Yorktown Cruise Ship Visits Duluth as Part of "Great Lakes Grand Discovery" Tour

By KBJR News 1

August 9, 2013 Updated Aug 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - For the Yorktown cruise ship, owned by New York–based Travel Dynamics International, the concept of Great Lakes cruises set sail in the late 90s, with positive feedback from the first passengers.

"[They were] really surprised by what they're seeing, how much beauty there is here, how friendly the people are," said Cruise Director and Michigan native Temu Nana, aboard the Yorktown Thursday.

The 130–passenger vessel's most unique feature is its size: a relatively small 257 feet in length by 43 feet wide, and 65 guest cabins.

"But she only has a 9 ft. draft underneath the water," added Nana, "so it allows us to get into places that ships our size really shouldn't be... into very, very small harbors."

...perfect for Great Lakes exploration, says Nana, which helps serves one of the vessel's main goals: education.

Nana says most of the ship's business is with affinity groups, like the Smithsonian and college alumni associations, who provide passengers with top–of–the–field guest speakers.

"They sent professors, or they send speakers here, and really, education is the focus. So, you're always getting a guided tour," said Nana.

...which is optional for those who may prefer the "cruise aspect" of this Great Lakes journey.

"[You could always] have a drink, go sit up on the sundeck, and watch the world go by," added Nana, smiling.

According to Visit Duluth Director of Package Travel Mary Nelson, bringing the Yorktown to the Twin Ports is a combined effort with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and great business for the Northland.

"They're spending money in the hotels, [and] the taxi companies are very happy; they've been going back and forth all day," said Nelson outside of the Yorktown. "If they do city tours we've got the transportation companies, the bus companies. So, it's wonderful for us."

As for the 119 passengers set to leave the harbor Thursday, they can expect to see Great Lakes highlights like Sault Ste. Marie, Presque Isle, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the coming days.

Outbound passengers are now bound for Toronto following this 11–day transit known as the "Great Lakes Grand Discovery."

The route includes stops in all five Great Lakes.

- Posted to the web by Billy Wagness