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Hornblower Group acquires ShoreTrips

Hornblower Group, the parent of companies including American Queen Steamboat Co. and Victory Cruise Lines, acquired ShoreTrips, which went into voluntary receivership last year.

ShoreTrips joins Hornblower’s growing portfolio of land-based experience companies, which includes Shore Excursions of America and the UK's Cruising Excursions. ShoreTrips broadens Hornblower's total footprint to 111 countries and territories worldwide.

Milwaukee-based travel advisors Barry and Julie Karp launched ShoreTrips in 2001 as an alternative to cruise line-organized excursions. The company grew into one of the US's largest independent providers of commissionable land and sea experiences, offering more than 3,000 excursions in 400 port locations.

A Hornblower release indicated the Karps and core staff members will continue to be involved.

Reported $1.8m deal

According to extensive reporting by Travel Weekly, Hornblower won a court-monitored bid to buy ShoreTrips' assets for $1.8m, free and clear of responsibility for debts that included nearly $5m in customer payments for canceled trips.

Citing court filings, Travel Weekly said that after secured debts and other guaranteed payments are settled, that leaves just over $1.4m to divide among customers owed $4.7m in refunds and other unsecured creditors who are out just under $1m.