Cruising the Great Lakes

Old Jun 28th, 2021, 06:25 PM
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Cruising the Great Lakes

Has anyone done a cruise on the Great Lakes? I am looking at American Cruise Lines and Viking.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2021, 09:11 AM
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Since there're aren't any replies, does that mean no one has done it or it's not worth it? Viking seems to have a fairly nice itinerary with lots of options for adventures at stops.
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 12:37 PM
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As I understand it, Great Lakes cruising is uncommon because the lakes are too rough for it to be all that fun for a smaller boat which could actually dock at many of the places people want to go. For example, if you take victory cruise lines, except for Mackinac Island, you only get to visit larger urban areas that you could get to by freeway If you like passive scenery watching you could just take Amtrack across the Midwest and sit in an observation car for a lot less trouble. Someone taking their own boat and starting in Chicago would instead visit all the little towns up the Michigan or Wisconsin coast, and also hug the shoreline closer and get an interesting view that way.

People who use their own boat will have more choices and the boat will be smaller. This allows them to have adventures at any small town they like, unless the marina is full. They will sleep overnight either on land, or while anchored somewhere secluded. Some are Loopers who are doing the Great Loop through the Mississippi and and the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

Back in 1835, as a tourist you could do a steamboat tour all the way from Detroit to Fort Howard (Green Bay). On this tourists' map there is an incredible itinerary with all sorts of stops at small, interesting places. If this interests you, you can search for The Tourist's Pocket Map Of Michigan by Samuel Augustus Mitchell 1835. Later on, Chicago was a hub for this, and still later, the steamboats would pick up tourists from railroad stops and take them the rest of the way. So there is a rich history of boat tours which petered out in the 20th century when people more by land instead. Some discussion of this is on the door county wikipedia article.

There are still ferries across the Mississippi, which may even be free for passengers and cars. Others like the Dorena-Hickman Ferry charge. On the Great Lakes there are ferries like

S.S. Badger
Lake Express
Champion's Auto Ferry. Harsens Island.
Isle Royale Line Ferry Service
Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry
Plaunt Transportation
Grand Island Ferry
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Service
Two ferries to Washington Island, and one from Washington Island to Rock Island

So if you want to both see parks or smaller communities and don't want to rent a boat, you could arrange a car trip which involves several ferry rides.
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