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Cruising the Great Lakes: Chicago to Toronto - Eastbound 2023

USD $9,490

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Sep 02, 2023
Sep 13, 2023
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Sep 16, 2023
Sep 27, 2023
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Sep 30, 2023
Oct 11, 2023
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Tour Itinerary

The mighty Great Lakes have played a vital role in the history and cultural fabric of North America for centuries... explore their storied waters... and unique cities and towns... that have grown along their shores...Enjoy a 7-night Great Lakes cruise between Chicago and Toronto aboard a beautiful Ponant yacht, plus two-night stays at your choice of premium hotels in these two great anchor cities. You'll sail through Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan, calling on destinations including Detroit, Mackinac Island, Cleveland and more. Explore urban planning and revitalization in a re-emerging Detroit; celebrate American invention and ingenuity at The Henry Ford in Dearborn;  enjoy lunch at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel; ride a dune buggy along the Lake Michigan shore; sample Holland, Michigan's Dutch heritage, tulips and beer culture; experience an architectural cruise, a taste of Chicago in America's "Second City," and much more!

  1. Day 1
    Arrive Chicago

    Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park or Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. A transfer is included from Chicago O'Hare Airport or Chicago Union Station to your choice of two luxury hotels in the heart of downtown: Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park or Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Settle in and join us tonight at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park for a welcome reception followed by dinner.

    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Art Institute or Millennium Park

    You have a choice of two sightseeing tours this morning. Visit the celebrated Chicago Art Institute, a palatial Beaux Arts-style building on Michigan Avenue that houses more than 300,000 works of art and an architectural school that has had a profound influence on design in America; the landmark building debuted as part of the Chicago World Exposition in 1893, and a local guide will introduce you to its iconic features and extraordinary history. Alternatively, take a walking tour of Millennium Park (at a leisurely or active pace... you choose), inside the Loop, the central business district; built to welcome the 21st century, the park has become the city's centerpiece with imaginative features like the bandshell Pritzker Pavilion, the Cloud Gate, a reflective sculpture, the Crown Fountain, an interactive video sculpture, and the Lurie Garden atop the world's largest green roof. Spend the rest of the day exploring Chicago on your own.

    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Architectural cruise & embark ship

    In 1871 the Great Chicago Fire burned a swath through the city center, erasing thousands of buildings and leaving more than 100,000 people homeless.  But the catastrophe left space for new generations of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and Mies van der Rohe to fire up their creativity, fueled by the city's fabulous industrial wealth.  Get a dazzling, informative look at their legacy today on an architectural sightseeing cruise along the Chicago River, with a docent from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Learn about Chicago's role in the development of skyscrapers, as you absorb the eclectic styles and histories of its landmark buildings, like the Tribune Tower, the Willis Tower, and the Wrigley Building, and the stories of the architects who built them.  Get a taste of the city's famous stuffed, deep-dish pizza at legendary Giordano's Pizzeria. Embark Le Dumont d'Urville and begin your 7-night cruise as you sail for Muskegon, Michigan.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Dutch treats in Michigan

    Head out from Muskegon with your choice of activities. Discover Holland, an enclave of Dutch culture, complete with dikes, canals, tulip gardens, and Dutch architecture, settled by Dutch immigrants in the 19th century. Its array of downtown shops even includes a wooden shoe factory. Visit Windmill Island Gardens, which feature a working 250-year-old windmill brought from the Netherlands; the historical district, and the scenic Hope College campus, established in 1851 by the Dutch Calvinists who built the town; Holland is on the National Register of Historic Places. Or travel to nearby Saugatuck to experience the giant sand dunes that line the shores of Lake Michigan; dunes as high as 200 feet rise along an area of woods and beachfront on privately owned land, where you can ride through the scenic, wind-carved landscape in a modified Jeep vehicle on a fast-paced, exciting ride with an experienced guide*, and learn about its natural history and ecology. Return to the ship and sail for Mackinac Island.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Timeless Mackinac Island

