The Cruise Examiner for 18th July 2011: The UK’s Third Largest Cruise Retailer Goes Bust – Other News: Seattle: A New West Coast Cruise Centre – Detroit Opens Its New Cruise Terminal

by Kevin Griffin

The UK’s Third Largest Cruise Retailer Goes Bust – Other News: Seattle: A New West Coast Cruise Centre – Detroit Opens Its New Cruise Terminal

Last week, Gill’s Cruise Centre, reportedly the third largest cruise retailer in the UK, ceased trading after burning its candle at both ends. Not only had it been rebating too much of its commission to “buy” bookings but it had also been overspending on a Central London call centre and on national advertising. We have a look at some of the reactions and revisit the failure of Cruise Control, the last major UK cruise retailer to go bankrupt, in 2005.

Photo of Grande Mariner at Detroit by Dan Janisse, The Windsor Star, 18th July 2011.

Elsewhere, while Los Angeles has been thought of as the US West Coast’s cruise centre ever since Princess Cruises opened in that city, now Seattle, with Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises, as well as newcomers Seabourn and Paul Gauguin and a bevy of small ship operators, puts up a good case for taking the lead. And with a first call  this weekend by Blount’s Grande Mariner, Detroit has now opened its new cruise terminal. There is talk of a new line handling twelve passenger embarkations and disembarkations (six turnarounds) there in 2012, with cruises to and from Chicago, Duluth and Quebec City.


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Detroit Opens A New Cruise Terminal For Great Lakes Cruising

Later this month, the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority will open its new Public Dock and Terminal, to be called Port Detroit. This new $22 million facility will be available for use by cruise ships, visiting naval vessels, tall ships and perhaps even by a new ferry service to Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River in Canada. The last ferries disappeared with the opening of the present bridge.
Part of a 5½-mile redevelopment of the whole Detroit waterfront, called River Walk, in addition to customs and border patrol facilities for the clearance of incoming cruise ships the 30,000-square foot Public Dock and Terminal will house new offices for the port authority.

The Grande Mariner, owned by Blount Small Ship Adventures, seen here in the Detroit River

Blount Small Ship Adventures will be the terminal’s first cruise customer, with its 96-berth Grande Mariner making two calls next month. Blount have introduced two new itineraries recently, between New York and Toronto and between Toronto and Georgian Bay. Another cruise line newcomer, Travel Dynamics International of New York, is planning six departures and six arrivals at Detroit between June and September of 2012 with their 138-guest US-flag Yorktown, handling a dozen passenger lists to and from Chicago, Duluth and Quebec City. The Yorktown (below) was last in the Great Lakes when she worked for Clipper Cruise Lines as the Yorktown Clipper .

And there will be others. The largest ship to cruise the Great Lakes in recent years has been Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 14,903-ton Columbus, which first came into the Great Lakes in 1997. In 2012, she will be taken over by Plantours & Partner of Bremen, to become their MS Hamburg and it is hoped that she will return to the Great Lakes under her new name in 2013. Two other operators from Europe have also been examining the Great Lakes as a new destination for them.
To learn more about cruising in the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail