Major news outlets are reporting a high interest in Great Lakes cruising, with Blount Small Ship Adventures, Pearl Seas Cruises, and Victory Cruise Line leading the way and followed closely by Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and soon to be joined by Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, according to Travel + Leisure.
If you’re unfamiliar with what the Great Lakes have to offer, you may be wondering what the draw is; well, wonder no longer. This is just a small sampling of the many ports of call that Great Lakes cruises make, and a few of the excursions that might be available to you:
Chicago, IL – Take a river tour by boat for an overview of the Windy City’s skyline architecture or visit the Magnificent Mile for upscale and eclectic shopping and dining in the shadow of the Chicago Water Tower and the Tribune Tower, among other landmarks. Get a bird’s-eye view from the observation deck of John Hancock Center.
Holland, MI – Explore the rich history of Native American culture and early Dutch influences in this long-established community. See an authentic Dutch windmill and if you time it right, a famous tulip festival. Take a dip in one of the area’s lakefront beaches or visit the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory.
Mackinac Island, MI – Victorian-era charms persist even today. Stroll the quaint and quiet streets of this car-free island or try a horse-drawn carriage ride. Visit shops, restaurants, art galleries, and small boutiques. Tour what was once the summer homes and gardens of the rich and famous of decades gone by, and don’t miss the Grand Hotel and its Grand Luncheon Buffet.
Cleveland, OH – Let it all hang out at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, or take a trolley ride. Glimpse the historic Tiffany windows at Wade Memorial Chapel, or tour the West Side Market.
Niagara Falls, ON – Bus tours from cruise ships enjoy the scenic view of Queen Victoria Park and the Niagara Glen Nature Area from the Niagara Parkway. Ship-board, you might experience the mists first-hand or go through the locks of the Welland Canal. Niagara-on-the-Lake’s wineries are also a popular draw, especially in the nice weather.
Great Lakes cruise ships tend to be smaller and offer a more intimate travel experience. Often, there may be only about 100 guests on board. Ships offer a variety of lounges, gathering areas on decks, fitness areas, and luxurious dining rooms. State rooms often have interior entryways, private balconies or large windows for maximum views, full bathrooms, and twice-daily state room service. If you’re looking for something familiar and yet exciting, a Great Lakes cruise might be just the ticket.