Open 9 am - 5 pm


  • See the impressive Niagara Falls from Port Colborne.
  • Explore Little Current, the gateway to Manitoulin Island.
  • Pass through the Soo Locks and visit Mackinac Island.
  • Enjoy rich lectures and discussions with Dr. Karen Murchie, Shedd's Director of Freshwater Research, and other experts onboard.
  • A black-crowned night heron sits in a tree.
  • A forested hill along a lake is studded with cute whitewashed churches and homes.
  • Rainbow trout have a long, stocky bodies and can grow to lengths of 6 to 16 inches.
  • A orange, pink and purple sunset behind a bridge.
  • Where the water meets the rocky shore of a beach in Toronto, sea gulls and a swan preen and stand around in the bright afternoon sunlight. In the background, a green park, studded with trees, is visible.

Top: © Wiltser/Getty Images, Third row: © jimfeng/Getty Images,

Researcher Karen Murchie standing in a forest.

Your Expert Trip Host

Dr. Karen Murchie oversees a staff of Shedd research biologists engaged in freshwater biodiversity conservation efforts, with her own work focusing on fish migrations in the Great Lakes. She brings a diverse background in fisheries research and, at nearly every port of call on this Shedd Adventure, has collaborated with stakeholders to manage and protect the native species in our Great Lakes. Each of these experiences is a story she is excited to share with you, adding a richness to the incredible itinerary only made possible with someone who knows the area so intimately and has made it her life’s dedication to protecting it. Dr. Murchie looks forward to sharing this time with you immersed in the beauty of our Great Lakes.

A cheerful historic street lined with bicycles.

Photo by: © Michael Deemer/Getty Images

Itinerary (8 days/7 nights)

Wednesday, August 28

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Embark (D)

Thursday, August 29

Welland Canal

Be on board as the ship passes through seven locks of the Welland Canal, raising the ship 328 feet from the water level in Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. (B, L, D)

Friday, August 30

Port Colborne, Niagara Falls | Sailing Lake Erie

Port Colborne is your gateway to iconic Niagara Falls. Your excursion to this natural wonder includes a 20-minute ride in a specially designed vessel that brings you within feet of the falls and their spray. Sail along Lake Erie, keeping an eye out for migratory birds. (B,L,D)

Saturday, August 31

Detroit, St. Clair River

Sail through Detroit, taking in views of Motor City and Ambassador Bridge. Cruise the St. Clair River, used by French fur traders in the 18th century, on the way to Lake Huron. (B,L,D)

Sunday, September 1

Little Current, Manitoulin Island

Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island and home to the thriving Native American community of the M’Chigeeng First Nation. Learn about the history and traditions of this community on a visit to the museum and art gallery of the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, where you will be invited to participate in the traditional ceremony of dance, drumming and song called ‘Pow-Wow.’ Or kayak in the clean, cool waters of the Kagawong River in the hopes of sighting beavers, muskrats and waterfowl along its banks. (B,L,D)

An arch of stone frames a view of blue lake waters.

Photo by: © Steven Milligan/Getty Images

Monday, September 2

Saul Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States

Sault Ste. Marie is home to the Soo Locks, the busiest locks in the world. Learn more about the locks on an excursion that includes passage along the St. Mary's River and a tour of the massive freighter SS Valley Camp, which has been converted into a museum. Alternatively, you may travel to Tahquamenon Falls State Park for a leisurely stroll through the woodlands that surround the falls, followed by a tour of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on the shores of Lake Superior at Whitefish Bay. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, September 3

Mackinac Island | Sailing Lake Michigan

Arrive on beautiful Mackinac Island, a Victorian-era haven where cars are forbidden and bicycles share the road with horse-drawn carriages. Your excursion includes a tour of the island aboard one of these carriages, passing by the landmark Grand Hoteland pausing to take in the sights at Arch Rock before continuing to historic Fort Mackinac. This afternoon, Le Champlain passes through the Straits of Mackinac. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, September 4

Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Disembark (B)


The deluxe, five-star Le Champlain is the second ship in the PONANT EXPLORERS series. Like the rest of the PONANT EXPLORERS series, Le Champlain successfully manages to subtly combine the desire to explore the remotest regions of the planet with the comfort and privacy of a cosily intimate ship. Le Champlain is a small-capacity ship with 92 staterooms and a crew of 118. Guests will enjoy attentive service, gourmet French-inspired cuisine and a relaxed, congenial ambiance. The PONANT EXPLORER ships are certified Clean Ships and meet the highest environmental standards for energy conservation and resource management. Call PONANT at 1-877-415-0407 to choose your state room.


  • Comprehensive 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Champlain
  • Two Smithsonian Journeys experts to join guests and provide onboard enrichment
  • Complete program of shore excursions led by expert guides
  • Welcome cocktail reception
  • Captain's gala dinner
  • All meals aboard ship, including early riser’s coffee and pastry, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner
  • Open bar aboard ship, including select wines with lunch and dinner
  • 24-hour room service
  • Unlimited WiFi (as available via satellite connection)
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials
  • All transfers on official group arrival and departure days and porterage
  • Port taxes and charges
  • Gratuities to shipboard personnel, porters, guides and drivers

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airport taxes
  • Passport and visa fees and/or immigration reciprocity taxes (if applicable)
  • Trip cancellation and baggage insurance
  • Independent meals and beverages ashore
  • Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, etc.)
Wooden structure extending into the shallow water of Lake Michigan near the Crisp Point Lighthouse

Getting There and Getting Home

You will need to make your own travel arrangements to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

Cancellations and Refunds

  • From confirmation of booking date up to 91 days (May 29, 2024) prior to departure: 10% of full fare to be kept by PONANT
  • 90-61 days (May 30, 2024 - June 28, 2024) prior to departure: 50% of full fare to be kept by PONANT
  • Within 60 days (June 29, 2024) prior to departure: 100% of full fare to be kept by PONANT

*We recommend travel insurance in the event of unforeseen circumstances and can make recommendations if requested.


Email Shannon Fuller for more information or call PONANT at 1-877-415-0407 to sign up. Reference the Shedd Aquarium group when booking.

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