New Great Lakes ‘Inside Passage’ route developed

The new 'Inside Passage' route on Lake Superior's North Shore MAP: Great Lakes Cruising Coalition

A new Great Lakes route that sails westward along Lake Superior’s North Shore from Sault Ste Marie has been designed for expedition cruise operators.

New product for the growing cruise trade

Over the past two years, the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition has been investigating the potential for expedition-style ships to sail inside the North Shore Archipelago, a series of islands adjacent to the shoreline. From time to time, several of these inside passages have been used for merchant shipping, but their potential for expedition-style cruising has only recently been recognized, offering a totally new product to the growing Great Lakes cruise trade.

Exploring by kayaks and Zodiacs

This ‘Inside Passage’ offers the famed pristine wilderness of Lake Superior’s North Shore with opportunities to use kayaks and Zodiacs to explore narrow passages and coves and visit several uninhabited islands, according to Stephen Burnett, executive director, Great Lakes Cruising Coalition and Cruise Ontario.

Some of these islands are home to wildlife that has migrated from the mainland. For example, wolves have been known to cross the ice in winter and leave their markers in the forested land.

Hiking, history, indigenous culture

Several North Shore communities can be visited from contiguous protected anchorages. Burnett said Terrace Bay and Rossport provide excellent hiking and kayaking opportunities, while Red Rock and Nipigon offer pictographs and the opportunity to experience indigenous culture at Red Rock First Nation.

Abandoned silver mines, stunning views of the legendary Sleeping Giant, magnificent waterfalls, historic lighthouses and unique northern cuisine are other enticements.

This new route has been identified by the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition with the assistance of Parks Canada, Destination Northern Ontario and several North Shore communities.

The Coalition is the bi-national organization that has nurtured the Great Lakes region to its current level of visits by eight cruise lines. Parks Canada is responsible for the development and stewardship of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, which embraces a significant swath of Lake Superior’s North Shore. And Destination Northern Ontario is the tourism authority responsible for product development and marketing this region.

Posted 21 October 2019

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Anne Kalosh

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Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor, Seatrade Cruise Review Anne Kalosh covers global stories, reporting both breaking and in-depth news on cruising's significant people, places, ships and trends. A sought-after expert on cruising, she has moderated conferences around the world, including the high-profile State of the Industry panel at Seatrade Cruise Global. She created and led the acclaimed itinerary-planning case study for Seatrade's cruise master classes held at Cambridge and Oxford universities. She is the cruise columnist for, and her freelance stories have appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New York Times to The Miami Herald.

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