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Cruises to Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, USA skyline on the Cuyahoga River at sunset

About Cleveland

When you think of Cleveland, Ohio, do Superman, rock 'n' roll and awesome architecture spring to mind? They should. Superman was created here, soaring above stunning Art Deco high-rises. One wonders what the comic book hero would make of the city's newest buildings and skyscrapers, several designed by superstar architects I.M. Pei and Frank Gehry. As to rock 'n' roll, local DJ Alan Freed coined the term. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame dedicated to this rocking music genre is an I. M. Pei design.

It's said Cleveland, on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, was the country's first city to have an indoor shopping mall. Now known simply as The Arcade, it's well worth a visit for its Victorian look as well as its collection of shops.

You might be more familiar with the city's Standard Oil connection. John D. Rockefeller, one of many millionaires living here in elaborate mansions in early days, was instrumental in founding his oil company in Cleveland. Rockefeller was lured by the accessibility of ship and rail transportation to bring in crude oil and send out the refined product. To his credit, he donated a large tract of land to the city, now Rockefeller Park. This lovely green park is known for its cultural gardens which pay tribute to poets and philosophers from around the world.

Whatever your preconceptions of Cleveland, you're bound to be surprised -- in a good way. A number of Great Lakes cruisers say it's their favorite port.

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    Why go to Cleveland?

    Pros: Dock is within walking distance of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center.

    Cons: A sprawling city with widespread attractions requiring taxis or rental cars.

    Bottom Line: Cleveland surprises with its museums, architecture, music and brews.

    Cleveland Cruise Port Facilities

    The Port of Cleveland is an industrial port, which hadn't seen cruise ships in years -- at least not until 2017 when several ships plying the Great Lakes began arriving on a regular, seasonal basis. The actual port has no facilities of any kind. You step off your ship into an abandoned parking lot. Fortunately, the downtown location is close to shops and museums. You'll need to walk a block or two for cabs or public transportation.

    Good to Know

    Weather on the shores of Lake Erie is changeable. It's wise to dress in layers and carry an umbrella, even on sunny days.

    Getting Around

    On Foot: Several of Cleveland's tourist attractions are an easy 10-minute walk from the dock, including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center.

    By Public Transportation: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) operates buses, light-rail and trolleys. The easiest way to catch the light-rail is to go to Tower City at Public Square, the hub for lines running in all directions. Have exact change, or you can buy a five-trip farecard (no discount) from vending machines. Fares for a single trip are $2.50 ($1.25 for seniors with proof of age). As an alternative, free downtown trolleys operate every 10 minutes, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. The C-Line Trolley also operates until 11 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    By Private Trolley: Lolly the Trolley looks like a San Francisco cable car, but runs on gas, not a cable. And, it's not public transport. It's actually a tour. That said, the trolley tour is a great way to get an overview of Cleveland. Some Great Lakes cruise ships include the trolley ride as a shore excursion. If not, you will need an advance reservation. (1101 Winslow Ave.; 800-848-0173)

    By Taxi: Cabs can be found at Public Square taxi stands, or you can order one by phone. Try Taxi (216-361-8700). Uber and Lyft are also available.

    Currency & Best Way to Get Money

    U.S. dollars are used, and ATMs are readily available.

    Language

    English is the main language spoken in Cleveland. If you listen closely, you can hear a dozen different languages in such ethnic hot spots as the West Side Market. Just remember to say "pop" when you want a soda.


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