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