Great Lakes Grand Discovery
- Visit the architecturally-rich city of Chicago, IL
- Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island, driving by the Victorian-era Grand Hotel
- Visit Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island and home of the Ojibwe people.
At a glance
Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
Coverage: Chicago, IL to Toronto, ON
Season: July - August
Activities: History, Sightseeing
Book this Trip › or call us toll-free 1-888-815-5428
Depart from the great city of Chicago on a grand exploration of North America’s five Great Lakes—together, the largest body of freshwater in the world. Sail across Lake Michigan to charming Mackinac Island. Transit the Soo Locks into massive Lake Superior, the largest of the five lakes. Spend a fascinating morning with the Ojibwe people at scenic Georgian Bay. Enjoy a day of scenic sailing on Lake Huron, home to more than 30,000 islands. Tour Detroit’s World famous Henry Ford Museum and enjoy a thrilling visit to the spectacular Niagara Falls.
3-day pre-cruise extension in Chicago is available. Call for details
3-day post-cruise extension in Toronto is available. Call for details
- Day 1 - Chicago, Illinois, USA (Embarkation)
Your journey begins this afternoon in beautiful Chicago, Illinois where you’ll board the MS Saint Laurent and gather for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as we prepare to set sail on our discovery of the five Great Lakes.
- Day 2 - Scenic Sailing in 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 welcome reception, followed by dinner in the ship’s main dining room.
- Day 3 - Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan
This morning we’ll awaken in the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. After breakfast, we’ll go ashore for a horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island, driving by 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 the Grand Hotel Resident Historian.
- Day 4 - 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 visit to the New Fort Brady, 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.
- Day 5 - Little Current, Manitoulin Island (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 Ojibwe people, part of the First Nation of Anishinaabe. Coming ashore at Little Current, we’ll board a motorcoach and explore the area’s rich native and nautical history. At Immaculate Conception Church, we’ll learn how the beliefs and customs of the Ojibwe intertwine with those of the Catholic Church. At the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, we’ll attend a traditional “smudging” ceremony and “pow wow” and tour the museum and art gallery. Back in Little Current, you’ll have the option to return to the ship or stay in town for your own exploration.
- Day 6 - Midland, Ontario, (Georgian Bay)
Founded in 1878, Midland is a summer resort destination and the economic center of Georgian Bay. Here, we’ll visit the Jesuit mission of “Sainte-Marie among the Hurons,” a living museum that depicts missionary life in the 17th century. Then, we’ll tour the S.S. Keewatin, the last remaining Great Lakes Passenger Liner turned a floating museum, which operated from 1907-1966. After our visit and some free time ashore, we’ll set sail for mighty Lake Huron.
- Day 7 - Scenic Sailing of 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.
- Day 8 - Detroit, Michigan & Windsor, Ontario
Sailing from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, the MS Saint Laurent will call on Windsor, Ontario, known as The City of Roses. Here, we’ll cross Ambassador Bridge, a privately owned suspension bridge that connects Windsor with Detroit, Michigan. This bridge is the busiest international trade crossing in North America, supporting $13 billion (USD) in annual production. Just outside of Detroit, we’ll visit the Henry Ford Museum where highlights 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 for our next stop, Niagara Falls.
- Day 9 - Niagara Falls (Welland Canal)
After a leisurely morning on board, we’ll disembark the ship at Port Colbourne on the southern end of the Welland Canal. The original Welland Canal was 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 MS Saint Laurent 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 for dinner before rejoining the ship at Port Weller.
- Day 10 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Disembarkation)
This morning, we’ll awaken at the port in Toronto, Ontario. After breakfast, you’ll disembark the MS Saint Laurent and make your way to the airport for your flight home or to the Omni King Edward Hotel (or similar) for your extended tour of this diverse city.
Dates & Rates
MS Saint Laurent
The 105-stateroom M.S. Saint Laurent is a 4-star, intimate and charming ocean-going coastal vessel. Her spacious indoor and expansive outdoor public areas make her an ideal vessel for exploring destinations larger vessels cannot reach. Outfitted with elevator (Decks 1 to 4), as well as on-board full service salon, boutique and medical services you will find all amenities expected from a deluxe ocean vessel.