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zFriends of the Michigan Philharmonic

10 days

Cruise the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, August 26 - September 4, 2019

Enriching Exploration, Expertly Guided

+ Taste the fine wines of the Niagara Peninsula at the esteemed Jackson-Triggs Winery, the most awarded winery in Canada.
+ Sit down to lunch at the Fort Henry National Historic Site; our period-authentic 3-course meal features dishes that would have been served to garrisoned officers in the 1800’s.
+ Explore Toronto’s Distillery District where historic Victorian-era industrial buildings have been splendidly restored to attract the city’s leading artists, cultural pioneers and entrepreneurs.
+ Visit the Rideau Canal; with its 185-year-old structures still intact and its locks still worked by hand, this is the oldest, continuously operated canal in North America.
+ Experience the traditions and modern-day life of the Huron-Wendat Nation on a self-governing First Nations Territory near Quebec City.
+ Our overnight stays in the heart of Montreal and Quebec City allow for expertly guided shore excursions and ample free time to experience their charms at your own pace.
+ Visit 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

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Monday, Aug 26: We Embark in Detroit

Today’s transfer from Plymouth to the Detroit Pier is included. Once onboard our intimate and elegant ship, you can settle in to your outside stateroom before joining your fellow guests for dinner accompanied by free-flowing wines, cocktails and beverages.  Meals D


Tuesday, Aug 27: Cleveland + The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Encompassing humor, fascinating facts and colorful historic anecdotes, this morning’s tour is a terrific way to explore the landmarks and colorful stories of Cleveland. Taking you from the historic warehouse district to Playhouse Square, you’ll also drive past the ornate mansions of Millionaire’s Row - described by Baedeker’s at the turn-of-the-century as the Showplace of America. Our Trolley Tour also includes a stop at the Cleveland Museum of Art; opened a century ago, it continues to be one of the city’s leading cultural institutions. At the historic Lakeview Cemetery, we’ll see Wade Memorial Chapel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the chapel features one of the few interiors left in the world that was totally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studio.  

After lunch onboard, enjoy your complimentary admission to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Set in a striking lakefront structure designed by I. M. Pei, you’ll discover more than a museum of rock and roll memorabilia. Perusing its exhibits at your own pace, you’ll explore the evolution of the musical genre that shaped a generation and track its cultural impact. Among the exhibits are Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche, Michael Jackson’s famous glove, and scribbled lyrics that became 20th-century classics!  Meals B+L+D  

Cruise SpotlightBest known, perhaps, for his pyramid addition to the Louvre Museum a few years earlier, I.M. Pei was considered a controversial choice when he was chosen to design the Hall of Fame for the city that gave birth to the term Rock & Roll. By his own admission, the noted architect was not very familiar with this musical genre but of the building’s design he said, “It was my intention to echo the energy of rock and roll. I have consciously used an architectural vocabulary that is bold and new, and I hope the building will become a dramatic landmark for the city of Cleveland and for rock and roll fans around the world.” Indeed, the award-winning structure has become an icon of the city, its simple geometric forms juxtaposed to form a harmonious whole. A theater cantilevered over Lake Erie on one side balances a circular performance area on the other, while a 165-foot high orthogonal tower rises from the water to engage a tetrahedral glass tent.

“Like an explosive musical chord, the sculptural components
reverberate out from the center.”
-- Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners


Wednesday, Aug 28: Into the Heart of Niagara Falls

After a leisurely morning onboard, we’ll step off ship in Port Colborne, the southern entrance to the historic Welland Canal which opened in 1829 - and still plays a vital role in Great Lakes Shipping. Travel through the lovely vineyard-laced landscapes of the Niagara Peninsula, and embark a thrilling Hornblower Cruise that will take you through the Great Niagara Gorge and past Bridal Veil Falls into the very heart of Horseshoe Falls The adventurous can take in the view – and feel the spray of the Falls! – from the outdoor observation deck!
After this exciting adventure cruise, we’ll travel along the picturesque Niagara Parkway to view the famous Floral Clock, created with thousands of carpet bedding plants and maintained by an expert team of horticulturalists. Around midday, we’ll dine at the elegant Queen’s Landing Hotel, a Georgian-style landmark overlooking the harbor in Niagara-on-the-Lake. After lunch, you’ll have a bit of free time to explore the shops and galleries of this charming town before we continue to the esteemed Jackson-Triggs Winery. Nestled on nearly 12 picturesque acres in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula, we’ll enjoy a tour of the estate and a sample of their award-winning wines. We’ll be back onboard late in the afternoon with time to relax and refresh before dinner.  This evening, the Victory II sets sail for Toronto.  Meals B+L+D
Cruise SpotlightThe Niagara Peninsula may lack the name recognition of other viticulture regions in France, California or Oregon. But in fact, the warming and cooling influences of Lake Ontario and the proximity to the Niagara Escarpment produce superior, high-quality wines that you would associate with Burgundy, Napa and the Willamette Valley. With the finest vinifera clones and rootstocks custom-grafted in France, their skilled and highly trained winemakers, Marco Piccoli and Dave Carson, craft a wide range of reds and whites including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Fumé Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Indeed, Jackson-Triggs has been named “Best Canadian Winery” more times than any other and is the nation’s most-awarded winery.


