Celebrating 80 Years: The Great Lakes in 1944

All-Expense Great Lakes Cruises Although by no means a secret, the Great Lakes has remained a vast, largely untapped region, the exploration of which cruising has made all the more beguiling.

In May 1944, as World War II raged on, Canada Steamship Lines ran an ad for "All-Expense Great Lakes Cruises." Over seven days, for $70, the line traveled roundtrip from Detroit, to Sarnia, Port Arthur, Fort William and Duluth. Starting from where Lake Erie met Lake Huron, touching Lake Michigan all the way through Lake Superior, the cruise was nothing if not expansive. (See the full ad here.)

Sixty-four years later, the Great Lakes remain a route less traveled (in a good way). In 2008, Tom Conlin of Conlin Travel won the ASTA Lifetime Achievement award recognizing, among other things, his establishment of the Great Lakes Cruise Co., created to represent all the cruise lines on the Great Lakes. More recently, Pearl Seas Cruises' Pearl Mist's inaugural sailing included the region, and American Canadian Caribbean Cruise Line (ACCL) included the Great Lakes among its upcoming itineraries.

As we celebrate our 80th anniversary, we're taking a look at what was happening in the industry in the past and asking agents to share their thoughts on what has changed in the industry up until the present. So please share your thoughts by posting a comment below, writing us at our Facebook page, sending a tweet to our Twitter page or by engaging in a discussion in real time at AgentNation (the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents, which certainly wasn't around 80 years ago). We want to hear from you.

And while you're here, learn more about how we're celebrating eight decades of covering the travel industry for travel professionals.