Cruising the Great Lakes

September 17th, 2025 for 7 nights, from Toronto to Milwaukee.

This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.

Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian’s resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.

The special offer for double-occupancy is limited to the first 8 staterooms to sign-up and deposit. The special offer for SOLO is limited to the 1st stateroom.

Set sail with PONANT aboard Le Champlain for an 7 night cruise to discover the Great Lakes amidst the splendid colors of autumn, in partnership with Smithsonian Journeys and the Outlander Society.

You will leave from cosmopolitan and dynamic Toronto, Ontario, on the shore of Lake Ontario. Canada’s largest city will charm you with its museums, parks, and gardens.

Le Champlain will then transit the Welland Canal connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. From your call in Port Colborne, you will be able to see the impressive Niagara Falls. These three powerful waterfalls, renowned the world over, are an exquisite natural spectacle.

Your next lake, Lake Huron, boasts myriad islands in its northern sector, with white rocks capped with conifers plunging into the sapphire waters of the lake. Here you will discover the charming city of Parry Sound, in the heart of the fantastic UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Georgian Bay, and the quaint town of Little Current, gateway to Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island.

From Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, you will have the opportunity to transit the engineering marvel of the Soo Locks for a foray into Lake Superior, before continuing to Mackinac Island for an exploration of the island’s Victorian past by horse and buggy.

End your voyage by sailing the length of Lake Michigan, a veritable inland sea, following in the footsteps of the region’s indigenous Americans, first settlers, and trappers. Make your way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the United States’ “brew city,” for disembarkation.

Full Itinerary


Embarkation 9/17/2025 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Departure 9/17/2025 at 5:30 PM

Port Colborne


Arrival 9/18/2025 early morning
Departure 9/18/2025 late afternoon

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.

Sailing Lake Erie


Arrival 9/18/2025
Departure 9/18/2025

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.

Sailing through Detroit


Arrival 9/19/2025
Departure 9/19/2025

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.

Sailing St. Clair River


Arrival 9/19/2025
Departure 9/19/2025

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.

Sailing Lake Huron


Arrival 9/20/2025
Departure 9/20/2025

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.

Sailing along Flowerpot Island


Arrival 9/20/2025
Departure 9/20/2025

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.

Parry Sound


Arrival 9/20/2025 early morning
Departure 9/20/2025 late afternoon

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. 

Little Current


Arrival 9/21/2025 early morning
Departure 9/21/2025 late afternoon

A small port town located along the North Channel of Lake HuronLittle Current is considered to be the gateway to Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. The town’s emblematic construction, the Little Current Swing Bridge built in 1913, provides the only land access to the island, peaceful lands whose name means “the island of spirits” in the local dialect. A real haven of peace, sheltering wild nature and some hamlets, the place is ideal for outdoor activities such as horse-riding and hiking.

Sault Ste. Marie


Arrival 9/22/2025 early morning
Departure 9/22/2025 early evening

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.

Mackinac Island


Arrival 9/23/2025 early morning
Departure 9/23/2025 midday

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.

Sailing Lake Michigan


Arrival 9/23/2025
Departure 9/23/2025

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 9/24/2025 early morning
Disembarkation 9/24/2025 at 8:00 AM

Included Group Transfer to the Airport.

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.

Le Champlain – Our Small Luxury Ship


Le Champlain

An attentive service

Whatever your tastes, our attentive and professional staff are at your service to ensure your cruise will be one to be remembered. Even under the most extreme climatic conditions, you can be sure of great comfort and an exceptional service which are the hallmark of our line.

The French way of life

We want to make sure the French way of life voyages across all of the world’s oceans. As part of our ongoing search for excellence we associate with partners who share the same policy.

In terms of gastronomy take advantage of a sweet snack with Pierre Hermé Paris macaroons, taste a selection of bread, baguettes and Vienese bread and clink glasses of champagne at gala dinners. Dyptique bath products embalm the cabins while Fragonard environment scents diffuse a pleasant fragrance around the ship.

Butler service

Our butler service is reserved for passengers travelling in one of the suites situated on Deck 6 aboard Le BoréalL’AustralLe Soléal or Le Lyrial, as well as all the Owner suites, Deluxe Suites, Privilege Suites and the Prestige Suites situated on Deck 6 aboard the PONANT EXPLORERS.
Attentive and discreet, your butler will provide a fully personalized service. Throughout your cruise, he will be at your service. You will benefit in this way from a bespoke, carefree voyage.

Laundry service

For optimal comfort, a laundry service* is offered on each of our ships. You will find laundry pricing, bags and slips inside your stateroom. During your entire cruise, your steward or stewardess will be available to take care of washing and ironing** your clothing within 48 hours.

*Dry cleaning is not available.
**These are paid-for services and will be directly charged to your stateroom’s account.

