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Hornblower Cruises & Events

Green Port Business Challenge

The Adventure Hornblower, a Hornblower Cruises & Events vessel, sets sail on San Diego Bay.

Hornblower Cruises & Events has been an enthusiastic supporter of the port’s idea to build a very positive and voluntary culture of environmental stewardship, for both port leadership and tenant businesses. This approach has worked very well, bringing out an excellent outcome for our region.

About four years ago, Hornblower stepped up environmental efforts, with a bottom paint experiment, using more environmentally friendly paints, and monitoring their effectiveness. They are in their second, two-year study. This project was done in conjunction with the Port of San Diego, using a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. To this day, Hornblower remains in close contact with paint manufacturers and scientists, in order to participate in the emerging technology of environmentally friendly paints and finishes.

The Hornblower Green Port Harbor Tour began the same time as the paint experiments. It is a re-creation of the traditional harbor tour, in celebration of the environmental accomplishments of Hornblower, port district tenants and the Port of San Diego. The launch consisted of Environmental Co-branding aboard Adventure Hornblower, with partners including the Port of San Diego, the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Oceans Foundation. The environmental messages are sent in a friendly way through the captain’s custom narration, and on board with colorful charts and graphics.

The initial launch of the Green Tour can be seen on YouTube:


In recognition of Hornblower’s Green Port Tour, Hornblower was honored in 2009 with the very first Green Port Special Recognition, which is now on display, aboard Adventure Hornblower.

Pet Day on the Bay

Pet Day on the Bay is another important Hornblower annual event that has been very popular over the years.This event is done in conjunction with Petco, Helen Woodward Animal Center and the port. All blanket donations go the the Helen Woodward Animal Center, where pets are taken for adoption, and best pet practices are taught and encouraged in the community.

Pet Day on the Bay is an annual event hosted by Hornblower Cruises & Events, Petco and the Port of San Diego. It is the one day each year where dogs are invited to take a cruise for free with their owners. The event gathers blankets and donations for the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

In recognition of Hornblower’s contribution, the Helen Woodward Animal Center has posted a plaque in their Animal Center, located in Rancho Santa Fe.

Hornblower Pet Day on the Bay can be seen on YouTube:


First hybrid passenger vehicle

Hornblower continued its technology push, with the launch of California’s first Hybrid Passenger vessel, the Hornblower Hybrid in 2009. One of the vessel’s first stops was in San Diego, where it spent the holiday season, providing an innovative and environmentally conscious approach to special events on the water. The Hornblower Hybrid was one of the features of the Maritime Business & Technology Summit, held aboard Inspiration Hornblower, located on San Diego Bay’s embarcadero. Hornblower has launched several hybrid vessels since this original.

The Hornblower Hybrid in San Diego can be seen on YouTube:


In the more recent months, Hornblower San Diego has been concentrating on the diesel engine repower of the fleet, and doing it ahead of schedule, when possible.

Both its oldest and newest boats have been repowered with clean diesel engines. The classic 1929 Trumpy Motor Yacht, High Spirits, is sister ship to the Presidential Yacht, Sequoia. It combines the best of historic interest with modern, clean technology below the decks.

Hornblower’s largest San Diego ship, Inspiration Hornblower, went through a complete clean diesel repower in December, 2011. “It was a very expensive and time intensive task, but in the long run, improved fuel economy and our new shore power facilities will reduce both cost and emissions,” said Hornblower Port Captain Richard Goben.

"Often, environmentally friendly practices are very simple changes in approach to the everyday routine,” said Jim Unger, vice president of Hornblower in San Diego. A few months ago, Hornblower installed a bike rack on the Grape Street Pier, where the boats are docked. Now, several of the crew use bikes to commute along the waterfront while on Hornblower business.“Well, it’s not all business,” Unger said, “The bikes are great fun; they’re good exercise and a wonderful way to enjoy the Embarcadero."

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