Victory Cruise Lines redefines luxury cruising and is the only all-inclusive coastal cruising experience on America’s Great Lakes.
The elegant M/V Victory sails between Chicago and Toronto May to October each year and takes 10 glorious days to navigate Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Erie . With a maximum of 202 passengers per voyage, personal service is guaranteed from beginning to end with fine dining and immersive shore excursions as standard. It may be a small ship, but it delivers big on adventure as you explore parts of the Great Lakes the big vessels can’t access. Along the way you’ll discover the history of America’s Westward expansion, celebrate the achievements of industry at the Henry Ford Museum and marvel at the cultural capital of the Midwest in Chicago.
The ‘jewels in the crown’ are sure to be thundering Niagara Falls, Manitoulin Island - the largest freshwater island in the world, and picturesque Mackinac Island - a National Historic Landmark where motorised vehicles have been prohibited since 1898.
Departure dates 2019: 13th May, 22nd May, 9th June, 27th June, 20th August, 29th August, 4th October & 13th October
Departure dates 2020: 13th May, 30th May, 17th June, 26th June, 5th July, 23rd July, 1st August, 28th August, 3rd &12th October
This cruise also operates Toronto to Chicago. Pre/post cruise options are available, plus Premium and Business Class flights and all cruise cabin categories. Programs and schedules may change due to weather, tides, local circumstances and venue changes.
Considered one of the USA's most walkable cities, Chicago is full to the brim with urban delights. It's also home of the skyscraper, so head to Willis Tower for amazing views from 'The Ledge', its glass viewing platform or take a trip to the top of the John Hancock Building and the 360 Observation Deck. Are you brave enough to Tilt? The moving glass platform puts you straight over Michigan Avenue from the 94th floor!
The Art Institute of Chicago, located in Chicago's Grant Park, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the U.S. and well worth a visit, as is the state-of-the-art Field Museum which houses the world's largest Tyrannosaurus Rex. In the evening enjoy a river cruise through the city to admire the architecture, or check out the music scene in one of the many Blues venues that the city is renowned for. On day three, early evening, you'll board the M/V Victory and enjoy a cocktail reception as you prepare to set sail.
Lake Michigan has a surface area of more than 22,000 square miles; is the sixth largest lake in the world and the only Great Lake set entirely within the USA. Believed to come from the native American Indian Ojibwe tribe, the word mishigami (Michigan) translates to "great water." Enjoy a day of leisurely cruising before gathering for a welcome reception, followed by a sumptuous dinner in the ship's main dining room.
When dawn rises this morning, you'll find yourself in the Straits of Mackinac, a channel that connects Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark and no motorised vehicles have been allowed since the late 1890s.
After breakfast, go ashore and tour this picturesque island by horse-drawn carriage which includes a visit to the famous Victorian-era Grand Hotel. During the tour, you'll also visit Fort Mackinac which was constructed by the British in 1780. It was then taken by the Americans in 1796 and reclaimed by the British at the start of the War of 1812. You'll also have plenty of free time to stroll along colourful Market Street to browse the shops and galleries.
The cocktail hour this evening features a presentation by the onboard historian.
From Lake Huron into Lake Superior, you'll transit through the Soo Locks, a group of parallel locks allowing travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. They are located on the St. Marys River between the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. On average, 10,000 ships a year pass through between April and December. In total there are four Locks and they are operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers – the Davis, Sabin, MacArthur and Poe locks. Currently, all ships utilise the larger Poe and MacArthur locks.
Arrive in the charming city of Sault Ste. Marie with a tour that includes a look at the Soo Locks viewing platform, a tour of the Valley Camp Museum Ship and a talk about the four parallel soo locks.
Often referred to as the Sixth Great Lake, you'll experience the rugged beauty of Georgian Bay, an outlet of Lake Huron. The world's largest freshwater island - Manitoulin Island is your destination today.
At 1,068 square miles, this vast island is home of the Ojibwa people, part of the First Nation of Anishinaabe. Also known by the anglicised name Chippewa, the Ojibwe are the largest population of First Nations people in continental North America. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about the history, language and culture of these people.
Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes with a surface area of 23,000 miles and a shoreline extending an astonishing 3,827 miles, the longest of any of the Great Lakes. Like the other lakes, it was formed toward the end of the last ice age.
After a day of scenic cruising, you'll gather in the ship's dining room for cocktails and a gourmet meal.
Sailing from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, your captain has a choice of two ports: Windsor, Ontario or Detroit Michigan. Port schedules will dictate at the time of cruising, but the day remains the same with either port.
Visit the Henry Ford Museum, housed over nine-acres and as grand as the vision that inspired it. Local experts will guide you through the many exhibits including the limousine that carried JFK on that fateful day; the Rosa Parks bus that ignited the Civil Rights Movement and the chair from the Ford Theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated in whilst watch a play.
Cleveland’s prime location on Lake Erie sealed it as a transportation hub on the Great Lakes and played a substantial role in its development as a commercial centre. Iron ore and coal being two main commodities. In 1870, John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in Cleveland. In the early 20th century, Cleveland became a major manufacturing centre with a focus on automotive companies.
Today, Cleveland's industrial heritage is mixed with a cosmopolitan vibe and genuine Midwest bonhomie. With three major sports team, a plethora of top notch museums and the West Side Market, you'll find this city a delight to explore. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where music fans can easily spend the day.
Spend the morning at leisure before arriving at Port Colbourne on the southern tip of the Welland Canal. Disembark here for a tour through the Niagara Wine Region and Niagara Falls. Rain ponchos at the ready for your cruise into the misty spray of cascading Horseshoe Falls which towers 792 metres high!
Meanwhile, the M/V Victory will need to wait it's turn to transit the areas locks before docking at Port Weller where you’ll embark after a scenic drive along the Niagara Parkway, wine-tasting and lunch in a local restaurant.
Disembark the M/V Victory after breakfast to explore Toronto and overnight in the Fairmont Royal York, in the heart of the city. Along the waterfront, the Distillery District is a quaint pedestrian-only area set along 19th century buildings that once housed a large whiskey distillery. The cobblestone streets today are lined with indie restaurants, bars and boutiques. Art lovers will be impressed with the galleries and outdoor sculptures.
Depart Toronto on your early evening flight back to the UK.
Want to extend your holiday? Perhaps a visit to New York, Boston or Washington on the way home? Time on the beach in Cape Cod, or Florida? All Bon Voyage holidays can be tailor-made, please call our experts for further information.