EDA and CVB Working Together to Attract Great Lakes Cruise Ships

March 6, 2020

  • The Economic Development Alliance team has partnered with the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to pursue the Great Lakes Cruising industry in the hopes of making the “Port of Port Huron” a near-future cruise port.
  • There is a growing HOT demand for Great Lakes Cruising (the Great Lakes were named one of the Top 50 destinations for 2020 Travel by Travel and Leisure Magazine
  • Cruise Lines are expanding their fleets and itineraries to meet the Great Lakes Cruise Demand
  • Recently, the EDA team, along with the Blue Water Area CVB and the Lake Pilots Association, hosted Stephen Burnett, President of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition to explore the cruise potential and discuss ways to market the area, including the “ship-ready” Seaway Terminal.
  • The approximate the economic impact that could be generated is expected to be at least $3,000 per visit.  This comes from shore excursions, local shopping expenditures, and also the ship’s crew replenishing inventory and supplies, refueling, etc.  
  • Years ago, Acheson Ventures had cruise ships stopping at the terminal for a brief period.  Acheson Ventures invested a lot of staff time and finances to make that happen.  The cruise industry now handles most needs and  costs  involved with port dockage.
  • The EDA and the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are currently joining the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition and will also be attending the SeaTrade Global Cruise conference in April 2020 to market the region; and to work the exhibit floor with other Great Lakes Coalition Cruise members.  We are also working on potential shore excursions and marketing materials to market to cruise lines.     

  • The Great Lakes Cruise market is quite different from the large ocean cruising ships which carry anywhere from 3,000-6,000 passengers.  Great Lakes cruise ships typical carry 100-200 passengers, with the exception of Viking’s new ship which will hold nearly 400.  The cruising costs are higher on these smaller ships with fewer passengers, but guests love the more personable experience.
  • Attraction of Great Lakes Cruise ships will not happen overnight.  Several of the cruise lines already have 2020 and 2021 itineraries already planned, but we are hoping to break in the market in the next year or two.
  • The potential economic impact and community impact this could have on our region makes this a very worthwhile industry to pursue and the timing is perfect with the Great Lakes Cruising growth and demand.     


Read Times Herald News Story:



Left to Right / Group Photo Above :

Dan Gallagher, President / Lake Pilots Association
Stephen Burnett, Executive President / Great Lakes Cruising Coalition
Marci Fogal, President / Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Kristy Jones, Director of Business and Community Development / EDA
Tina Frazer, Marketing Director / EDA


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