Yorktown Cruise Review
Itinerary: Great Lakes Grand Discovery - August 2013
We flew to Duluth on Wednesday, August 7 and stayed at a hotel right on the shore of Lake Superior. Our room overlooked the lake, and we enjoyed the balcony while watching people walking and riding rented bicycles on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The next morning we walked around the shops and piers until 4:00 PM when we boarded the ship.
After settling in our upgraded cabin (thanks to you!), we attended the Embarkation Briefing in the lounge. About half way through the briefing, one man in the group made a fool of himself by telling the Cruise Director the briefing was too long, and that he had “diarrhea of the mouth”, and even gave him the finger! (There were many groans toward him in response). Following dinner, we enjoyed the on-board pianist playing the piano and singing in the lounge. He was very talented, and entertained us the entire trip.
The next morning following breakfast, the on-board lecturer, Fred Stonehouse gave the first of his many excellent Power Point presentations during the trip. One was especially interesting about The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – a freighter that sank during a storm on November 10, 1975. You may recall the ballad Gordon Lightfoot wrote and sang about it. Fred also researched the incident and wrote an intriguing recap of the sinking. Well worth buying and reading – get the 2005 updated edition. Following on-board lunch at the Houghton dock, we visited and went down into an abandoned copper mine in the Keewenaw Peninsula.
Saturday, Aug 10 we arrived at Marquette early. Had a guided tour of Presque Isle Park by a local guide (again very knowledgeable). Another lecture in lounge that afternoon by Fred, and music after dinner.
Sunday was a day best forgotten. We signed up for the 100 mile train ride from Sault Ste. Marie north into the Agawa Canyon in Canada. It was a BORING 8 hours (4 in each direction watching green trees/shrubs just 3 feet outside each window). The 90 minutes to explore Canyon Park was also time wasted – the park was little more than a wide spot along the tracks. Most people felt the same way – several hundred dollars in the cost of the cruise could have been used in some other way.
Arrived at Manistique (on Lake Michigan) Monday. We were lazy and stayed on board the ship today. Those who went ashore for the tours spoke favorable about what they saw. Tuesday we docked at Mackinac Island, and had an interesting time. Of course, no cars are allowed on the island – only bicycles and horse drawn carriages. The fudge shops are legendary, and the Grand Hotel is truly that. The front porch is 600 feet long with 92 rocking chairs, and the hotel is luxurious. Some place you should definitely visit and stay. You will be treated like royalty.
Wednesday we docked at and toured 2 lighthouses in the Alpena Michigan area. Much history here! Another of Fred’s lectures in the afternoon – this one about ”Great Lakes Shipwrecks”. This man’s knowledge about the history of shipping and shipwrecks and ability to present interesting lectures is phenomenal.
Arrived and docked at Detroit Thursday morning. Bussed to Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. Spent the rest of the morning and afternoon with self-guided visit to both facilities. A vey tiring day due to the standing and walking. To really do justice to them, it would take a full day at each. What a lot of marvelous history! Short bus tour of downtown Detroit (NOT through any of the desolate areas you may see in the media). Dinner on board, and another of Fred’s lectures (does this man ever run out of interesting presentations?) Songs and piano music in lounge again tonight – lots of requests which he played and sang very well.
Friday was on board cruising Lake Erie. Fred gave a detailed lecture about the history and sinking of The Edmund Fitzgerald. Lots of questions from the passengers. I recommend his book – available on Amazon.
Saturday traveled part way on the Welland Canal (3 of the 8 locks), and then bussed to Niagara Falls where we were treated to a ride on The Maid of The Mist to the base of both American and Canadian Falls. Got soaked – even though we were given plastic “raincoats”. Much fun. Also viewed the falls from the top and were amazed at the power and volume of water going over the falls. Returned to the ship and traveled the rest of the locks. Lake Erie is 325 higher in elevation than Lake Ontario – thus the need for the 8 locks.
Food on board was very good (not quite as good we had on Cruise West) and plentiful. Wine was complimentary at every meal. We learned that red wine does not make you fat – it makes you lean! (against the table, the wall, etc). Breakfast and lunch were buffet style (25 feet of selections) and dinner we selected from choices on the daily menu.
Disembarkation on Sunday was VERY WELL organized, and carried out smoothly with no delays. The entire crew was pleasant, friendly, and helpful the entire trip. It was relaxing and enjoyable the entire time. With 109 passengers and open seating at the meals, we were able to get acquainted with many of them.
The Daily Programs we would receive the night before. We always were kept well informed about all the activities and choices if any were available.
We thank you for your recommendation for this trip, and ESPECIALLY for the upgrade in cabins.
—Jerry & Margaret