• A great steamer of a bygone era.Screen shot 2012-03-25 at 1.09.39 PM
  • In the era before jetliners and freeways, many Detroiters traveled in floating hotels, and for nearly forty years, the City of Detroit III whisked families away aboard the most opulent palace sailing the Great Lakes.


  • The beginning of the 20th century, trips on smoke-belching steamships were commonplace, whether Detroiters boarded steamers to Belle Isle or ferries across the Detroit River to Canada.
  • But such voyages were not only pleasure cruises, they were also one of the main ways people navigated around the Midwest.


  • The City of Detroit III was also a side-wheeler and sailed passenger trips and excursions on the Great Lakes for nearly 50 years.
  • One of the most popular lines was the Detroit & Cleveland (D&C) Navigation Co., the greatest of the so-called night lines, a sort of maritime “red eye” on which passengers boarded in the evening, slept the night away and awoke the next morning at their destinations.1a
  • D&C passengers took overnight trips from spring through fall, enjoying dinner and drinks as the ship steamed onward east to Cleveland or Buffalo, New York, or north to the Straits of Mackinac.

Click here to read the excellent article by Dan Austin of Historic Detroit…



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…