Milwaukee may look more like the Caribbean this weekend with three of the many cruise ships stopping in Milwaukee this season arriving in the port today.
These ships aren’t just any cruise ships, but rather seaway max vessels. They are built to be the largest possible cruise ships that can come into the great lakes from abroad.
This is just the beginning, as Milwaukee has become quite the hotspot for great lakes cruises with 33 port calls and over 10,000 passengers expected this season. In comparison, in 2018 there were just three cruise ships and under 1000 passengers. Port calls in Milwaukee have become increasingly popular alongside travel amongst the great lakes.
Director of the Port of Milwaukee, Adam Tindall-Schlicht, told Wisconsin’s Morning News his team has been preparing for this since the pandemic. “We’ve been doing this work since COVID, we’ve been preparing both from a vessel perspective, recruiting new cruise lines, showing them our city and making sure we’re also ready from a health and safety perspective.”
These passengers are unlike the traditional cruise-goers, Tindall-Schlicht said. Most of the travelers are over the age of 50-60 and they have a heavy focus on freshwater research and history as well as digging into great lakes communities. They are very well traveled and come from all around the world. “These are not your casino cruises,” Tindall-Schlicht said “It’s a more mature experience.”
Additionally, passengers are staying in Milwaukee and checking it out as opposed to leaving right away, partially because cruise itineraries are beginning and ending in Milwaukee. Ships can be seen from the home bridge downtown near Bay View for any interested viewers.