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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

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 seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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