Explore all five of the magnificent Great Lakes on this popular and captivating cruise. You will enjoy crystal-clear blue waters surrounded by pristine wilderness, turn-of-the-century towns, and pastoral splendors.

Starting at: $6,499 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 A lighthouse overlooking Lake Michigan  Aerial view of Chicago, Illinois  The city of Chicago, renowned for its modern and contemporary architecture  Horse and buggy on Mackinac Island  Mackinac Island overlooking Lake Huron  Mackinac Bridge at night over the Straits of Mackinac  Valley Camp Ship Museum, Sault Saint Marie  Ontario's Georgian Bay in the northeastern arm of Lake Huron  Ontario's Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron  View of Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario, Canada  Henry Ford Museum, Detroit  Skyline of Cleveland, Ohio  Horseshoe Falls, Niagara, Ontario

Great Lakes Grand Voyage

Aboard the 202-guest Victory 1

11 days from $6,499

Explore all five of the magnificent Great Lakes on this popular and captivating cruise. You will enjoy crystal-clear blue waters surrounded by pristine wilderness, turn-of-the-century towns, and pastoral splendors.

or Call 855-330-1542


The Great Lakes region is one of the world’s most magnificent and historic inland waterways. Crystal-clear blue waters are surrounded by pristine wilderness, turn-of-the-century towns, and pastoral splendors.

Highlights Include

  • Chicago: Spend one night at The Drake Hotel, then enjoy a morning art and architecture tour of the city before embarking Victory I.
  • Lake Michigan: From Chicago, set sail for Mackinac Island, a national historic landmark steeped in the Victorian Era.
  • Lake Superior and Georgian Bay: As you transit the Soo Locks learn about this incredible engineering system. Visit the museum ship Valley Camp and gain insight into the Ojibwe Nation on Manitoulin Island.
  • Lake Huron: Enjoy a day of cruising then stop at Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum with its extensive automobile and historical collections.
  • Lake Erie: Tour the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and West Side Market. Then, cruising east to New York, enjoy an excursion to Niagara Falls capped off by a wine tasting.
  • Lake Ontario: Your voyage concludes in cosmopolitan Toronto.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


Day 1 – Depart for Chicago, Illinois

Smithsonian Journeys travelers depart from their gateway city for Chicago. Upon arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, guests will be met by a Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director. After retrieving your luggage, transfer to The Drake Hotel, this historic property is conveniently located just steps from Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. At the hotel, each guest will receive a customized welcome kit containing general information about Chicago, as well as a map of the city. The Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon, and throughout the program, for suggestions regarding restaurants and independent activities. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a welcome reception including a short introduction and presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (R)

Day 2 – Chicago / Cruising Lake Michigan

Start the day with a hearty breakfast then depart the hotel for a short walking tour of Millennium Park, the city’s newest and most popular public spaces. See architect Frank Gehry’s dazzling Pritzker Music Pavilion and the extraordinary reflections in Anish Kapoor’s mirror-like Cloud Gate sculpture. The twin towers of Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa’s playful Crown Fountain is utterly amazing. Nearby you’ll find the Chicago Art Institute where, with an included ticket in hand, you can explore on your own. This afternoon, see some of Chicago’s famed architectural masterpieces like the Merchandise Mart and Civic Opera House, along with the iconic Tribune Tower and the landmark Wrigley Building. See Marina City and superb Chicago School of Architecture structures including the Reliance Building, and the Carson Pirie Scott Building. Late in the afternoon transfer to embark the Victory I. (B,D) 

Day 3 – Cruising Lake Michigan

A full buffet-style breakfast will be served onboard the ship each morning. Begin the day with a presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Spend the day sailing on Lake Michigan, a body of water that covers 22, 000 square miles and is the only Great Lake totally within the borders of the United States. Lake Michigan is the fifth largest lake in the world. Join fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert this evening in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal get-together. (B,L,D)​

Day 4 – Mackinac Island

This morning, early risers will watch the sun rise over the Straits of Mackinac, a body of water that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. After arrival at Mackinac, Smithsonian Journeys travelers will go ashore and begin exploring on a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of the island. During the tour, guests will visit the Victorian-era Grand Hotel, where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. The tour also includes Fort Mackinac, which was built by the British in the late 18th century, taken by the Americans, and then reclaimed by the British at the start of the War of 1812. Later, follow your own path with the balance of the afternoon free of planned activities. Later, learn about the history of the area from a local historian and speaker. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Sault Ste. Marie

Today, the ship will sail through the Soo Locks and pass from Lake Huron into Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie. For choice, you can select one of the following shore excursions.

Choice #1 – Excursion to the Valley Camp Museum Ship, with a stop at the Soo Locks viewing platform. Travelers will visit the informative Visitor’s Center to learn about the four parallel locks: MacArthur, Poe, Davis and Sabin. In total, 10,000 ships per year pass through the locks.

Choice #2 – Tour the Bush Plane Heritage Center then visit the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site that showcases two historic stone buildings built in the 19th century. You’ll enjoy fascinating exhibits and interactive features.

This evening, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging presentation. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Manitoulin Island

This morning, travelers will marvel at the rugged beauty of Georgian Bay, often called the sixth Great Lake. Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island and home to the Ojibwa people, part of the First Nation of Anishinaabe, also known as the Chippewa. The Ojibwa are the largest population of First Nations people in continental North America. They speak the Anishinaabe language and live mostly in the Great Lakes region of Canada. They are known for their historic use of pictographic birch bark scrolls. After touring, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Later, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for a fascinating presentation. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Cruising Lake Huron

The second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron has a surface area of 23,000 square miles and was formed at the end of the last Ice Age as the glaciers retreated. With over 30,000 islands, Lake Huron has more shoreline than any other of the lakes. Later, attend an engaging talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Detroit / Windsor, Ontario, Canada

After sailing from Lake Huron into Lake Erie, the ship will arrive at Windsor, Ontario. Smithsonian Journeys travelers will leave the ship and board their motor coach and travel to Detroit, Michigan where a visit will be made at the Henry Ford Museum, created to showcase the genius of American ingenuity. The nine-acre museum is dedicated to the finest collection of its kind. Local docents will escort travelers to see the museum’s highlights that include the Kennedy limousine, the Rosa Parks bus and the Lincoln chair from Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Cleveland

After arrival in Cleveland situated on the shores of Lake Erie, travelers will take a scenic tour of this diverse city. Landmarks include the Cleveland Museum of Art, the I.M. Pei designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the famous West Side Market that dates back to the 1800’s. Join fellow travelers and the Smithsonian Journeys Expert this evening for an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Welland Canal and Niagara Falls

After breakfast, Smithsonian Journeys travelers will disembark the ship at Port Colbourne on the southern end of the Welland Canal. The original canal was opened in 1829 and was extended to reach Lake Erie in 1833. The excursion continues through the Niagara Wine Region, home to a number of vineyards and wineries. At Niagara Falls, travelers will embark on a cruise into the misty spray of the remarkable Horseshoe Falls. The tour concludes with a visit to a local winery for a sampling of the local vintage. This evening, Smithsonian Journeys travelers gather for a special farewell reception followed by dinner onboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Toronto

After breakfast, travelers will disembark the ship for the short transfer to the airport in Toronto where they check-in for flights to their home cities. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)