    Mackinac Island has been a popular retreat since the 19th century when wealthy industrialists built imposing summer cottages here. The island restricts the use of motor vehicles; except in emergencies, the only way to get around is by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. It also maintains its period look so well that it feels like a small town serenely lost in time. Take your choice of a carriage ride or a bicycle tour around the island, past impeccable Victorian mansions, the picture-postcard main street of quaint shops and confectioners, out to the fringes of forest, marshes and beaches, and Fort Mackinac, a 19th century military outpost. Lunch is at the palatial Grand Hotel that boasts the longest porch in the world (660 feet); since 1887, the hotel has entertained presidents and their wives; Mark Twain was a frequent guest, as was Thomas Edison... who gave the first demonstration of his phonograph on the porch. Don't leave without sampling the Mackinac Fudge!

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Timeless Mackinac Island

    Spend the day sailing Lake Huron down the scenic east coast of Michigan toward Detroit. The eastern shore is called the Sunrise Coast, a long parade of beaches, sand dunes, inlets, small towns, and as many as 30 lighthouses. The vast freshwater lake also encompasses 30,000 islands. Enjoy the amenities aboard ship, which include an infinity pool with counter-current swimming system and transparent wall, fitness center, spa, sun deck, and panoramic lounge.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Detroit sights & The Henry Ford

    In and around Detroit you have a choice of activities. Get a guided tour of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village – a.k.a. The Henry Ford – in Dearborn... an amazing, award-winning, state-of-the-art museum with interactive exhibits dedicated to innovation, not just in machines, but in trailblazers who shaped the world we live in. In 9 acres of exhibition space you can step aboard the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat; make yourself at home in Buckminster Fuller's autonomous Dymaxion House; discover the science behind Pixar animation and motors that moved the nation; see the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop; Thomas Edison's laboratory, Igor Sikorsky's prototype helicopter, the house Henry Ford was born in, and the courthouse where Lincoln practiced law. Attached to the complex is Greenfield Village, a living museum with costumed interpreters, historic structures, and working steam locomotives.  Alternatively, take a guided sightseeing tour of Detroit's famous landmarks, including the Motown Museum, a pair of modest houses where the record company was born in 1959; the Guardian Building, an art deco masterpiece; an eclectic art alley called the Belt; and the award-winning Campus Martius Park, "crossroads of downtown Detroit." Return to the ship for lunch; tonight, sail for Cleveland.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    A day in Cleveland, Ohio

    Spend a day in Cleveland, Ohio, including an early opening visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Created by combining different elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel and country music, rock and roll has transformed the musical world since its origins in the mid 1950s and helped create some of the biggest acts and musical innovators the world as ever seen including; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grateful Dead, Prince, Nirvana, The Foo Fighters and so many more. Explore the halls of this historic and culturally-defining building and learn about the many inductees forever immortalized. Explore the many sights that Cleveland has to offer this afternoon on a sightseeing tour across the city, driving through the theatre district and the Westside Market before stopping for a stroll at The Arcade on Euclid Ave followed by a visit to a local craft brewery for a taste of their hoppy delights. Dinner will be served onboard your ship. Tonight, set sail for the Welland Canal.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Sailing on the Welland Canal

    Sail Lake Erie to Port Colborne, then enter the Welland Canal, which links Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The 27-mile canal is a marvel of engineering which allows ships to bypass the Niagara River and Niagara Falls. Through a series of eight locks, your ship rises to a level high enough to cross over the Niagara Escarpment, sometimes called the Backbone of North America, a passage that takes about 11 hours. An onboard lecture on the canal and its history will be provided by a local expert on the locks. After passing through the cities of Welland, Thorold, and St. Catherines, the ship emerges into Lake Ontario at Port Weller.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Disembark in Toronto & Niagara Falls
    Disembark in Toronto, then drive to Niagara Falls, where you'll see the awesome power of the falls up close by boat (rain pancho provided). The falls on the border between the US and Canada – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls – pour 6 million cubic feet of water over their crests every minute, cascading down 170 feet and churning clouds of mist with a roar that can be heard for miles, a stirring experience you'll never forget. Then a tour, tasting, and lunch await you in Niagara on the Lake. Return to Toronto and check in to your choice of downtown hotels, Fairmont Royal York or the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, and the evening is yours. The city is hip, vibrant, and some of its best restaurants and nightlife are close by.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch
  11. Day 11
    Discovering Toronto

