Small Business of the Year Spotlight: Yacht Starship Dining Cruises

Yacht Starship Dining Cruises, LLC     

Troy Manthey, president and CEO & Jill Manthey, vice president of sales & community relations/owners

Year won SBOY: 2016

Number of employees: 225

Year business established: 2001

What does your company do? What makes it unique?

Yacht Starship Dining Cruises is the largest operator of dining yachts in Florida, with four yachts ranging in capacity from 150 passengers to 600 passengers.  We offer lunch, brunch and dinner cruises from Tampa and Clearwater.  In addition, we host many private events including; weddings, social gatherings, corporate and convention groups. In 2016, we opened Pirate Water Taxi, servicing 14 stops of all day fun in Downtown Tampa, with seven water taxis. In 2020, we opened Lost Pearl Pirate Adventure Cruises, a 125-passenger pirate ship sailing from the Convention Center. In November 2022, we will open the Bay Rocket, a 108-passenger jet-driven speedboat thrill ride, sailing from the Convention Center.

What has being named SBOY done for your business?

When we won in 2016 we were celebrating 15 years in Tampa. We had many challenges over the 15 years, some very tough years, and lots of hard work by our team. Winning SBOY enhanced our team’s confidence and enhanced our respect amongst our peers in the community. There are many people that discount tourism-related businesses as they think because we have fun selling fun, that’s not a real business so competing with other great companies, non-tourism related and win, it was extremely gratifying.

What is something you learned about your business, and or team, during the SBOY process? 

It’s a grueling process competing for SBOY. We remember how much our team embraced the process and how close we became as a team, win or lose. When we won, it was like winning the Super Bowl and we partied like we won the Super Bowl.  It was so nice to celebrate our accomplishments as a team and our team has only grown closer and stronger since then and the SBOY process was instrumental in our growth.

Any words of advice for future SBOY applicants?

It’s a great experience, we highly recommend it. Win or Lose your team will become closer and you will learn a lot about your company, all very positive. When growing or running your business you rarely take time to celebrate your success and accomplishments. SBOY forces you to acknowledge what makes your company great!   

What’s next for your business?

We are expanding our fleet with Bay Rocket, the jet-driven speed boat thrill ride. In Spring 2023, we will be adding a new and exciting dining vessel, which doesn’t exist in Florida. Stay tuned for the announcement of this new and exciting brand of cruising. We also will be expanding outside of Tampa for the first time in 2023.

How does your company give back to the Tampa Bay area community? 

We host numerous charity events on our yachts, we contribute cruises of all our brands to silent & live auctions for charities and all our senior management serve on non-profit boards in the community. Over the course of 21 years, we have donated over $5,000,000 in charitable cruises/events.




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