Ocean Voyager makes maiden trip to Esky

Brian Rowell Daily Press Passengers of the American Queen Voyages cruise ship Ocean Voyager receive refreshments and a gift bag after coming ashore Thursday morning in Escanaba.

ESCANABA — Escanaba welcomed another cruise ship on its maiden voyage to the city Thursday morning.

Local officials and residents welcomed the crew and passengers of the American Queen Voyages cruise ship Ocean Voyager with a ceremony and the key to the city. Players de Noc dressed in costume portraying Delta County historical figures and handed out gift bags to passengers.

The Ocean Voyager is one of two American Queen Voyages cruise ships that will make multiple visits to Escanaba this summer and fall.

The American Queen Voyages cruise ship Ocean Navigator docked in Escanaba on Sunday, May 14. Passengers and crew were greeted by a similar ceremony that day. The Ocean Navigator also docked in Escanaba on Thursday, May 18.

Approximately 200 cruise ship passengers arrived at Escanaba’s North Shore Marine Terminal & Logistics Dock, located behind the Escanaba Public Library.

The ships are scheduled for 26 day-long visits through October 2.

The next visit to Escanaba by the Ocean Voyager will be Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day). The Ocean Navigator’s next docking will be Thursday, June 1.

When passengers left the ship Thursday they were given a gift bag put together by local businesses and the Delta County Chamber of Commerce.

Buses were waiting for the ship’s passengers to take them to a variety of destinations in the area.

Passengers were able to take a “Hop On Hop Off” bus route, moving passengers along Ludington Street to the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds. Guests had the choice to hop on and hop off the bus at various locations on the route.

In the afternoon, the bus took guests to the Potawatomi Heritage Center in Hannahville with a cultural experience provided by the Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company and a stop at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris.

There was also an afternoon craft beer and wine bus tour with stops at Leigh’s Garden Winery, Hereford and Hops, Upper Hand Brewery, and Northern Sun Winery.

Passengers could also take a U.P. Timber Life excursion with a tour of the MSU Upper Peninsula Forestry Innovation Center to learn about the production of maple syrup, tour the maple sugarhouse, and sample maple syrup and candy. The U.P. Timber Life excursion concluded at the Steam and Gas Engine with the Great Lakes Timber Show.

Each ship will hold up to 202 passengers per trip. The cruise line’s visits will have a projected economic impact of $1.25 million to the Escanaba area.


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