    Take your choice of sightseeing excursions in Ontario's remarkable capital today. A visit to the Royal Ontario Museum offers you the world under one roof, with 40 galleries and a collection of 6 million artifacts of art, culture, and natural history, from dinosaur fossils to African art, Egyptian treasures, South Asian culture, meteorites, giant totem poles, and Canadian history. Or visit the Ontario Art Gallery, housing 90,000 works of art from the first century to the present, including major works by Rodin, Picasso, Goya, Tintoretto, Degas, Rothko, and many more; not limited to paintings and sculpture, its collection includes historic objects, architecture, ship models, medieval illuminations, and video art. Enjoy free time to explore Toronto on your own then join us this evening for a farewell reception followed by dinner.

    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Journey home

    Tour ends: Toronto, Canada. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Fairmont Royal York or the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto to Toronto Pearson International Airport or Tornoto's Union Station. Allow three hours for check-in.

    Meals:   Breakfast

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620


The mighty Great Lakes have played a vital role in the history and cultural fabric of North America for centuries... explore their storied waters... and unique cities and towns... that have grown along their shores...Enjoy a 7-night Great Lakes cruise between Chicago and Toronto aboard a beautiful Ponant yacht, plus two-night stays at your choice of premium hotels in these two great anchor cities. You'll sail through Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan, calling on destinations including Detroit, Mackinac Island, Cleveland and more. Explore urban planning and revitalization in a re-emerging Detroit; celebrate American invention and ingenuity at The Henry Ford in Dearborn;  enjoy lunch at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel; ride a dune buggy along the Lake Michigan shore; sample Holland, Michigan's Dutch heritage, tulips and beer culture; experience an architectural cruise, a taste of Chicago in America's "Second City," and much more!

  • View the distinctive architectural styles of the Chicago skyline on an informative river cruise in Chicago, hearing the stories behind iconic works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and others
  • Enjoy an early morning, private opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Gratuities to Tauck Directors, ship staff and local guides
  •  Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $3,320
  • Two nights in Chicago at your choice of Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park or Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (additional cost)
  • Two nights in Toronto at your choice of Fairmont Royal York or Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (additional cost)
  • Seven nights aboard the luxury small ship Le Dumont d'Urville, cruising Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan

Health and Safety Protocols for Tauck Tours

Traveling with Peace of Mind
Our commitment never wavers – to earn your trust by always doing the right thing. As we explore the world together again, this will be more important than ever as we adapt to living and traveling in the presence of COVID-19.

Tauck is 97-years young this year, and our ability to weather many storms over the decades is a result of our values and beliefs – as a family and as a family-owned and led company. In addition to the guiding light of these values, our extensive experience, local knowledge and global support network help to ensure your safety on every Tauck journey. Building upon our bedrock of award-winning guest care, we have worked tirelessly to prepare for your return following the COVID-19 hiatus in travel. With guidance from leading experts, including the CDC and WHO, together with our internal Global Response Team and, most importantly, with feedback from thousands of our guests, we have redefined how we will conduct our experiences as we resume travel.

Tauck is Prepared for the Unexpected
For decades, Tauck has operated in over 70 countries in all 7 continents. Over this time, our staff and network of supplier partners have always been there to support our guests and team on the road. Our guests travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.

At the core of our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the unexpected is our Global Response Team - a group of over 50 employees across all departments who stand ready to spring into action around the world. This team has plenty of experience, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, earthquakes, volcanic ash, civil unrest and work stoppages. They have also dealt with past virus outbreaks including the SARS and Zika viruses.

