TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A cruise ship currently being built in Norway is scheduled to visit the Great Lakes, including a stop at Traverse City in northern Michigan eight times in 2022.
About a year ago, the Discovery Center & Pier announced plans to transform a former Michigan coal dock in Greilickville into a site that ships could use to land passengers — in efforts to attract more cruise ship traffic to Grand Traverse Bay, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.
The 665-foot-long (203-meter-long) Viking Octantis is offering four different itineraries, starting in January 2022. A sister ship, the Viking Polaris, is scheduled to launch in August 2022.
“This is all happening a little faster than we expected,” said Discovery Center & Pier CEO Matt McDonough. “We didn't expect to have eight ships come to call from one company in two years.”
The cruise itinerary that includes dates in Traverse City, called “Niagara & the Great Lakes,” will shuttle between Toronto and Milwaukee, with stops at Niagara Falls, Point Pelee on Lake Erie in Ontario, Detroit, Alpena and Mackinac Island.
Discovery Pier officials said they're excited about the scientific bent of Viking's planned cruises and the demographic the company is marketing toward.
“They're interested in learning about science, and the natural resources of the Great Lakes,” McDonough said. “We're talking with our partners on developing programming for them.”
Viking, based in Switzerland, launched in 1997 as Viking River Cruises and operates river vessels and ocean ships.