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zLake Superior Explorer Cruise - Milwaukee to Thunder Bay

9 days

Aboard the mv Victory II

Our Complete Program of Shoreside Discoveries

+ Delight in the Victorian-era charms of Mackinac Island as you explore by horse-drawn carriage and visit historic Fort Mackinac which played an important role in the War of 1812.
+ Experience the bounty of the Great Lakes including the Grand Luncheon Buffet at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and cherry-picking and wine-tasting at an Orchard Winery in beautiful Door County.
+ Navigate through the historic Soo Locks that were built in 1855 to connect Lake Huron with the pristine northern waters of Lake Superior.
+ You don’t have to be a rail enthusiast to enjoy the unique and impressive exhibits of the National Railway Museum in Green Bay and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth.
+ Delve into the industries that helped to build America at the still-operational Famous Eagle Iron Mine in Marquette and the Quincy Copper Mine that operated in Keweenaw, Michigan right through World War II.

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Day
1

Board the mv Victory II in Milwaukee

On arrival at the airport, our chauffeured transfer takes you to the pier where the elegant mv Victory II awaits. Settle in to your outside stateroom before joining your fellow passengers for dinner with free-flowing house wines, cocktails and beverages.  Meals D

Day
2

Ashore in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Our first visit on today’s shore excursion program is the National Railway Museum, dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s railroad heritage. Among its historic exhibits are the Dwight D. Eisenhower Command Car, the largest steam locomotive ever built, and the futuristic Aerotrain introduced by GM in the 1950’s. The museum also houses a rare collection of silver service plates and china that was used on railroads, steamships and early airlines.
 
Next up is the Heritage Hill State Park. Here at this 48-acre open air museum, you’ll find more than 30 historical structures brought here from sites across the state. These original buildings include log cabins from the fur-trading era, structures from Fort Howard that once occupied a site along the nearby Fox River, and stores and public buildings from the 1800’s. With enlightening insight from museum staff garbed in period clothing, today’s visit offers a look into Midwest life more than a century ago.  Meals B+L+D

Day
3

Sturgeon Bay + Beautiful Door County

Step ashore in the port of Sturgeon Bay and visit the Door County Maritime Museum. Situated along the bustling waterfront, this museum showcases the region’s rich maritime heritage from its fishing fleet and hardy sea captains to the skilled craftsmen, bold inventors and lonely lighthouse keepers who have contributed so much to the area. We’ll also take you into the beautiful wooded landscapes of Door County, a peninsula that extends into Lake Michigan to form the sheltering waters of Green Bay. Get a glimpse of the grand waterfront homes along Cottage Row and tour the Alexander Noble House, built in 1875.

Then meet the owner of Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery to learn about the history of the region’s many bountiful fruit farms. Comprised of orchards and vineyards, your tour of this family-run estate includes a wine tasting and a chance to pick delicious Door County cherries in the orchard.  Meals B+L+D

Day
4

Mackinac Island

This morning, the mv Victory II will dock in St. Ignace where you’ll board the Star Line Ferry to Mackinac Island. From the Mackinac waterfront, a horse-drawn carriage tour is a great way to experience the Victoria-era ambience of this National Historic Landmark. Learn about the island’s history and see turn-of-the-century homes built by early captains of American industry. Then hop off at the Grand Hotel and take in the views from its famous verandah, the longest in the world! In the elegant main dining room, you’ll enjoy the hotel’s lavish Grand Buffet Luncheon.
 
Also today, you’ll tour Fort Mackinac - set high on a bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. Built by the British in 1780, taken by the Americans in 1796, and reclaimed by the British at the start of the War of 1812, your guided visit offers rich insight into colorful chapters of American history. Then return to the waterfront where the ferry will take you back to St. Ignace to reboard the mv Victory II.  Meals B+L+D

Day
5

Through the Soo Locks into Lake Superior

A delightful day of cruising is enriched by engaging talks with our onboard Great Lakes experts. Elegant dining in two distinctive venues, our ship’s Open Bar with house wine, beer and spirits, and convivial conversation with your fellow travelers adds to the experience. Today our ship will transit through the historic Soo Locks, where freighters, barges and tugboats traverse the 21-foot rise of the St. Mary’s River between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The first lock here was built in 1855 and the canal was navigated by 27 vessels during its first year of operation. Today, more than 10,000 ships hauling 86 million tons of cargo pass through these historic parallel locks each year, even though they’re closed during the winter when ice shuts down shipping on the upper Great Lakes! As we navigate from Lake Huron upward through the locks, our experts will be on-hand to offer colorful historical insights. Once we reach the pristine northern waters of Superior, we’ll continue our voyage westward toward Marquette.  Meals B+L+D

