MARQUETTE - The Isle Royal Queen III, the cruise ship running summer trips from Marquette's Lower Harbor, will now call the city home.
This spring, in preparation for the cruise season ahead, the boat's port of call was changed to Marquette.
"We didn't want to ask Marquette and her visitors to patronize our business without us showing, if you will, our commitment to Marquette," said Molly Carmody, the owner and manager of Marquette Harbor Cruises. "So we changed our port of call to reflect where we hope to do business for a long time."
The owners of the Isle Royal Queen III, seen here in Marquette’s Lower Harbor, recently changed the ship’s port-of-call to Marquette. (Journal photo by Kyle Whitney)
Carmody started operating the 81-foot cruise ship last year, overseeing daily cruises to Partridge Island and back. A narrated journey leads passengers past Picnic Rocks, the Upper Harbor ore dock and breakwater, Presque Isle, Black Rocks and Middle Island Point.
The cruise then circles Partridge Island before making a return trip along the Marquette shoreline.
"Last year went very well. We really felt embraced by the community," Carmody said. "The townspeople were so awesome and some of them cruised two or three times."
This year, the process has been refined. 2013 cruises are set to begin May 24, with a single daily trip to Partridge Island. In June the boat will begin 90-minute evening cruises to Black Rocks and back.
Wine and beer - some local - will be served on the boat this year, as well.
The Isle Royal Queen III is known regionally. It was originally named the Isle Royale Queen II and was used during the 1970s and 1980s to shuttle people, backpacks and canoes between Copper Harbor and Isle Royale.
Carmody, who brought the ship to the Lower Harbor last year, hopes to continue building the boat's legacy.
"We felt very endorsed by the community, which is why we wanted to show the town our commitment for doing business here," she said. "We want to call our boat's home Marquette."
A full summer cruise schedule, in addition to rates, can be found online at www.marquetteharborcruises.com. Tickets can also be purchased online, as well as at the MHC office in the Lower Harbor.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.