Thursday, Aug 29: Delving into History + Culture in Toronto

After breakfast, we’ll go ashore to explore one of Canada’s most alluring cities. Traveling through the bustling downtown business and theater districts, we’ll step off our comfortable coaches to see the historic St. Lawrence Market where merchants and vendors have gathered for more than 200 years. A walking tour in the Distillery District reveals a National Historic Site where Victorian-era industrial buildings that once belonged to the Gooderham & Worts Distillery have been splendidly restored to house one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, studios, theaters and restaurants. Today, this vibrant district is buzzing with the collective talents, ideas and passions of the city’s leading artists, entrepreneurs and cultural innovators.
We’ll have lunch back onboard and then visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, regarded as one of the most distinguished museums in North America. With our experienced guide, our tour will focus on the Gallery’s fine collection of Canadian art, including outstanding works that were gifted to AGO by Ken Thomson, a wealthy Canadian businessman who amassed the most significant private art collection in Canada. Meals B+L+D
Cruise Spotlight More than 100 years before the St. Lawrence Market was built, the place where it sits was already designated as the city marketplace – where local residents would come to shop and socialize. As early as 1803, a small wooden structure was situated here in the market block – making it the first permanent market in Toronto. By the mid 1800’s, butchers and other vendors were working from stalls in a sturdy brick building that stood until the turn of the 20th century. The South Market building, with its handsome 3-story Georgian façade, was originally built in 1844 to house city offices as well as a police station and market hall. The city moved its offices to a new monumental City Hall in 1899 and from that point forward, the building you see today on Front Street has housed only local merchants. Today there are more than 120 specialty vendors, mostly family-run operations known throughout the city for the quality and freshness of their fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, grains, baked goods and artisanal dairy products.


Friday, Aug 30: Getting to Know Kingston, Ontario

Situated on the northeastern shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the oldest city in the province. Its rich history encompasses First Nations communities including the Iroquois and Ojibwe and later settlement by the British. Setting out after breakfast, our expertly guided tour will show us Kingston’s most significant landmarks including the fine Georgian architecture of Bellevue House and the campus of Queen’s University, founded in 1841 by Royal Charter from Queen Victoria. We’ll see Market Square, the lively heart of Kingston, and drive past the Gothic-styled St. Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1826 from limestone quarried on the spot. Our last stop of the morning will be the Kingston Mill Locks on the Rideau Canal c, the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. Built in the first half of the 19th century and stretching 125 miles from Kingston all the way to Ottawa, its original structures are still intact and most of its locks are still operated by hand.

At the Fort Henry National Historic Site, set high above Kingston harbor, we’ll learn about the strategic role that this British fortress played in the War of 1812. Then we’ll sit down to a very unique dining experience. With attentive service from wait-staff dressed in authentic period garb, we’ll enjoy a 3-course lunch of historically-accurate dishes that would have been served to the Fort’s garrisoned officers in the 19th century. After lunch, you’ll have free time to explore and shop on your own or to visit the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. Founded in 1975 and offering complimentary admission, the Museum’s exhibits explore the maritime history of Kingston and the Great Lakes.
Cruise Spotlight More than a monumental 19th-century construction, the Rideau Canal can be seen as the physical embodiment of an important stage in North American history. Conceived for strategic military purposes, it played a crucial contributory role in allowing British forces to defend the colony of Canada against the United States; the result was the development of two distinct political and cultural entities that continue to define the north of the American Continent. To this day, the Rideau Canal remains the best preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America. Each winter, at the Ottawa end of the canal, this UNESCO World Heritage Site becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink. Stretching for nearly 5 miles and drawing nearly one million visitors each season, the Skateway winds its way through some of Ottawa’s most vibrant districts and picturesque neighborhoods. City residents, in fact, often use it to skate to school or the office!


