Cruising the Great Lakes

Program Overview

Admire magnificent coastal scenery and discover nearly two centuries of North American innovation and maritime history on this one-of-a-kind cruise itinerary from Toronto to Milwaukee (which also operates in the reverse direction on select departures) featuring all five Great Lakes. Experience the thunderous force of Niagara Falls; the historical charm of Mackinac Island; the unspoiled beauty of the UNESCO-inscribed Niagara Escarpment; the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in Detroit; and transit the Welland Canal and Soo Locks, among the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. Joining you on this program is maritime historian and filmmaker Ric Mixter (September 18 and September 25 departures), and author and historian Wes Oleszewski (October 2 departure). Extend your Great Lakes immersion with the Toronto Pre-Program and/or Milwaukee Post-Program Options.

Shipwreck Historian Ric Mixter's Welcome

Program Details

September 18 to 25, 2023 (Le Bellot) September 25 to October 2, 2023 (Le Bellot) October 2 to 9, 2023 (Le Bellot)
From $4,995 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Cruise in each of the five Great Lakes from Milwaukee to Toronto, visiting fascinating islands and quaint towns rich in maritime history and natural splendor.
  • An excursion included in each port and specially arranged lectures on board.
  • Full-day excursion to Niagara Falls, with a specially arranged cruise to Horseshoe Falls and a visit to the Floral Clock with an exclusive lunch overlooking the falls.
  • Private, glass-bottom boat cruise through Big and Little Tub Harbors and around Flowerpot Island in Tobermory, Ontario.
  • Horse-drawn carriage tour of Victorian Mackinac Island and clifftop Fort Mackinac, with a specially arranged lunch at the elegant, 19th century Grand Hotel.
  • Transit Sault Sainte Marie’s mighty Soo Locks, an engineering marvel, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
  • Discover the cultural treasures of vibrant Detroit.
  • Transit the Welland Canal, possible only by small ship.
  • Enjoy onboard lectures from special guest speakers Ric Mixter (September 18 and September 25 departures) and Wes Oleszewski (October 10 departure).
  • Milwaukee Pre-Program and Toronto Post-Program Options.

Day 1 - Depart Home City / Arrive in Toronto, Canada / Embark Le Bellot / Welland Canal

Day 2 - Niagra Falls / Lake Erie

Day 3 - Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Day 4 - Detroit / Lake Huron

Day 5 - Tobermory, Canada / Lake Huron

Day 6 - Soo Locks / Lake Superior / Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, U.S.

Day 7 - Mackinac Island / Lake Michigan

Day 8 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Return to Home City

*Program runs in reverse on the September 25 departure.

View detailed program itinerary >

Le Bellot

Exclusively Chartered, Five-Star Luxury Small Ship

The Le Bellot, launched in 2020, represents a new generation of five-star small ships, combining revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury for unparalleled cruising. Dock in smaller ports inaccessible to larger ships, where authentic cultural experiences and majestic scenery await you.

Learn more about the Le Bellot >

Toronto Pre-Program Option

Begin your Great Lakes journey with two nights in cosmopolitan Toronto, featuring visits to the lively Distillery District, Fort York, stunning Casa Loma and the Art Gallery of Ontario. You will also enjoy lunch in the CN Tower’s famous revolving restaurant. Accommodations are in the historical, deluxe Fairmont Royal York.

Milwaukee Post-Program Option

Conclude your tour with a two-night stay in Milwaukee with an itinerary that includes tours of its North Point neighborhood, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the striking Pabst Mansion built in Flemish style by Pabst Brewing Company president Frederick Pabst. Accommodations are in the historical Pfister Hotel.

The Pre-Program and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Program Rates

Gohagan & Company reserves the right to correct errors or omissions and to change any and all fares, fees, promotions and surcharges at any time.

Ric Mixter

Ric Mixter

Great Lakes historian Ric Mixter is one of the most requested maritime speakers in the country. Millions of television viewers recognize him as a shipwreck researcher, diving more than 100 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, including the Edmund Fitzgerald. He has interviewed dozens of shipwreck survivors over the past 15 years, including two from the 1913 Storm, two from the 1940 Armistice Day Storm, and survivors from the largest shipwrecks in lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie. Mixter, who has appeared as a shipwreck expert on the History and Discovery Channels, has been awarded for 20 years of maritime preservation by the Association of Great Lakes Maritime History.

(September 18 and September 25 departures)

Wes Oleszewski

Wes Oleszewski

Wes Oleszewski is a prolific author who has written 27 books since 1991. A native of Saginaw, Michigan, he is known for his ability to extract important details from obscure events, which he weaves into historically accurate narratives. His books cover such topics as Great Lakes maritime history, World War II and the Great Lakes, and aviation spy tales. Oleszewski also operates YouTube channel with over 150 videos and two million views—sharing extensive extensive insight into the worlds of aviation and maritime history, providing a wealth of information for anyone who shares his love of these topics.

(October 2 departure)

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city/Toronto, Canada / Embark the ship / Lake Ontario / Welland Canal

Arrive in Toronto and cruise through eight locks of the Welland Canal, one of North America’s most important economic lifelines. Constructed in the early 19th century, the canal links Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and was instrumental in opening the Great Lakes to commerce and prosperity; the canal carries nearly 40 million tons of cargo per year. Enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening.

Day 2 Niagara Falls / Lake Erie

Drive to Niagara Falls and ride the Hornblower Cruise Funicular up the 19-story rock walls of the Great Gorge and back down. Cruise toward the base of Horseshoe Falls and experience the sheer force of this geological wonder. After a specially-arranged lunch, see the 410 million-year-old layers of the Niagara Gorge and the Whirlpool Rapids, among the world’s most extreme.Discover the Sir Adam Beck Power Station, the world’s first large-scale hydroelectric generation project, and Niagara’s famous Floral Clock, intricately filled with 20,000 plants and flowers. This evening, cruise Lake Erie.

Day 3 Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the most significant collections of art in the nation, housed in a magnificent Beaux Arts building. See Diego Rivera’s monumental Detroit Industry mural, which captures the city’s blue-collar history, as well as master works by Auguste Rodin; Michelangelo; Vincent van Gogh;
Edgar Degas; and Paul Cézanne. Continue to Grosse Point to visit the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Mansion.

Day 4 Detroit / Lake Huron

Visit the acclaimed Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See Henry Ford’s birthplace, two of Thomas Edison’s workshops and Orville and Wilbur Wright’s bicycle shop. This evening, cruise Lake Huron.

Day 5 Tobermory, Canada / Lake Huron

In Tobermory, embark on a glass‑bottom boat cruise from Little Tub Harbor to Big Tub Harbor. See the remains of the schooner Sweepstakes, Big Tub Lighthouse, and the Flowerpot Island. Enjoy time at leisure. Prepare for more stunning views this evening as you cruise across Lake Huron.

Day 6 Soo Locks / Lake Superior / Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, U.S.

This morning, transit the Soo Locks from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and back. Arrive in Sault Ste. Marie and explore the SS Valley Camp, a retired lake freighter that is now a museum featuring exhibits of faithfully restored living quarters and the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Continue to the Soo Locks Interpretation Center and watch colossal freighters lower 21 feet from Lake Superior to enter Lake Huron. This evening, cruise Lake Huron.

Day 7 Mackinac Island / Lake Michigan

On Mackinac Island, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride to dramatic Arch Rock. Continue on a guided tour of Fort Mackinac. Stop at the Grand Hotel for lunch and return to the ship by carriage. Cruise Lake Michigan and attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.

Day 8 Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Return to home city

Disembark continue onto the Milwaukee Post-Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.