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Great American Waterways 2020-2021
(Chicago to New York City)

16 days with Blount  Rating: First Class

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Chicago, IL
Welcome to the architecturally renowned Chicago skyline, juxtaposed against Lake Michigan to create a fusion of serene vistas and exciting cityscapes.
Day 2 Manitowoc, WI
Known as Wisconsin’s Marine Capital, Manitowoc is the home to Wisconsin’s Maritime Museum, which captures the riveting history of the entire great lakes area, including the building of 28 submarines for WWII. Don’t miss out on the Rahr-West Art Museum which hosts pieces from Picasso, Miro, Dali, and many others.
Day 3 Mackinac Island, MI
Arrive in Mackinac Island and step back in time to enjoy horse-drawn carriages and the island's old-world charm. Admire the architecture during an optional carriage tour of the island, including entrance to the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory and Surrey Hills Antique Carriage Museum with a working Blacksmith shop. Conclude your tour at the Grande Hotel, for a traditional afternoon tea.
Day 4 Cruise Lake Huron
Admire the beautiful views of Lake Huron. Cruise past freighters or “Lakers” as they are called by many, while transiting the Detroit and St. Clair River System; a major throughway for vessels traveling between the western and eastern Great Lakes. This river system serves as the border between the U.S. and Canada as it flows through Detroit, under the ambassador bridge, the busiest border crossing in the U.S. and Canada and into Lake Erie.
Day 5 Wyandotte, MI
Spend a full day in Wyandotte, Michigan, nestled on the Detroit River. An optional tour in nearby Dearborn begins at the Henry Ford Museum, home to President John F. Kennedy’s limousine and the Rosa Parks bus. Continue your tour to Greenfield Village, where nearly 100 historical buildings have been relocated to create a demonstration of American life from the founding of the country through modern times.
Day 6 Cleveland, OH
Sail through Lake Erie for an introduction to the legendary American city of Cleveland, OH, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Explore this Great Lakes metropolis during an optional panoramic city tour via trolley. Don’t miss the Great Lakes Science Center and educational facility on the shores of Cleveland Harbor, along with the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum.
Day 7 Buffalo, NY
Located at the head of the Niagara River, Buffalo, NY is known for its sports, snow, and special sauce. Admire breathtaking views of world-famous Niagara Falls during an optional tour, including visits to the Whirlpool Overlook, the Table Rock area, and a boat ride on the Hornblower (passport required). Just steps away from where the vessel is docked, visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, home to 3 naval vessels, tanks, jets and other historical exhibits.
Day 8 Cruise the Welland Canal
Today, cruise the magnificent Welland Canal, which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Located in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, learn how ships travel through the locks of this gravity-flow canal. Transit through 8 locks which will lower the vessel 320 feet as you bypass the Niagara Escarpment and Niagara Falls.
Day 9 Rochester, NY
Explore Rochester, located on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Ontario. It sits at the middle of what has been called the 100 must-see miles of the Erie Canal. An optional tour offers stunning views of towering High Falls on the Genesee River and showcases the city's most notable landmarks.
Day 10 Oswego, NY 
Departing from Oswego harbor, enter Lock #8 of the Oswego Canal. One of 4 branches of the NY State Barge Canal System. Cruise the Oswego Canal and then begin your journey on the Erie Canal.
Day 11 Sylvan Beach, NY
After dinner this evening, disembark the vessel to explore Sylvan Beach, NY. This quiet town was founded around 1840. Railroads and ferries were the only form of public transportation and made the village a desirable resort community. The Village of Sylvan Beach was incorporated in 1971.
Day 12 Amsterdam, NY
Cruise along the Erie Canal through historic towns and villages. Today, an optional excursion takes you to picturesque Cooperstown, NY, located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Experience an optional tour to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Farmer’s Museum or Fennimore Art Museum. 
Day 13 Troy, NY
The highlight of the Erie Canal, enjoy a leisurely sail to Troy, NY. 5 locks will lower the vessel 169’, by passing Cahoes Falls where the Mohawk River flows into the Hudson. Later, watch as the retractable pilot-house is raised back to its full height. Tonight, delight in the local culture during an onboard musical performance.
Day 14 Kingston, NY
In Kingston, NY, dock in Rondout Creek just off the Hudson River. Included in your cruise is a visit to the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Next, you may join an optional visit to Hyde Park or the Vanderbilt Mansion (based on availability). The Hyde Park excursion includes a visit to “Springwood,” the estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt, now home to his presidential library and museum (tour available eastbound only).
Day 15 West Point, NY* 
Travel to West Point, NY, home of the prestigious United States Military Academy, where you may opt to take a tour of its magnificent campus and admire its famed Gothic Revival-style Chapel. *Ability to tour West Point is subject to availability, determined by the U.S. government.
Day 16 New York, NY
Take in the view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, and the Big Apple’s world-famous skyline. Docked in Chelsea Pier, explore the New York High Line and Chelsea Market. Later join an optional private bus tour of New York City, led by a professional guide.
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
Share 16 unforgettable days with captain, crew and fellow passengers as we make our way from Chicago to New York via 4 of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. When we make port in Manitowoc, WI, you can visit the Maritime Museum and board a WWII submarine. On Mackinac Island, MI, you’ll think you’ve traveled back in time to horse-drawn carriages as you take high tea in the Grand Hotel. 
At our stop in Wyandotte, MI, you can see the Henry Ford Museum featuring exhibits that capture the American spirit of inventiveness and ingenuity. In Cleveland, OH, we’ve put together an optional tour with everything from mansions on “Millionaires’ Row,” to Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The excitement spills over as our next destination, Buffalo, NY, offers you a chance to see the magnificent Niagara Falls! Next is Rochester, NY, with stunning views of towering High Falls on the Genesee River and other notable landmarks. But there’s even more to see in the New York cities and towns to come. 
At Oswego, we enter the Erie Canal where you’ll enjoy the natural landscape and marvel at the man-made locks that make this canal navigable. Enjoy the quiet town of Sylvan Beach, before we make for Amsterdam where you can tour Baseball’s Hall of Fame. At Troy, we go through the last 5 locks of our journey, then to the Hudson River and the city of Kingston for a chance to visit the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. 
Next is West Point, home of the United States Military Academy. And finally, it’s the one and only New York City, with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park and the New York skyline. No wonder the Great American Waterways Cruise is our top seller. It’s a journey you’ll retrace in your mind again and again.
  • Cruise the famed Erie and Oswego Canals for a total of 30 locks going where no other overnight cruise lines can go.
  • On Victorian-era Mackinac Island, enjoy learning about the history of this region.
  • Cruise through four Great Lakes – Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.
  • Witness the unique feat of lowering the ship’s pilot house for traveling under low bridges.
  • View the stunning New York Harbor and pass by the Statue of Liberty.

Accommodations on this Tour
Category I cabin onboard the Grande Mariner or Grand Caribe

  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Port charges: $395.
  • Optional sightseeing tours are at an additional cost. All itineraries including ports, activities and routes are subject to change based on availability, weather, river, water levels and sea conditions.
  • Passport required for Niagara Falls optional tour.
  • Travel to West Point is subject to availability.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.

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