German cruise ship touring the Great Lakes stops in Chicago

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - If you were anywhere near the Lake Shore on Tuesday, you probably asked yourself the same question that others were asking: Is that a cruise ship anchored off Navy Pier?

Well, it was a cruise ship, and it was full of passengers from Germany. Many of whom got a Chicago experience for the first time.

"We are very amazed about the buildings, and everything," said Anna Leaf.

Leaf and her husband, Gunter, are first time visitors to the United States and Chicago. They are touring the Great Lakes on the MS Hamburg, which is a giant cruise ship full of German tourists.

"370 passengers, about 99 percent are from Germany, and 170 crew," said Aaron Bensinger.

Bensinger works logistics for commercial vessels navigating the Great Lakes. He says pulling off a cruise ship layover in Chicago can be tricky.

"It’s a logistics nightmare sometimes," Bensinger said.

For example, moving hundreds of people on tenders and buses in one of the world’s busiest cities, and keeping everything on schedule.

"Months of planning, months," Bensinger added.

But the big X-factor is the Chicago weather.

"One of the big challenges is weather, you hope it works in your favor, and it did today," Bensinger said.

As for Gunter and Anna Leaf, they had a blast.

"We talked together, and it's very nice here. It’s very clean everywhere, and it's fantastic!" they said.

The two said Chicago is definitely worth seeing again.

"If we visit America again, then we would come to Chicago. It’s very nice," they added.

And so are Chicagoans.

"One of them said to me on the way over that everyone here is so nice," the Leaf’s said. "I think they are very calm."

Much like the weather Tuesday, which made for a beautiful day on the lakefront and the water.

"Everything is smooth sailing so far, you couldn't ask for a better day," Bensinger said.

The 16 night cruise started in Montreal, Canada, made a stop in Milwaukee Monday, and Wednesday it sets a course for Traverse City, Michigan, and Mackinac Island.

Then, back to Canada.

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