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Great American Waterways

Great American Waterways

At a glance

Duration: 16 Days, 15 Nights

Coverage: Chicago, IL to New York, NY

From: $5,149

Season: June - September

Activities: History, Sightseeing

Book this Trip › or call us toll-free 1-888-815-5428

Blount Small Ship Adventures

One of America's greatest feats of vision and ingenuity, the Erie Canal is a must see. Only Blount's small ships can take you through this scenic and historic region. Their best seller, Great American Waterways explore 4 Great Lakes, The Erie Canal and Hudson River. This 16 day journey between Chicago and New York is a small ship adventure to add to your bucket list.

Share 16 unforgettable days with captain, crew and fellow passengers as we make our way from Chicago to New York via 4 of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. When we make port in Manitowoc, WI, you can visit the Maritime Museum and board a WWII submarine. On Mackinac Island, MI, you’ll think you’ve traveled back in time to horse-drawn carriages as you take high tea in the Grand Hotel.

At the stop in Wyandotte, MI, you can see the Henry Ford Museum featuring exhibits that capture the American spirit of inventiveness and ingenuity. In Cleveland, OH, we’ve put together an optional tour with everything from mansions on “Millionaires’ Row,” to Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The excitement spills over as our next destination, Buffalo, NY, offers you a chance to see the magnificent Niagara Falls! Next is Rochester, NY, with stunning views of towering High Falls on the Genesee River and other notable landmarks. But there’s even more to see in the New York cities and towns to come.

At Oswego, we enter the Erie Canal where you’ll enjoy the natural landscape and marvel at the man-made locks that make this canal navigable. Enjoy the quiet town of Sylvan Beach, before we make for Amsterdam where you can tour Baseball’s Hall of Fame. At Troy, we go through the last 5 locks of our journey, then to the Hudson River and the city of Kingston for a chance to visit the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Next is West Point, home of the United States Military Academy. And finally, it’s the one and only New York City, with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park and the New York skyline. No wonder the Great American Waterways Cruise is our top seller. It’s a journey you’ll retrace in your mind again and again.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Onboard Early Arrival

Enjoy an extra night of exploration and leisure in the Windy City. The “Early Arrival” option affords guests the opportunity to board the ship one day early, settle into their private cabin, and explore downtown Chicago at their leisure. For just $150 per person, passengers may board the vessel at 5 pm and enjoy a dinner prepared by the chef, as well as a hot breakfast the following morning.

Day 1 - Chicago, IL

Your voyage begins in Chicago, one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the country. Chicago is a vibrant city known for its amazing architecture, cutting edge cultural offerings and rich historical import as the shining metropolis of middle America. Take in the gleaming skyline nestled against the sunset as your adventure starts with an overnight sail to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Day 2 - Manitowoc, WI

Enjoy an early morning arrival in Manitowoc, Wisconsin’s Maritime Capital. Nestled at the mouth of the Manitowoc River, it is home to several notable American companies, including the crane manufacturer of the same name. Manitowoc is also home to excellent museums, including the Rahr-West art museum, housed in a Victorian mansion, and the Wisconsin Nautical Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate which features a World War II submarine. Manitowoc is also close to Whistling Straits golf course, a traditional waterfront links course that hosted of the 2015 PGA Championships. Set sail in the early afternoon and wake up in Mackinac Island, a US National Historic Landmark.

Day 3 - Mackinac Island, MI

Mackinac Island sits astride the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, just east of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. There are no cars on the island, and the old town embodies the grace of the Victorian era with beautifully preserved historic homes and horse-drawn carriages. An optional carriage tour of the island includes entrance to the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory and Surrey Hill Square Carriage Museum. A second excursion invites you to the Grand Hotel for a traditional afternoon tea. Alternatively, you can walk or bike the island’s 140 miles of trails, set in pristine natural surroundings including unique limestone formations and secluded beaches. Depart with the setting sun and arrive tomorrow in Wyandotte, Michigan.

Day 4 - Cruise Lake Huron

Admire the beautiful views of Lake Huron. Cruise past freighters or “Lakers” as they are called by many, while transiting the Detroit and St. Clair River System; a major throughway for vessels traveling between the western and eastern Great Lakes. This river system serves as the border between the U.S. and Canada as it flows through Detroit, under the ambassador bridge, the busiest border crossing in the U.S. and Canada and into Lake Erie.

Day 5 - Wyandotte, MI

Spend a full day in Wyandotte, Michigan, on the quiet shores of the Detroit River. An optional tour in nearby Dearborn begins at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, home to President John F. Kennedy’s limousine, the Rosa Parks bus and the only existing Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion House. Continue your tour to Greenfield Village, where nearly 100 historical buildings have been relocated to create a demonstration of American life from the 1700s through modern times.

Day 6 - Cleveland, OH

Wake up early to catch a spectacular Lake Erie sunrise before arriving in Cleveland, OH, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Explore this Great Lakes metropolis during an optional city tour via trolley or walk down West 25th street to explore the hip districts of Ohio City and Tremont on your way to West Side Market, a Cleveland landmark since 1912. Don’t miss the Great Lakes Science Center and educational facility on the shores of Cleveland Harbor, along with the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum. Depart this evening for a cruise to Buffalo, at the eastern tip of Lake Erie.

Day 7 - Buffalo, NY

Disembark at the mouth of the Niagara River to explore “the City of Good Neighbors,” known for its sports, snow, and special sauce. Don’t be surprised by the city’s vibrant sailing scene, as the city’s residents take advantage of the waterfront during the short but beautiful summer season. Just steps away from where the vessel is docked, visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, home to 3 naval vessels, tanks, jets and other historical exhibits. Admire breathtaking views of world-famous Niagara Falls during an optional tour, including visits to the Whirlpool Overlook, the Table Rock area, and a boat ride with Hornblower, Niagara Falls’ only boat tour experience (passport required).

