30% Ponant Bonus
Set off with PONANT 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.
Leaving from Thunder Bay, you will sail on Lake Superior, designated a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve, which will open the path to some fine exploring along the northern ‘Inside Passage’. Its sparkling waters are home to rich fauna, primary forest and communities descending from the First Nations, among the oldest indigenous peoples before colonisation.
You will arrive back in the United States in Sault Ste Marie, located on the banks of St. Marys River, a natural border with Canada. Indigenous, French and British influences have endowed the city with a wealth of historical treasures, and it is also renowned for its locks where the shipping traffic is one of the highest in the world.
You will continue your exploration towards Mackinac Island, only accessible by boat. This preserved and car-free haven will reveal itself to the sound of horse-drawn carriages and the noise of hooves hitting the paved streets. The Victorian charm of past-times works its spell here and the impressive Mackinac Bridge spans the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
You will then reach Door County and the small town of Sturgeon Bay for an exceptional port of call on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its landscapes, its jagged coastline to which historic lighthouses cling, and its vineyards and fruit trees as far as the eye can see compose a lovely postcard of this territory, known as the orchard of the Midwest.
You will enjoy sailing on Lake Michigan, a real inland sea, following the footsteps of the first settlers, trappers and Indigenous communities.
You will finally set sail for Milwaukee, your disembarkation port, the end of a magnificent cruise.
Subject to weather conditions. The expedition highlights, encounters with the wildlife and itinerary described illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
An all-new expedition cruise to discover natural and cultural riches from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. Outings and shore visits with a team of experienced naturalist guides. Hiking and kayak...
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Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Canada: Entry (or transit) by air - The ETA is required for Australian and British citizens, US citizens are exempt. Other nationalities, please contact Canada consulate website for details. http://www.canada.ca/en/index.html. A copy of your visa or ETA must be sent to PONANT at the very latest 45 days prior to your cruise date. In case the ETA is sufficient to enter Canada, we also ask you to keep a copy of your ETA with your passport throughout the duration of your trip.
USA: Depending on your nationality, an ESTA or Visa may be required. Please contact USA consulate website for details. A copy of your visa or ESTA must be sent to PONANT at the very latest 45 days prior to your cruise date. In case the ESTA is sufficient to enter the USA, we also ask you to keep a copy of your ESTA with your passport throughout the duration of your trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Expedition programmes include activities such as zodiac outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience in remote areas: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
Embarkation 14/09/2024 from 18:00 to 19:00
Departure 14/09/2024 at 20:00
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.
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.
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...
Located to the east of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Separated from its Canadian twin city by St. Marys River, it is famous among other things for its locks, known as either the Sault Locks or the Soo Locks, which enable ships to travel the metres in change in elevation between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. These locks, which date back over 160 years, are considered the most important in the world due to their shipping traffic. Make sure you visit the Museum Ship Valley Camp where you can visit the interior of a former freighter that sailed on the Great Lakes for more than 50 years.
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.
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.
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 colours, 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.
Arrival 24/09/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 24/09/2024 at 07:00
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.
Realise your dream of adventure in the polar regions ! From your ship’s deck, aboard a Zodiac® inflatable or from land, discover the icy vastness and the fauna of Antarctica (humpback whales, seals, penguins and more) or the Arctic's fjords, glaciers and icebergs in shifting colours, not to mention the polar bears, the variety of wildlife and the special moments shared with the locals. Our team of naturalist guides share their knowledge with you during varied lectures about the fauna, the flora, the history of great explorations, geology and climatology. Thanks to its conscientiousness and to the responsible approach that is its hallmark, PONANT has been a leader and expert in cruises to these destinations for more than 20 years.