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New cruise line to debut

PUBLISHED: September 29, 2004

By Tom Watts

Macomb Daily Staff Writer

The Detroit River will welcome two new cruise boats next year, including one with a capacity of 1,900 passengers.

Steven Rybicki, general manager for Infinity Yacht Charters of St. Clair Shores, said the private 325-passenger boat, Ovation, is expected to arrive in Michigan in May 2005.

"Ovation will be the sister ship to our 150-passenger boat, Infinity," Rybicki said.

Both boats will be moored at Jefferson Beach Marina in St. Clair Shores, although Rybicki said Ovation will be docked at the $11 million Detroit Wayne County Port Authority now being built near the GM Center.

"We will begin docking Ovation downtown at the Port Authority sometime in 2005," Rybicki said. "This is a very good thing for Detroit."

Ovation is not open to the public for dinner cruises; rather it will hold corporate events, fund-raisers and "high-end" weddings.

"It's a whole new market out there on the Detroit River," Rybicki said. "The new boat is fantastic. The size is just amazing."

Ovation will measure 138 feet long and include three decks, a private suite and an Admiral's Lounge, complete with a moonlight back deck.

"The fact the city of Detroit is changing and more and more people are going to be able to get out on the Detroit River makes this a gem," Rybicki said. "There are not a lot of opportunities to enjoy Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. We think this is the best way."

Detroit Diesel-powered Ovation will accommodate 280 people for dinner. The boat will take passengers on trips from the Ambassador Bridge through the Detroit River and into Lake St. Clair.

The 1,900-passenger paddleboat, Detroit Princess, is similar to the boats that once floated from Detroit to Boblo Island, a now-closed amusement park. The Detroit Princess, previously owned by Harrah's Entertainment, was purchased last year by Detroit Princess LLC in Grand Ledge. The 222-foot-long boat will be open to the public. It offers five decks, dining, live music, comedy revues and murder mysteries.

"The Detroit River is going to be happening next year," Rybicki said. "It's a new way of entertaining in Detroit."

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