June 25, 2017 7:09 pm
Updated: June 25, 2017 7:47 pm

‘It’s the history of Waterton’: Cruise ship marks major milestone

WATCH ABOVE: Some call it a staple of Waterton Lakes National Park. A family run cruise company has been offering scenic tours of the Rockies since the 50's. But its flagship vessel has been operating for much longer. Joe Scarpelli takes us aboard the historic boat.

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Waterton Shoreline Cruise Company has been offering tours on Waterton Lake since 1954.

It’s where you’ll get a unique worm’s eye view of some of the most spectacular backdrops the Rocky Mountains have to offer.

This summer, its flagship vessel the M.V. International turns 90-years-old.

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“It’s just such a special thing. It’s like seeing an airplane from the 1920’s that still runs. You don’t see that…this is a working girl, this girl works, and she works everyday, and she earns her keep and she earns everything that she has to have to be rebuilt,” part-owner Rod Kretz said.

Kratz and his sister Wanda Robinson took over their fathers company in the 1980’s. As the years went on, the company grew, employees changed, but two things remained the same: the scenery and the boat.

“It’s the history of Waterton. I would hate to ever have this boat not be here,” Robinson said.

The two and a quarter hour tour attracts people from all over the world.

“Everywhere. Sometimes on the boat we’ll have 15, even 20 different nationalities on a single trip,” Kratz said.

Pat and Bruce Nichols are from Missouri and wanted to see what all the hype was about. They stopped in Waterton on Saturday for a ride on the vessel while on their road trip to Alaska.

“The views, the mountains… I love mountains,” Pat Nichols said. “We don’t have those in Missouri.”

The vessel can carry up to 165 passengers. It features an open upper deck and a water-level, sheltered viewing area.

Less than halfway through the tour, you’ll pass a visible line and two poles that symbolize the Canada-U.S. border. Robinson has been crossing it for as long as she can remember.

“When my mom was pregnant with me, that’s how long I’ve been here,” Robinson said.

Her kids are growing up the same.

Robinson has four boys, her brother has two boys. All of them plan to take over the family business and have every intention in keeping the M.V. International running as long as possible.

Keith Robinson, Wanda’s son, said

“I feel that it’s my responsibility to our family, but also to Waterton as a destination to ensure that this boat remains afloat,” Keith Robinson, Wanda’s son, said.

Kretz estimates about 50,000 people come through the gates each summer. He says with TLC, the 1927 M.V. International can run for another 40 to 60 years.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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