Watch video of first cruise ship in nearly 10 years arriving in Duluth Harbor
(FOX 9) - Duluth Harbor welcomed its first cruise ship in nearly 10 years when the 665-foot-long Viking Octantis arrived Monday morning.
The ship, which carries 378 guests and 256 crew members, sounded its horn and slowly came through the fog as the crew prepared to dock.
The ship's stop in Duluth is part of an eight-day tour of the Great Lakes and was made possible by the completion of a new customs facility at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The last time a cruise ship docked in Duluth Harbor was in 2013.
"This effectively opens Lake Superior to cruising that crosses that U.S.-Canadian Border," said David Naftzger, Executive Director of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers said in a press conference last week. "Ports like Thunder Bay will benefit, ports like Duluth will benefit and we will see it grow over time to other places in Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, and so on."
Passengers disembarked to begin an excursion through the city that included a tour of local business, stops at the Glensheen Mansion, North Shore Scenic Railroad, Great Lakes Aquarium, and a canoe trip down the St. Louis River.
"I think this voyage is filled with a lot of people in the United States but it’s the coastal region so there’s going to be people getting to see Duluth that would normally never, ever see this community," said Dan Hartman, Executive Director of the DECC, at last week's press conference.
The Viking Octantis is the first of nine cruise ships set to arrive at Duluth’s port from May to September 2022. Two cruise lines - Viking and American Queen - are currently using the port.
Next year Duluth will become an embarkation location, where passengers here can board cruise ships to other destinations. Officials estimate that visits by cruise ships could pump $600 to $700 thousand into Duluth's economy each year.
Fox 21 contributed to this report.