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A cruise of the Great Lakes may take you to Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, ErieOntario, or the Saint Lawrence River that flows between the lakes into the Atlantic Ocean. All lakes are bordered by both the United States and Canada except Lake Michigan, which is only part of the United States. There are many things to do on the largest freshwater lake in the world, such as viewing landscapes of forests with sparkling colors, cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and dunes as far as the eye can see. These are just a few highlights along its 2,600 km of shoreline. Most Great Lakes cruises start in, finish in, or visit the great US or Canadian cities such as ChicagoDetroit, Cleveland, Niagara FallsTorontoMontrealQuebec CityMackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, and Green BayContact our Great Lakes cruise specialists for help planning your dream trip!
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Fast Facts about the Great Lakes

There are five lakes that collectively comprise the largest freshwater system on the planet, known as the Great Lakes. By volume from largest to smallest, the lakes are: Together, the Great Lakes store more than 20% of the world's freshwater, covering a surface area of 94,600 square miles; half of the water is in Lake Superior alone (or 3 quadrillion gallons!). 

The Great Lakes split the border between Canada and the United States, but Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake that is entirely within the United States. Because of this, that means that the state of Michigan actually has the most coastline of freshwater of any state in the United States. 


Best Cruise Ports in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are home to big cities and small towns, and a cruise of the Great Lakes will acquaint you with both as you visit the most popular ports:

Thousand Islands at a Glance

Adventure seekers rejoice at all that Thousand Islands archipelago has to offer those hoping for a more active tour. The name "Thousand Islands" underestimates the some 1,800 islands that make up this chain in the St. Lawrence River between the U.S. and Canadian borders.

What was once a getaway for the elite in the 19th century, is now a great place for avid fishers, boaters, and outdoor explorers.

This makes for an exciting day on a cruise of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

Tell Me More about Niagara Falls

Between Lakes Erie and Ontario on the Niagara River, Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive natural attractions in all of the Americas. Visitors are stunned at the size and power of these waterfalls thundering over the edge.

There are three waterfalls that make up this network - the Horseshoe Falls (aka the Canadian Falls), the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. Altogether, this is the largest waterfall by volume in all of North America and the strongest and most powerful waterfall in the entire world! Although not the tallest waterfall, a stunning every second, 3,160 tons of water flows over the falls: 75,750 gallons on the American side and 681,750 gallons per second over the Horseshoe Falls. 

Because the water is eroding the rock behind it, Niagara Falls is actually the only world wonder that is moving slowly backwards every year.

Visitors can explore Niagara Falls by marveling at it from one of the many viewing decks over the Falls or even by taking a boat right into the mist beneath the Falls. Some tours go behind the Falls too!

What are the Soo Locks?

A marvel of modern engineering, the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan connect Lake Superior to the Lower Great Lakes through a set of parallel locks. 

The Locks are maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, who have nicknamed them the "Linchpin of the Great Lakes."

Experience the Soo Locks on   any of our cruises visiting Sault Ste. Marie.

Get to Know Mackinac Island

Tucked between the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan, tiny Mackinac Island State Park is a great stop on a cruise through Lake Huron.

As you explore the winding trails, enjoy the pristine nature made up of virgin woods and limestone, including the Arch Rock limestone formation. The small island is also home to Fort Mackinac on the coast, dating back to 1780, and the Mackinac Art Museum. From cute shops to cozy cafes, Mackinac Island makes for a great day on any Great Lakes cruise.

FAQs: Great Lakes Cruises

Which ships and cruise lines cruise the Great Lakes?
Our Great Lakes cruises are aboard one of the finest vessels navigating the region - the luxurious and innovative Le Bellot. This exquisite ship features comfortable and spacious cabins, excellent onboard amenities, exciting itineraries, and gourmet cuisine.
How much do Great Lakes cruises cost?
Most Great Lakes cruises range from 8-13 days and cost between $4,000 and $6,000 per person. Considering the many different destinations and sites you will visit - both natural and manmade - these cruises are definitely worth it!
When is the best time to go on a Great Lakes cruise?
The cruising season for the Great Lakes runs from late May through mid-September, from the end of the North American spring season through summer and into early autumn. The most popular time to cruise the Great Lakes is during the generally sunny summer months of July and August when temperatures can reach into the 90s F during the day. 
What are the five Great Lakes?
An easy way to remember the names of the five Great Lakes is to think of the acronym HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. You might be interested to know that together, the Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system on earth and accounts for more than 20% of the surface freshwater in the world. So how much water is in the Great Lakes? About 6 quadrillion gallons!
Is Niagara Falls part of the Great Lakes?
Niagara Falls is right between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on the Niagara River and makes for an exciting day on almost all of our Great Lakes cruises. 
Are Great Lakes cruises good for kids and families?
Great Lakes cruises are ideally suited for adults, but inquisitive youngsters and teens might enjoy these cruises too, if they like to stroll through museums, enjoy nature tours (like Niagara Falls) and like urban exploration like walking tours of cities.
Where do Great Lakes cruises visit?
Cruises on the Great Lakes visit popular Midwest towns and cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Niagara Falls, in addition to some Canadian destinations like Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City, via the St. Lawrence River.

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