Clipper Cruises reshapes Great Lakes sailings

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ST. LOUIS -- Clipper Cruise Line restructured its Great Lakes small-ship cruising program this year by cutting the duration of the cruise by nearly half.

The cruises have run as 15-day itineraries since Clipper entered the Great Lakes in the mid-1990s, and, according to a Clipper spokeswoman, the departures always filled up. This year the company increased its capacity by cutting the programs to eight to 10 days and adding more departures.

The result is four new itineraries for July and August, using the 100-passenger Nantucket Clipper. The itineraries break the lakes into sections, creating the opportunity to book back-to-back cruises, for which Clipper gives a 10% discount.

According to spokeswoman, the Great Lakes program offers sightseeing experiences that can be called "exotic," despite its North America location. Passengers are accompanied by a historian and a naturalist.

"You see a lot of out-of-the-way places you wouldn't necessarily go to otherwise," said the spokeswoman. "There are so many great things to experience so close to home."

The programs are as follows:

• St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands: A nine-day program that includes Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y. Priced from $2,400 (all prices are per person, double); departs July 26, Aug. 3 and Aug. 25.

• Cruising Lake Erie and Lake Huron: A 10-day cruise that departs from Buffalo and calls in Windsor and Goderich, Ontario, and Mackinaw City and Port Huron, Mich. Priced from $2,700; departs July 17.

• Exploring Lake Huron: An eight-day roundtrip cruise from Port Huron that visits small villages along Lake Huron. Priced from $2,140; departs July 10.

• Route of the Traders and Explorers: An eight-day cruise from Buffalo to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., with optional extensions on the Agawa Canyon Train or to Niagara Falls and Toronto. Priced from $2,100; departs Aug. 11 and 18.

For more information, see www.clippercruise.com or call (800) 325-0010.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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