Cruise the Great Lakes, a coalition of states and provinces, cruise lines, ports, convention and visitor bureaus, and others working together to promote cruising on the Great Lakes, have signed a pledge committing to promoting four environmentally conscious cruising and destination stewardship efforts starting with the 2022 cruising season, according to a statement.

The four areas of focus:

  1. Destination Stewardship – 3 commitments
  2. Air Emissions & Carbon Reduction – 9 commitments
  3. Wastewater – 2 commitments
  4. Recycling – 5 commitments

Read the full pledge here:

“Every member of the Cruise the Great Lakes coalition has already been doing its part to preserving the natural beauty of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and our port cities, but we felt that signing this pledge would further demonstrate our commitment to being responsible stewards of our beautiful region,” said David Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan, and Chair of the Cruise the Great Lakes board of directors. “We feel this intentional effort will resonate with travelers who prefer environmentally responsible practices.”

Great Lakes cruises are unique in both experience and impact. Because vessel size is limited by the St. Lawrence Seaway’s lock system, the ships themselves are small and provide a more intimate guest experience; the largest cruise vessels in operation on the Great Lakes can hold a maximum of 400 passengers, with an average size of fewer than 200.

Additionally, Great Lakes ships handle waste and emissions responsibly. No unlawful discharge occurs to Great Lakes waters, and solid waste is retained on board until a port of call where it can be handled by local municipal waste providers.


Paul Pepe, Manager of Tourism Thunder Bay:

“Our countries may have different regulations, but coalition members’ commitment to sustainability is universal. We welcome the chance to further demonstrate our region’s passion for preserving the natural beauty of our waters with this formal pledge and our commitment to work with one another on a bi-national approach.”

Deb DeLuca, Executive Director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority:

“Due to the smaller physical and environmental footprint of Great Lakes cruise ships, they present a comparative advantage in inherent sustainability and destination stewardship and are poised to take advantage of future green energy initiatives.”

Mark Schrupp, Executive Director, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority:

“In furtherance of our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, the Port of Detroit has proudly signed onto the CTGL Sustainability Pledge. Wherever possible, we will take steps through greener investment, policy, and practices that seek to limit environmental impacts. In turn, we “ll help protect our Great Lakes for commerce, for tourism, and for the people of metro Detroit whom we serve. We look forward to the return of cruise passengers to the Motor City in 2022.”

Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Director of Port Milwaukee:

“Port Milwaukee is proud to work with our Great Lakes partners in preserving and protecting our environment for years to come. As a freshwater port, we have a responsibility to promote environmental stewardship, sustainability and coastal resiliency. Port Milwaukee is committed to expanding its commercial and recreational mission through an eco-centric approach in the years ahead.”

Carter Robertson, President of Pearl Seas Cruises:

“Pearl Seas Cruises has specialized in small ship cruising on the Great Lakes for nearly a decade. We remain committed to our local partners and to continuing our stewardship and dedication to environmental responsibility throughout the region.”

Peggy Williams-Smith, President & CEO of VISIT Milwaukee:

“In Milwaukee, our reliance on Lake Michigan goes far beyond recreation; it’s an important part of local industry that supports 20,000 jobs. As cruising grows in Milwaukee and around the Great Lakes region, it’s critical that we use every opportunity to protect our waterways for decades to come. This is why we’re proud to support Cruise the Great Lakes’ Sustainability Pledge.”