21866
Ontario/Michigan/Illinois
The Best of All Five Great Lakes by Small Ship, Only With Road Scholar
Explore the pristine beauty of all five Great Lakes aboard an exclusively chartered ship, delving deep into the region’s heritage, history and natural wonders.
Rating (4.87)
Program No. 21866RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
6,499
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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12 days
11 nights
32 meals
11 B 10 L 11 D
DAY
1
Arrive in Toronto, Check-In, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Toronto
D
Chelsea Hotel

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 group leaders and go out to explore the surrounding area; maps will be available.

Afternoon: Program Registration: Come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to get your room assignment and 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. The Road Scholar group 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. For every lunch and dinner aboard the ship, the dining room 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, and 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 Toronto, Embark Victory 1
Toronto
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. 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.

Morning: We’ll set out with a local expert on a field trip via motorcoach to see and learn about significant areas of Toronto such as the Financial District, St. Lawrence Market, Old and New City Hall, Chinatown, Harbor Front, and Queen’s Park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll have an expert-led exploration of the Royal Ontario Museum. It is among the world's leading museums of natural history and world cultures. 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
Port Colborne, Niagara Falls Cruise
Port Colbourne
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking approximately 1 mile; generally even sidewalks and pathways. Getting on/off a large catamaran; incline when exiting boat cruise. Timing of cruise dependent on when ship transits Welland Canal locks.

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

Morning: We'll disembark at Port Colborne on the Eastern 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 the 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.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Cleveland-OH, Ride with Cleveland's "Goodwill Ambassadors"
Cleveland
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking approximately 1 mile, generally on sidewalks and pathways; standing up to 45 minutes at a time, climbing one flight of stairs on the ship (during port excursion).

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship and board trolleys with Cleveland's famous "goodwill ambassadors". During a 20-mile trolley ride, the ambassadors will provide in-depth historical and colorful commentary on more than 100 points of interest in Cleveland. At least one stop will be made at either the Cleveland Museum of Art,or the Tiffany designed Wade Chapel at Lakeview Cemetery.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. This afternoon has been left open to explore local attractions at your leisure, or relax on board the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Detroit-MI, Henry Ford Museum
Detroit, MI
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

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

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Moving from Lake Erie to Lake Huron, we’ll dock at Detroit, MI, then board a motorcoach and ride 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 at the museum is included.

Afternoon: Explore Greenfield Village, an outdoor living history museum at the Henry Ford complex. At the village, enjoy a self-guided narrated train tour, Thomas Edison's Laboratory and the Wright Brothers Bike shop.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Cruising Day on Lake Huron
At sea
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

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

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll gather for a shipboard guest lecture.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island, Little Current
Little Current, Ontario
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

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'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 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. You will participate in a smudging ceremony and explanation of the four sacred medicines. Visit Lillians Crafts and Museum. Inside the Museum you will observe local artisans creating intricate centuries old traditional quill boxes made of birch bark, sweet grass and porcupine quills. On the outside grounds, we will enjoy a presentation of native hand drum styles.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. Enjoy the ship’s amenities or just relax as we head towards Sault Ste. Marie.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Sault Ste. Marie-MI, Soo Locks
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

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.

Afternoon: Sault Ste. Marie is the oldest city in Michigan and one of the oldest in the country. The area was inhabited by native peoples, ancestors of the present-day Ojibwe, for thousands of years. So that we don't overwhelm any particular site on our field trip, we'll divide into small groups. At the end of the day, we’ll regroup and share our impressions and experiences.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Saint Ignace, Mackinac Island, Fort Mackinac, Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island, MI
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

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. 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. The group leader's will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Cruising Day on Lake Michigan
At sea
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

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: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation in Chicago tomorrow, when luggage will be transported to the hotel.

DAY
11
Disembark, Architecture Cruise, Chicago Art Institute
Chicago, Illinois
B,L,D
The Westin O’Hare

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking approximately 1 mile.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Docking in Chicago, we’ll complete disembarkation procedures, then set out on a river cruise with a local expert. In approximately 90 minutes along the river, we’ll hear interpretation of 50 significant buildings and learn how Chicago grew to become a world-class city.

Lunch: At the Art Institute, we'll have boxed lunches with pre-selected sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and water.

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.

Dinner: At a restaurant downtown.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Transit
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by noon. Shuttles to the airport will begin departing early morning and continue throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a final buffet in a private room (depending on departure times). This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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