NEWPORT CITY – In the dark of the night, a large cruise ship made its way from Burlington to its new home on Lake Memphremagog Tuesday.
The 42-ton ship, soon to be renamed The Northern Star, will begin offering tours on the lake in the spring of 2013.
The boat is 65 feet long and holds 49 passengers.
Prior to operating on Lake Champlain, it ran on waterways in Virginia.
“What a project,” said Chris Johansen, president of the Memphremagog Navigation Company, as crews skillfully hoisted the ship off a large trailer.
The ship promises to offer good things for the city. City Council President John Wilson predicts the ship will draw tourists to the Northeast Kingdom. Other local passenger boats have not lived up to some people’s expectations, Wilson said.
“The waterfront is underutilized,: said Wilson who was one of a handful of area residents who gathered to watch the launching of the ship. “This is one of the steps to utilizing the waterfront.”
Mayor Paul Monette is pleased the ship arrived in Newport. He is also happy there will be a ship that can offer rides across the border into Canada. The ship, said Monette, will provide lake cruises to people who normally could not take advantage of the lake, and it will be another draw to tourists.
Crews had to disassembled the ship before it’s long trip. They will reassemble it later this week.
For the winter, Johansen will keep the ship at the city dock.
Johansen is already taking reservations for the ship. His website will soon be up and running.