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Explore the rocky shores and clear waters of Lake Superior

Lake Superior – a Life-sized Expedition

Milwaukee - Thunder Bay - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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Embark on an 11-day expedition cruise aboard Le Champlain, a remarkable trip to discover the wonders of Lake Superior. Depart from Milwaukee, and be captivated by the picturesque landscapes of Door County, with its historic lighthouses and bountiful vineyards. Experience the old-world charm of Mackinac Island before venturing to Lake Superior, a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. Explore the Apostle Islands, a paradise of stunning geological formations and diverse flora. Immerse in the cultural heritage of the Ojibwe tribe in Bayfield and be enchanted by the community of Silver Islet. Traverse the North Shore Inside Passage, where travelers encounter breathtaking scenery and exceptional historical sites. Conclude the trip to Thunder Bay.
Sleeping Giant - Thunder Bay, Ontario, CanadaLook for the lighthouses of the Great LakesEnjoy the scenery of the Great LakesExplore the rocky shores and clear waters of Lake Superior
Highlights
  • Explore Lake Superior and enjoy the nature in the Indian summer
  • Set a course for Mackinac Island, an insular haven with old-world charm
  • Experience Door County and Sturgeon Bay's coastline & historic lighthouses
  • Enjoy Silver Islet's majestic splendor, birthed from an ancient silver mine
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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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 center, the district still retains traces of its manufacturing past. Further south lies Chicago, the economic center 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: Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay is a small, little-known town in the Great Lakes region. It offers a perfect blend of traditions and a 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 shipwrecks, 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 3: 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 center. 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 4: Lake Superior | Keweenaw Peninsula

Lake Superior stands in a league of its own. It is not only the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes of North America, but 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...

South of Lake Superior, your ship will cross the Keweenaw Peninsula via the eponymous waterway along the Portage River. This stretch of land located in the north of the State of Michigan is part of the Copper Country, home to large mines run by the Native Americans thousands of years ago and rediscovered thanks to their descendants at the beginning of the 18th century. A copper rush ensued, with waves of immigration from Finland and Northern Europe. The river separates the towns of Houghton, in the south, and Hancock, in the northern part also known as Copper Island or Kuparisaari by the Finnish immigrants. So, crossing Keweenaw also means looking back over the region’s history.

Day 5: Bayfield and Apostle Islands

Discover Bayfield, in the southern Lake Superior region in the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 1856, this small city, nestling in the curve of an unspoiled peninsula, projects an old-world charm with its Victorian houses. As soon as you arrive, you will dive into its traditions during a performance by the Ojibwe tribe, descended from the First Nations, for whom this region is the spiritual heart. Bayfield is also the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a protected natural area around the Apostle Islands, an archipelago comprising 21 enchanting islands offering dense forests, magnificent lighthouses, birdwatching, and remarkable red sandstone sea caves. Explore these islands on a local boat and discover their fascinating shorelines carved by the elements.

Day 6: Duluth | Sailing Lake Superior

On the shores of Lake Superior, Minnesota, Duluth is a thriving port city founded in 1679 by Frenchman Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. On this territory where the Ojibwe and Dakota tribes live, the fur trade develops with the Hudson's Bay Company and contributes to the influence of the city. Exceptionally located in the heart of a resplendent nature, Duluth attracts wealthy families on vacation. Witness the beautiful Victorian homes, such as Glensheen Mansion, a mansion from the beginning of the 20th century. Enjoy a stroll through the city, unless you prefer to take a little high aboard the North Shore Scenic Railroad and its museum, another way to discover the region.

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: Sailing Lake Superior | Silver Islet, 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, but 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...

Silver Islet refers to both a small rocky island and a small community located at the end of the Sibley Peninsula, on Lake Superior, in north-western Ontario, Canada. A silver ore deposit can be found beneath the tiny reef, 380 meters under the lake. The mine was operated from 1869 to 1884 and proved to be very prosperous; however, the constraints linked to pumping the water and the extremely difficult working conditions resulted in its closure. Silver Islet is located in a fascinating natural setting enhanced by the waters of the lake. It is ideal for great encounters with the communities living there, and for really exploring nature, on foot, by Zodiac dingy, and by kayak, to make the most of its extraordinary views.

Day 8-9: North Shore Inside Passage

From the shores of Lake Nipigon, explore the unspoiled corners of the northern inside passage of Gchi Gami, the great lake in Ojibwa, Lake Superior's other name. Cliffs marked with ancient petroglyphs visible during a stroll on the water at Red Rock, the discovery of majestic lighthouses at Battle Harbour, hikes in the heart of the boreal forest sublimated by the colors of autumn where all your senses are awakened, discovery from a canyon in Terrace Bay, warm encounters with Canadian communities at First Nations sacred sites, awe-inspiring wildlife sightings, visiting historic sites in Red Rock… There are many points of interest in this region where stories intertwine over the centuries. This is all the richness of this hitherto unexplored destination.

Day 10: Slate Islands

To the north of Lake Superior, a stone’s throw from Terrace Bay, the Slate Islands form an archipelago made up of two main islands and a string of smaller islands. This territory imbued with the region’s history, which features forestry, mining, and the first native settlements, is a preserved natural area called the Slate Island Provincial Park. A large caribou colony lives in harmony in this sanctuary of biodiversity, where no fewer than 50 animal species and 250 plant varieties flourish. In the heart of this pristine territory, between thick boreal forest, limestone and volcanic rock, and water in deep emerald green hues, enjoy unique and peaceful moments in communion with life, during Zodiac outings or kayaking. 

Day 11: Thunder Bay | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Situated in the northwest of Lake Superior, the Canadian city of Thunder Bay enjoys a strategic position on the seaway connecting the Great Lakes to 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, specializing 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.

Ship/Hotel

Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Ponant Sauna
Swimming pool

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$8,930 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.

Please confirm embark/disembark locations before reserving flights, as this itinerary operates in reverse on alternating departures.
Cabin
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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.
Cabin
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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.
Cabin
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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.

Notes

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.
Included
  • 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. 
Excluded
  • 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

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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