By Harry Keaney
For most entrepreneurs, the ruthless reality of business life is “sink or swim.” But for two Irish Americans and their new business, it’s neither; rather, it’s sail.
That’s because Mickey Brown and Hugh McLaughlin, together with two Chinese Malaysians, are in the luxury cruise business. This month, their company, Manhattan Cruises, has launched its new gleaming acquisition, a 28,078-ton cruise liner named Superstar Capricorn.
The sleek 674-foot long vessel will dock at Pier 88 of the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal, the entrance to which is by car taxi from the foot of 55th Street at the Hudson River.
Until recently, the ship was serving the luxury cruise market in Asia. Constructed in 1973 and completely renovated in 1997, it has 425 cabins, many with full marble bathrooms. It boasts a full service restaurant and buffet dining room, a fitness center, a golf driving range, two casinos, a karaoke bar, lounges, movies, gift shop, kids’ corner, library and two swimming pools.
Superstar Capricorn’s operating capacity for Manhattan Cruises is 1,000 passengers.
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Brown explained that Manhattan Cruises is a New York company which started on Oct. 1, 1997. “We opened in January with the vessel Edenburgh Castle, owned by a British company, Lowline, and then we took over the Superstar Capricorn,” said Brown, 55, the former CEO of Foxwood Casino in Connecticut. His mother’s family comes from Roscommon and father’s family from Cork. The Superstar Capricorn has been sailing since March 20.
As it embarks on its nightly cruises, the liner glides majestically down the Hudson River, passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, sailing out beyond the Ambrose Light into international waters where its casinos open. The ship will also periodically call on foreign ports such as Halifax, Nova Scotia and Hamilton, Bermuda.
Irish entertainment will be featured during some of the sailings. For example, Jimmy Byrne, an entertainer from the Jersey shore, is a monthly regular. The Wolfe Tones will perform June 25.
Manhattan Cruises has special group pricing and is currently soliciting Irish clubs and organizations in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area.