25% Ponant Bonus
Set sail with PONANT aboard Le Champlain for a brand-new 11-day expedition cruise to explore the natural and cultural treasures of the Great Lakes of North America, surrounded by flamboyant nature painted in the colours of the Indian summer.
Departing from Milwaukee, you will sail on Lake Michigan, a veritable inland sea, and enjoy the stunning panoramas around the largest freshwater lake located entirely in the United States.
You will then sail to Lake Huron, dotted with myriad islands offering stunning landscapes, white rocks plunging into the sapphire-blue waters of the lake, craggy shores dotted with pine trees with sculptural shapes, and magnificent forests with a mix of deciduous and resinous varieties. Multiple original viewpoints will reveal themselves during rich explorations, including in Georgian Bay. From unspoiled islands to nature reserves and picturesque villages, the history of the region will take shape with each unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Indigenous communities, the trappers, and the first European settlers.
Le Champlain will then sail on the St. Clair River and through the Detroit river before reaching Lake Erie. At Pointe Pelee National Park, designated as a Ramsar site and home to a marsh with a remarkable ecosystem, bird lovers will enjoy watching many endemic and migratory species.
Next, Le Champlain will make its way along the canal connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. When the ship stops at Port Colborne, you will be able to marvel at the awe-inspiring sight that is Niagara Falls. These three powerful, world-famous cataracts are a stunning show of nature.
Your cruise will draw to an end in Toronto, your disembarkation port.
Subject to weather conditions. The expedition highlights, encounters with the wildlife and itinerary described illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
A brand-new expedition cruise to discover exceptional scenery and the history of the Great Lakes of North America, from the First Nations to the first settlements. Outings and shore visits with a team of...
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
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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: travel by sea - The eTA is not required for US, Australian and British citizens. Other nationalities: a Visa may be required, please contact Canada consulate website for details. http://www.canada.ca/en/index.html
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.
For all cruises longer than 8 nights, 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 24/09/2024 from 14:30 to 15:30
Departure 24/09/2024 at 17:00
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.
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.
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.
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.
The historical village of Killarney, in Ontario, is located on the north shore of Georgian Bay, on the edge of Lake Huron. It was founded in 1820, making it one of the oldest villages in Canada. At that time, it was a fur trading post. Indigenous people were already very much present in this area, since its Ojibwe name means “canoe passage”. Dominated by the white quartzite ridges of the La Cloche Mountains, Killarney’s surroundings offer visitors a protected natural environment to discover on foot, in a kayak, or during outings in an inflatable dinghy. The pink granite coast and the sapphire-blue waters of the lake are a real treat for the eyes!
The charming city of Parry Sound enjoys an exceptional natural setting in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, east of Georgian Bay. A holiday destination favoured by the province’s inhabitants, the city and its surroundings offer a condensed version of all that the Great Lakes region has to offer: windswept forests of conifers, rocky shores characteristic of the Canadian Shield, beaches of fine sand, clear and calm waters producing magnificent reflections that change with the time of day and luminosity… A real paradise for fauna and flora, the place will delight fans of nature and photography.
The town of Midland is located in the south of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, near the picturesque Thirty Thousand Islands, an archipelago of granitic islands crowned with pine trees. The historical site of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is nearby. This fenced community from the first half of the 17th century has been recreated to bring its story to life. Originally, it was the headquarters for the French Jesuit mission to the Huron-Wendat people. A living history museum immerses visitors in the life of the first Westerners to arrive in Canada. The region is ideal for myriad outdoor activities, such as bike riding, canoeing, hiking, and bird watching along the Wendat Trail.
In the heart of Georgia Bay, discover the magnificent coastal landscapes of Flowerpot Island. Surrounded by crystal-clear water, the site is reputed for its sheer cliffs, its dense vegetation, its rare flora, its heritage lighthouse, and its two strange rock formations that look like flowerpots. A result of the actions of the wind and rain, these pillars of stone detached from the coast are one of the site’s curiosities and gave the island its name. Your ship will sail along these coasts and give you the opportunity to take magnificent photos of this island belonging to the Fathom Five National Marine Park, which is Canada’s oldest National Marine Conservation Area.
A natural border between the American State of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario, Lake Huron is one of the five American Great Lakes and one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Comprising the main lake, Saginaw Bay, the North Channel and Georgian Bay, and home to around 30,000 islands, it offers varied coastal landscapes and unique views. From your ship, you’ll thus be able to admire the wild beauty of the wooded and at times craggy coastline of Manitoulin Island, or the spectacular cliffs of the Bruce Peninsular.
Forming a natural line of separation between the United States and Canada, the St. Clair River, which flows from Lake Huron into Lake St. Clair, is a significant element of the Great Lakes Waterway. Used in the 18th century for the fur trade by the French colonists of North America who sailed it on small boats to trade with the Amerindians, it was then travelled by freighters transporting lumber, iron ore and copper from the Great Lakes region to the cities of the Rust Belt.
During your navigation along the Detroit River, an important commercial waterway linking Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair to Lake Huron, you will sail along the largest city in Michigan. You’ll then enjoy panoramic views over the skyscrapers of the former Motor City, jewel of the automotive industry, Fordism and Motown music in the 20th century. You’ll also be able to admire the Ambassador Bridge, which spans the river and enables access to Windsor, on the Canadian shore of the river. This steel suspension bridge, over two kilometres long, was constructed in 1929. This bridge alone carries over 25% of trade between the United States and Canada.
Point Pelee National Park lies at the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland and stretches out over a wooded peninsula extending out into Lake Erie. It is home to one of the few large marshes left in the Great Lakes system. Due to its value in maintaining biological diversity, this rare ecosystem is now protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Located at the meeting point of two migratory corridors, the park is a paradise for bird watchers: more than 350 bird species can be found here. With options ranging from hiking to paddling, and bird-watching in the company of your naturalist guides, the programme for this port of call is very much centred on nature.
Located to the south of Lake Huron and connected to Lake Ontario by the Welland Canal, Lake Erie, which owes its name to one of the Amerindian tribes which peopled its banks before the arrival of the French in the 17th century, is remarkable for its unique ecosystem. Its shallow fish-filled waters make it an excellent fishing spot, while its banks, famous for their many migratory birds, attract photographers and ornithology enthusiasts.
Port Colborne is a small port city located in southern Ontario, at the mouth of the Welland Canal. It is well-known for one of the longest locks in the world: measuring 420 metres, this lock, the 8th in the canal, has an observation footbridge and marks the final transit point before the Erie Canal. In addition to the discovery of this tremendous hydraulic infrastructure, this port of call will be your privileged access point to the famous Niagara Falls, renowned all over the world for their spectacular beauty. Located on the river of the same name, which means “water thunder” in Amerindian language, these wonders of nature are among the most powerful waterfalls in the world.
Arrival 04/10/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 04/10/2024 at 07:00
The largest city in Canada and capital of the province of Ontario, Toronto fascinates as much by its incredible diversity as by its size. Make sure you visit the CN Tower, the tallest tower in the western hemisphere, as well as the St. Lawrence Market whose stalls reflect the multicultural wealth of this city known as the global city. Not far from there, the historic Distillery District unveils its brick-paved streets imbued with romantic charm and its myriad of small restaurants, cafés, boutiques, theatres and art galleries. The Royal Ontario Museum and its impressive collections devoted to the world’s natural and cultural history will also be an unmissable stop during this port of call.
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.