America’s Great Lakes - 2019

Toronto • 9-night Great Lakes expedition cruise with Niagara Falls, Cleveland, Detroit, Lake Huron, Sault Ste. Marie, Manitoulin Island, Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan • Chicago
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Quebec, Canada

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Savor a slice of Americana on this enriching small ship voyage through all five Great Lakes. Covering a fifth of the world’s freshwater, the Great Lakes are North America’s indisputable treasure and 95,000 square miles steeped in beauty and history. From major metropolises to pristine beaches to picturesque resort towns that seem conjured by Norman Rockwell, this storied region brims with iconic attractions in both the United States and Canada and a diverse Native American heritage. On this 14-day journey, you’ll explore Ojibwe tradition with a smudging ceremony and powwow on Manitoulin Island, feel the force of nature in Niagara Falls, lunch at Mackinac Island’s illustrious Grand Hotel, prove once and for all why Cleveland rocks, and uncover hallmarks of American history at Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum.

Stays in culture rich Toronto and Chicago bookend your adventure, and you’ll feel right at home aboard the intimate, four-star M/V Victory I. This vessel features a bevy of restaurants as well as observation and sun decks perfect for scenic viewing. We’ve also peppered this voyage with a series of illuminating presentations by the onboard historian, whose insights will enhance every discovery on land. Join Vantage on this charming exploration and see for yourself why the Great Lakes aren’t just great — they’re fabulous.

Toronto to Chicago

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Quebec, Canada

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DAY 1:

Arrive in Toronto, Canada

Arrive in Toronto for the first leg of your Great Lakes adventure! Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure, with time to explore your new surroundings.

DAY 2:

Explore Toronto's gems on your own

Maximize your Toronto time with a day at leisure to explore this city however you wish. Browse the exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Royal Ontario Museum … taste your way through the famous St. Lawrence market … or enjoy stunning city views from the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere and one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World. Lunch and dinner are on your own, and this diverse city offers a gamut of memorable dining experiences.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

A city tour of Toronto, then embark the M/V Victory I

After breakfast, a panoramic tour of Toronto ensures you’ll see this wonderful metropolis and its skyline in full view before embarking the M/V Victory I this afternoon. We’ve peppered this voyage with a series of illuminating presentations by the onboard historian, whose insights will enhance every discovery on land. After settling into your cabin, join your fellow travelers for a lively Welcome Dinner as you cast off.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4:

Sail into the mists of Niagara Falls and visit a family-owned winery

Excitement prevails today as we disembark at the Welland Canal and drive along its rim for dramatic views of Horseshoe Falls before a scenic spin through the Niagara Wine Region. Then you’ll board the iconic Hornblower “Voyage to the Falls” for a cruise past the American and Bridal Veil Falls before heading into the misty spray of Niagara’s thunderous Horseshoe.

Back on shore, we’ll drive along picturesque Niagara Parkway, spotting famed Niagara sights including the Floral Clock and the Whirlpool Rapids. Cultural Discovery / Unforgettable Moment: We’ll unwind from our voyage at Chateau des Charmes, a state-of-the-art family-owned winery. A tour of these stunning grounds will be capped off with a special regional wine tasting with lunch. Then, it’s on to the charming 19th century town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to peruse the various shops, gardens, and galleries.

Please note: Timing and docking may vary due to ship's transit time through canal.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Tour Cleveland’s iconic sites, including the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame

Embark on a charming trolley tour of Cleveland, nestled along the banks of Lake Erie. Stops include the stately Museum of Art, the Tiffany-designed Wade Chapel at Lakeview Cemetery, and the bustling West Side Market, where hundreds of vendors hawk everything from fresh seafood to flowers. Cultural Discovery: After lunch on the ship, you’ll have chance to discover Cleveland’s iconic Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, where a colorful tour of musical history proves once and for all that Cleveland does indeed rock.

Please note: Some groups will experience today’s itinerary in reverse order, however, both groups will enjoy the same number of features. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Detroit: From the Henry Ford Museum to the Institute of the Arts

Sailing from Lake Erie to Lake Huron, we’ll find ourselves in Detroit, Michigan. Peruse artifacts from American history during a guided tour of the Henry Ford Museum, home to the limousine that carried President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Texas, the bus in which Rosa Parks stood her ground and sparked the Civil Rights Movement, and the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated. Next up, we’ll tour the Detroit Institute of Arts, featuring one of the most renowned art collections in the country. Some of its notable acquisitions include Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait — the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum collection. We’ll have dinner on the ship as we set sail for Lake Huron.

