Ocean Navigator cruise ship docks in Houghton for first visit of the season

This is the first of two visits the ship will make to Houghton this summer, as one of four cruise ship lines on Lake Superior this year, two more than last year
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 7:08 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The American Queen Voyages cruise ship Ocean Navigator docked in Houghton early Thursday morning.

It was previously docked in Marquette on Wednesday. This is the first of two visits the ship will make to Houghton this summer. It is also the first opportunity for the city to make use of its new cruise ship docking equipment.

“Everything went pretty smoothly,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara. “What we did was actually design removable bollards for a large ship to tie up to, so after this one leaves, public works is actually going to come down here, remove the bollards, put the manhole covers back on, and you’ll have this nice clear surface again.”

After docking, the roughly 70 passengers aboard climbed on buses to visit a series of attractions in the area. One volunteer helping organize the visit says cruises like these are becoming more common.

“Currently, the cruise lines are wanting to cruise on Lake Superior more than they ever have before,” said Tour Guide and Volunteer T.J Stauffer. “Last year, there were two cruise lines on Lake Superior, this year there are four, and so this isn’t just a once-in-a-decade event, it’s starting to become an annual thing.”

Stauffer says introducing visitors to the area this way may inspire them to return again.

“We’re finding that a lot of our guests are coming from the west coast and the Southwest,” added Stauffer. “So, to be here on crystal clear water, like Lake Superior, and come here with the northern forest and beautiful weather is something they’re absolutely loving, and it increases the likelihood that they’ll actually come back on their own personal vacation.”

The Ocean Navigator left Houghton around 4:30 p.m. Thursday evening, headed towards Duluth.