Cruising the Great Lakes from Toronto Harbour with Victory Cruise Lines
Have you ever dreamed of sailing or boating on the Great Lakes? If so, this cruise is for you!
In spring 2019, Victory Cruise Lines introduced Great Lake Cruises departing from the Toronto Harbour to Chicago (and reverse) with stops in iconic cities and famed destinations such as Cleveland with a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Detroit with a visit to the Henry Ford Museum, and the idyllic Mackinac Island in Michigan, where no cars are allowed!
The 202-passenger M/V Victory 1 and M/V Victory II offer the advantage of smaller ship sailing with easy access to ports (with excursions included), delicious food, all-inclusive non-premium wines or spirits and more. The vessels also sail east to explore the Maritimes and New England with journeys from Niagara Falls to Boston and the Maritimes being added for 2020 sailings.
Having recently taken the Great Lakes Cruise from Toronto to Chicago, this is a bucket-list trip where you leave the driving and navigating to the ship’s captain as you sit back and relax and enjoy the mystery and magic of the Great Lakes. Onboard experiences provided by guest speakers and the ship’s tour director offer intriguing tidbits about the history and highlights of the Great Lakes. Guests also enjoy games, the daily cocktail hour, the onboard pub, afternoon tea, delicious food and wines, and there’s even a spa!
The inaugural year was a great success, with 25 of the 35 cruises being 80 percent occupancy and higher and 12 cruises were completely sold out! Victory Cruise Lines also boasts guest satisfaction scores of 9.10 out of 10. Some 5,500 passengers enjoyed the inaugural year of sailing.
The 2020 itinerary from Toronto begins on May 29, with several nine-day cruises from Toronto to Chicago, with new sailings added from Niagara Falls (Ontario) to Chicago. There is also a 13-day cruise from Niagara Falls to Boston, Massachusetts which travels through the St. Lawrence Seaway with stops in port cities like Montreal, Quebec City, Charlottetown, PEI; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Portland, Maine and then Boston, Massachusetts.
Victory Cruise Lines has also announced new cruise destinations to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Southeast U.S.A. as part of the New 2020 Discover Beyond™ Itineraries.
“Following the success of Victory Cruise Lines’ inaugural year on the Great Lakes, we knew guests had an appetite for small-ship, discovery-designed cruises in the Caribbean and Central America,” says John Waggoner, Founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company which owns and operates Victory Cruise Lines. “As we expand our itineraries, we will continue delivering the immersive shore excursions and customer service Victory Cruise Lines is known for.”
is a sampling of some of the new destination cruises happening in
American Southeast Cruise: Jacksonville, Florida to Freeport, Grand Bahama, Nine-day Cruise (April 5, November 15, 29, December 13, 2020; Reverse March 29, November 8, 22, December 6, 2021). Ports include Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Brunswick, Georgia; Fernandina Beach, Florida; Port Canaveral, Florida and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Yucatán Peninsula: Roundtrip Cancun, Mexico, Nine-Day Cruise (November 14, 21, 28, 2020) Explore the architectural wonders including Tulum and Chichén Itzá, two of Central America’s best-preserved Mayan cities, as well as soaring cathedrals dating back to the 1600s and charming markets along cobblestone streets. A stay on shore near Valladolid will reveal the unparalleled hospitality of the Yucatán with an authentic lunch and dinner at a local restaurant and a night at Mayaland Hotel, which has been family owned and operated since 1923. Ports of call include Cancun, Mexico with a pre-voyage stay; Puerto Morales, Mexico; Progreso, Mexico with an onshore stay near Valladolid, Mexico and Campeche, Mexico.
Yucatán Peninsula & Panama: Cancun, Mexico to Panama City/Colón, Panama, 10-Day Cruise (December 5, 2020) This special cruise tours some of Central America’s most beautiful and culturally rich destinations. Starting with a hotel-stay in Cancun, Mexico, guests will then cruise south to Costa Maya to feast on traditional Mexican cuisine accompanied by local chocolate and tequila. Divers and snorkelers will be astounded by the natural beauty of Roatán, Honduras and San Andrés, Colombia while history and culture lovers will adore Belize City, Belize and Limón, Costa Rica for their afro-Caribbean influences and fascinating Mayan archeological sites. Ports of call include Cancun, Mexico; Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Roatán, Honduras; San Andrés, Colombia; Limón, Costa Rica and Panama City/Colón, Panama.
Costa Rica & Panama: Panama City/Colón to San José/Puntarenas, Costa Rica on M/V Victory II Nine-Day Cruise: December 13 This journey starts with a sailing through the Panama Canal, a true feat of engineering, before entering the pristine wilderness of Costa Rica. Golfito, Costa Rica boasts some of the tallest rainforests in Central America, a rugged wilderness where a stunning array of species thrive and a fascinating chocolate tour. The quaint and perfectly preserved coastal towns of Quepos and Puntarenas are rich with international history and guests can enjoy a relaxing day on the beach spotting monkeys in the mangroves. Ports of call include Panama City, Panama with a pre-voyage stay; Golfito, Costa Rica; Quepos, Costa Rica; Puntarenas, Costa Rica and San José, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
The parent company American Queen Steamboat Company is renowned for their romantic and historic river cruises aboard the American Queen, the largest and most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field and towering six decks in height, the beautiful ship is laced with fanciful gingerbread trim and is a marvel of modern engineering. Cruising on some of America’s most iconic rivers (such as the Mississippi) the American Queen stops in cities like Memphis, New Orleans and others. The American Duchess and American Countess were added to the fleet to provide cruise experiences on the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, while the American Empress serves the Pacific Northwest. For additional information and reservations, please contact Victory Cruise Lines, operated by American Queen Steamboat Company, at 888-907-2636, visit www.victorycruiselines.com or call a professional travel agent.
by Laurie Wallace-Lynch
Photos supplied by American Queen Steamboat Company
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