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Cruise the Great Lakes coalition welcomes Nov. 1 re-opening of cruise operations


Leaders of Cruise the Great Lakes, a coalition of states and provinces, cruise lines, ports, convention and visitor bureaus, and other stakeholders, have welcomed the Canadian federal government’s recent announcement that cruise ships may enter Canadian ports effective Nov. 1 following a prolonged no-sail ban due to COVID-19.

In recent years, the Great Lakes region has been growing in appeal as a cruising destination for North American travellers especially seeking experiences closer to home not involving virtual floating hotels. Typical cruise ships operating in the Great Lakes region carry 200 to 400 passengers.

“This is welcome news to Cruise the Great Lakes members and the thousands of annual cruise ship travellers who visit Canadian ports of call,” said David Naftzger, Executive Director for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, the organization that manages the Cruise the Great Lakes initiative, in a press release. “Our members throughout the region can finally prepare for the resumption of cruising on the Great Lakes in 2022.”

The organization has already engaged with the Canadian federal government  to understand the steps members need to take to ensure a safe reopening.

“It’s been a challenging time for many, but we look forward to preparing for a full-cruise season next year,” said David Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan, and chair of the Cruise the Great Lakes board of directors.

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, “beyond governmental requirements for cruise ships, Cruise the Great Lakes members and partners have been dedicated to the health and safety of passengers and crew,” officials said. “Through the organization’s Safety Pledge, they commit to adhere to public health guidance, to work strategically and collaboratively, and to take proactive measures to mitigate risk. The small Great Lakes cruise ships also offer unique safety benefits.”

 Cruise the Great Lakes is managed by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. The Conference unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec and Wisconsin. The Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water. (photo Paul Beesley)