Great Lakes Cruise Ships to Generate $200M Economic Impact in 2024

Cruise the Great Lakes, a collaboration of the region’s states, provinces, and partner cruise businesses, will get a boost this season with the return of John Waggoner’s Victory Cruise Lines and the Victory I and Victory II vessels to the Great Lakes region.
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Victory I and its sister ship Victory II are returning to the Great Lakes this cruising season. // Photo courtesy of Cruise the Great Lakes

Cruise the Great Lakes, a collaboration of the region’s states, provinces, and partner cruise businesses, will get a boost this season with the return of John Waggoner’s Victory Cruise Lines and the Victory I and Victory II vessels to the Great Lakes region.

Cruise the Great Lakes projects vessels will make nearly 600 port visits in 2024, including in downtown Detroit, bringing more than 20,000 individual passengers to experience the beauty and charm of Great Lakes cities — roughly double that of a decade ago.

Regional ports are anticipated to see total estimated cruise passenger visits of more than 140,000 in 2024. The cruise season is already underway.

Cruise the Great Lakes anticipates the regional economic impact generated by cruising will surpass $200 million in 2024, driven by the upward trend in passenger numbers, port visits, shoreside spending, and the growing domestic and international appeal of Great Lakes cruises.

The 2024 season represents an increase in the economic impact by nearly 50 percent compared to 2022.

“We are excited to hear of John’s plans and cannot wait to see those beautiful Victory ships traversing the Great Lakes,” says Anna Tanski, tourism director for Cruise the Great Lakes. “John and his team always believed that the Great Lakes region was ideal for the intimate cruise ships, and he knows how much we have to offer.”

Anne Sayers, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and chair of Cruise the Great Lakes, adds: “The Victory brand has always been associated with excellence, from the passenger experience to the elegant details, so future passengers are in for a treat with John and his team back in action.”

Cruise lines operating on the Great Lakes in 2024 will include Pearl Seas Cruises, Viking Cruises, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, Ponant’s Le Champlain, Hapag-Lloyd, and Plantours Cruises. 

Cruise the Great Lakes is the region’s cruise marketing program focused on attracting more passengers. It is a forum to unite the states, provinces, cruise lines, ports, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, associations, and others to work toward shared goals.

For more information about Cruise the Great Lakes, visit cruisethegreatlakes.com.