(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Erie could soon be host to cruise ships following approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Erie County Executive Brenton Davis announced Wednesday that Erie County has received approval from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo to welcome cruise ships into its port.
City officials told us in October 2022 there is a possibility cruise ships could be coming to Erie’s Bayfront as early as this year.
All of Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie coastline is located within Erie County.
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Erie County has had a cruise ship terminal at 1 Holland St. in downtown Erie since 2002. However, Davis says changing security regulations has put a stop to Erie’s “cruising” dream.
“Our Economic Development Department has been in contact for months with various cruise lines and the Coast Guard about the possibility of adding Erie as a stop,” said Erie County Executive Brenton Davis. “We have brought these executives to Erie to highlight all that we have to offer. We have received some good feedback and are hopeful that we will see our first cruise ship arrive as soon as this summer,” Davis added.
Now that cruise ships have been approved for Erie’s port, there are some steps over the next couple of months that the Port needs to do to finalize its plan.
According to Davis, Erie’s port would operate as a port of call. Ports with that designation can allow passengers who previously cleared customs to continue to enter other U.S. ports without having to clear customs again.
Davis added that Erie County is still looking into the possibility of designating Erie as a cruise boat passenger-clearing terminal, which would have U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on site and require significant upgrades.