Scenic Sailing: Enjoy outstanding views of Detroit lit up at night during your evening sailing.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

A day on Lake Huron

Spend the day enjoying incredible views of Lake Huron. The second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron features more 30,000 islands and boasts more shoreline than any of the other Great Lakes.

Scenic Sailing: Try snapping some photos of the scenic lighthouses, as well as the colorful sunsets.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Ojibwe tradition and a powwow on Manitoulin Island

Keep your cameras ready as we cruise through the rugged beauty of Georgian Bay, sometimes called the sixth Great Lake. Our destination is Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island and home of the Ojibwe tribe. With native and non-native communities coexisting like nowhere else on the continent, Manitoulin has a history as colorful and diverse as any in Canada. Docking at Little Current, you’ll explore the area’s rich native and nautical history, and discover how the beliefs and customs of the Ojibwe intertwine with Catholicism during a visit to the Immaculate Conception Church. Cultural Discovery: Unveil the intricacies of Ojibwe tradition with a smudging ceremony and powwow at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. Back in Little Current, return to the ship or stay in town for further exploration.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Choose your own adventure in Sault Ste. Marie

Today, we’ll transit the Soo Locks from Lake Huron into Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Located at the mouth of the St. Mary's River, these four parallel locks — MacArthur (constructed in 1943), Poe (1895), Davis (1914), and Sabin (1919) — pass an impressive 10,000 ships each year.

We’ll dock on the Canadian side of the river at Roberta Bondar Place, named for Canada’s first female astronaut, where you’ll have your choice of adventures visiting attractions on either side of the locks. Explore the lifestyle and heritage of sailors with a visit to the unique Valley Camp Museum Ship followed by a stop on the Soo Locks viewing platform on the U.S. side, or delve into regional history with a tour of the Bush Plane Museum and the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site on the Canadian side.

Scenic Sailing: Learn how the locks system works as you pass through them.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Step back in time with a visit to Revolutionary-era Mackinac Island

Explore the popular retreat of Mackinac Island today. With its Revolutionary-era heritage and car-free streets, arriving on the island feels like a true step back in time. Unforgettable Moment: Revel in the feel of simpler times with a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. Your city tour includes a stop at Fort Mackinac, which was constructed by the British in 1780, taken by the Americans in 1796, and reclaimed by the British at the start of the War of 1812. Cultural Discovery: Savor lunch at the historic Grand Hotel, which features the longest porch in the world and has hosted a roster of illustrious guests, including several U.S. presidents, Thomas Edison, and even Mark Twain.

Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the village on your own. This evening, you're invited to a delightful cocktail hour in the ship's lounge, where a captivating presentation by the ship’s historian rounds out another delightful day.

Scenic Sailing: Not only is Mackinac Island a Great Lakes highlight, but when you're sailing in/out of this island you’ll also enjoy views of the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Relax while cruising Lake Michigan

Delight in a relaxing day cruising Lake Michigan today. The only Great Lake located entirely within the U.S., Lake Michigan is the fifth-largest lake in the world. In fact, the name Michigan is derived from the native Ojibwe word mishigami, which translates to “great water.” This evening, we’ll gather for a Farewell Reception on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Tour the highlights of Chicago

Today you’ll disembark the M/V Victory I in Chicago. We’ll take the scenic route to our hotel and enjoy a panoramic tour of this cultural capital. After checking in, enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.

Included Meals:


DAY 13:

Explore Chicago at your own pace

Enjoy a day of leisure to explore this beloved metropolis and its offerings — from its famous comedy scene to its legendary hotdogs and deep-dish pizza. Chicago is also considered one of the country’s most walkable cities, so take some time to explore the city’s iconic skyscrapers, renowned museums, waterfront, and pristine parks.

Included Meals:


DAY 14:

Board a return flight home

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home. 

Included Meals:


Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert. Vantage reserves the right to refuse compensation to any traveler due to itinerary changes not listed on our web site.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.

Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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America’s Great Lakes - 2019

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