Newport resident Christopher Johansen is an experienced cruise ship operator, having owned and operated two cruise boats on Lake Memphremagog, and worked subsequently as ship Captain for the Spirit of Ethan Allen and Moonlight Lady on Lake Champlain.
An active member of the Newport community, Chris knew there were no longer any cruise ships operating on the Newport, Vermont side of Lake Memphremagog, and the only competition – a brand new cruise ship offering dinner and sightseeing cruises out of Magog, Quebec – turned around at the U.S. border.
With the help of $250,000 in VEDA Small Business Loan Program financing, Chris’s new business, Memphremagog Navigation Company, Inc., purchased the 65-foot, 49-passenger Moonlight Lady, and brought the vessel to its new home at the Newport City Wharf. The North Country Federal Credit Union also provided financing for the project, which enabled Chris to retrofit the rechristened “Northern Star” for its new life as a Lake Memphremagog cruise ship offering sightseeing tours, private charters, lunch and dinner charters, and Canadian Lake Excursions. Within three years of the start-up operation in Newport, the company expects to employ up to nine persons.