Lake Erie, Cuyahoga River cruises canceled for the season

Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 7:42 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Both the Nautica Queen and the Goodtime III have recently made decisions about the fate of their 2020 season, and both had to make some tough calls.

“I’m pretty disappointed. It’s been really good cruising weather and unfortunately, we can’t go out,” said the Nautica Queen’s Captain Joseph Slusarski.

Management with the Nautica has decided to cancel the entire 2020 season, leaving 82 people out of work.

“I’m glad we’re all safe and doing our part,” he said.

During the off-season, General Manager Paul Ertel says they invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments and improvements.

“We kept waiting to see what was going to happen, but having lost April, May, June, as a significant portion of the season, no fourth of July fireworks, no air show cruises for labor day weekend, and when the air show was canceled, there was just too much of the season that was missing. We just had to make a very painful decision,” Ertel said.

Those events account for about 20 percent of their year.

Their capacity would have been down to 50 percent of their 275 person capacity, at best.

But some booked events like weddings have been shifted to Windows on the River and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, facilities that operate under the same ownership.

And, they’re already optimistic about next year.

“It was an emotional booster, knowing that people cared that much about the Nautica Queen that they wanted to maintain and book for next year, instead of just canceling altogether. And the fact that we were able to do that, we were very happy that we were able to assist,” Ertel said.

The GOODTIME III has decided to move forward with a limited 2020 season. They'll require masks, have assigned seating,...

Posted by Jen Picciano on Friday, July 10, 2020

The Goodtime III, however, is going to make a go of it.

“We normally start our season in early May. Starting in mid-July just feels surreal, but in our opinion, it is the only way to open responsibly,” said Captain Rick Fryan.

Starting July 17th, the Goodtime III will do two-hour cruises twice a day, (11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.) with ample time to sanitize in between, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

They’ll be doing sunset cruises at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays as well.

“We will be assigning seats this year and hope our passengers will understand and cooperate with these temporary restrictions, and be mindful that our crew and company want what is safest for everyone onboard,” Fryan said.

They’ll require masks for everyone and operate only about 20 percent capacity.

Tickets will go on sale for the Goodtime III soon. And The Nautica Queen says they’ll keep firing up the engines to keep the ship sharp, and there is booking for next year already.

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