21866
Ontario/Michigan/Illinois

Voyage to All Five Great Lakes: A Small Ship Adventure

Explore the pristine beauty of all five Great Lakes aboard a small ship, delving deep into the region’s heritage, history and natural wonders.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 21866RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
7,299
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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11 days
10 nights
29 meals
10 B 9 L 10 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Chicago, IL
D
Sheraton Grand Chicago

Activity note: In the final information packet sent from Road Scholar, please be sure to review the details about the airport shuttles organized by Road Scholar. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. If you arrive early, you may leave your luggage with the hotel concierge and go out to explore the surrounding area; maps will be available

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff to receive any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will subdivide into smaller groups for ease of movement and to enhance interaction. “Free Time” and “At Leisure” indicate when you can choose to do what you like and make your experience as meaningful, rewarding, and memorable as possible according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Aboard ship, enjoy a variety of dining options in the main dining room or one of the smaller dining venues. For each meal, the dining hall offers a plated, 3-course meal featuring locally inspired cuisine. The grille offers a buffet for breakfast and lunch with rotating daily specials. Beverages available at all meals include juices, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water, beer, wine. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Explore Chicago, Embark Victory 1
At sea
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking approximately 1 mile. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and lake conditions may affect the itinerary. Lake conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice.

Breakfast: At the hotel, buffet in a private room

Morning: Take in Chicago's amazing skyline during an architectural boat ride along the Chicago River with a local expert.

Lunch: At local restaurant

Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll have an expert-led exploration of the Art Institute of Chicago. Its encyclopedic collection of nearly 100,000 works spans thousands of years of human creativity from ancient to modern. We’ll also have some time for personal independent exploration. Following our field trip, we’ll transfer via motorcoach to the pier for embarkation that takes place from 3:30-5:00 p.m. After completing embarkation procedures and boarding the Victory I, settle in to your cabin and take some time to freshen up before we participate in the ship’s required safety drill. We’ll then gather with our group for cocktails and hor d'oeuvres as we prepare to set out on our Great Lakes learning adventure.

Dinner: In the main dining room, enjoy a 3-course plated and served meal featuring local cuisine plus juices, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water, beer, and wine.

Evening: At leisure. Leisure time aboard ship offers an opportunity to create the kind of experience that is most personally meaningful and memorable. You might also enjoy spending time and making new friends with your fellow Road Scholars. Each evening, a copy of the ship’s daily schedule for the following day will be delivered to your cabin.

DAY
3
Cruising Day on Lake Michigan
At sea
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Breakfast: Aboard ship, enjoy a 3-course plated and served meal in the main dining room or the grille’s breakfast buffet.

Morning: Locals refer to Lake Michigan as America’s “third coast” for its size—fifth largest lake in the world—and the fact that it is the only one of the Great Lakes lying entirely within the U.S. Without a doubt, it is one of the most scenic places in the country. We’ll learn more during an expert presentation.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll gather for a presentation on topics related to the program theme.

Dinner: Dinner aboard ship

DAY
4
Mackinac Island, Fort Mackinac, Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Getting on/off horse-drawn carriages. Travel on the island is only by carriage or walking; uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: The Straits of Mackinac connect Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. After docking at Saint Ignace, we’ll take a ferry to Mackinac Island and even learn how to pronounce it! Other than walking, the only mode of transportation allowed on the island is horse-drawn carriage, and we’ll go for a ride around the island. We'll also visit Fort Mackinac. Originally a French outpost, it was subsequently taken by the British and massively reconstructed during the American Revolutionary War, relinquished to the U.S. in 1780, retaken by the British at the beginning of the War of 1812, and eventually re-retaken by American forces. We’ll then visit the Grand Hotel, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most romantic vestiges of the Victorian era. It opened in 1887 as a summer retreat for vacationers and boasts the longest porch in the world. The 1980 movie “Somewhere in Time” is a virtual love letter to the grandest remaining hotel of a bygone era.

Lunch: At the Grand Hotel, we’ll enjoy the famed buffet lunch in the main dining room that features fresh salads, a variety of cheeses, slow-roasted meats, seafood, fruits, and fresh-baked pastries.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most on Mackinac Island until we return to the ship via ferry. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: Aboard ship

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Sault Sainte Marie ,Ontario Canada
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: On the field trip, some groups will travel by motorcoach 30 minutes and need to carry their passport because they will cross back over the bridge that connects Canada to the USA. Walking up to one hour on an uneven, dirt path.

