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What is an Itinerary Like for a Great Lakes Cruise?

If you want to explore the best of North America in seven days, a Great Lakes cruise is the best option you have.

The Great Lakes are five freshwater lakes in the upper mid-east region of North America.

These bodies of lakes form the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world and comprise Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior. All of these, except Lake Michigan, form the natural border between the United States and Canada.

Great Lakes Cruise itinerary

Why choose a Great Lakes cruise?

A cruise to and along the Great Lakes allows you to explore some of the best parts of Michigan and Ontario.

Though there are several different itineraries, most start their journey from the western shore of Michigan and end it on the sandy shores of Toronto. 

From cityscapes laced with skyscrapers to country sides graced by distinct wildlife, a Great Lakes cruise provides you with a conglomerate of both natural human-made attractive things to see.

Great Lakes cruising

What itinerary should I expect on a Great Lakes cruise?

Though every cruise line has its own itinerary, an itinerary on this ship typically follows a similar route as outlined below.

Most of these types of ships embark their journey at the western shore of Lake Michigan. Before the departure, they will usually allow the passengers to explore the port of embarkation. A pre-cruise package allows the travelers to gear themselves up for the exciting journey ahead.

Great Lakes  cruise lake michigan

Most cruise lines embark at the port of Milwaukee, a city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. If you are starting from the Port of Milwaukee, you can spend an entire day exploring the historic architecture and rich culture of Wisconsin.

This city is home to well-developed parks, several nature centers, some of the best breweries in the country, and a variety of museums– including the Milwaukee Art Museum.

On the second day of the cruise, you will get to explore the shores of Lake Macatawa and Muskegon Lake. This stop lets you explore two of the most beautiful cities of the state of Michigan; the city of Muskegon and Holland.

Great Lakes  cruise lake macatawa

Known as the “port city”, Muskegon offers a variety of recreations including sailing, fishing, pleasure boating, skiing, and hiking. Holland is a city located on the shore of Lake Macatawa. It is found a mere 44 minutes away from Muskegon by road. 

The shore of Lake Macatawa houses the famous Big Red Lighthouse which perches along the channel that connects this lake with Lake Michigan. 

lake macatawa big red lighthouse

The third day of your cruise is spent at Mackinac Island in Michigan. Known for its motorized vehicle ban, the island also houses a variety of Victorian hotels and art museums including the Mackinac Art Museum. Further, Mackinac Island is home to the world’s largest porch found at the island’s Grand Hotel!

Most of these ships reach Canada after spending three days on the shores of the United States. The first Canadian port you reach is mostly Sault Ste. Marie. Saint Mary’s River connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron together.

The ship reaches its final destination after cruising the entire Georgian Bay, the north-eastern arm of Lake Huron in the Canadian province of Ontario. The Georgian Bay houses tens of thousands of islands at its east side that are collectively called the “Thirty Thousand Islands”.

georgian bay cruise

 After cruising through countless islands and shores, you end your journey in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Toronto is home to some of the world’s best museums, recreational parks, and zoos. If you’re a wildlife lover or an art buff, you’ll enjoy the most in Toronto during your Great Lakes cruise.