Alpena is a Lake Huron cruise port and city in the USA's Michigan state (Alpena County ) with population around 10,000, ranking it Northern Michigan region's second-largest (after Traverse City). Alpena County has total population around 30,000. The region's best-known attraction is Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve which has 116 historically important shipwrecks - including wooden paddlewheelers and steel steamships.
Most tourists come during the summer. Popular for recreational activities (biking and hiking) are also Alpena to Hillman Trail (24 mi / 39 km, includes the abandoned Boyne City Railroad) and North Eastern State Trail (Alpena to Cheboygan, 71 mi / 114 km, includes the abandoned Detroit and Mackinac Railroad/Turtle Line).
Alpena MI's economy is based on tourism (including accommodation rentals and shopping) and large businesses like MidMichigan Health (non-profit, University of Michigan's healthcare division), Lafargeholcim Company (the world's largest cement plant, 1907-founded in Detroit as "Huron Portland Cement Company", annual capacity 2,4+ million MT/metric tonnes), Besser Company (concrete block machinery manufacturer), Decorative Panels International (drywall board manufacturer). In Rogers City (close to the north) is the world's largest limestone quarry. Alpena's historical landmarks include City Hall, County Courthouse, Daniel Carter Family Home, Monarch Mill, St Bernard Catholic Church, Congregational Church, Besser Museum and Planetarium, Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.
In 2022, Viking Cruises USA (via the brand Viking Expeditions) starts a Great Lakes seasonal program. The ship deployment is for one-way itineraries (between homeports Toronto, Thunder Bay, Milwaukee) and includes regular visits to ports and destinations in Canada's Ontario state (Thunder Bay, Toronto, Welland Canal, Niagara Falls, Point Pelee NP) and the USA's Minnesota-Michigan-Wisconsin states (Detroit MI, Alpena MI, Mackinac Island MI in Lake Huron, Apostle Islands MI, Houghton MI, Traverse City MI, Milwaukee WI on Lake Michigan, Duluth MN).
All Viking Great Lakes cruises feature passing through Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie (Lake Superior - Lake Huron transition). The 8-day voyages are themed "Niagara and the Great Lakes" (from Toronto to Milwaukee), "Undiscovered Great Lakes" (from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee) and "Great Lakes Explorer" (from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay).