Entertainment Cruises, Chicago, has acquired 1000 Islands operator Gananoque Boat Line (GBL), Gananoque, Ontario, Canada. The deal further extends the company’s presence in Canada, where it already owns Toronto-based Mariposa Cruises. No price was disclosed.

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 three hours from Toronto, two hours from Ottawa, and three hours from Montreal. The town is also just 15 minutes from the border crossing into New York state via the 1000 Islands Bridge. The 1000 Islands are located along the border between northern New York state and southeastern Ontario.

“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,” Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises, said in a statement announcing the deal. “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 town of Gananoque is also just 15 minutes from the border crossing into New York State via the 1000 Islands Bridge. Entertainment Cruises photo

The town of Gananoque is just 15 minutes from the border crossing into New York state via the 1000 Islands Bridge. Entertainment Cruises photo

The acquisition expands Entertainment Cruises’ portfolio to 53 vessels serving about 2.6 million guests across 12 locations in North America, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, D.C.

“The 1000 Islands region, with its endless shorelines and spectacular natural beauty is an area best explored on water,” said Paul Sanett, a vice president at 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.”

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.

“Gananoque Boat Line has come a long way since 1951 when three Gananoqueans began operating the Lindas 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 bittersweet day, but we feel excited for Gananoque Boat Line under their leadership.”

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 glass-enclosed dining cruise vessel with an entirely new 360° panoramic perspective. The company has also just completed a winter program of enhancements and upgrades across multiple vessels in a drive to become even more guest centric, unveiling a multimillion dollar transformation of Odyssey III, its luxurious Washington, D.C., flagship dining vessel last month.



Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.