In the 1930s, two Great Lakes cruise ships, the S.S. South American and S.S. North American provided regular cruises around the Great Lakes. The U.S. was locked in a depression and those who had enough money for a vacation often wanted to conserve as much of their funds as possible. Cruising the Great Lakes gave them the opportunity to save a good deal of money and still have an enjoyable vacation. Once on the luxury cruise ships they could meet other people from around the Great Lakes basin, across the United States and even from overseas since Great Lakes cruises were very popular with Europeans.

Great Lakes cruises gradually lost favor as bigger and glitzier cruise liners made faster and faster transits to tropical islands and faraway ports. By the 1960s, cruising on the Great Lakes had dwindled to little more than private charters and small day-sailers.

In the mid 1990s, a German firm changed all of that by bringing in a liner full of European tourists to cruise the Great Lakes. That single event is credited with reviving interest in Great Lakes cruising.

Today, there are a number of small and mid-sized liners that ply the Great Lakes, offering a number of choices from day cruises to weeks long excursions. None of these Great Lakes cruise ships are as large as the ocean liners that shuttle people to the Bahamas, Hawaii and other exotic destinations and the odds are good you will never find a cruise ship that large on the lakes. The reason is simple, the Great Lakes can only be reached by a canal that is too small to allow the larger liners to pass. So, the liners on the Great Lakes are smaller, carrying 100 to 300 passengers rather than the much larger capacity of the big ships.

The Great Lakes basin has much to see. The Great Lakes themselves were formed after the last ice age, quite probably when the water from melting glaciers scoured the soil from the bedrock leaving great hollows that soon filled with water to become the lakes.

Over many centuries of human habitation, the Great Lakes have always held a certain fascination for man. Here is 1/5th of the world’s fresh water contained in one spot. The Native Americans created legends about the lakes and about many of the small islands that follow the shores of the surrounding States and Canada. In legend, North and South Manitou Island are baby bears and for centuries the natives considered Mackinaw Island a holy place and held their most important ceremonies there.

Along this waterway, Great Lakes cruise ships glide past everything from sandy beaches to rocky caves. A huge variety of wildlife makes this area home and it is not uncommon to see many different animals and birds on any given day. Many of the small towns along the shore are little changed from fifty years ago and still offer small town amenities.

Great Lakes cruises offer great scenery and enough luxury to satisfy almost anyone, and there are a variety of different cruising options from small ship day sails to full blown luxury cruises.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.

Powered by FeedBurner