It’s been decades since cruise ships docked on Erie’s Bayfront. But some are optimistic that Erie could become a cruise ship destination again, possibly as soon as next year.

Briaunna Malone was live in the studio to explain.

City officials are confident on a possible return of cruise ships to Erie’s Bayfront that they say could take place as early as next year.

Erie was once a destination for cruise ships. Now VisitErie and the Port Authority are having discussions on how to make that possible again. 

The CEO and president of VisitErie said they are looking into what steps need to be taken.

“We’re in the process of looking at what do we need to do via infrastructure to handle a cruise ship coming in, working with the Port Authority, and then developing some shore excursions that they can offer passengers if Erie is a stop,” said John Oliver, CEO & president, VisitErie.

A cruise ship terminal that was previously constructed is also being discussed on how to accommodate the ships that would come into the Bayfront.

“It would need a lot of work,” said Oliver. “It’s a matter of determining what kind of infrastructure they need in terms of depth of the channel, water for the size of the ship that would be coming in. So that all comes into play.”

The director of operations of the Port Authority told us what is being done on their behalf to help make Erie a cruise destination city again.

“We’re currently, our objective is we’re trying to get this facility as a temporary regulated facility to advertise for a possible next season to have cruise ships coming in,” said John Mulligan, director of operations, Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.

Mulligan said one hurdle to overcome is building security along the waterfront.

“The main requirements are security related. We’re in the process of working on a facility security plan, which will be submitted to the coast guard. Then awaiting their approval for that,” said Mulligan.

Mulligan said the pier should be able to accommodate the cruises that come in, but their main concern is security.