Day 8 - Cruise the Welland Canal

Descend the 326 feet of elevation change between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario by traversing the eight mighty locks of the Welland Shipping Canal. Built in 1824 and expanded four times since, this 27 mile segment of the St. Lawrence Seaway is a true marvel of modern technological innovation, built to bypass Niagara Falls and capable of accommodating cargo ships up to 740 feet long. Admire the impressive locks, twinned flight locks, and bridges of various designs as Blount takes you through a vital and active waterway that few cruise passengers will ever experience. After exiting the canal, sail along the southern shore of Lake Ontario to Rochester, NY.

Day 9 - Rochester, NY

Explore Rochester, situated in the middle Lake Ontario’s picturesque southern shore. Rochester is home to museums such as the Strong Museum of Play and the Susan B. Anthony House, as well as the birthplace of myriad successful companies such as Kodak, Western Union, French's, Bausch & Lomb, Gleason and Xerox. An optional tour showcases the city's most notable landmarks and offers stunning views of towering High Falls on the Genesee River, the economic driver of one of America’s first boomtowns. Depart in the early afternoon and spend the night in Oswego, NY.

Day 10 - Oswego, NY

After the crew disassembles the boat’s top deck and uses a chain hoist system to manually lower the pilot house a full deck level, leave Oswego harbor and enter the Oswego Canal, one of four branches of the NY State Barge Canal System. Cruise the canal’s seven locks, interspersed with beautiful, winding stretches of natural river, and then sail across Lake Oneida to make port in the quaint resort village of Sylvan Beach, so named for its beautiful sandy beach on the lake’s southern shore.

Day 11 - Sylvan Beach, NY

After dinner this evening, disembark the vessel to explore Sylvan Beach, NY. This quiet town was founded around 1840. Railroads and ferries were the only form of public transportation and made the village a desirable resort community. The Village of Sylvan Beach was incorporated in 1971.

Day 12 - Amsterdam, NY

Depart with the dawn to begin your two day adventure through the Erie Canal, America’s original commercial highway and an almost unimaginable feat of determination and human ingenuity at the time of its construction in the early 1800s. Cruise the historic waterway that transformed New York City into the economic powerhouse it remains to this day, and enjoy an optional excursion to Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmer’s Museum or the Fenimore Art Museum. Spend the night in Amsterdam, NY at Erie Canal Lock E11.

Day 13 - Troy, NY

Disembark from Amsterdam early in the morning and continue your descent through the Erie Canal to the Federal Lock and Dam at Troy, New York. Be sure to take advantage of the photo opportunities from Lock 5 onwards; these locks, circumventing Cohoes Falls and known as the Waterford Flight, will lower the vessel over 165 feet in just over a mile of distance. This is the greatest elevation change within the shortest distance of any canal in the world, and the descent offers spectacular views of the remaining locks and the surrounding scenery. Lock 4 offers particularly stunning perspectives of the Hudson River Valley. In the evening, watch the crew reassemble the top deck and raise the pilot house, then enjoy an onboard musical performance by local musicians.

Day 14 - Kingston, NY

Depart Troy before daybreak and cruise past the picturesque Rondout Creek Lighthouse to arrive in historic Kingston, New York. This charming town was one of the three largest Dutch settlements in the Hudson River Valley, along with Albany and New York City, and was named the first capital of New York when the state constitution was written in 1777. Walk to one of several parks in the area, or visit the Hudson Maritime Museum, the Trolley Museum of New York, or the Riverport Wooden Boat School, all located on Kingston’s old waterfront a short walk from the ship.

Day 15 - West Point, NY*

Depart Kingston and spend your afternoon touring the historic and meticulously maintained campus of West Point, the oldest continuously occupied military post in America and the home of the United States Military Academy. Take in incredible views of the Hudson River Valley as you learn about West Point’s unique geographical location and strategic importance to the continental army, as well as its rich tradition and role in training US military leadership since 1801. After your tour, cruise south past the majestic Hudson River Palisades and Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

Day 16 - New York, NY

Spend a full day exploring the cultural, financial and media capital of the world. Take a short walk to the beautiful Chelsea High Line, a New York Railway viaduct section that has been converted into an elevated park and is renowned as an icon of contemporary landscape architecture. Take in a Broadway show, head south to visit the World Trade Center or head north to wander the world-class museums of the Upper East Side. Alternatively, take a free Staten Island Ferry ride to enjoy panoramic vistas of Southern Manhattan, Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty, or take a short PATH train ride to Hoboken and take in a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline from Castle Point. Enjoy a special captain’s dinner to celebrate your final night onboard with your fellow passengers.

Great American Waterways

Dates & Rates

Dates Direction Ship 1 2 3 4 Single
Jun 20, 2020 New York to Chicago Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Jul 7, 2020 Chicago to New York Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 9, 2020 New York to Chicago Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 14, 2020 New York to Chicago Grande Caribe $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 26, 2020 Chicago to New York Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 31, 2020 Chicago to New York Grande Caribe $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Jun 20, 2021 New York to Chicago Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Jul 7, 2021 Chicago to New York Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 9, 2021 New York to Chicago Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 14, 2021 New York to Chicago Grande Caribe $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 26, 2021 Chicago to New York Grande Mariner $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059
Aug 31, 2021 Chicago to New York Grande Caribe $5,149 $6,899 $7,209 $7,829 $9,059

Sailings go in both directions, please contact us prior to making further plans.

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Port Charges: $395. All itineraries including ports, activities, and routes are subject to change based on availability, weather, river, water levels and sea conditions. Valid passport required for Niagara Falls excursion.


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