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Bayfield prepares to welcome cruise ships and a boost to businesses

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT
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BAYFIELD, WI -- A small town of just under 500 residents, Bayfield’s economy relies heavily on its tourism industry.

This summer, Viking Cruises will set sail on the Great Lakes for the first time and Bayfield will be one of its destinations.

The cruises will begin on May 28th and carry on through the summer, each ship stopping in Bayfield for a day trip before heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Locals believe the city has plenty to offer its new visitors.

“Bayfield is a unique little town. I mean it has a lot to offer, a lot of outdoor activity,” said Mary Grant, owner of “Keeper of the Light” gift shop in downtown Bayfield.

Local leaders and business owners like Marketing Director with the Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau, Kati Anderson, thinks the new guests will spread the word about their city.

“We are excited. This is a great opportunity for Bayfield to show off a little bit for a whole new group of people who have never been here before,” she said.

In preparation for the ships’ arrival, Ted Dougherty, chair of the Bayfield Harbor Commission, has carefully planned out the entry process for their new visitors.

Dougherty said the planning process was thorough, as they needed to comply with very specific travel regulations to get things ready to go.

“It included the city coming up with a facility security plan; hiring facility security officers. Those plans have to be submitted to the Coast Guard and it entails [building] a secure area,” he said.

$95,000 in funding from Viking helped pay for the new screening station, as well as the staffing needed to keep it running.

Cruise ships will anchor out on Lake Superior, and smaller shuttle-like boats will bring them into the harbor so they can be screened.

Everything is ready to go for when the ships arrive, except for the fencing which Dougherty said is currently in Duluth waiting to be picked up.

Cruise ships will visit Bayfield on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

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