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 North America's Freshwater Seas are cultured. They’re generally affluent, well traveled and middle-aged. They’re experienced cruisers, many having sailed the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska, Australia and South America.

They want something new, to expand their personal horizons with cultural immersions. And the Freshwater Seas are filled with interest—historical and modern, and binational. Excursions are a mix of native traditions and global impact, including the advent of the automobile and mining the iron ore that becomes the steel foundation of society. There are cobblestone streets, skyscrapers, wineries, award-winning cuisine and views to take your breath away.

The ships sailing the unsalted waters generally carry 80 to 200 passengers. The luxury vessels are a home base for more than 20 current itineraries. Countless possible tours along the shores of eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces remain to be discovered.

Local ports, convention and visitors bureaus, and state marketing agencies are on hand to assist shipowners in establishing new ports and activities. Many of the cruises include pre-cruise packages for major cities where passengers may fly into, such as Chicago, Illinois and Toronto, Ontario.


Along the way, passengers have diverse encounters. They disembark onto Mackinac Island for horse and carriage rides, at the Dutch community of Holland, Michigan to tour Windmill Island Gardens or to experience the historic flavor of Quebec City. Touring the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio is always a hit. Visiting the Navy Pier and the John Hancock Building are Chicago favorites.

Often, tours include stops at four or five U.S. states and four or five Canadian ports.

Passenger cruising in North America’s Freshwater Seas has evolved. But most say the best days are ahead as cruise lines and their passengers tap into the deeper value of the region’s natural beauty. The potential is endless. To get a better glimpse of the possibilities, please see the map.