cruise operators.

Last year, it purchased Shore Excursions of America. And in January it bought the U.K.-based Cruising Excursions.

• Related: Hornblower is on a buying spree

"In our continued efforts to position Hornblower as a global leader in experiences and transportation, the acquisition of ShoreTrips will allow us to integrate both their products and offerings and build upon our core mission of delivering amazing experiences for our guests," Hornblower CEO Kevin Rabbitt said.

Founded by the Karps in 2001, ShoreTrips grew to become one of the largest independent providers of commissionable cruise excursions, offering more than 3,000 land and sea experiences in 400 ports around the world.

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