Great Lakes Grand Discovery
Embark on a grand exploration of North America’s Great Lakes as you cruise from Toronto to Chicago, and then travel to New York City onboard Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited.
The Great Lakes are together the largest body of freshwater lakes in the world, and have a variety of ports of call to explore. On your first stop, you'll enjoy a thrilling visit to spectacular Niagara Falls. Then you'll tour Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum. Cruise for an entire day on scenic Lake Huron, home to more than 30,000 islands. Spend a fascinating morning with the Ojibwe people at pretty Georgian Bay. Transit the Soo Locks into massive Lake Superior, the largest of the five lakes. Sail across Lake Michigan to charming Mackinac Island. Then enjoy a relaxing final day of cruising on Lake Michigan before your arrival in Chicago. Here you have a free day to explore on your own. Finally, board the Lake Shore Limited for your overnight trip to New York City.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited (1 night on train)
- 9-night cruise aboard the M/V Victory I
- Hotel accommodation for 1 night
- All meals and beverages onboard ship
- Niagara Falls excursion, including Hornblower boat cruise
- Visit to the Henry Ford Museum
- Soo Locks
- Mackinac Island horse-drawn carriage tour
- Included shore excursion in each port
Day 1 – Board the M/V Victory I in Toronto
Your cruise vacation begins this afternoon in beautiful Toronto, Ontario, where you’ll board the M/V Victory I and gather for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as we prepare to set sail on our Great Lakes journey. Overnight ship. (D)
Day 2 – Niagara Falls
After a leisurely morning on board, we’ll disembark the ship at Port Weller on the Eastern end of the Welland Canal. The original Welland Canal opened in 1829 and was extended to reach Lake Erie in 1833. The current canal was completed in 1932 and boasts eight locks. As the M/V Victory I awaits its turn to transit the locks, we’ll drive through the Niagara Wine Region, home to 25 vineyards and over 50 wineries. At Niagara Falls, we’ll embark on the famous Hornblower “Voyage of the Falls” for a cruise into the misty spray of Horseshoe Falls. Back on shore, we’ll drive along scenic Niagara Parkway to a charming local restaurant followed by a special visit to a local winery for a fabulous tasting before rejoining the ship at Port Colbourne. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland's landmarks dating to its days as a turn-of-the-20th-century manufacturing center include the Steamship William G. Mather, now part of the Great Lakes Science Center. It's also known for the stately Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and its famous West Side Market—Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market, with its origins dating back to 1840. The markethouse was dedicated and opened to the public in 1912. Its 137-foot clock tower has stood as a Cleveland landmark for over a century. Today, the market is home to over 100 vendors of great ethnic diversity. It is estimated that over one million people visited the market last year. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Windsor, Ontario or Detroit, Michigan
Sailing from Lake Erie to Lake Huron, the M/V Victory I will call on Windsor, Ontario, known as The City of Roses, or Detroit, Michigan, known as the "Motor City", depending on port schedules. Your shore excursions will be the same, regardless of the city the M/V Victory I docks in. Just outside of Detroit, we’ll visit the Henry Ford Museum, which was created to document the genius of ordinary people. Housed in a sweeping, nine-acre, single-floor space with soaring 40-foot ceilings, the museum is dedicated to showcasing the finest collection of its kind. The sheer scope and design of the museum is as grand as the vision that inspired it. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of awe as your mind adjusts to the collection’s scale. Local expert docents will escort guests to see the museum’s highlights that include: 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 from the Ford Theatre in which Abraham Lincoln was sitting when he was shot. After our tour, we’ll return to the ship and set sail northbound up the Detroit River to our next destination, Lake Huron. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Scenic Sailing on Lake Huron
The second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron boasts a surface area of 23,000 square miles. Like the other Great Lakes, it was formed at the end of the last ice age as the glaciers retreated. With over 30,000 islands, Lake Huron has more shoreline than any of the other Great Lakes. After a scenic day of cruising, we’ll gather in the ship’s main dining room for a gourmet dinner. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Little Current, Manitoulin Islands (Georgian Bay)
This morning, we’ll cruise though 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 Ojibwa people, part of the First Nation of Anishinaabe. Also known by the Anglicized name Chippewa, the Ojibwe are the largest population of First Nations people in continental North America. They speak the Anishinaabe language and live mostly in the Great Lakes region of Canada. They are known for their birch bark canoes, their cultivation of wild rice, the creation of dream catchers, and their historic use of pictographic birch bark scrolls. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Whitefish Bay & Lake Superior)
Today, we’ll transit the Soo Locks from Lake Huron into Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Our guided excursion includes a tour of the Valley Camp Museum Ship, a stop at the Soo Locks viewing platform, and a walk through the visitor’s center to learn about the four parallel locks—MacArthur (1943), Poe (1895), Davis (1914), and Sabin (1919)—which pass an average of 10,000 ships per year. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan
This morning we’ll awaken in the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. After breakfast, we’ll go ashore for a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island, including the Victorian-era Grand Hotel, where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. During our tour, we’ll visit 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. This evening, cocktail hour in the outdoor lounge features a captivating presentation by our onboard historian. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Scenic Sailing on Lake Michigan
The only Great Lake located entirely within the United States, Lake Michigan has a surface area of more than 22,000 square miles, making it the fifth largest lake in the world. The name Michigan is believed to come from the native Ojibwe word mishigami, which translates to “great water.” After a scenic day of cruising, we’ll gather for a festive farewell reception, followed by dinner in the ship’s main dining room. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Chicago, Illinois
This morning, we’ll awaken at the port in Chicago, Illinois. Enjoy a day at leisure in Chicago where you can enjoy its great architecture, culture, and food. This evening board the Lake Shore Limited for the overnight journey to New York Penn Station. Overnight train. (B)
Day 11 – Arrive in New York
Enjoy a full day of train travel along the south side of Lake Erie and into the beautiful Northeast of the United States. The Lake Shore Limited arrives in New York Penn Station this evening, transfer on your own to your centrally located hotel. Then, get ready for a night on the town. Catch a Broadway play, see what’s happening at Madison Square Garden or take a carriage ride through Central Park. Enjoy dinner at an ethnic restaurant and don’t miss Times Square, all lit up at night. Overnight New York City. (B, L, D)
Day 12 – End of Tour
The day is yours to explore more of New York City. Head to the observatory for the famous Empire State Building or Liberty Island to see The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Walk along Fifth Avenue. Visit the United Nations building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and pay tribute at Ground Zero. Make your way home via rail or air from one of New York’s three airports.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
New York hotel will be the Paramount Hotel. Amtrak accommodations are available in Roomette and Bedroom. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower.
M/V Victory I
The agile M/V Victory I is full of elegance and designed with a bright, modern touch. The ship offers plenty of spacious areas for you to take in the surrounding views, including open-air lounges. The ship's smaller size makes it nimble enough to navigate canals, locks, and quiet bays. Your excursion includes luxurious amenities, including wine, beer, and spirits, and an attentive staff ready to cater to your every need. You can even learn more about your surroundings from onboard specialists and local tour guides at your ports of call.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
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