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Muskegon to Wisconsin ferry service resumes Friday amid surging bookings

The Lake Express Ferry makes daily treks between Wisconsin and West Michigan through the spring and summer months.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A sure sign of the warmer temps on the way: following a winter hiatus, ferry service resumes in Muskegon bright and early Friday morning!

The Lake Express Ferry carries passengers on a two and a half hour shortcut between West Michigan and Wisconsin.

"We're very excited for the coming season."

If last year qualified as a rebound from that pandemic lull, the 2022 sailing season could mean uncharted waters with bookings already surging ahead of opening day Friday. 

"We're seeing a lot of enthusiasm here earlier in the year," Lake Express Senior Vice President Aaron Schultz said. "We're seeing booking levels that we haven't seen in years, eager to get on to Lake Michigan eager to get to West Michigan."

In several respects, Schultz expected the season would mark a return to normalcy. 

The masking signs and social distancing rules so strictly enforced last season were either gone or had been significantly relaxed prior to the advent of the season at hand, meaning the two and a half hour route to Wisconsin will again look and feel more akin to the traditional, pre-pandemic 'lake experience.'

"We definitely do see a return to… an enthusiasm from people coming from many states away to experience both Lake Michigan… and our port communities," Schultz related. "Every sign points to a really good year this year."

"We see a huge influx of visitors… stopping right here in Muskegon." 

An added bonus that makes dollars and cents for everyone from retailers to real estate agents, Visit Muskegon's Lashelle Mikesell explained. 

"That's one of the things we love about the ferry staffing here is it gives people who haven't been here before a opportunity to see what we have to offer, which is a lot," she related. 

Meantime, crews on both sides of the big lake were engaged in annual training exercises prior to opening day. 

"Everybody's getting a refresher on all the safety… there's a lot of equipment that's tested and retested and it's coming out fine," Schultz said. "We're looking forward to putting it to use again here on Friday."

The Lake Express Ferry makes four crossings daily through its spring and summer schedule.

The number increases to six to accommodate more passengers as the summer travel season hits its stride. 

The inaugural launch of the 2022 season will coincide with National Travel and Tourism week.

Visit the Lake Express website for a full schedule.

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