Thunder Bay is a Lake Superior cruise port and city in Canada's Ontario province, with population around 110,000 (metro around 120,000). Port Thunder Bay (on Lake Superior) is the largest outbound river port on the Saint Lawrence Seaway (system of locks, canals and channels that serves oceangoing ships and connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes/Canada and USA) and also Canada's 6th-largest. The port has a premium Boat Marina (Thunder Bay Yacht Club) and Keefer Terminal (passenger and cargo ship terminal).
The current city was officially formed in 1970 following the merger of Port Arthur with Neebing and McIntyre. The settlement (initially two French fur trading outposts established in the late-17th/early-18th centuries) was on Kaministiquia River and previously named Fort Kaministiquia and Fort William. Fort William was officially founded in 1803 by the fur-trading North West Company (1779-1821) as its mid-continent river port, transportation hub and trade base (import and export). Fort William served the cargo shipping through the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway all the way to the North Atlantic.
In 1821 the North West Company merged with HBC (Hudson's Bay Company and, after most fur trades shifted to Hudson Bay's York Factory, Fort William lost its importance and became a minor fur trading post. The original site (Fort William) disappeared in the late-19th century after the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail/Canadian Pacific) was constructed. Another settlement (Port Arthur) was developed in 1870-83, just a few miles to the north. The rivalry between Fort William and Port Arthur ended only with their merger in January 1970, to form the current city Thunder Bay ON. Into the metro city were also merged Neebing and McIntyre.
Today, Thunder Bay is Northwestern Ontario's commercial and administrative centre. The economy is based mainly on administrative and medical services, as well as forestry (Resolute Forest Products, fka AbitibiBowater Inc) and production (Bombardier Transportation's plant manufactures large vehicles and equipment/passenger railcars and transit cars).
As cruise port, Thunder Bay was included for the first time in the 2021 schedule of Hapag Lloyd Cruises with the ship Hanseatic Inspiration (2019-built). Next table shows the 14-day itinerary from Chicago to Toronto.
|Date / Time||Port|
|03 Oct 23:59||Departing from Chicago, Illinois|
|04 Oct 08:00 - 18:00||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|05 Oct 13:00 - 06 Oct 19:00||Traverse City, Michigan|
|07 Oct 07:00 - 15:00||Mackinac Island, Michigan (anchorage)|
|08 Oct||Lake Superior (Canada)|
|09 Oct 07:00 - 18:00||Duluth, Minnesota|
|10 Oct 09:00 - 20:00||Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada|
|12 Oct 12:30 - 19:00||Killarney, Ontario Canada|
|13 Oct 07:00 - 19:00||Parry Sound, Ontario Canada|
|14 Oct 07:00 - 14:00||Tobermory, Ontario Canada|
|15 Oct 08:00 - 19:00||Windsor, Ontario Canada|
|16 Oct||Lake Erie (Canada)|
|17 Oct 08:00||Arriving in Toronto, Ontario Canada|
In mid-January 2021, Viking Cruises (via the Viking Expeditions brand) announced that its newest ship - Viking Octantis, will be homeported in Thunder Bay ON in 2022, for a total of 7 voyages to Milwaukee WI. After disembarking, passengers return to Milwaukee by air, and the cruise ship embarks another group of travellers (flown to Thunder Bay) for the return voyage (via Duluth MN) to Milwaukee. The boat was scheduled to stay in homeport overnight (for around 48 hours) on each call.
The 378-passenger Viking Octantis is currently the largest cruise ship ever deployed in the Great Lakes region. The first 8-day "Great Lakes Explorer" cruise (itinerary from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay) was scheduled to leave on May 21, 2022. Prices started at USD 8395 per person (with double occupancy) including airfare. The return 8-day cruise itinerary (from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee) was themed "Undiscovered Great Lakes". Both Viking cruises feature passing through Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie (Lake Superior - Lake Huron).
Port Thunder Bay ON cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Thunder Bay ON, Ontario Canada. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|10 October, 2021|
- Cruise Industry
For the first time, Thunder Bay ON will become a homeport/turnaround port for a Great Lakes cruise vessel starting in 2022. Viking Cruises announced...January 16, 2021
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