Explore the Great Lakes region—one of the most magnificent and historic inland waterways of the world—on our popular cruise from Chicago to Toronto. You'll explore cultural and historic sites of the U.S. and Canada, the natural beauty of Canada's Georgian Bay, and magnificent Niagara Falls.

Starting at: $9,095 * Price includes special offer 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  Lighthouse in Holland, Michigan  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  Horseshoe Falls, Niagara, Ontario

Great Lakes Grand Voyage

13 days from $9,095

Explore the Great Lakes region—one of the most magnificent and historic inland waterways of the world—on our popular cruise from Chicago to Toronto. You'll explore cultural and historic sites of the U.S. and Canada, the natural beauty of Canada's Georgian Bay, and magnificent Niagara Falls.

or Call 855-330-1542


Save $250 per person when you book by June 14, 2019!


The Great Lakes region is one of the world’s most magnificent and historic inland waterways. Join us on this popular cruise, which features cultural and historic sites, turn-of-the-century towns, and pristine wilderness.


  • Chicago: Spend one night at The Palmer Hotel, then enjoy a morning art and architecture tour of the city before embarking Pearl Mist.
  • Lake Michigan: From Chicago, set sail for Muskegon, Michigan, to tour the quaint heritage district.  Visit Holland, Michigan, known for its Dutch heritage, including De Zwann, an original 250-year-old Dutch windmill. Stop at Mackinac Island, a national historic landmark steeped in the Victorian Era.
  • Sault Ste. Marie: Visit the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum, which tells the story of Canada’s bush plane and forest fire protection. Tour the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, highlighting the city’s role as the gateway between the eastern settlements of Canada and Western boundaries prior to the completion of the transcontinental railway.
  • Georgian Bay: Gain insight into the Ojibwe Nation on Manitoulin Island. Take an excursion by smaller watercraft intoParry Sound, located inside the designated Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. Visit Midland, Ontario located in the southern portion of Georgian Bay, with its vibrant downtown area.
  • Lake Huron: Enjoy a day of cruising then stop at Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum with its extensive automobile and historical collections.
  • Lake Erie:  Cruise east to the entrance of the Welland Canal, then take a thrilling overland excursion to view Niagara Falls upclose, capped off by a wine tasting.
  • Lake Ontario: Your voyage concludes in cosmopolitan Toronto. 
  • Pearl Mist: The 210-guest Pearl Mist, built in Halifax, Nova Scotia is one of the most gracious cruise ships on the Great Lakes, providing an exceptional luxury experience in an intimate, relaxed setting. See more information about this ship on the Tour Details page. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience. 


Day 1 — Depart for Chicago

Depart your gateway city to Chicago. Upon arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, transfer to The Palmer House Hotel conveniently located in Chicago’s Loop. Your 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 introductory remarks by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (R)

Day 2 — Chicago / Cruising Lake Michigan

Start the day with a hearty breakfast then depart the hotel for an orientation tour of Chicago’s architectural highlights including the Merchandise Mart and Civic Opera House, 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. Transfer to Milwaukee with embarkation aboard the Pearl Mist. (B,L,D) 

Day 3 — Muskegon / Holland, Michigan

A full breakfast will be served each morning during the cruise. After arrival, take a ride through the Heritage District and admire historic homes and picturesque gardens. Tour LST 393, a ship that earned three battle stars during WWII and is now a veteran’s museum. Stop at the Muskegon Heritage Museum and view displays of products manufactured in Muskegon, including an original Raggedy Ann Doll, a working steam engine, bowling pins, and more.

Journey to Holland, home to the only authentic Dutch Windmill in the U.S. and enjoy its genuine Dutch heritage that has existed since the original Dutch immigrants arrived. Join fellow travelers this evening in the Travelers Corner for an informal get-together. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Mackinac Island

This morning, early risers can watch the sun rise over the Straits of Mackinac, a body of water that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. After arrival at Mackinac, go ashore and begin exploring on a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of the island. Classic Victorian architecture lines the streets along your journey to Fort Mackinac’s historic museum. This fortress is the oldest building in Michigan and commemorates the War of 1812.

Continue to the Grand Hotel, where you can explore the grounds and indulge in a delectable lunch on your own at this historic site. Later, follow your own path with the balance of the afternoon free of planned activities. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Sault Sainte Marie

After docking, explore the Canadian Bush Plane Heritage Center and discover the story of Canada’s bush plane and forest protection heritage. Learn how many brave Canadians battled Ontario's many forest fires as you view interactive displays and presentations and admire the classic and fully restored bush planes. Continue to the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site where you’ll stroll through 200-year-old buildings and period gardens while listening to the stories of the first Canadian settlers.

This evening, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Little Current-Georgian Bay

This morning, leave the ship and learn about the Ojibwe people, 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. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Parry Sound-Georgian Bay

Today, enjoy a relaxing boat tour aboard the Island Queen. Cruise amongst the greatest concentration of scenic islands in the world and admire the grandeur of the Thirty Thousand Islands up close. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Midland, Ontario-Georgian Bay

For your convenience, a shuttle will be available between the ship and town. On a shore excursion, follow in the footsteps of the first Europeans in Ontario with a visit to the 17th century French Jesuit Mission headquarters. Here, the story of the first interaction between the native people and the Europeans is recreated with interactive exhibits.

Led by your expert guide, explore a replica of the barracks, homes, and meeting places that housed the Jesuits and learn about their fascinating history. Later, discover the SS Keewatin, a steamship built in 1907 in Scotland that sailed along the entire length of the Great Lakes. Retired in 1966, explore its authentic staterooms, bars, ballrooms, and more, as you learn what traveling aboard a steamship through the Great Lakes was like in a bygone era. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Cruising Georgian Bay

Enjoy the day sailing through Georgian Bay. There’s time to read, relax and take part in shipboard activities. Sail among the islands and see a variety of flora and fauna unique to the region, as well as the pink rocks of the Canadian Shield, and the dark green of the islands’ famous windswept pines. (B,L,D)

Days 10 — Windsor, Ontario / Detroit, Michigan

Depart the ship for a full-day of discovery. Explore the Henry Ford Museum that showcases a vast collection of artifacts that document the inventions that have made our world what it is today. Highlights include the new "Driving America" exhibit, the Kennedy limousine, Rosa Park’s Bus, a Lincoln Chair and a DC-3 airplane and more.

With its nearly one hundred historical buildings, Greenfield Village demonstrates how Americans lived and worked since the founding of the country. Explore buildings from the 17th century to the present, led by costumed guides who conduct period tasks like farming, sewing, and cooking. Pottery, glass-blowing, and tin shops provide demonstrations while producing materials used in the Village. Lunch is provided on this excursion and travelers may select a restaurant of their choice. (B,L)

Day 11 — Cruising Lake Erie

As the ship heads from Windsor, Ontario, marvel at the natural wonders and majestic beauty of the Great Lakes from the comfort of your ship. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Lake Erie, Port Colborne / Niagara Falls

Disembark the ship and board a deluxe motor coach for an exciting adventure to the majestic falls and fertile vineyards of the countryside. Enjoy an exhilarating excursion on the famous Maid of the Mist and come within feet of the Horseshoe Falls and its misty spray. Then travel on the Niagara Parkway to see the Floral Clock and Whirlpool Rapids. This evening, gather with fellow Smithsonian Journeys Travelers for a farewell reception followed by dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 13 — Lake Ontario, Toronto

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

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