American Queen Voyages announced today that cruise industry veteran David Giersdorf has been named acting president for American Queen Voyages. Giersdorf will report to Kevin Rabbitt, chief executive officer, Hornblower Group, according to a press release.
“Hornblower Group is committed to the expansion of American Queen Voyages, as evidenced by the substantial investments in new vessels, our company rebrand, expanding technology, web and marketing tools and opening a new office in Fort Lauderdale, putting us right in the heart of the cruise industry,” said Kevin Rabbitt, chief executive officer, Hornblower Group.
“In order to expedite these goals, we need someone that can be charged with leading the organization with a deep knowledge of the industry, strong drive and sharp business instincts to ensure we are taking the necessary steps in our growth plan. I am thrilled to welcome David, our friend and cruise industry veteran, into the role of acting president. With David’s passion, resilient operational creative experience and a keen sense of the industry, I am confident he will provide the leadership we need to build and optimize all related opportunities for American Queen Voyage’s operations.”
Giersdorf has served in the role of advisor to American Queen Voyages for nearly three years and brings a understanding of Hornblower’s overnight cruise industry including supporting the acquisition and reimagining of the independent shore excursions business, Venture Ashore, and more recently, the successful launch of Ocean Victory, the company’s Alaska Expedition experiences.
As Acting President, Giersdorf will be responsible for developing and implementing American Queen Voyage’s overall business strategy providing guidance to the leadership team to create sustainable value for all stakeholders including, company growth, innovation, performance and rebuild. Giersdorf’s arrival coincides with Isis Ruiz, who recently joined American Queen Voyages as Chief Commercial Officer to oversee sales, marketing, contact center and revenue management.
Giersdorf will serve as acting president for a term of up to 18 months.
“Serving as a close advisor for American Queen Voyages and Hornblower Group over the past three years, I am pleased to be expanding that role as acting president of the cruise division,” said Giersdorf.
“This is an exhilarating time for the division, and I look forward to being part of a dedicated team building upon this company’s rich heritage. I was able to play an integral role in the design and development of the newly launched Alaska offerings with Ocean Victory, which recently embarked on its inaugural sailing with major success. I am energized to be leading the team during this new growth period for American Queen Voyages as the company continues to deliver amazing experiences for its guests.”
Giersdorf come to American Queen with 40+ years of experience as a senior executive, advisor, and board member in the global cruise and travel industry working with some of the biggest names in cruising, travel and tourism including working with a publicly-traded $1B+ brand portfolio and as CEO of several iconic cruise, travel, and marketing services brands.
Throughout Giersdorf’s career, his passion and enthusiasm for the cruise space has translated through major milestone projects. Together with family, he pioneered several Alaska tourism developments, owned and operated the Glacier Bay National Park lodging and excursion cruise concession, and built a leading global small ship cruise line, later sold to a Fortune 50 company. Giersdorf’s additional work in the cruise line industry includes establishing Windstar Cruises as an iconic “180° From Ordinary” world-leading boutique cruise line and well as spearheaded the expansion and transformation of Holland America Line as the leading global premium cruise line through the famous “Signature of Excellence” initiative.
Giersdorf partnered to build CF2GS into a world-class strategic marketing services company, which was later sold to Foote Cone Belding/True North Communications as well as established Global Voyages Group as the leading consultancy in the specialty cruise and travel category (Expedition; River; Luxury; Small Ships)
Giersdorf has served on a variety of boards, including as Chairman of CLIA (the Cruise Lines International Association). He is also a published author: Hard Ships – Navigating Your Company, Career, And Life Through The Fog Of Disruption www.gethardships.com Giersdorf can also be seen as a keynote speaker for several industry conferences and participates as an industry expert on a variety of podcasts and interview opportunities covering topics such as the Global Cruise Industry, Leadership, Innovation, Endurance Sports & Mindset
Giersdorf attended the University of Washington and completed a Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management program in Entrepreneurship. He currently resides in Bend, Oregon.