Viking Cruises’ new Octantis cruise ship will arrive in Milwaukee on May 6, the first of 33 cruise ship port calls expected in the city this year.
That’s way up form the 10 stops made by cruise ships in Milwaukee in 2019, before the industry was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruise ships are expected to bring more than 10,000 passengers to Milwaukee this year.
Viking’s Octantis ship will carry up to 378 guests and 256 crew members on Great Lakes cruises.
Over a five-month period, a total of 20 Viking voyages will start or end at Port Milwaukee.
“Milwaukee is a great destination. It’s a city filled with attractions and hospitality. That’s what cruise passengers will find here,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “As word spreads, I anticipate even more travelers will cruise to Milwaukee.”
Viking Cruises will utilize the Port’s City Heavy Lift Dock this season as their port-of-call location. The South Shore Cruise Dock, located immediately east of the Lake Express High Speed Ferry terminal, will serve as the future port-of-call for vessels the size of the Viking Octantis. Port Milwaukee recently received $3.5 million in Capital Tourism grant funding from the state to build new Seawaymax ship docking infrastructure at South Shore Cruise Dock.
A number of ongoing efforts remain underway to promote the passenger cruise business in Milwaukee and throughout the Great Lakes.
“Port Milwaukee continues to capitalize on increased interest in passenger cruising on the Great Lakes and increased interest in Milwaukee as the turnaround hub for passengers to start or end their voyages,” Port Milwaukee director Adam Tindall-Schlicht said. “In the coming years, thousands of passengers will visit our city, stay in local hotels, dine in our restaurants, and enjoy all the great things Milwaukee offers.”
“Port Milwaukee has positioned itself as a premier cruising destination and our hospitality community is excited to welcome this season’s guests,” said VISIT Milwaukee president and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. “With two dock experiences as well as an international airport just minutes from a vibrant walkable downtown, Milwaukee is perfect for Great Lakes cruises.”