The Cruising the Great Lakes blog has been developed to promote within Europe the Great Lakes and other cruise programs offered by the 2,354-ton m.v. Yorktown. This 138-berth ship has recently been acquired by Travel Dynamics International of New York, which offered its first season of Great Lakes cruises in 2004 with the 4,050-ton Orion and returned in 2009 with the 4,077-ton Clelia II. As in 2004, 2009 and 2010, a full season of Great Lakes cruises was offered between June and September 2012 while US coastal waterways and Central America cruises are offered at other times of the year. The Yorktown returns to the Great Lakes in 2013, and in September 2014 will be joined by Plantours Kreuzfahrten, whose 400-berth ms Hamburg will make a 16-night round trip cruise to the Great Lakes from Montreal. The Hamburg previously operated into the Great Lakes as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Columbus.
Completed by First Coast Shipbuilding in Coral Springs, Florida, in 1988, as the Yorktown Clipper, she is the largest active US-flag coastal cruise ship. She was operated for many years by Clipper Cruise Line of St Louis, Missouri, and first came into the Great Lakes in 1992, when she operated a series of cruises between Charlottetown PEI and Rochester NY and Rochester and Quebec City, before being replaced in the Great Lakes by the smaller 108-berth Nantucket Clipper. In 2006, the Yorktown Clipper was acquired by Cruise West of Seattle and became the Spirit of Yorktown, under which name she operated in Alaska and on the West Coast until Cruise West closed in September 2010.
The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. With a 257-foot length and 43-foot beam, on a draft of 8 feet, she has the same dimensions as the old St Lawrence canallers, the maximum size ship that could reach the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes before the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959.
By comparison with the Yorktown, the Georgian Bay Line’s 2,317-ton North American, which operated Great Lakes cruises for fifty years, had a slightly lower tonnage but slightly larger dimensions, at 280 x 47 feet, and carried 400 passengers. Her near sister ship, the 2,662-ton South American, was slightly larger again.
With her compact size, the Yorktown is able to manoeuver into secluded waterways and to visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Like the Georgian Bay Line ships, the Yorktown features a walk-around promenade deck and all-outside cabins, but unlike the older ships, which were retired in the 1960s, the Yorktown is fully air conditioned and every cabin is en suite, in addition to which all the passengers dine at one seating.
Fares include your cruise, all meals, all shore excursions and lectures, welcome and farewell cocktail parties, all soft drinks and wine and beer with lunch and dinner, the on-board educational program and port and embarkation fees. They do not include flights and transfers and you are left to your own discretion to tip your service personnel.
The Cruise People Ltd
88 York Street, London W1H 1QT England
T +44 (0)20 7723 2450 F +44 (0)20 7723 2486
Full details are now available from The Cruise People Ltd of London, from whom international guests (and agents) can obtain details and make bookings. Please call us at +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail at the link above to find out more.