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Cruise ship visits expected to put wind in Sault tourism's sails

The city is anticipating 31 stops at the Roberta Bondar port between May and September
2022-04-12 cruise ship
SooToday File Photo

The cruise ship season can’t come soon enough for travellers looking to explore everything the Great Lakes has to offer. 

As the weather begins to improve, the Sault’s tourism industry anticipates ships arriving in the city filled with visitors.  

A variety of cruise ships will be stopping periodically throughout the warmer months at the Roberta Bondar port at the Pavilion.

The Ocean Navigator is scheduled to be the first ship arriving at the port on May 21.

The city has scheduled 31 stops in total, some of which will dock for the full day, while others will hang around for a couple hours.

Each ship carries approximately 200 passengers, meaning the city could see upwards of six thousand Great Lakes tourists exploring the area during the summer.

Alana Kenopic, the travel and tourism manager with the city, says the cruise ship industry is a vital piece in tourism's recovery from the pandemic. 

“We’re ecstatic and very happy to see cruise ships back on the Great Lakes,” Kenopic says. “If we can provide them with a first-class experience while they’re here, we could entice them to come back for another visit.” 

The city works with various cruise ship companies to develop an itinerary list for each ship to offer travellers the best possible experience. Excursions available to tourists are determined by the ship’s length of stay.

“If they’re here the full day, they’ll be visiting attractions like the Bushplane Museum and the Sault Canal Historic Site,” Kenopic says. “Other ships will be taking passengers up Lake Superior Coastal Drive and through Lake Superior Provincial Park as well.”

Rick Borean, the community services supervisor with the city, wants to remind the public to be courteous of the port’s vicinity when ships are coming in. 

“We encourage the public and welcome them to come out and view the ships,” Borean says. “But we do ask them to be respectful of the restricted areas.”  

One of the newest and largest passenger ships ever seen on the Great Lakes — the Viking Octantis — will not dock in the Sault this year, but she is expected to pass through. 

Borean wasn’t sure exactly when that would be, but he says it’s a sight everyone should come out to see. 

— SooToday