Monday, September 03, 2018

Great Lakes Cruise

Victory I

Just returned from a 10-day cruise of the Great Lakes, organized by the UCLA Alumni Association. We left from Chicago and flew home from Toronto. En route, we visited all five lakes, if only for a couple of hours (i.e., Lake Superior).

Our ship was the Victory I, a 200-passenger vessel much smaller than the massive 4,000-person oceanliners we're used to when traveling with Disney. Onboard "at lake" activities were pretty much restricted to lectures and tours of the galley and captain's bridge. Plus we calculated it took 14 laps of walking around the main deck to equal one mile, compared to the three laps on the Disney Wonder.

Still we had a wonderful time, seeing new sights and talking to folks from around the country. The ship was filled with alums from many different institutions, all of whom were highly educated and lots of PhDs. Meals were open-seating, so we had our pick of breakfast, lunch and dinner companions. Surprisingly, we were among the youngest people onboard. We thought we were special celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary on the second day of the cruise, but were humbled to meet several couples well into their fifth decade of marriage. Everyone had a fascinating story to tell! 

Posts about the major ports-of-call follow below. But first let's start with a quick overview of life on the Victory I.

Arriving at Chicago O'Hare

Leaving Chicago at sunset

Our cozy cabin—no verandas on the Victory I

On vacation!

Third deck hallway—only four decks on the V1

Sailing past Sleeping Bear dunes, among the largest sand dunes
in North America

Traveling through the Sault Sainte Marie (pronounced Soo San Marie)
locks to briefly touch Lake Superior

Little Current on Manitoulin Island, Ontario

Even small towns have radio stations—three-in-one!

Swing bridge, leaving Manitoulin Island—don't have many of these
in L.A.!

Life on the water

Lots of charming lighthouses, this one on Strawberry Island

Good food onboard, including an open-air grill where
everyone cooks own dinner on 800+-degree hot lava stones (before)

And after . . .

Tim wondering what's under the chef's hat during the galley tour

Captain's bridge

Ship's helm (i.e., steering wheel) has been replaced by joysticks (yikes!)

Niagara Falls panorama

The Mighty Niagara

More Niagara

Sailing through Welland Canal en route to Lake Ontario—close shave!

Sunset on the lakes

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