Stabbing in Downtown Duluth today

Duluth Police Officers today were dispatched to the 600 block of West Superior St. for a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, officers located an individual who was stabbed. The victim was transported to a local hospital, and the condition of the individual is in stable but critical condition. Read more.
The new Viking expedition ship Octantis will visit Duluth this summer. In the winter months, it cruises in Antarctica. Viking Cruises
Cruise ships coming to Duluth this summer

By Felicia Schneiderhan

Cruise ships are coming to Duluth this summer, including Viking’s new expedition ship Octantis. The first ship is expected May 30.

The Twin Ports has not seen cruise ships since 2013.

The announcement Tuesday was part of the International Cruise the Great Lakes organization annual meeting in Duluth May 10-11, which brings representatives from cruise lines, port authorities, state and local governments, and tourism bureaus from across the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The Great Lakes region is seen by some, including Conde Naste Traveler magazine, as one of the top cruising destinations in the world. Lake Superior has not been included in the recent itineraries because it lacked permanent customs facilities that allow for two-nation travel, said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Now, a joint effort among the City of Duluth, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other groups has brought about a permanent customs facility at the DECC.

“We’re like the TSA for cruise ships,” said Dan Hartman, DECC executive director, of the new customs facility built on the southern side of the old DECC arena.
Prior to 2013, the CBP had allowed customs out of a temporary, portable facility. This option had a 2013 deadline and ran its course, said Rebecca Yackley, director of trade and economic development for the U.S. Department of Transportation Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Cruising in the Great Lakes began waning in 2014, as well, said Yackley.

In 2014, ports in the Great Lakes began more intentional planning for cruising visitors. This included building permanent customs facilities and port upgrades.

The importance of a permanent customs facility in Duluth cannot be understated, as it was a primary barrier to cruising in the Great Lakes where passengers may cross borders multiple times, said David Naftzger, executive director of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.
The mobile border crossing processing units prior to 2013 presented challenges with ad hoc arrangements and scheduling itineraries, said Naftzger. “The idea of cementing certainty, going forward, and having fixed locations to build an itinerary was instrumental in attracting Viking.”

Cruising vessels in the Great Lakes are smaller than ocean-going vessels and typically have 200 people; the larger ship Octantis brings just under 400. This smaller size allows for greater health and safety measures and a more intimate experience, said Naftzger.

Great Lakes cruising also prioritizes sustainability and building the local economies, said Naftzger. Destination stewardship, reducing air pollution and carbon emissions, responsible management of wastewater, and recycling, reusing and local sourcing of materials whenever possible are also key priorities of Cruise the Great Lakes.

Throughout the summer, between 7-9 ships from Viking, American Queen Voyages and Pearl Seas cruise lines are expected to visit Duluth. Passengers will spend the day exploring the area with various tour options, such as Glensheen Mansion or the North Shore Scenic Railroad. The ships will leave in the evening for the next Lake Superior locations.
Passengers are not what Viking CEO Torstein Hagen called “your umbrella drink crowd.” They are typically older, well-travelled and pay $5,000-$10,000 for a unique, authentic experience, said Naftzger.

While the cruise ships are spending a single day here this summer, it is anticipated that ships will officially embark here in 2023, said Lauren Bennett McGinty, executive director of Explore Minnesota.

Construction along the seawall structure in front of the DECC will begin this later this summer or early fall and be completed by next summer, allowing cruise ships to dock even closer to the DECC facility.

“We are always excited to see more ships come in,” said DeLuca. Though, she added, the seven cruise ships will not significantly change shipping traffic among the 800-900 ships that come into the Twin Ports annually.

“It’s a small proportion, but a very important proportion," she said. "It brings in a new kind of cargo.”

The 2022 shipping season is well underway, with challenges and opportunities presented by global supply chain disruptions further exacerbated by Ukraine, said DeLuca. The port will see more container trade, project equipment and wind turbines.

On May 21, the U.S. Navy is commissioning the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul in the Duluth Harbor.

“It’s shaping up to be a unique year in the port of Duluth-Superior,” said DeLuca.

Note: Story first published at Republished with permission.

Hermantown junior forward Zam Plante is among 24 finalists for 2021-22 All-USA Today HSSA Hockey Player of the Year, USA Today High School Sports Awards announced today. The winner will be announced July 31.

. St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly on rookie defenseman Scott Perunovich’s play against the Minnesota Wild in their Stanley Cup first-round series (quoted by The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford): “Not surprised, (but) impressed. To come off surgery like that and come back and jump into the playoffs, against a very good team, and make an impact like that, it shows that he’s an elite player and he’s going to be a big part of our group moving forward. It’s definitely impressive.”

. 2022 IIHF Men's World Championship opener (earlier today): Team USA 4, Latvia 1.

You probably already know that a good laugh can lift your spirits and brighten someone’s day, but did you also know that laughter can positively impact your health and promote healthy aging?

To learn more, check out Duluth Aging Support’s recent blog post about the benefits of laughter, including 10 easy ways to add a healthy dose of the giggles to your life:

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