After the passengers board, the ship sails from Chicago across Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island, where you step back to the Victorian era, when horse-drawn carriages were the only means of transportation. Even today, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the island—just bicycles and the carriage that takes you to the remarkably restored Fort Mackinac, a key military outpost in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The day’s high point is an opulent luncheon served at the legendary Grand Hotel, built in 1887 to entertain the wealthy summer crowd.
Next, take in Georgian Bay, a pretty, island-dotted region in Lake Huron. Manitoulin Island, your next destination, is the largest freshwater island on the planet. After docking in Little Current, on the northern coast of the isle, enjoy a show of traditional dancing and drumming from Canada’s indigenous Ojibwe people.
The ship enters Lake Superior, the largest of the five lakes, via the Soo Locks; to continue its cruise through the Great Lakes, your ship reverses direction and returns to Lake Huron, joining the 10,000 ships that pass through the locks each year.