Referred to as ‘The Eighth Sea’ by those in the know, but a far lesser known cruise destination for UK based travellers, The Great Lakes collectively make up the largest body of fresh water on earth and include Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario. The total area combined is an incredible 95,160 square miles and one of the best ways to enjoy them is on a cruise with American Queen Voyages.
We offer the only all-inclusive cruise experience on the Great Lakes aboard one of our two dedicated ships, Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager. Each of our cruises includes shore excursions in every port; Wi-Fi onboard; complimentary wine, beer, spirits, fruit juices, tea and coffee; all dining options; pre-cruise hotel stay; onboard enrichment; evening entertainment; and a daily cocktail hour.
Our many Great Lakes itineraries combine a little bit of everything, ensuring you get the best from your cruise experience. Sailing between Toronto and Chicago, you’ll see exactly why a Great Lakes cruise is an absolute must – there’s just so much to see and do.
Did you know that the Great Lakes haven’t always been as they are today? The current configuration is actually believed to have started around one million years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch and the estimated age of the Great Lakes ranges between 7,000 and 32,000 years old. Fourteen-thousand years ago, the entire area was covered by a thick glacier and as it moved toward Canada, it left behind many great depressions. Over time, these depressions filled with large volumes of water and what we currently have today is how the Great Lakes have looked for around the last 10,000 years. It’s fascinating.
More than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes basin, along with more than 3,000 species of plants and wildlife, and more than 150 species of fish, so it’s a hugely important part of our world. The waters are rich in lake herring, salmon, shrimp and trout; and hawks, falcons, eagles and kestrels are often spotted soaring high above.
In total, across the Great Lakes, there are more than 35,000 islands, many of which are uninhabited. But even those that people do call home range in size and population. For example, the islands of Kelleys, Amherst, Cockburn and Madeline are all home to less than 500 residents. Lake Huron’s ‘Manitoulin Island’ which at 1,068 square miles is the largest island in any inland body of water in the world and Catawba Island is now connected to mainland Ohio.
If all of the above wasn’t proof enough as to why you should try a Great Lakes cruise, maybe we can tempt you with some highlights from our sailings along this vastly important part of North American maritime history:
- Enjoy the Victorian charm of Mackinac Island as you explore by horse-drawn carriage and visit historic Fort Mackinac, which played an important role in the War of 1812.
- Our unique itinerary sails through all five of our Great Lakes – even taking you through the historic Soo Locks, built in 1855 to connect Lake Huron with the northern waters of Lake Superior.
- Sail into the breath-taking scenery of Georgian Bay and step ashore on Manitoulin Island; here, you’ll experience the enduring traditions of the Ojibwe Tribe.
- Explore three centuries of history, culture, invention and innovation at the outstanding Henry Ford Museum.
- Delve into fascinating chapters of music history at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where unique exhibits explore the lives and work of some of the world’s greatest musicians – and their impact on American history, politics, life and culture.
- Thrill to a cruise through the Great Niagara Gorge into the very heart of world-famous Horseshoe Falls where the misty spray and mighty roar of Niagara Falls will surround you.