Room service

Whether you wish to have breakfast in the privacy of your stateroom, savour a snack in the middle of the day or enjoy your dinner in an intimate setting, our Room Service is available for you. Have a gourmet interlude and treat yourself from a varied menu at any time of day or night *.

Pillow Menu

All of our teams are available to help ensure your ultimate comfort onboard. That means paying attention to the smallest details. That’s why, you can select the pillow that best suits you from our “special menu“.

Standard Open Bar

From the moment you board and throughout your cruise, your unlimited drinks are included*, at any time of the day. A drink with friends at the bar, refreshments on your return from an excursion or in the calm of your Stateroom’s balcony: enjoy a large selection of beverages (mineral waters, cold drinks, cruise wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee, tea).
 A selection of premium alcoholic drinks is also available “à la carte”.

*It doesn’t include premium alcoholic drinks indicated in the Bar Menu. It is valid only for individual personal consumption, without limitations.

Free & unlimited Wi-Fi

Whatever their cabin class, all our passengers have access to Wi-Fi free of charge everywhere on board and on all the vessels in our fleet. By means of a satellite link, Wi-Fi is accessible in most of the regions we sail to, even the most isolated.

Free Gratuities


Ponant’s new Explorer Series yachts distinguish themselves by their sophisticated styling, innovative “green” technology and attentive service while offering a refined, small ship cruising experience.

The six passenger decks include a panoramic main dining room, a casual restaurant, main lounge, a pool equipped with a counter-current swimming system, solarium and outdoor bar and lounge.

A built-in hydraulic platform with adjustable heights that allow for easy access to the sea for swimming, water sports and embarkation/disembarkation for on shore excursions.

Staterooms (204 to 296 sq. ft.) & Suites (296 to 484 sq. ft.) have ocean views and most have private balconies. Decorated by French designers, staterooms offer individually controlled air conditioning and two twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed and come equipped with video on demand, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, electronic safe, hair dryer, iPod Dock and minibar.


  • Two onboard restaurants, a main panoramic restaurant on Deck 4 and the more casual outdoor grill on Deck 3 offer a variety of options with specialty menus available for those with specific dietary requirements
  •  All included bar and restaurant beverages available throughout the day aboard ship, including house wines and spirits
  • A state-of-the-art, 188-person capacity theatre provides an intimate space for lectures and entertainment equipped with the latest sound and lighting technology and a LED wall as the stage backdrop for projection of high-resolution images & videos
  • Spa and fitness center
  • 24-hour room service
  • Elevators service all passenger decks


Services provided

  • 24-hour room service
  • Inclusive Wifi internet access (availability dependent on navigation and latitude)
  • Individually-controlled air conditioning
  • Dressing room with shelves and closet
  • Dressing table and hairdryer
  • Diptyque Paris top-of-the-line bath products
  • Minibar
  • Nespresso coffee maker and boiler
  • Electronic safe
  • Direct line telephone
  • Bose Bluetooth speaker
  • Flat screen TV, international channels (availability dependent on navigation) and videos on demand
  • 110V American (two flat pins)/220V European (round sockets with two round pins)
  • Two ADA staterooms


Double Occupancy
Per Person
Prestige StateroomVeranda Deck 4$9580
Prestige StateroomVeranda Deck 5CALL
Privilege SuiteSuite w/ Veranda
Deck 6
Above is the per person price based on double-occupancy and availability. Higher level category suites are available, call for pricing. Deposit is $2345 per person for the Prestige Veranda Deck 4. More details below.

The first 8 double-occupancy staterooms that deposits will receive $500 per person discount! This offer expires April 30th, 2024.

SOLO / Single Traveler
Cabin Cost
Prestige StateroomVeranda Deck 4CALL
Prestige StateroomVeranda Deck 5CALL
Above is the single traveler pricing based on solo-occupancy and limited availability. Deposit is CALL. More details below. Higher level category suites are available, call for pricing. We can try to help you find a roomate for you to both share double-occupancy rate with 2 beds.

The first SOLO stateroom that deposits will receive a $3500 discount. Any other SOLO cabins will get the $500 discount. This offer expires April 30th, 2024.

How to Sign Up

Pricing includes the Cruise & Land Program, and taxes. Does not include Airfare. Optional insurance available (for residents of most states) but may need to be adjusted for airfare. Prices and fares are non-refundable so you will need the insurance to cancel. The insurance is not “cancel for any reason”; cancellation is only reimbursed for a covered reason. 

Please note that until deposited, pricing is subject to change and based on availability.

Want to go? Simply complete this Secure Payment Form to authorize nonrefundable deposit shown above (plus recommended insurance, which will be quoted). For the name of the trip put “Great Lakes 2025” .

Final Payment is April 20th, 2025.

Unless we already have it, please complete this Secure Passport Form for each passenger. Questions simply call us 843-279-0310 or email .

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