Great Lakes Cruise Ship Industry Expected to Have $200M Economic Impact in 2024

Over 140,000 cruise passenger visits are expected in 2024, more than double a decade ago

Pearl Mist

Cruise the Great Lakes, the region’s cruise marketing program, announced today its forecast for the 2024 cruising season. Following a record-breaking 2023, the 2024 season will continue to uphold the resilience of the region’s cruising sector and deliver passengers and their onshore spending to large and small regional destinations.

Passenger visits

Cruise the Great Lakes projects vessels will make nearly 600 port visits in 2024, bringing over 20,000 individual passengers to experience the beauty and charm of Great Lakes cities – roughly double that of a decade ago. Regional ports are anticipated to see total estimated cruise passenger visits of over 140,000 in 2024.

Economic impact

Cruise the Great Lakes anticipates the regional economic impact generated by cruising will surpass US$200 million in 2024, driven by the upward trend in passenger numbers, port visits, shoreside spending, and the growing domestic and international appeal of Great Lakes cruises. The 2024 season represents a remarkable increase in the economic impact of nearly 50% compared to 2022. 


We are excited to welcome Ponant’s Le Champlain back to the Great Lakes in 2024 as the region’s cruise industry develops. Cruise lines operating on the Great Lakes in 2024 include Pearl Seas Cruises, Viking Cruises, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, Ponant, Hapag-Lloyd, and Plantours Cruises.

“As we look ahead to 2024, we remain committed to sustaining the vitality of our region’s cruising sector,” said Anna Tanski, Tourism Director of Cruise the Great Lakes. “In just a decade, the number of cruise passengers has more than doubled, and Great Lakes ports continue to thrive as hubs for visitors. We are focused on maintaining this momentum as we navigate the future.”

“The history of Great Lakes cruising extends back over 150 years, and the rich natural beauty of our region continues to captivate passengers in 2024,” said Anne Sayers, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Chair of Cruise the Great Lakes. “This enduring fascination is a testament to the timeless allure of the Great Lakes, and the economic impact of cruise passengers supports the economic vitality of large and small destinations.”

Source: Cruise the Great Lakes

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