CLEVELAND, Ohio — Blount Small Ship Adventures, a small cruise company with a long-time presence in the Great Lakes, is exiting the cruise business.
The company’s small, nimble ships, holding fewer than 100 passengers, were a regular summertime presence in Cleveland, docking along the Cuyahoga River with disembarking travelers eager to explore the city.
The Rhode Island-based company, previously known as American Canadian Line, owned three small cruise ships – the Grande Mariner, Grande Caribe and Niagara Prince – which are all for sale.
Marcia Blount, president of Blount Boats, told WorkBoat magazine that the company was exiting the cruise business and would concentrate on its ship-building operation. “It was really just the requirement that all the cruise lines had to shut down for Covid, and at this point we decided not to start again,” she said.
It’s the latest blow for the cruise industry, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Great Lakes cruising, which had been enjoying a resurgence in recent years – with new ships, more passengers and emerging ports of call, including Cleveland – has come to a dramatic halt this summer because of the health pandemic.
Victory Cruise Lines, the largest operator of cruises in the Great Lakes, in May canceled all its cruises for 2020. Among the reasons why: the continued closure of the border between the United States and Canada. Most Great Lakes cruises go back and forth between the two countries.
One popular Great Lakes Blount itinerary, however, the 16-day Great American Waterways tour, stayed entirely U.S. waters, traveling from New York City to Chicago, with stops in Buffalo, Cleveland, Mackinac Island and more.
Victory, and several other lines, are scheduled to resume operations in 2021. For information: cruisethegreatlakes.com, greatlakescruising.com.
Victory Cruise Lines cancels all Great Lakes sailings for 2020, leaving Cleveland port without cruise passengers
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