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*Fleets boost Great Lakes Cruises*

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    *Fleets boost Great Lakes Cruises*

    Steamboating colleagues:
    A business 'B-Mail' just arrived with news that smaller to intermediate cruise vessels will be entering service on the Great Lakes expanding the market 13 times what it had been in five years. According to Chris Conlin, owner of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Conlin Travel and subsidiary Great Lakes Cruise Co. Their first charter in 1998/'99 was wth the 420 passenger HAPAG-LLOYD ship COLUMBUS, primarily to the German market with now increasing American passengers with bookings on the 96 passenger GRAND MARINER & NIAGARA PRINCE. 'Travel Dynamics' will introduce the 136 passenger YORKTOWN, formerly the SPIRIT OF YORKTOWN now receiving upgrades in Seattle. Wouldn't we all like to make the long delivery trip to the Great Lakes on her?

    The Geat Lakes cruise season limited from May to October with only 75 ft. width to pass through eight locks in the Welland Canal up to the Great Lakes. Such vessels route to the Caribbean/Central America in the winter, work their way back in the spring in a kind of 'tramping' mode similar to steamboats on our rivers. Past passengers are 'veteran' cruises with many voyages. "These passengers are interested in the Great Lakes for the itinerary--not the ships...mostly from the Sun Belt states. Midwesterners take the Great Lakes for granted," according to Conlin. I saw the German COLUMBUS in the past on Lake Michigan and was wowed by her design. Voyages range from eight and eleven day 'Great Lakes Grand Discovery.' Try typing in: Great Lakes Cruise Company : Voyages of Discovery on America's Inland Seas for a look. For news on tours, wholesalers and river cruising, follow Michelle Baran on Twitter@mbtravelweekly. The last may not open for all as it's a to-the-trade link.
    I smell healthy competition brewing with the Great Lakes vessels, ACL & GASBC on our rivers. This is going to be interesting and good to check on what 'the other guys are doing.'
    Well, what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick, Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

    Great Post !

    Dale ,
    Great Post ! I went to the web page that you posted and it ALL looked good ! In your opinion is one trip or cruise company more acomodateing or scenic than another ? What would you recommend ??
    Thanks !

    Smooth Sailing !
    Ted Davisson


      *RE: Great Lakes appeal/Scenery*

      Hi, Ted,
      Glad the 'links' opened for you to peruse. Our Great Lakes, known to many on this web, considered 'America's Inland Seas' rivaled only by the central lakes of Africa, Russia's Lake Bykal. I meet loads tourist from Europe and around the world--especially Germany--who are enthralled. Norhern Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Erie, Ontario on down the Saint Lawrence spectacular in secnery, fresh water similar to Scandinavia. Again, people like it or not. I'm fond of Wisconsin's shores, Georgian Bay, our area near our summer home up to Mackinac Island. Aging steamships with the May to October season until now not served by cruise vessels.

      A number of us on this web have steamed on the SS BADGER as part of our MOR summer meetings. I'm sure a number can testify to the beauty and adventure aboard a real live coal burning steamship. Again, the German HAPAG-LLOYD ship COLUMBUS I've seen in person on the lakes a real beauty.

      An analogy here could compare the lower Mississippi to the beauty of the upper Miss and upper Ohio. I wish the emerging cruise lines on the GLs all the best. The market up there, like the river cruise market here, is ready and ripe. Thanks to you, Judy, and others, for the continuing great pictures of the Mississippi and New Orleans. I like your 'big ship' photos. Not 'pure steamboats' did ask. Well, what do I know?

      R. Dale Flick
      Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.