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Ports open to ships

CHICAGO — Leaders of Cruise the Great Lakes, a coalition of states and provinces, cruise lines, ports, convention and visitor bureaus, and others working together to promote cruising on the Great Lakes, issued statements regarding the Canadian federal government’s recent announcement that cruise ships may enter Canadian ports effective Nov. 1.

“This is welcome news to Cruise the Great Lakes members and the thousands of annual cruise ship travelers who visit Canadian ports of call,” said David Naftzger, executive director for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, the organization that manages the Cruise the Great Lakes initiative, in a news release. “Our members throughout the region can finally prepare for the resumption of cruising on the Great Lakes in 2022.”

The organization, founded in 2018, has “already engaged with the Canadian federal government to understand the steps members need to take to ensure a safe reopening,” officials said in the release.

“It’s been a challenging time for many, but we look forward to preparing for a full cruise season next year,” said David Lorenz, vice president, Travel Michigan, and chair of the Cruise the Great Lakes board of directors, in the release. “We are very excited to again welcome cruise passengers to our beautiful Great Lakes region.”

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, “beyond governmental requirements for cruise ships, Cruise the Great Lakes members and partners have been dedicated to the health and safety of passengers and crew,” officials said in the release. “Through the organization’s Safety Pledge, they commit to adhere to public health guidance, to work strategically and collaboratively, and to take proactive measures to mitigate risk. The small Great Lakes cruise ships also offer unique safety benefits.”

“Great Lakes cruises are fundamentally unique,” Naftzger said. “The size of vessels that can enter the region is limited by the locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway. As a result, the largest Great Lakes cruise vessels can hold approximately 400 passengers, and average vessel size in 2019 was less than 200. This difference gives the cruise operators a unique ability to reduce risk and take safety precautions.”

About Cruise the Great Lakes: Cruise the Great Lakes is managed by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. The Conference unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec and Wisconsin. The Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water.

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