Saturday, August 31: Cruising the St. Lawrence

Delight in this leisurely day as we cruise down the picturesque St. Lawrence Seaway. Delight in the fresh air from the Observation Deck, take advantage of our Open Bar, enjoy convivial conversation with fellow passengers in one of the inviting lounges, or join an enriching talk with our shipboard experts, well-versed in the history, peoples and natural wonders of the region. Delicious meals will be served in the elegant Shearwater Dining Room and al fresco at the Lighthouse Grill. As always, enjoy free-flowing wine at lunch and dinner.  Meals B+L+D


Sunday, September 1: Exploring Québec City

With our expert Québécois guide, this morning’s sightseeing tour includes the Plains of Abraham. It was here that the British won a decisive 1759 battle against the French, thereby changing the fate of North America! In Place Royale, one of the oldest settlements on the Continent, our narrated walking tour reveals a fine ensemble of 17th and 18th-century buildings. Before returning to our ship for lunch, we’ll also visit Montmorency Falls and take in the panoramic views from a lookout near the Citadel.

In the afternoon, a complimentary shuttle service has been arranged to transport our guests the short distance from the pier to Lower Town in Old Québec. From here, a funicular can take you up to the historic Château Frontenac where you might stroll along the Dufferin Terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence. You can also take this time to explore the charming cobblestone streets of the Petit Champlain Quarter - where stately stone buildings and centuries-old fur trading posts are now home to boutiques and cafes. After dinner, if you wish, you can easily step ashore to enjoy an evening stroll along the St. Lawrence. Lower Old Town is just a 15-minute walk from where the Victory II will be docked for the night.  Meals B+L+D

Cruise Spotlight… With its spectacular setting on a promontory high above the St. Lawrence River, the iconic Château Frontenac presides over the Québec skyline; it is perhaps the most photographed hotel in the world! Regarded as the premier luxury landmark hotel in the city, its illustrious history goes back to the late 19th century when William Van Horne, General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway built the hotel as the ideal stopover for rail travelers. In 1943, the Château Frontenac welcomed US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King for the top-secret First Quebec Conference, code named Quadrant, where the Allies began discussions for the invasion of France. Just 10 years later, the landmark hotel was featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film I Confess staring Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter and Karl Malden.


Monday, September 2: We Visit a First Nation Village

This morning’s excursion takes us to Wendake, a self-governing territory of the Huron-Wendat Nation just outside of Québec City. In the engaging company of our First Nation guide, we’ll learn about the history of this community and gain insight into their old ways and modern life as we visit an authentic long-house and see traditional dwellings. Wendake is also home to a thriving community of artists and artisans, and we’ll have time to browse in the region’s largest and most complete center for aboriginal arts and crafts.

Following lunch onboard, the mv Victory II will resume its voyage as we chart an upstream course along the St. Lawrence. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy our ship’s Open Bar and the congenial camaraderie of our fellow passengers.  Meals B+L+D

Cruise Spotlight… The Huron-Wendat are an Iroquoian-speaking nation that have long lived in the St. Lawrence Valley and estuary to the Great Lakes region. Before contact with Europeans in the 1600’s, the Huron-Wendat lived in nearly two dozen villages, some with up to 3,500 people. Mainly agrarian, their daily needs were based on corn, beans, squash and fishing. Hunting was of minor importance except in the fall and late winter, and took them well beyond the boundaries of their occupied territory.

At the time of French contact in the early 17th century, these efficient farming communities were spread across more than 300 square miles, with larger villages set within well-fortified palisades. They had close trading and social ties with other nations including the Algonquin of Georgian Bay. By the mid 1630’s, the Huron-Wendat had become one of the most important suppliers of furs to the French. Nearly 500 men from various villages operated the Huron-Wendat fur-trade network, traveling by canoe to the French trading posts along the St. Lawrence and exchanging the fur for French goods. From a pre-1600 population of nearly 25,000, the Huron-Wendat nation was greatly reduced by a series of epidemics – mainly measles, influenza and small pox. By the mid 1600’s, there were fewer than 10,000 members. As of July 2018, the Huron-Wendat First Nation in Wendake, Quebec counts 4,056 registered members. There are also populations that identify as Wyandot or Wyandotte (also Huron-Wendat people) living in the United States.


