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Mackinac Island, Michigan

Expedition between Lake Michigan & Lake Superior

Milwaukee - Thunder Bay - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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Aboard Le Champlain on an all-new 11-day expedition cruise discovering Lake Superior, an exceptional exploration amidst flamboyant nature and the cultural riches of the Indigenous communities. Discover the natural and cultural treasures between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior on a brand-new excursion voyage. excursions and shore visits led by a group of knowledgeable naturalist guides. As you set off from Milwaukee, you'll experience sailing on Lake Michigan, an actual inland sea that serves as an ideal introduction to this area while also tracing the routes taken by the first settlers, trappers, and Indigenous groups.
Look for the lighthouses of the Great LakesVisit historic locations along the shores of the Great LakesExplore the picturesque shoreline of Lake SuperiorExplore the rocky shores and clear waters of Lake SuperiorAdmire the stunning views of Lake SuperiorMackinac Island, Michigan
  • Discover natural and cultural riches from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior
  • Enjoy activities like hiking and kayaking
  • Sail on three of the five Great Lakes of North America
  • Learn about the culture of those who are descended from the First Nations
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Milwaukee | Embark

Nested on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, the largest city in the State of Wisconsin, harmoniously combines tradition and modernity. Industrial long ago, the city, known as Brew City because of its old breweries renowned all over the world, is experiencing a certain renaissance. While warehouses have given way to restaurants, bars, theatres and art galleries in the city centre, the district still retains traces of its manufacturing past. Further south lies Chicago, the economic centre of the Midwest, with an interesting mix of natural and urban landscapes: its immense skyscrapers, diverse architecture, many parks and magnificent beaches make the city a popular destination.

Day 2: Sailing Lake Michigan

You will sail the United States’ largest freshwater body, which gave its name to Michigan, one of the four states that border this lake measuring 500 km long and 200 km wide. The first colonists settled in the south at the end of the 17th century, on the site of the current megalopolis of Chicago. Wild landscapes of forests with sparkling colors, cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and dunes as far as the eye can see stretch along its 2,600 km of shoreline. In the north, magnificent wind-swept islands rise out of the lake’s emerald waters. At 8 km long, the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. 

Day 3: Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay is a small, little-known town in the Great Lakes region. It offers a perfect blend of traditions and gentle way of life. The gateway to Door County (Wisconsin), known for its cherry and apple orchards as well as its vineyards, Sturgeon Bay is sometimes called “the orchard of the Midwest”. Several old lighthouses and early-19th century merchant ship wrecks, visible from the surface, make up an interesting historical heritage. Nature is all around, allowing visitors to engage in a host of outdoor activities: hiking in one of the five national parks, kayaking on crystal-clear waters to discover the myriad islets dotting the lake, bike riding, and more.

Day 4: Mackinac Island

Close to the banks of Lake Huron in the State of Michigan, Mackinac Island promises a real journey through time. Originally inhabited by Amerindians, then occupied by French and British colonists, this small island measuring only a few km² still retains an atmosphere of yesteryear today, with its Victorian-style buildings and elegant horse-drawn carriages. Fort Mackinac, on the heights of the island, is a reminder of the conflicts that punctuated the history of this strategic place, a former fur trade centre. In addition to this scenery from the past, the island offers magnificent fine sandy beaches and is home to one of the oldest National Parks in the United States.

Day 5: Sault Ste. Marie

The oldest city in Ontario and the centre of one of North America’s oldest settlements, Sault Ste. Marie has a rich historical heritage due to its Amerindian, British and French influences. Linked to its neighbouring and homonymous American city by a bridge spanning St. Marys River, the city owes its name to the river’s many rapids, called “les saults de Sainte-Marie” by French colonists. The gateway to the Algoma region, renowned for its wild expanses, Sault Ste. Marie is also known as the home of the National Historic Site of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, which was completed at the end of the 19th century and constitutes the final part of a navigation network that connects the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior.

Day 6: Sailing Lake Superior

Lake Superior stands in a league of its own. It is not only the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes of North America, it is also the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, holding around 10% of the globe’s surface freshwater! It was named by the first European settlers, who had noticed its higher altitude compared to the other four lakes. Lake Superior connects with Lake Huron and Lake Michigan via the Sault Ste. Marie locks. From the decks of your ship, you will relish your experience of sailing on this vast inland body of water, and imagine it entirely frozen over during the winter months...

Day 7-10: Exploring Lake Superior

Your team of naturalist guides invites you to explore the largest freshwater lake in the world! The different ports of call, all carefully selected among the most beautiful and most emblematic, and the daily activities immersed in nature, make this a special way to discover Lake Superior. Through outings in an inflatable dinghy, kayaking or hikes, you will have the opportunity to admire islands and coasts where the First Nations walked well before you, as they fished and hunted here before the arrival of the French and British settlers. The Indian reserves, the vestiges of mining operations, and the old lighthouses now designated as heritage, are all sites of great cultural and historical significance.

Day 11: Thunder Bay | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Situated in the north-west of Lake Superior, the Canadian city of Thunder Bay enjoys a strategic position on the seaway connecting the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence, which explains why it is also called “Lakehead”. The city was also the terminus of a Canadian Pacific Railway corridor. This contributed vastly to its rapid growth in the 20th century. The historical museum is a must-see, as is the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, specialising in contemporary artwork by First Nations artists. Today, the city is a far cry from the small French fur-trading post established there in 1683. Nevertheless, a well documented historical reconstruction can be visited on the outskirts of the city: Fort William Historical Park.


Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Ponant Sauna
Swimming pool

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with French window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Deluxe Suite
Area: 27 m². 6m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 3 passengers per cabin.
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 4 passengers per cabin.
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with sliding bay windows. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower + bathtub.
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with hot tub and sliding bay windows. King-size or twin beds and shower + bathtub.


Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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