The Tauck Travel Well Pledge
Before we operate tours and cruises, all Tauck employees, our supplier partners and our guests will take Tauck’s Travel Well Pledge.

As a company, we will follow our enhanced protocols with diligence and rigor; review them frequently as the landscape changes and always make common-sense decisions grounded in purpose and pride. We embrace these new and necessary measures to combat COVID-19 and will do our very best to provide the Tauck care we have been honored to deliver for 97 years.

Consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our guests, we are implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. These protocols may vary by geographic regions and will certainly evolve over time, as science and society respond to new realities:

Tauck Staff
Prior to interacting with guests, each member of Tauck’s field staff is trained in enhanced protocols and participates in a personal health screening.

Once on tour, our Tauck Directors and supporting staff are responsible for maintaining these protocols with a special focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. They will relay critical information regarding requirements, advise when protocols are mandatory – such as wearing a face covering in group settings – and help facilitate guest care through communication with appropriate parties should a guest become ill on tour. All Tauck staff will adhere to the same requirements.

Guest Responsibility
When joining a Tauck journey, every guest is responsible for their own health and, in turn, the protection of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our suppliers and the places we visit. Guests will pledge to follow the direction of the Tauck staff and adhere to health and safety protocols.

Guests are expected to wear face coverings in all group settings, to wash their hands frequently and to adhere to supplier and government regulations. While supplies of face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available, guests are asked to bring such personal items for their own comfort.

Small is BIG
For many years, Tauck has emphasized and invested in more choices of activities, resulting in smaller groups for activities like sightseeing and events. This is consistent with our mantra that “Small is Big” – small groups and smaller ships with fewer guests.

We initially focused on these elements to improve the guest experience. Yet today they take on an additional dimension; small group experiences and more personal space are critical in providing the peace of mind our guests expect. Accordingly, we are offering even more small group experiences and limiting guest numbers across all of our journeys.

We have been working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right.
Tauck has worked meticulously with our global supplier partners to plan for every itinerary following the hiatus in travel. All partners, whether they be a hotel, museum, small ship/riverboat, restaurant or other partner, have been thoughtful about how to provide a Tauck experience in this environment.

And while it's impossible to list all of the enhanced health and safety protocols for the hundreds of Tauck partners across the globe, we would like to share a representative sample of what you can expect:

Our hotel partners all have world-class health and safety protocols. However, these guidelines may vary depending on local situations and regulations. Here are some typical examples:

  • Upon-arrival, health questionnaires and temperature checks may be required. Some hotels may even require daily temperature scans.
  • Social distancing may be required in public areas, bars and restaurants.
  • High-touch areas such as railings, door handles and elevators will undergo enhanced cleaning.
  • In-room measures may include removal of tent cards and magazines. Common use items, such as coffee makers and minibar amenities may be on demand.
  • High-touch areas, such as light switches, thermostats, remote controls and door handles will be subject to enhanced and frequent cleaning.
  • Guests will have the option to determine housekeeping frequency.
  • All hotel staff will undergo daily health screenings.

Ships and Riverboats
We have worked closely with our cruise partners to ensure the best possible health and safety protocols and to ensure the care and service you expect from Tauck:

  • Guests on cruises and river journeys will be required to complete a health questionnaire and will undergo a temperature check prior to boarding. In some instances, our ship partners will conduct daily temperature checks.
  • Face coverings and physical distancing will be required in most public spaces for guests and crew alike.
  • Meals may be offered at staggered times and self-serve buffets will be eliminated.
  • In-cabin measures include removing common use items. Coffee makers, minibar amenities and housekeeping will be on demand at guest discretion.
  • Ship staff will undergo daily health screenings.
  • All vessels will have medical staff onboard.