Tuesday, September 3: Bienvenue à Montréal

Today’s excursion explores one of Canada’s most cosmopolitan cities. In the engaging company of our local guide, we’ll experience Montreal’s rich heritage and its vibrant modern spirit as we see its many fine landmarks. We’ll also drive to the top of Mount Royal for a commanding view over the city and St. Lawrence River. In the heart of Old Montreal, we’ll tour the Notre Dame Basilica. Built in the early 19th century, its grand Gothic Revival interior is inspiring to behold.  On our guided tour through the Montreal Botanical Garden, you’ll discover one of the world’s preeminent gardens with 22,000 different plant species that provide habitat for 200 unique birds.
After lunch onboard, you’ll have time this afternoon to go ashore again. Stroll along the riverfront and explore more of Old Montreal at your own pace. Or take advantage of our complimentary shuttle service that will take you directly to Marché Bonsecours. Situated in the city’s historic district across from the Old Port, this 19th-century landmark building is now home to galleries and boutiques specializing in fine made-in-Quebec products like clothing, art and jewelry.   Meals B+L+D
Cruise Spotlight Inaugurated in 1829, Notre Dame Basilica is an integral part of Montréal’s Catholic heritage and community. Designed by James O’Donnell, the Basilica boasts a number of impressive elements. The beautifully embellished altarpiece includes a wood carved depiction of da Vinci’s Last Supper. The pulpit, equally impressive, is an important showpiece of the Basilica and features statues of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, two Old Testament prophets. The great Casavant Frères organ has 4 keyboards and 7,000 individual pipes, the tallest measuring 32 feet. Dating to the 1929 Centennial Celebration of the Basilica, the beautiful stained glass windows include fascinating illustrations of the religious and social life of Montréal in the early 20th century. At the end of his life, the architect O’Donnell wished to be buried within the walls of his masterpiece. Being Protestant, he converted to Catholicism on his deathbed – and he is now the only person entombed in the spectacular crypt of his own design!


Disembark in Montreal

Upon disembarking the mv Victory II in Montreal, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward flight. Or travel on to Ottawa with us and discover the uniquely British ambiance of the Canadian capital. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Travel on to Ottawa - Canada's Capital

3 Days for $799 per person, double occupancy

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Wed, Sep 4: Disembark in Montreal + Travel to Ottawa

We’ll disembark after breakfast and return to the Notre Dame Basilica in the heart of Old Montreal. Having toured this 19th-century landmark the day before, we’re back this morning to hear the great Casavant Frères organ, a special music demonstration arranged exclusively for our group. Then we’ll travel overland to historic Hull on the banks of the Ottawa River to visit the Canadian Museum of History. Tracing 20,000 years of human achievement and Canadian history, this is the nation’s most-visited museum. Among its extensive collection of priceless artifacts, the majestic Grand Hall displays the world’s largest indoor exhibit of totem poles.
From the museum, we’ll continue to the Lord Elgin Hotel. Our historic landmark hotel is in the heart of the capital – close to Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal and Confederation Park. The evening is free to dine where you wish. Right here at the hotel, Grill 41 offers classic Continental cuisine in a warm and contemporary setting. There are also many wonderful restaurants nearby, and our in-the-know guide will be happy to offer personal recommendations.  Meals B


Thu, Sep 5: We Explore Canada’s Capital

From its early days as a boisterous town built with rail and lumber money, Ottawa has emerged as a vibrant and cosmopolitan capital – regarded by many as the most British city in North America. Setting out with our expert guide, our morning sightseeing will show us the city’s most important landmarks, including the residence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the home of the Governor General – the Queen’s representative in Canada. On Parliament Hill, overlooking the river and downtown, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Parliament Buildings of Canada (subject to government approval without notice due to parliamentary activity) with their impressive Neo-Gothic façade and towers.
Our sightseeing ends at the National Gallery of Canada. Originally founded in the late 19th century, Canada’s premier art gallery is now housed in a striking contemporary structure of glass and granite. The Gallery houses the country’s finest assemblage of European masterpieces and the world’s most complete collection of Canadian art, including works by “The Group of Seven” and of Canada’s most iconic female artist and writer, Emily Carr. In addition, our visit coincides with the first-ever exhibition devoted to Paul Gauguin’s portraiture. Indeed, the National Gallery will be the only North American venue to welcome this dazzling, landmark exhibit. With pre-paid admission included, the time here will be yours to enjoy a self-paced audio tour including the special Gauguin exhibit. We’ll also have $10CAD towards lunch in the café, so you can take a break to eat whenever you wish. Our hotel is just a 15 minute stroll away from the National Gallery, so feel free to linger and peruse the many exhibits at your own pace.
Just be ready this evening for our 7:00pm reservations at The Fish Market Restaurant. Located in the lively and historic ByWard Market District, this inviting eatery offers an internationally-inspired menu featuring the freshest seafood and a steak option.  Meals B, L, D


Fri, Sep 6: Depart Ottawa

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and relaxing morning. You can even step out to shop a bit and explore at your own pace. At midday, we’ll be escorted to the airport or rail station for our homeward journey.  Meals B


Travel Insurance  

We recommend travel insurance that is available through Travel Leaders.

Travel on to Ottawa 3 days for $799 per person, double

Our exclusive post-cruise excursion includes:
+ 2 nights at the landmark Lord Elgin Hotel
Private organ performance at Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal
+ Visit the Canadian Museum of History, the nation’s premier museum
+ Guided tour of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings
+ Tour the National Gallery of Canada with a special exhibit of Gauguin’s portraiture.

Solo Supplement $250

Booking Information  

For additional information and for booking please click here
or call (734) 455-5810