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Brand-new cruise ships coming here (16 photos)

Twenty-one dockings expected in 2019 at Roberta Bondar Park. Plus more across the river
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The next two years are looking like banner seasons for Sault Ste. Marie's booming cruise ship tourism sector.

As SooToday has previously reported, Le Champlain, the first in a series of limited-capacity yachts planned by the French cruise ship operator Ponant, is expected here in 2019.

Now, there's word that we'll be visited in 2020 by the Hanseatic Inspiration, a spanking-new, 138-metre "expedition ship" currently under construction in Norway.

The newbie vessels will join regular visitors such as Pearl Mist and Victory 1.

"The Great Lakes have definitely become a high-interest tourist attraction," Rick Borean, the city's community services supervisor, tells SooToday.

Kathy Fisher, curator at Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, told yesterday's meeting of the local historic sites board that 21 cruise ship dockings are expected in 2019 at Roberta Bondar Place, plus an as-yet-undetermined number of dockings in the Michigan Soo with passengers bussed across the International Bridge.

The previous local record for cruise-ship visits was 26 in 2017, counting both sides of the river.

In recent years, cruise ships have become a major source of revenue and visitors to local museums and downtown merchants.

Local retailers are expected to participate in pop-up markets on the waterfront to serve the visitors.

Hanseatic Inspiration will offer:

  • seven passenger decks
  • 120 cabins and suites
  • passenger and crew capacity of 230
  • 17 Zodiac boats
  • three restaurants
  • two bars, lounges
  • two extendible glass balconies
  • one marina for warmwater sports including kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and snorkelling



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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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