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Could Detroit become a major cruise ship hub? That’s the idea, say government officials who visited the down-on-its-luck city Monday to talk up a taxpayer-funded waterfront development.

The Detroit Free Press, a sister paper to USA TODAY, reports that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other leaders painted a vision of Detroit developing as a Midwest cruise ship capital.

LaHood and other politicians toured a $21 million port facility taking shape on the Detroit River that is being partly funded with federal stimulus funds. The facility will include a dock for cruise ships and water taxis as well as a new customs facility. It’s expected to be finished in late 2010.

The politicians didn’t say which cruise ships they expect to visit the port. While major cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival have never bothered with the market, a few small companies have offered Great Lakes cruises over the years.

Are you interested in Great Lakes cruises out of Detroit? Have you ever taken a Great Lakes cruise? Share your thoughts below.

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