Massive Cruise Ships Leaving Minnesota After Just 2 Years
Well, THAT was fast. After just two years, this cruise ship company says they're no longer heading to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
It was announced last year, back in 2022, that several massive cruise ships would be visiting Minnesota during the summer season. And after what appeared to be a successful summer on the Big Lake They Call Gitche Gumee (that'd be Lake Superior, btw), a similar announcement was made again this spring.
However, now after only two appearances in the Bold North this year, one cruise company says that's the last you'll see of their ships here in the Gopher State. According to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, American Queen Voyages, is ending service on the Great Lakes for their two ships, the Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager.
Both had previously docked up in Duluth, along Minnesota's scenic North Shore, earlier this year. But those will be their last trips, WOOD-TV reported-- and we have Minnesota's notoriously long and frigid winters to blame.
American Queen Voyages President Cindy D’Aoust told WOOD-TV that Minnesota's brutal winters don’t make fiscal sense for the company.
'Geography figured into the decision in the off-season. We purchased the twin ships Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager with the hope for a 12-month cruise schedule. While both vessels have done extremely well in the Great Lakes, their extended off-season operational costs outweigh the benefits to achieve our overall business goals,' D’Aoust said.
Well, to be fair, it's not just Minnesota's winters that are to blame-- it's the winter season that covers the entire upper Great Lakes region, seeing as American Queen Voyages had cruises scheduled with mainly Michigan ports including Muskegon, Mackinac Island, Marquette, Escanaba, Houghton, Sault Ste. Marie, Alpena and Detroit.
The good news is, though, that it's not the end for ALL cruise ships here in Minnesota on Lake Superior. Viking Cruises still has two ships (the Octantis and Polaris) that are scheduled for four more visits to Duluth yet in 2023.
And, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is also set to continue service on Lake Superior as well, with their Hanseatic Inspiration already booked for several stops in 2024. (It had previously visited Duluth earlier this summer. And then there's Pearl Seas Cruises, which has unveiled a 2024 schedule that includes stops in Duluth as well.