America’s Great Lakes - 2020

Toronto • 9-night Great Lakes expedition cruise with Niagara Falls, Cleveland, Detroit, Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan • Chicago
  • $478
  • 14
  • 24
14 DAYS FROM $6,898
Moderate Deluxe
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Québec, Canada

5 DAYS FROM $1,199

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See what makes the Great Lakes a defining hallmark of North America and one of its most prized natural treasures on this charming cultural cruise tour — now newly enhanced for 2020! Discover all five Great Lakes as you sail from Toronto to Chicago on a 14-day journey overflowing with cultural capitals, small-town marvels, Native American history, and endless picturesque panoramas — from antique lighthouses to undulating blond dunes. You’ll discover Niagara’s cascades and its wine on a thrilling excursion to this historic outpost, embark on a lively tour of Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, uncover relics of America’s storied past in Detroit, and take part in a powwow and smudging ceremony that reveals Manitoulin Island’s Ojibwe heritage. A tour of timeless Mackinac Island and its Grand Hotel is sure to be a highlight, as is our new venture into Door County, Wisconsin, home to a fascinating maritime history, regional viniculture, and the port town known as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest."

You may think you know North America, but think again! Your voyage of discovery features 24 included excursions and Cultural Discoveries; plus, you'll cruise aboard the intimate, four-star m/v Victory I, featuring an onboard historian whose insights will enhance every adventure on land, as well as observation and sun decks perfect for scenic viewing. With its range of historical, cultural, and natural activities, this adventure is perfect for traveling with friends and family! From cherry orchards to car-free islands, horse-drawn carriages to world-class art institutes, America’s Great Lakes is superior in every way.

Toronto to Chicago

Pre-Trip Extension

Québec, Canada

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 5 DAYS | $240 PER DAY
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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:

Panoramic Toronto tour, 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. We’ll drive by Toronto City Hall, the Eaton Center, and more, before visiting the pedestrian-only Distillery Historic District, where we’ll have lunch on our own and then drive by the Hockey Hall of Fame. Then it's time to embark the m/v Victory I! 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 in Port Colborne on the southern end of the Welland Canal and drive along the Niagara River for dramatic views of Horseshoe Falls. 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 and Unforgettable Moment: We’ll unwind from our voyage at Château 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 & Roll Hall of Fame

Embark on a charming hop-on/hop-off trolley tour of Cleveland, nestled along the banks of Lake Erie. Depending on the day of the week, our stops may 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 & Roll Hall of Fame, where a colorful collection 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. Cultural Discovery: 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. After lunch back on the ship, we’ll tour the Detroit Institute of Arts, featuring one of the most renowned art collections in the country. Some of the museum’s notable holdings 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. This evening, enjoy dinner and a Motown performance back 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. Head to the sun deck with a cocktail and a good book, or with a good camera for some excellent photo opportunities.  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. Cultural Discovery: 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 Bushplane 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 on car-free 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. Next, embark on a Fort Mackinac tour that features a cannon and rifle firing event! 

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:

Door County life, winetasting and cherry-picking at Lautenbach’s, and the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay

Open the door to Door County, Wisconsin, today as we explore the small town highlights of this region before sliding into Sturgeon Bay, otherwise known as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest." Cultural Discoveries: We’ll begin the day in Egg Harbor, where you can take a self-guided walk of the town’s historic buildings, including the beautiful stonework of the Stella Maris Church. We’ll continue north to Fish Creek, where we’ll detour down Cottage Row, home to some of the most impressive homes in Door County and where former Green Bay Packers coach Curly Lambeau once called home. We’ll also tour the 10-room Alexander Noble House, an authentic Greek revival farmhouse, and experience a portrayal of local domestic life here at the turn of the century.

Next up, we’ll meet the owner of Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market, a family-run estate of more than 100 acres of blossoming orchards and lush vineyards. On a tour of the winery, we’ll savor a complimentary wine tasting, and board a tractor and wagon out to the orchards, where we’ll have the chance to pick farm-fresh cherries — then sell them to the chef back on board the ship! Afterward, we’ll unwind with a stroll through the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. From hard-working fishermen and brave ship captains, to bold inventors and lonely lighthouse keepers, we’ll learn about the area’s rich maritime roots, including a guided tour of the John Purves, an immaculately restored Great Lakes tugboat.

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 on 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 website.

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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