Great Lakes & Waterfronts: Chicago to Toronto - 2022

Chicago • 9-night Great Lakes small ship cruise with Lake Michigan, Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron, Detroit, Cleveland, Niagara Falls • Toronto
  • Lake in Montreal City
  • Quebec City Landscape
  • Copley Square, Boston
  • Fin whale, St Lawrence river, Quebec (Canada)
  • ocean explorer exterior flowers
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Toronto to Chicago

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DAY 1:

Arrive in Toronto, Canada

Today you'll fly into Toronto, Ontario to begin your city adventure. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your downtown hotel. Later, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner and reception.

Included meals:


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 waterfront views from the Harbourfront Centre. Lunch and dinner are on your own — and this diverse city offers a gamut of memorable dining experiences.

Included meals:


DAY 3:

Tour panoramic Toronto, then embark the Ocean Explorer

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. Drive by the Hockey Hall of Fame and we'll also enjoy the 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.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll embark the Ocean Explorer! We’ve peppered this voyage with a series of illuminating presentations by the Resident Lecturer on board, 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 Feature:

  • Half-day panoramic tour of Toronto

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 4:

Sail into the mists of Niagara Falls, and visit a local 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 and — if weather permits — spot famed Niagara sights including the Floral Clock and the Whirlpool Rapids. Following the drive, arrive at Chateau des Charmes, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour that includes lunch and a wine tasting. After lunch, enjoy a scenic countryside drive back to the ship, arriving in afternoon. Enjoy an evening at leisure and dinner on board.

Included Feature:

  • Embark on a Hornblower “Voyage of the Falls” cruise to Horseshoe Falls

Cultural Discovery:

  • Visit a local winery for wine tasting

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 city tour of Cleveland, nestled along the banks of Lake Erie. Local guides will provide colorful, in-depth commentary and historical insight into more than 100 points of interest along our 20-mile journey. We will make a quick facilities stop at the Cleveland Museum of Art and drive past the bustling West Side Market, where hundreds of vendors hawk everything from fresh seafood to flowers.

Following the tour, we’ll return to the ship for lunch. You may enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure or choose to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Vantage will provide admission tickets and round-trip shuttle service between the ship and the museum.

Included Features:

  • Half-day trolley tour of Cleveland
  • Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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:

Discover Detroit, famously known as the "Motor City"

Sailing from Lake Erie to Lake Huron, we’ll find ourselves in Detroit, Michigan. We’ll uncover for ourselves why Detroit is famously known as the “Motor City” at the Ford Rouge Factory, a 600-acre site and Ford’s largest single industrial complex, with a guided tour and presentation at the facility. Afterward, we’ll return to the ship for lunch. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy dinner and a Motown performance back on board as we set sail for Lake Huron.

Included Feature:

  • Ford Rouge Factory tour

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 7:

Spend 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.

Included Feature:
  • Scenic cruising around Lake Huron

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8:

Encounter Ojibwe tradition and a powwow on Manitoulin Island

Keep your cameras ready as we cruise through the rugged beauty of UNESCO-listed Georgian Bay, sometimes called the sixth Great Lake. We’ll anchor just offshore and tender into our destination of 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. Later, 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.

Included Feature:

  • Explore Manitoulin Island and visit the Immaculate Conception Church

Cultural Discovery:

  • Experience a traditional smudging ceremony and powwow at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation

Please note: To allow for meaningful small-group interactions, today’s onshore itinerary may operate in reverse for some visitors.

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 towards 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.

After docking, you’ll have your choice of adventures and attractions on the U.S. side of the locks, including the  Valley Camp Museum Ship and Soo Locks Visitors platform or the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site.

Included Features:

  • Transit the Soo Locks from Lake Huron into Lake Superior
  • Choice of tours in Sault Ste. Marie: Visit the Valley Camp Museum Ship and Soo Locks Visitors platform or the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site

Please note: The locks can be congested and it is not guaranteed the ship's passage thru Soo Locks to Lake Superior, in the rare even this happens, we will do our best for those interested to take a ferry to go across.

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. We’ll anchor just offshore and tender into Mackinac Island. 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. While there, you'll witness a cannon and rifle firing event, followed by 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 Resident Lecturer rounds out another delightful day.

Included Features:
  • Narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island
  • Tour Fort Mackinac
Cultural Discovery:
  • Buffet lunch at the historic Grand Hotel

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

Sail along scenic 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.

Included Feature:

  • Scenic day of cruising on Lake Michigan

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12:

Disembark the Ocean Explorer and take an architectural boat tour of Chicago

Today will be a new nautical adventure, as you see Chicago from the water on an architectural tour. There are more than 50 buildings that line the Chicago River, which celebrate how this metropolis has thrived over the past century to becomes one of the world’s largest cities.

You’ll enjoy a tasty and authentic deep-dish pizza lunch before heading on to your hotel. After checking in to your room, you’ll have the remainder of the day to enjoy at your leisure.

Included Feature:

  • Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago

Cultural Discovery:

  • Deep dish pizza lunch

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 13:

Tour the highlights of Chicago

Today you’ll take the scenic route through Chicago on a panoramic city tour of this cultural capital that includes the downtown area and an exploration of the Lake Shore area. Following the tour, you’ll have free time for lunch on your own before returning to the hotel in the afternoon.

Your afternoon is at leisure if you'd like to explore more of Chicago on your own. Explore this beloved metropolis and its offerings as one of the country’s most walkable cities. Take some time to explore the city’s iconic skyscrapers, renowned museums, waterfront, and pristine parks. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner at your hotel.

Included Feature:

  • Panoramic city tour of Chicago

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

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:


Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-322-6677

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Vantage Ponant Vantage Advantage
Journey Great Lakes & Waterfronts: Chicago to Toronto A Voyage along the Great Lakes – with Smithsonian Journeys
Cruise-Only Price* $8,499 $6,450
# of Days 14 8
Per Diem $607 $806 Greatest value and most comprehensive features when compared to our competitors!
Port Charges included Yes
Cabin Upgrades $400-$1,000 stateroom increments; $4,800 to Deluxe Suite $9,500 to Owner's Suite $300-$600 increments; $2,700 to Deluxe Suite; $13,300 to Owner's Suite Upgrade to more for less with Vantage!
Cabin Occupancies Single/Double; add a third guest to a stateroom reservation to save up to 75%

Best value for all travelers -- including both solo and third guests!
Included Tours and Special Features 21 included features and Cultural Discoveries

Visit 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site: Georgian Bay

The services of a Cruise Director, plus shipboard commentary, regional experts, and private motorcoach for excursions 

10 Included Tours

A program of onboard enrichment provided by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts – American Maritime Historian Frederick Stonehouse and Geologist Kirt Kempter
More included tours and cultural experiences offered!
Meals 34 meals: 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 11 dinners, with complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks during dinner on board
20 meals The MOST included meals
Single Travelers The leader in solo travel - the only small ship operator to offer a landmark 15 solo dedicated solo cabins on board - with limited and capacity controlled FREE Single Supplements
100% Single Supplement The leader in solo travel - best value in the industry.
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