The Erie Canal is scheduled to open May 21 cross Upstate New York. Starting May 22, the return of Erie Canal Cruises is expected to leave port out of Herkimer.

According to the Utica OD, since the beginning of the pandemic, this will be the first time that Lil Diamond II will leave port out of Herkimer. The cruises are based at Gems Along the Mohawk in Herkimer, but last season there wasn't any activity:

Off-season maintenance work on the canal came to a halt in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and did not resume until mid-May, when the state’s Phase 1 reopening began. While some sections of the canal were ready to open by late June or early July, the Mohawk Valley section did not open until early August."

Capt. Jerry Gertz estimated the economic loss at over $200,000 from not operating last year.

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Looking ahead to the 2021 season, cruises will happen at 1PM and 3PM starting May 22 and adding a 10:30AM cruise Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at the end of June. Rates this season are $25 for adult passengers and children $15.

What can you expect on these cruises? You'll find a narrated sightseeing tour that travels east from Herkimer, and goes through Lock 18 in Jacksonburg and back.

Brief History Of Erie Canal Cruises

The cruises were founded back in the Summer of 2002 by Kim and Jerry Gertz.  Their hope was to share with others the opportunity to appreciate the Mohawk Valley and the Historic Erie Canal.

Spanning New York State from Albany to Buffalo, the Erie Canal is a big part of the state’s history and future. There are a number of organizations that are dedicated to educating and preserving the history of the Erie Canal, including the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Canal Society of New York and Canal NY.

You can learn more online here.

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