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 (4.88)
Program No. 21866RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
6,595
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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12 days
11 nights
32 meals
11 B 10 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive 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 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. All passengers on this chartered vessel will be Road Scholar participants. 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 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: 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, 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 3-course plated and served meal in the main dining room or the grille’s breakfast buffet.

Morning: After a leisurely morning onboard, 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 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
Detroit-MI, Henry Ford Museum
Windsor, Ontario
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Activity note: Bring passport for crossing over the border from Canada to U.S. at Windsor. 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 Windsor,Ontario, 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. We’ll return to the ship after our field trip in time for lunch.

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
5
Cruising Day on Lake Huron
At sea
B,L,D
M/V Victory I

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll spend the day on Lake Huron with presentations and opportunities to observe the scenic shorescapes. A few Lake Huron facts (courtesy of the Great Lakes Information Network): It is the second largest Great Lake by surface area and the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world. It has the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes when counting the shorelines of its 30,000 islands. Huron was the first of the Great Lakes to be discovered by European explorers. Shipwrecks are scattered throughout the lake, with five bottomland preserves in Michigan and a national park in Ontario designated to protect the most historically significant. The Lake Huron basin is heavily forested, sparsely populated, and scenically beautiful.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

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

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Cleveland
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: Cleveland's landmarks date to its days as a turn-of-the-20th-century manufacturing center, including the Steamship William G. Mather, now part of the Great Lakes Science Center. It is also known for the stately Cleveland Museum of Art, the I.M. Pei–designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and its famous West Side Market--Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market--which opened to the public in 1912. Today the market is home to over 100 vendors and hosts a million visitors a year.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Cleveland. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You are also welcome to return to the ship.

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 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. 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 Ojibway, for thousands of years. For our field trip to explore this small, fascinating city, we’ll divide into small groups. 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 a ferry; 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
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. Next, we’ll take a motorcoach to Millennium Park for an expert-led exploration. Comprising 25 acres of green space highlighted by outstanding architecture and public art, it was originally intended to celebrate the Year 2000 Millennium but opened four years later, vastly exceeding both the schedule and budget. It has since become a beloved gathering place for Chicagoans and visitors alike, the scene of numerous special events. We’ll then walk to the Art Institute of Chicago next to the park.

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. We’ll then proceed to our hotel for check in with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

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 11:00 a.m. 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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