Take a peek inside a Great Lakes cruise ship (with photo gallery)For the first time, the U.S.-flagged cruise ship M/V Yorktown arrived in Duluth early Wednesday. Passengers will pay $5,000 to $9,000 for an 11-day educational cruise to Detroit.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
For the first time, the U.S.-flagged cruise ship M/V Yorktown arrived in Duluth early Wednesday. After a hectic day of saying goodbye to one group of passengers, cleaning and restocking the ship, and greeting a second group of passengers, the ship left for an 11-day educational cruise to Detroit. The passengers will pay about $5,000 to $9,000 for the voyage.
Amidst preparations for departure, cruise director Temu Nana showed a group of visitors some of what passengers will receive in exchange.
The tour started on the ship’s lounge deck, named for the deck’s observation lounge, near the bow. Windows on three sides give passengers settled in comfortable chairs clear views of passing scenery. A bar takes up a back corner; a piano sits in a prominent place in the front.
The room is a center for much of the shipboard activity. Travel Dynamics International, the ship’s owner/operator, specializes in education cruises, and the lounge is the site of programs on the history, geology, biology and culture of the area the ship is cruising. It is where, as Nana put it, passengers can learn about the War of 1812 from a world expert while sipping drinks.
Built in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising, the 2,354-ton Yorktown is 257 feet long, 43 feet wide, and draws only 9 feet of water.
“We can get into really small ports,” Nana said.
Destinations along the ship’s cruise from Detroit to Duluth included Mackinac Island, Whitefish Point, Houghton and the Apostle Islands. Where there are no docks it can reach, the Yorktown is equipped to transfer its passengers to shore via small boats, boarding them from a boat platform at the stern.
The ship can carry 138 passengers in 69 cabins on four decks — the main, located near the waterline; the lounge above that; the promenade above that; and the sun deck on top.
The main deck is home to a second center of shipboard activity — the dining room. As wide as the ship, the room’s two exterior walls are as much glass as steel, again providing excellent views of passing scenery or sunsets.
For people who need to feel the sea or lake breeze, the ship has exterior seating on three levels. The promenade deck is named for the wooden walkway wrapping all the way around the ship – “15 times around for a mile,” Nana said.
This fall, the Yorktown will leave the Great Lakes for cruises in New England, on Chesapeake Bay, Central America and from New Orleans. But Travel Dynamics is planning additional Great Lakes cruises between June and September next year.
“The Great Lakes are an amazing area undiscovered in many ways,” Nana said.