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cruise ship to set sail june 15

Tuesday, June 05, 2018 17:19 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

Daily rides on a cruise ship on Lake Michigan will start June 15 at Michigan City

The 70 foot two deck vessel docked in Trail Creek at Millennium Plaza can hold 150 passengers.

It was acquired by Lowell resident Victor Terry, owner of Harbor Country Adventures who with more than 20-years in the hospitality industry saw a need with the nearest cruise vessel being in Chicago.

''It always amazed me that we didn't have sight-seeing boats like they have in Chicago,'' Terry said.

''Standing on the beach looking out over the lake is completely different than being out on the water and getting a view of the shoreline,'' he said.

Terry said the ship will offer light food items and a full bar during 90 minute cruises to be offered seven days a week at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. ''Sunset Tour.''

There will also be a 2 ½ hour ''party cruise'' every Saturday beginning at 9:30 p.m. for people 21 and over with live music on the upper deck.

The boat will also be available for private gatherings with catered food welcomed aboard.

After Labor Day, Terry said cruises will probably be offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of October, weather permitting.

Terry said each cruise will begin with a presentation about the maritime history of Michigan City.

There will also be some ''fun facts'' shared about Lake Michigan and information about the Indiana Dunes as the boat turns west.

Terry started offering speed boat rides on Lake Michigan six-years ago when he started Harbor Country Adventures in New Buffalo, which also offers winery tours on luxury buses.

''It went over so well I knew the next boat I was going to get had to be something larger,'' Terry said.

Two-years ago, he began talking about a cruise ship with officials from the Michigan City Port Authority which welcomed the idea with open arms.

He then set out to find a cruise ship.

''They were excited. I'm excited so the adventure begins,'' he said.

Terry said the boat constructed in 1953 was used for cruises of the Erie Canal in the Syracuse, New York area the past 50-years or so.

Erie Canal runs parallel to Lake Ontario, providing a connection to Lake Erie for marine travel to and from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

Terry acquired the vessel from the longtime operators of the tour business looking to slow down in their later years.

The boat too large to put on a trailer arrived in Michigan City after a 14 day voyage through the canal and Lake Erie then up Lake Huron and down the entire length of Lake Michigan.

Daily cruises are $30 for adults, $16 for children and free for kids 2 and under.

The cost is half price for all emergency responders and veterans.

People currently active in the military ride at no cost.

Tickets can be obtained at www.harborcountryadventures.com or at the dock, Terry said.

''It's a great boat. It's got a lot of character,'' he said.

It's believed the last time a tour boat operated in Michigan City was in the 1930's.

Jack Arnett, executive director of the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau said the boat is a nice attraction for boosting Michigan City's lakefront experience.

''It's something different to offer,'' Arnett said.

Terry is relocating his speed boat ride business to Michigan City.
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