Ahoy There!

By Joel Charon

It could be the start of good things to come, at least that’s what Tourism Manager Anne Rota thinks.

Rota watched as the “Macassa Bay” cruise ship pulled into the docks last Monday morning for the first time and couldn’t help but think how “big” this was for Amherstburg.

Windsor River Cruises began their Amherstburg day cruise Monday afternoon. Rota is hoping the Detroit River will open the pathway to more tourism.

“It’s huge as far as an economic development project,” she said.

Rota said the Monday cruises are a pilot project aimed to attract “bigger and better” via waterway travel.

Rota admits that figuring out how to utilize the Detroit River as a way to welcome people to the downtown core has been a frustrating task.

“We are a big waterfront community but there was never any public access to come by boat,” she said. “We are hoping that what this project will do is open that up.”

Many local businesses, which are usually closed on Mondays, opened their doors to cruise visitors. The Amherstburg Chamber of Commence also provided coupons to sway the visitors to visit the local stores and restaurants.

There will also be complimentary guided historical walks for the first few weeks.

The cruises will run through September. Rota also mentions that there will be a big push to entice people to visit Amherstburg via cruise ship for the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival.

Rota said they would use the Bob-lo property as a temporary docking area until the proper moorings are installed off of King’s Navy Yard Park. The construction is to be completed very soon.

“We’re very grateful to Bob-Lo owner Domenic Amicone for letting us use the second ferry dock while Navy Yard Park moorings are built,” said Rota.

Roughly ten people were aboard the Macassa Bay on its maiden voyage to Amherstburg. Amongst the group were Bill and Evelyn Dollar from Windsor.

“This was very impressive. We’ve never been this far down on the water,” said Bill. “We couldn’t believe what we saw, totally blown away by it. Two and a half hours felt like 10 minutes.”

Evelyn mentioned that the cruises are an “excellent way” to promote Amherstburg and the rest of the region.

While docked, the couple said they planned on grabbing a bite to eat and take a stroll around town.

The cruise leaves Windsor at 9:30 a.m. Mondays and arrives in Amherstburg at 12:30 p.m. After a four-hour stay in town, those on the cruise leave at 4:30 p.m. and arrive back in Windsor at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25.95 to $59.95. Those wanting tours of nearby islands and sites can also buy tickets and board in Amherstburg at 1:30 p.m. for a one-hour trip.

Tickets and information is available through www.windsorrivercruises.com or by stopping by the Gordon House.

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