On Monday July 18, 2011, a new public dock and terminal opened up on the Detroit River near Cobo Hall. The dock is capable of handling cruise ships, and the first ship, the 184-foot Grande Mariner, which originated in Cleveland, docked and her passengers disembarked to sightsee in Detroit.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke, and Detroit Riverfront Conservatory CEO Faye Nelson were among those present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Building of the 21,000 sq. ft. terminal was begun in 2004 and was financed with a combination of federal funds and grants; the project was spearheaded by Senator Levin.
In addition to having space for the docking of larger ships, the Dock and Terminal will also have meeting rooms with a view of the river, state-of-the-art maritime technology capability, and a command room for visiting ships.
The project is part of an overall plan to extend the RiverWalk, to expand and improve Cobo Hall, and enlarge Hart Plaza.
In the last 19th century and early 20th century, cruise ships regularly visited Detroit as a port-of-call. Now in the 21st century, Detroit is a cruise ship destination once again.