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Minnesota may not be located on an ocean, yet nine big-time cruise ships are still set to dock again here in our fair state this summer.

When I hear the word 'cruise ship,' Minnesota isn't the first state that leaps into my mind. Florida, Texas, California, and even New York and Louisiana (home to New Orleans) all make sense, seeing as they're all states that have massive coastlines along either the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean or along the Gulf of Mexico.

So how are nine of those mammoth cruise ships going to visit the Land of 10,000 Lakes again this summer? Will we see the Pacific Princess navigating the Minnesota River or making its way across Lake Minnetonka or on the Zumbro River on its way to Silver Lake in Rochester?

Yeah, that'd be a big no. But they WILL be docking in the North Star State this summer again this year along our scenic North Shore up in Duluth.

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The port of Duluth isn't a stranger to massive ships, but they're usually Great Lakes or ocean freighters, loaded with '26 thousand tons of iron ore' (to quote the song 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald') or similar cargo, not passengers. However, last year marked the first time cruise ships docked in Duluth in nearly 10 years.

According to this Duluth News Tribune story, those massive cruisers returned because of a new passenger cruise terminal that opened last spring on the harbor side of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

It was all part of an agreement with Cruise the Great Lakes, a travel company that sent nine different cruises to dock in Duluth for the day, the story said. In addition to Duluth, those Great Lakes cruises also visit ports in other cities including Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Sault St. Marie and Holland, Michigan; Kingston, Ontario; and Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

And once again this summer, 9 different Viking cruise ships are also set to dock here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes after cruising the Big Lake They Call Gitchee Gumee (that'd be Lake Superior) on Mondays throughout the summer. In fact, the cruise ship Octantis got the season started when it headed under the famous lift bridge into the Duluth harbor on Tuesday, May 30th.

Here's the 2023 schedule, courtesy of WDIO-TV:

  • June 4, 2023: Hanseatic Inspiration – Port Terminal
  • June 9, 2023: Ocean Navigator – Port Terminal
  • June 13, 2023: Viking Octantis – DECC Docking
  • June 23, 2023: Ocean Navigator – Port Terminal
  • June 24, 2023: Viking Polaris – DECC Docking
  • June 27, 2023: Hanseatic Inspiration – Port Terminal
  • July 11, 2023: Viking Octantis – DECC Docking
  • July 22, 2023: Viking Polaris – DECC Docking
  • August 18, 2023: Viking Octantis – DECC Docking
  • September 12, 2023: Viking Polaris – DECC Docking

Listen to Curt St. John in the Morning
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