Breakfast: Aboard ship

Morning: Today, we'll transit the Soo Locks from Lake Huron to Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Before the first lock was built, boats and cargo had to be portaged around rapids that fell 21 feet. The first primitive lock, built in 1797, was destroyed during the War of 1812. The four present locks were built in 1855. Control passed to the U.S. government in the late 1800s and the locks are operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. We’ll learn about their history, their use, and why they are regarded as “a wonder of engineering and human ingenuity” passing an average of 10,000 ships a year.

Lunch: Aboard ship before we depart for the field trip.

Afternoon: We will explore Sault Ste. Marie’s history and significance on Canadian soil at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site. We will hear from an expert on how the canal was built and how it works. After the lecture we will take a walk through a nature trail to view the St. Mary’s Rapids, providing a glimpse of what the river looked like before the locks were built. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes this day.

Dinner: Aboard ship

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island, Little Current
Little Current, Ontario
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Small boats may be used to access the port. Getting on/off a motorcoach; 1/2 hour each way.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Passing through the rugged beauty of Georgian Bay — sometimes called the sixth Great Lake — we’ll reach Manitoulin Island, the world 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 with a local expert and learn about 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. Then, at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, we'll attend a traditional “smudging” ceremony and pow-wow and explore the museum and art gallery.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time in Little Current or you can stay on the ship and relax for the afternoon

Dinner: Aboard ship

DAY
7
Sailing Lake Huron
At sea
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Full day aboard the ship

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We'll gather for a shipboard guest lecture

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. Enjoy the ship’s amenities, spend time with your fellow Road Scholars, or just relax as we sail on.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Detroit, MI, Henry Ford Museum
Detroit, MI
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking according to personal interest at Museum

Breakfast: Aboard ship

Morning: Ride out to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, just outside Detroit. The vast museum is designed to document not only the achievements of Henry Ford himself but “the genius of the American people.” It also contains historic artifacts such as the upholstered rocking chair in which President Abraham Lincoln was seated at Ford’s Theater when he was shot on April 14, 1865; the bus Rosa Parks was riding on December 1, 1955, when her arrest for violating the segregation laws of Montgomery, Alabama, sparked the Civil Rights movement; and the Presidential limousine that bore President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Lunch: Lunch aboard the ship.

Afternoon: After lunch we will enjoy a lecture from a local who will provide some insight on the challenges the city has faced along with its triumphs. Then we will board a motor coach for an expert led field trip of Detroit with a special stop at the Fisher Building, considered Detroit’s largest art exhibit.

Dinner: Aboard ship

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Cleveland, OH,Wade Chapel
Cleveland
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship and board a trolley with a local expert providing in-depth historical and colorful commentary in Cleveland. There will be a stop at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where you can dive into the history and memorabilia of the musicians, producers and notable figures who helped shape the genre.

Lunch: Aboard ship

Afternoon: After lunch we will board a motor coach that will bring us to Wade Chapel to see the beautiful Tiffany Glass. After we will make our way to the Cleveland Museum of Art where we will join an expert for a highlights tour. The rest of the afternoon will be designated for free time to explore the museum.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
10
Welland Canal / Niagara Falls, Ontario
Niagara Falls
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's Victory II

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking approximately 1 mile; generally even sidewalks and pathways, but an incline when exiting boat cruise. Boat cruise is approx. 30 minutes. Exact timing of the day depends on ships transit time through the canal.

Breakfast: Aboard ship

Morning: After a leisurely morning onboard, we'll disembark at Port Colborne on the Western end of the Welland Canal. When the original section of the Welland Canal opened in 1829, it was a boon to both navigation and the local water supply. The section at Port Colborne that opened in 1932 extended the canal’s value and benefits with eight additional locks. Ships wait in line to transit the locks, providing an opportunity for us to set out on a field trip driving through the scenic Niagara Wine Region to Niagara Falls. There, we’ll board a state-of-the-art, 700-passenger catamaran for an unparalleled, close-up experience, entering as close as safely possible to world-famous Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our field trip before returning to the ship and reboarding. The ship sails to Toronto which is where you will disembark the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Disembarkation in Toronto / Program Concludes
Toronto
B

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach

Breakfast: Aboard ship

Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights returning to the U.S.






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