Thursday, May 5, 2011

Could Detroit become the next Great Lakes cruise destination?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Comments  9

This item was written by Johanna Jainchill, who covers cruising for Travel Weekly. Jainchill is serving as Guest Editor of The Cruise Log while USA TODAY Cruise Editor Gene Sloan is away.

That's the hope of local officials in the city, where a $21.5 million port development project is underway in the hopes of luring the small cruise vessels that ply Lake Erie.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the new development will debut next month as part of the ongoing revitalization of Detroit's riverfront and is "the key to hopes of luring Great Lakes cruise ships, starting a Detroit-Windsor ferry and creating a new era of waterfront tourism."

The new port location will have a dock that can accommodate cruise ships for the first time, the article said.

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Detroit overall is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into revitalizing its riverfront, including upgrading many local attractions and expanding the Detroit RiverWalk, an envisioned 5-mile waterfront promenade.

The report says that critics of the project expressed doubt that Detroit has the demand to match the cost, noting that Great Lakes cruising is not that robust of an industry, and that the ships that do sail there tend to visit Toronto and Chicago but skip Detroit.

The projects supporters hope that Detroit's proximity to an international airport and major hotels could prompt cruise lines to make the city a homeport where cruises will begin and end.

One of the Detroit port's first arrivals will Blount Small Ship Adventure's Grande Mariner. The 96-passenger ship is scheduled to call in Detroit for one night during a nine-night cruise roundtrip from Toronto.

Cruise Loggers, would you sign up for a voyage to Detroit? Do you think the city would make a good cruise hub? Share your thoughts below.

Posted May 4 2011 9:49AM

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