Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday helped launch “Cruise the Great Lakes,” a new international partnership to bring more cruise passengers to the Great Lakes. The program is the latest project of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, (GSGP) of which Governor Snyder is the chair.
“Cruising on the Great Lakes is poised for major growth in the coming years, with significant economic benefits for the entire region,” says Snyder. “In 2018, our waterways saw nearly 100,000 port visits by passengers. This initiative aims to increase those numbers, which in turn, increases the amount of economic impact.”
The news conference, attended by executives representing the Great Lakes travel industry, coincided with a port of call by Victory Cruise Line’s luxury ship, Victory I, which is in its third year touring the Great Lakes. Victory Cruise Lines operates two identical 84-crewmember, 202-passenger ships in the Great Lakes, Victory I and Victory II.
“This is an exciting time for Victory Cruise Lines as we are in the midst of doubling our capacity on the Great Lakes within a very short period of time,” says Bruce Nierenberg, chairman and founder of Victory Cruise Lines. “We are committed to taking advantage of the unprecedented demand for our type of cruising in all five Great Lakes and St. Lawrence in particular.”
The GSGP is the organizing body for Cruise the Great Lakes. The initiative is led by representatives from Great Lakes States and Canadian Provinces, and includes partners representing travel and tourism professionals across the region. David Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, serves as the chair of Cruise the Great Lakes.
“The mission of Cruise the Great Lakes is to promote cruising in the Great Lakes through an optimized and unique brand targeted toward current and potential passengers,” says Lorenz. “Our immediate focus is on marketing to potential consumers, both passengers and tour operators, in North America, but we’ll also target cruise operators. There is room for more cruise lines in our waters.”
In 2018, eight ships operated in the region, including ships from Victory, Blount Small Ship Adventures, and Pearl Seas Cruises. Two additional lines plan to enter the region by 2020.