Day
6

Marquette, Michigan

Set on the northern shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the lands around Marquette were well known by French missionaries as far back as the 1600’s and in later centuries by intrepid fur trappers. With the discovery of iron deposits in the mid-19th century, the town of Marquette began to grow and prosper and by the late 1800’s steamships were also bringing summer visitors to fill the city’s hotels and resorts. Stepping ashore today in this historic town, your sightseeing will include the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and the still-operational Famous Eagle Mine site. At the Baumer Heritage Center, informative and entertaining exhibits will offer further insight into Marquette’s development from furs and mining to modern-day tourism.  Meals B+L+D

Day
7

The Keweenaw Waterway + Houghton

Comprised of natural lakes and waterways as well as artificial canals that were dredged in the 1860’s, the Keweenaw Waterway traverses the Keweenaw Peninsula and provides a shortcut for freighters hauling ore from the rich copper mines of the Peninsula to larger cities along Lake Superior. Today you’ll step ashore in the village of Houghton, situated midway through the Keweenaw Waterway, for a tour of the famous Quincy Copper Mine. The mine operated for nearly a century, right up through World War II, and offers the rare chance for visitors to actually enter the mine itself! After lunch, you’ll visit the Houghton Lake Historic Village to see a restored vintage homestead and tour the Fireman’s Memorial Museum.  Meals B+L+D

Day
8

Discover Duluth, Minnesota

The Sioux and Chippewa were the first to settle in the scenic hills that overlook the far western shores of Lake Superior. By the mid 1600’s, it was a fur trading outpost that was then claimed for France by Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut, the French soldier and explorer for whom the city is now named. Stepping off ship today, your guided exploration begins with the Aerial Lift Bridge which stands guard over the harbor and then continues along the North Shore Scenic Driver, from where you’ll have commanding views over the city and its picturesque setting on Lake Superior. You’ll ascend to Hawk Ridge to learn about the unique natural phenomenon that occurs here annually as raptors migrating from the Arctic crest the ridge and seemingly come to a halt in mid-air as they encounter the vast expanse of Lake Superior below. Back in town, enjoy a guided walk along the waterfront to Leif Erikson Park to see an amazing replica of a Viking ship and then tour the Duluth Depot, which houses the unique collection of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore more of Duluth’s vibrant waterfront at your own pace.  Meals B+L+D

Day
9

Disembark in Thunder Bay, Ontario

After breakfast and disembarkation here in Thunder Bay, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward flight.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Free Post-Cruise Stay in Thunder Bay

Extend your journey with our complimentary post-cruise stay in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Set on the western shores of Lake Superior and cradled by the Nor’Wester Mountain Range, this vibrant urban community is a friendly place to relax and explore before heading homeward. We include transfers, sightseeing, hotel accommodations and your flight from Thunder Bay to Toronto.

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Day
1

Disembark the mv Victory II + Discover Thunder Bay

After breakfast onboard, you’ll disembark the ship to find our friendly local guide waiting at the pier to take you to Fort William Historical Park. Set on 250 acres overlooking the picturesque Kaministiquia River, this leading heritage and cultural center offers a chance to experience and learn about local life in the early 19th century at the peak of the North American fur trade. Start with an informative video presentation and continue through the Park to the old fur trading post where you’ll find dozens of finely-reconstructed historical buildings. Hands-on demonstrations and engaging staff in period garb bring the region’s history to life.

After your visit, we’ll take you to the comfortable Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton for your complimentary overnight stay. The balance of this day is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day
2

Complimentary flight to Toronto

Breakfast this morning is included with your stay. At the appropriate time, you can transfer to the airport using the Hampton Inn’s convenient airport shuttle. Our Post-Cruise Stay includes your flight to Toronto where you can connect to your homeward journey.  Meals B

Great Lakes MapSearch

$379 port charges are extra

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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