Sailing the Shores: The Story of Aquastar Cruises

A Maritime Family Tradition

by Cliff Duvernois

Aquastar Cruises with Patrick McKee

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Want to go sailing around Lake Michigan? Then meet Patrick McKee, President of Aquastar Cruises.

Patrick shares his family’s generations-old connection to the maritime industry, the process of acquiring and renaming the Aquastar, and the exciting range of themed and public cruises they offer on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan.

The discussion highlights Aquastar Cruises’ contributions to the community, their dedication to safety, and their commitment to creating memorable experiences for passengers.


Aquastar Website:

Michigan’s Hidden Gem: Aquastar Cruises Sets Sail

In the heart of Muskegon, Michigan, there’s a boat that’s captured the spirit of the shoreline. The Aquastar, a tour boat offering public and private cruises on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan, stands as a testament to a family’s love for the water. Let’s dive into its remarkable story.

The Beginning: A Leap of Faith

Patrick McKee and his brother’s journey with the Aquastar began with hesitation. The Precious Port City Princess was set to leave town. Only the McKee brothers could save it by matching the price. “Ah, what the heck?” they decided. Little did they know, this decision would carve a new chapter in Muskegon’s maritime history.

Aquastar Cruises: Bringing People Together

Patrick McKee’s pride in the Aquastar shines when he describes the cruises. “We provide cruises, public and private, on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan,” he says. Operating from Wednesday through Sunday, the boat can accommodate 150 passengers with its two decks and two bars. For those lacking a boat, the Aquastar offers an unforgettable experience on the water, watching West Michigan’s stunning sunsets.

A Family Legacy

Patrick’s roots trace back to the east side of Michigan. His family’s connection to Muskegon dates back to the 1970s with a family business at the Mart Dock. Patrick himself joined the family business in 1991, after spending time in Colorado working in cross-cultural training.

From Denver to Muskegon

Patrick’s journey back to Michigan reads like a love story. After meeting his wife, Patty, he returned to Michigan in 1991. He initially worked in other parts of the family business before focusing on the Aquastar in 2018. **The Aquastar’s Rich History** The Aquastar, originally built in 1966, served as a Mackinac Island ferry before being converted to a dinner cruiser named the Port City Princess. The McKee brothers chose to keep the boat in Muskegon, renaming it Aquastar through a local contest.

A Cruise for Every Occasion

The Aquastar isn’t just a boat; it’s an experience. From themed cruises like the Polynesian Adventure Cruise, complete with Pacific Island dancers, to benefit cruises for organizations like the Wounded Warriors Project and the Humane Society, the boat offers something for everyone.

Celebrating Special Moments

Aquastar Cruises shines brightest during special events. The Fourth of July cruise offers the best view of Muskegon’s fireworks. The Blessing of the Boats, featuring a parade of hundreds of boats and a ceremonial washing of the lighthouse, is a sight to behold. Every themed cruise, from Parrot Head Cruises to Halloween events, brings a unique flavor to the Aquastar experience.

Join the Adventure

For those interested in exploring Muskegon’s waters, the Aquastar opens its doors on May 23rd this year. The boat operates until mid-October, offering regular cruises, themed events, and private charters. Veterans, police, and fire personnel can enjoy most cruises free of charge.


The Aquastar is more than a boat; it’s a beacon of community, history, and fun. Whether you’re looking to relax with family, celebrate a wedding, or support a good cause, the Aquastar promises an unforgettable time on the water. For more information and to book your cruise, visit And remember, every great adventure begins with a simple choice to set sail.