Int his July 13, 2011 photo, people walk through the recently opened public dock and terminal in Detroit. Cruise ships are [auth] expected to call at Michigan ports 23 times next year, more than tripling the seven visits paid in 2011. A leading attraction will be the public dock and terminal that opened recently in Detroit. But the huge vessels also will stop at a dozen other places around the state, with routes extending all the way to Houghton in the far western Upper Peninsula. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Kathleen Galligan) DETROIT NEWS OUT; NO SALES
DETROIT (AP) — Move over, Mediterranean — Michigan and its Great Lakes are cruising for tourists.
Cruise ships are expected to call at Michigan ports 23 times next year, more than tripling the seven visits paid in 2011. A leading attraction will be the public dock and terminal that opened recently in Detroit. But the huge vessels also will stop at a dozen other places around the state, with routes extending all the way to Houghton in the far western Upper Peninsula.
The ships could bring more than 2,500 tourists to Michigan, the Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/w4d5PM ) reported Monday. Thirteen cruises will start, end or stop at the Detroit terminal that opened in July — up from two this year.
“What’s terrific about the new dock and Detroit is the proximity to the upper part of the Great Lakes,” said Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Company in Ann Arbor, which markets the cruises. The $21.5 million dock, financed by the federal government, opened in June.
Conlin said his company’s research finds passengers are attracted to the upper Great Lakes’ beauty and their lakeside villages. Many of those visiting Michigan are veteran travelers who have gone on at least 10 previous cruises, he said.
“It is more of a ‘bucket list’ travel item” for them, he told the Free Press. Cruise officials say the Great Lakes are marketed as a high-end destination.
Among the first-time arrivals will be the MV Yorktown, a new vessel with a capacity of 138 passengers. Its sister ships Grande Mariner and Niagara Prince, both of which carry 100 passengers, are expected to visit Michigan as well.
Cruise ships also are expected to call at Wyandotte, Holland, Beaver Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistee, Saugatuck, Mackinac Island, Whitefish Point, Houghton, Munising and Charlevoix.
Per-person costs for the voyages range from $2,500 to $9,000 and include lodging, on-ship meals, tours and excursions.
New York-based Travel Dynamics International owns the Yorktown.
“Having Detroit serve as Travel Dynamics’ logistical hub for its Great Lakes itineraries is a significant win for the region,” said W. Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority.