Two generations of the Campsen family have owned and operated Fort Sumter Tours, Inc. since 1961. In 1986, the business expanded to include dinner cruise, harbor tour, and charter operations. This set of boat tour offerings has grown over the years, and is currently operated by SpiritLine Cruises, LLC. However, the Campsen family’s Charleston roots and seafaring traditions go back much further than their 50+ years of tour company history.
HISTORIC FAMILY TRADITONS
John Campsen, the great, great grandfather of our company’s founder, George E. Campsen, Jr., immigrated to Charleston from Hanover, Germany sometime during the mid-1880s. He was the captain of a German merchant ship engaged in trade between Europe and the U.S. These trade routes brought him to Charleston, one of the most prosperous cities in North America at the time. Seeking opportunities in the vibrant Charleston seaport, John Campsen emigrated to the area. He went on to found the Campsen-Claussen Bakery, eventually selling his share of the business to his partner.
John Campsen’s son, George John Campsen, was born in Charleston on July 28th, 1861. He was the grandfather of company founder George E. Campsen, Jr. and commanded the life-saving station on Morris Island throughout the early 1890’s. Captain George John Campsen was in command of Morris Island itself, and responsible for the operation of the lighthouse there. He passed away in 1894, lost in a storm at sea.
George’s grandson would carry on his seafaring tradition and pass it along to his own sons, George E. “Chip” Campsen and Richard Campsen, two current management team members. Joining them in the family business are his two sons-in-law, Rick Mosteller and Stan Seckinger. These gentlemen bring with them extensive experience in the areas of food and beverage service, hotel development and operations, and finance. These four men work together at the helm of both our businesses, creating an exceptional experience for our guests.
WELCOME TO CHARLESTON
Fort Sumter Tours and SpiritLine Cruises have safely conducted over 100,000 cruises combined, transporting more than 12 million passengers on their vessels since 1961. Our commitment to excellence extends beyond the Charleston Harbor. This dedication to community service and involvement has led the members of our management team to serve their local, state and national communities in various other capacities as well, including the South Carolina House of Representatives, South Carolina Senate, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Travel Council Board of Directors, Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau, South Carolina Tourism Promotion Commission, and Passenger Vessel Association.
We have established a diverse and highly experienced passenger vessel company with an excellent reputation in the passenger vessel industry and Charleston community. We are honored to operate our businesses in Charleston, a city so charming and warm that it has even been named the top U.S. destination 4 years in a row by Condé Nast.
Charleston is our home, and we welcome all our guests aboard with that in mind. Hospitality is our family business!