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Julie Chase or Jon Amar
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Family-owned cruise company expands nation’s largest dining cruise company to further build presence in the Washington, D.C. area

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 9, 2016)  Alexandria, Virginia-based Potomac Riverboat Company has joined the family of Entertainment Cruises, the largest dining cruise company in the United States. The acquisition expands Entertainment Cruises’ national fleet to 38 vessels, serving more than 1.8 million guests annually.

Potomac Riverboat Company, owned and operated by the Polak family, has served the Washington, D.C., area with private charters, sightseeing and water taxi cruises since 1974, and will remain headquartered at its home port in Alexandria. The combined organizations’ local fleet of thirteen vessels makes the Washington, D.C., area Entertainment Cruises’ largest operation, with an expanded staff of 500 serving more than 600,000 guests each year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Potomac Riverboat to the Entertainment Cruises family,” said Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises. “With similar values, deeply rooted in the guest experience, we embrace the opportunity to further showcase our spectacular cities and waterfronts to area residents and visitors. Potomac Riverboat’s 30 years in Alexandria, and ours at the Southwest Waterfront—now part of The Wharf development—reflect our shared commitment to the region as a whole. This partnership will allow us to further innovate and elevate our water-based offerings and create memorable experiences for our guests.”

“We are pleased to join Entertainment Cruises and become part of the Pritzker Group family of companies,” said Willem Polak, president of Potomac Riverboat Company. “Our tour, taxi and charter expertise in the Washington, D.C. area is complementary to Entertainment Cruises, and we are looking forward to further expanding our operations and investing in our vibrant communities.”

Entertainment Cruises’ existing family of brands in the D.C. area includes Odyssey, Spirit Cruises and Elite Private Yachts. Entertainment Cruises is a member of Pritzker Group Private Capital’s family of companies.

About Entertainment Cruises

Entertainment Cruises is the nation’s largest dining cruise company, now with 38 vessels serving over 1.8 million guests annually. The company, headquartered in Chicago, offers guests unmatched experiences with unique views of some of the nation’s most beautiful skylines in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Norfolk and South Florida. The Company’s Washington, D.C. operation is based at the Southwest Waterfront and has been an active part of the local community for over 30 years.  Current projects include partnering with The Wharf development to renovate Pier 4.  Entertainment Cruises also operates excursions to Mount Vernon and cruises from National Harbor, MD.  In Washington, D.C., Entertainment Cruises’ subsidiaries Spirit Cruises and Odyssey Cruises operate five vessels, including Odyssey III, Spirit of Washington, Spirit of Mount Vernon, and private yachts National Elite and Capital Elite.  For more information, visit www.entertainmentcruises.com.

About Potomac Riverboat Company

Willem Polak, owner of Potomac Riverboat Company, has been operating commercial vessels in the Washington area since 1974.  Potomac Riverboat Company's vessels and services are based in the colonial seaport of Alexandria, Virginia, just 8 miles south of Washington, D.C.  The Company offers its private charters, sightseeing and water taxi cruises along the historic Potomac River. The Company connects the Washington, D.C. community by water with berths at National Harbor, Gaylord Convention Center, Georgetown, Nationals Park, Alexandria, Mount Vernon and the National Mall. In addition, they offer the National Harbor Water Taxi, the National Mall Water Taxi and service to Nationals Park for baseball. The company’s working sternwheeler Cherry Blossom is one of the few working sternwheelers in the country and only used for private charters.

About Pritzker Group

Pritzker Group, led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker, has three principal investment teams: Private Capital, which acquires and operates leading North America-based companies; Venture Capital, which provides early-stage and growth venture funding to technology companies throughout the United States; and Asset Management, which partners with top-performing investment managers across global public markets.

Pritzker Group Private Capital acquires North America-based middle-market companies with leading positions in the manufactured products, services and health care sectors. The firm’s permanent, proprietary capital base allows for efficient decision making, broad flexibility with transaction structure and investment horizon, and alignment with management teams focused on creating long-term value. Pritzker Group brings significant resources, expertise and credibility in building businesses and is an ideal partner for entrepreneur- and family-owned companies. For more information, visit pritzkergroup.com.