Sightseeing and Local Activities
Many of our experiences are exclusive and/or private and that’s important in taking care of you. Whether it be a guided tour, a visit to an iconic museum or private home, a musical performance, or any other special Tauck activities, we are applying the same rigor to health and safety protocols:

  • Tauck listening devices will be sanitized thoroughly and frequently.
  • Sightseeing is being adjusted to ensure proper physical distancing.
  • Admission times at venues may be altered to ensure no crowding.
  • Paper tickets, handouts and the like may be eliminated.

Tauck has always been known for a la carte dining; having more freedom to decide when and with whom to dine now has more value than ever. Additionally, our partners whether they be hotels, ships, special venues or restaurants, are raising their already rigorous hygienic standards. Here are some examples:

  • Waitstaff will likely be wearing face coverings and gloves.
  • Seating will be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing.
  • Self-serve buffets will be eliminated. Common use menus will no longer be used unless sanitized.

On-Tour Transportation
Keeping on-tour transportation safe is a major focus of our team who has worked with hundreds of partners to ensure continuity in health and safety protocols:

  • On motorcoaches and other on-tour ground transportation, such as airport transfers, guest should expect physical distancing and will be required to wear face coverings.
  • Prior to each trip, our motorcoaches, vans, airport transfer vehicles and on-tour aircraft will undergo a deep sanitizing process.
  • Luggage may also be sanitized at each movement.
  • Drivers will wear gloves and face coverings during all guest-facing interactions.
  • Drivers will frequently clean handrails, door handles, arm rests, tables, seats, air conditioning/HVAC units, restrooms and overhead storage areas.

Our Supplier Partners are ready for you
Tauck is proud to have worked closely with our partners around the world, many of them for decades, to deliver the quality, comfort and safety you expect. Whether it be hotels and resorts, riverboats and small ships, restaurants, event venues or transportation companies, their meticulous health and safety protocols reflect their leadership and well-earned respect in the travel industry. The following are some select health and safety protocols. We will update these on a regular basis.

In addition to our supplier partners, we have also been actively engaged with global travel organizations to standardize health and safety protocols throughout the travel industry. TourCare is one example:

TourCare are health and sanitation guidelines developed by the tour industry's major global associations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Tauck, and our supplier partners, meet and exceed these guidelines that require members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620


Fairmont Royal York

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park
Le Dumont d'Urville

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: Which is the largest suite on the Great Lakes trip?

The Owner's Suite and the Grand Deluxe Suite are the biggest cabins at 484 sq. ft.

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Tauck Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
Professional Staff
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Value for Money

Ratings based off 878 reviews about Tauck Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

Can't go wrong with Tauck...outstanding!

We were very impressed with Tauck Tours and would book with them through you again!

We spent more money on this Tauck tour than a Luxury Gold trip to Spain and Portugal (top of the line) which required international travel and was for a longer duration. Also, I've said this before about Tauck. Although a good company, there is too much food offered and too much time spent sitting down to a meal when we could be sightseeing.

Our goals were met and exceeded by Affordable Tours.

Wonderful Tauck Tours..we will travel with them again..thank you for the suggestion..

This is our 7th Tauck tour/river cruise and they have never disappointed.

Our trip was amazing and we had to he most amazing guide Leah she went above and beyond

Ms Lawren Farias was our agent. She went out of her way to make sure that everything went smoothly and it did I would defiitely use her again. She was outstanding.

Maya was absolutely wonderful! I only want to book with her for any future travel.

The Tauck tour exceeded our expectations.Our tour director was exceedingly well informed and organized.She was the best.

The tour was one of our best. Tauck's attention to detail and covering nearly 100% of our costs or fees and booking 5* hotels is why we liked the trip.

Fantastic vacation! Exceeded all our expectations! Trip of a Lifetime!!!

Tauck delivered as promised and more. The tour director was very helpful and knowledgeable. We wouldn't hesitate to book with them again.

Tauck provides great tours. This is our 4th with Tauck. They provided transport for us even when our itinerary was different than usual. The Tauck tour director was wonderful.

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