Port Milwaukee Celebrates Successful Great Lakes Cruising Season

Wednesday marked the end of Port Milwaukee’s 2022 Great Lakes cruising season as Mayor Cavalier Johnson was joined by officials from the City of Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes region to celebrate a banner year for the city’s growing cruising industry with the Hamburg from Plantours in port.

In 2022, Milwaukee welcomed 13,610 passengers that traveled to-or-from the city via cruise ships, according to a press release.

That represents a total of 33 vessel calls between the eight vessels that host itineraries in Milwaukee.

This is compared to the 10 total stops made during the 2019 season, before Great Lakes cruising halted for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of note, Port staff handled approximately 16,000 items of luggage this year.

“Milwaukee is a great destination, filled with attractions and hospitality. People from around the globe are clearly taking notice of our city, and the growing passenger and vessel visit numbers speak for themselves,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “This effort is a wonderful example of how the City’s partnerships are creating new excitement and activity in Milwaukee. I’m looking forward to more travelers cruising to America’s Fresh Coast next year, and beyond.”

Mayor Johnson also announced that his 2023 Proposed Budget completes the financing package for the redevelopment of South Shore Cruise Dock, located immediately east of the Lake Express High-Speed Ferry terminal. This will serve as the future port-of-call for Seawaymax vessels. Port Milwaukee received $3.5 million in Capital Tourism grant funding from the State of Wisconsin to build this new infrastructure at South Shore Cruise Dock.

“Milwaukee is becoming the turnaround port of choice for international cruise lines operating on the Great Lakes. This success is because of the hard work of Port staff and our partners,” said Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Director of Port Milwaukee. “Our momentum and positioning as a Great Lakes cruising destination will keep moving forward.”

Several ongoing efforts remain underway to promote the passenger cruise business in Milwaukee and throughout the Great Lakes. Port Milwaukee is the founder of the Milwaukee Cruise Collaborative, a local group promoting the city as a cruise destination. The Collaborative, which includes a cross section of the local hospitality industry, has planned, promoted and prepared for increased Great Lakes cruising passengers. VISIT Milwaukee and various local stakeholders are also proud partners in promoting Great Lakes cruising activity in the city.

The Port is also a participant in the Cruise the Great Lakes initiative of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers. The Port recently signed onto a Cruise the Great Lakes pledge committing to promoting environmental stewardship practices and efforts for the 2022 cruising season and beyond.

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