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Great Lakes Cruises Feature New Luxury Ship and Ports in 2004
PORT HURON, Mich., PRNewswire

The Great Lakes-one of the world's best, but largely undiscovered cruising destinations-promises even more delights in 2004.

"We have a brand, new luxury ship that will join the five ships already on the lakes, and these ships will be stopping at several new cruise ports this season," said Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Co.

Conlin's company, a joint enterprise with Acheson Ventures of Port Huron, Mich. handles bookings for virtually all of the Great Lakes cruise ships, which this year will sail from June to October.

A New Five-Star Ship
Luxury on the waves, the German-built, 106-passenger Orion took its maiden voyage in November. The ship promises to cater to every passenger's whim on its eight nine-day cruises this season, each one hitting all five of the Great Lakes.

Orion wants to coddle passengers with its extra large 24 staterooms and 29 suites, all with views of the water. Each has a sitting area or living room, TV/DVD and CD player, direct Internet access, a marble bathroom and, a rarity on most cruise ships, ample closet space.

Five other ships also will cruise the lakes this season.

Four are considered small cruise ships, like the Orion. Each carries about 100 passengers in styles that range from relaxed and comfortable on the Grande Mariner and Niagara Prince, to casual elegance aboard Nantucket Clipper, to positively regal on the French four-star ship, Le Levant.

The fifth and largest ship in the fleet is the four-star, 423-passenger MV Columbus, which arguably offers passengers the most luxury per dollar.

New Ports of Call in 2004
During the half a dozen years of this modern era of Great Lakes cruising, passengers have enjoyed stops to see Niagara Falls, Indian dances of Manitoulin Island and visiting the antique community at Greenfield Village in Dearborn.

But most of all, they love Mackinac Island, with its storied Grand Hotel on the bluff, grand Victorian homes and no cars. Just like the 19th century, everyone must get about on foot, by bicycle or on a horse-drawn carriage.

The cruise ships, of course, will return to these destinations, but this season cruise itineraries have added 5 new ports of call.

Varying by cruise and ship, they include:
Bayfield on Lake Superior, which is the gateway to the beautiful Apostle Islands, a national lakeshore park that is one of the world's great kayaking and sailing destinations.

Thunder Bay, Ontario on Lake Superior boasts Old Fort William, a superb re-creation of the fort used by the French voyageurs in the 1700s.

Tobermory, on the Canadian side of Lake Huron, offers passengers a day trip to charming Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a recreation of a palisaded community dating back to the Jesuit missionaries of the 17th century.

Also, passengers on certain cruises can stop at quaint lakeside villages including Goderich in Ontario and Presque Isle in Michigan.

Many passengers now will see Port Huron, a 19th century lumber town, is perhaps best known now as the starting point for the annual Port Huron to Mackinac sailing race. It has become the principal hub starting and ending cruises on Great Lakes.

As for the best time to go cruising on the lake, Conlin said, "Any time is good, but the fall colors make September particularly special."

Great Lakes Cruise Co. also is handling cruises of the 1,000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to its mouth on Lake Ontario, as well as cruises up the Ottawa River to Canada's capital aboard M/V Canadian Empress and day trips aboard the Highlander Sea, a two-masted tall ship based at Port Huron, Mich.

A modern cruise terminal is now being completed at the city's south side by Acheson Ventures, a local philanthropic organization and Great Lakes Cruise Co. partner.

Great Lakes Cruise Company,
3270 Washtenaw Ave.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Contact: 888-891-0203 or e-mail us at info@greatlakescruising.com
Media Contact: Christopher Conlin, President, 734-477-6052
Web Site: www.greatlakescruising.com

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