The Regional Maritime Strategy noted that the cruise tourism could generate substantial economic benefits for the Great Lakes. Cruise the Great Lakes is a response to this potential market, and is an international partnership intended to bring more cruise passengers to the Great Lakes. The partnership was organized by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers in 2018, with the goal of creating a unique brand to market the Great Lakes to both consumers and cruise operators. Cruise the Great Lakes’ members include the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and states of Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Other partners include:
- Cruise operators such as Victory Cruise Lines, Blount Small Ship Adventures, and Pearl Seas Cruises
- Tourism agencies and chambers of commercesuch as Visit Detroit, Visit Duluth, Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Tourism Thunder Bay.
- Port authorities or agencies including the Port of Cleveland, Port of Milwaukee, and Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority.
Cruise the Great Lakes is currently developing its brand and implementing its marketing strategy through a variety of marketing efforts including:
- Creating a centralized website with basic information about cruising in the Great Lakes and all that the region has to offer;
- Engaging in digital marketing work including web search optimization and advertorial and editorial content about cruise itineraries and the regional cruising experience;
- Creating printed materials, such as maps, to geographically locate the Great Lakes within North America, and to pinpoint each active port offering activities for cruise passengers;
- Hosting familiarization tours; and,
- Organizing and participating in events to enhance visibility such as press events with elected officials.