Category Archives: Great Lakes

From the St. Lawrence Seaway to Chicago – Exploration in your Back Yard

Great Lakes ExplorationWhile it’s thrilling to travel to and explore foreign, exotic lands, sometimes we forget about the adventures in our own back yard. The Great Lakes make up the largest inland sea in the world. These five interconnected lakes hold 21 percent of the world’s fresh water and cover an area larger than the entire United Kingdom. The lakes are home to an astonishing variety of fish and water birds. The scenery—including the lakes’ 35,000 islands—is among the most spectacular in North America. And the grand entry of the lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, is one of the engineering marvels of the world.

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Former Cruise West Ships – Where are they now?

Cruise WestBack in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.

Spirit of Oceanus

Spirit of Oceanus / Sea SpiritThe one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.

Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.

Sea Spirit Itineraries

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Two Former Cruise West Ships Reappointed within 24 Hours

I just find it so interesting that two of the now defunct Cruise West ships have been re-appointed within the past 24 hours.

We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises are very happy these fine ships continue to be utilized, providing memorable experiences for thousands of travelers.

Yorktown to Sail Great Lakes / Atlantic Coast for Travel Dynamics

The Yorktown

Travel Dynamics International, a leading operator of high-caliber educational programs aboard small cruise ships, recently announced that they have acquired the Spirit of Yorktown from the now defunct Cruise West cruise line. The ship, renamed “Yorktown,” will sail the Atlantic Coast, Canandian Maritimes and Great Lakes during the summer of 2012.

The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. Built in Florida in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Yorktown flies the American flag and will be staffed by friendly and experienced American officers and crew. 257 feet long, 43 feet wide, with a draft of 8 feet, the Yorktown is able to maneuver in secluded waterways and visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Read the rest of this entry

Small ship lines help Cruise West passengers

If you were booked or thinking of booking Cruise West, we need to talk.
By now you should have applied for your refund through your credit card, travel insurance or USTOA.

My other small ship operators are reaching out to accommodate Cruise West passengers. There are a number of options depending on your destination. Some are similar to the Cruise West product, others different. This is where you need a small ship expert like Linda, Sunstone Tours to help you. Give us a call 888-815-5428

American Safari Cruises have offered reduced prices to passengers who were booked on Cruise West sailings that have been cancelled.

Orion Expedition Cruises to offer discounts for passengers booked on Cruise West this year and next.

InnerSea Discoveries, upcoming 2011 Alaska, Mexico’s Sea of Cortes and Columbia River seasons.

Lindblad Expeditions is offering varied discounts to Cruise West passengers.

American Cruise Line will honor the Cruise West price on their remaining Columbia Snake River 2010 sailings.

Great Lakes Cruises 2010

The Clelia II approaching a set of locks in the Great LakesClose to home is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Nearly fifteen thousand years ago, the last of the great glaciers retreated, leaving us with the legacy of the Great Lakes.

The lakes are unique, for although they are called lakes, they are in reality vast inland seas that comprise one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. First used as a means of transport by Algonquin and Iroquois tribes, the lakes later became a thriving commercial hub and a heavily traveled waterway with the arrival of European settlers. More than fifty years ago, the Great Lakes were the busiest waterway in the world and North America’s treasured summer destination. Today, travelers are rediscovering the charms of the vast, sweet water.

On the shores of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior, welcoming towns have changed little since the 19th century—in marked contrast to much of the North American continent—and warm summer breezes skim through the lush leaves of the woody, rocky coasts. Aboard the 100-guest Clelia II, with its combination of intimacy and elegance, we are pleased to revive the grandeur and pleasure of a classic Great Lakes cruise.

On this unique itinerary, which sails between American and Canadian ports, travelers will thrill to the thundering of Niagara Falls, witness Native American culture on Manitoulin Island, enjoy Mackinac Island’s bygone Victorian charms and revel in the pristine beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula, one of North America’s most unspoiled regions. A highlight of our voyage will be transiting the many scenic waterways and locks that connect the Great Lakes as we sail the vast expanse between Lake Ontario and the western shores of Lake Superior.

Special Theme Cruises

Several of our Great Lakes cruises will feature special themes that are aimed to enhance your experience aboard Clelia II. These themes are in addition to the lectures and presentations on the history, geology, ecology, and other topics related to the Great Lakes, which will be presented on every cruise. The special themes that will be offered are as follows:

  • Family Cruises (July 3-10 & July 24-31): These two July cruises will be especially attractive to multi-generataional families. Learn about the history of North America’s native peoples, the War of 1812, and the fur trade as well as the region’s natural wonders and feats of engineering. Grandparents and parents will enjoy talks by expert lecturers while children participate in educational and recreational activities designed to bring the Great Lakes alive.
  • Photography Cruises (July 17-24 & September 11-18): Improve your photography skills during workshops led by photographer, author, and educator Allen Rokach. Allen will be on hand to help create memorable photographs of your cruise, lecturing on key elements of travel photography, including digital. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic, and he is the author, with wife Anne Millman, of Focus on Travel: Creating Memorable Photographs of Journeys to New Places.
  • Music Cruise (July 10-17): Our July 10th cruise features classical and American music performed by musicians from an esteemed symphony orchestra.
  • Technology Cruise (September 4-11): The Welland Canal, part of the celebrated St. Lawrence Seaway, remains to this day a supreme technological achievement. Science and technology buffs will enjoy discussions by William Halal, an aerospace engineer on Apollo, Air Force officer, Silicon Valley manager, and professor.
  • Health & Wellness Cruise (September 18-25): This cruise will focus on how to maintain your health. A series of lectures will be led by Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist who treats patients with the best of conventional and alternative therapies, including nutrition and stress reduction. Also offered will be a yoga program led by Peggy Cappy, seen nationwide on PBS and whose gentle yoga approach helps reduce stress and create greater ease in body, mind, and spirit.

View more information about this itinerary, including dates, rates and ship information, by visiting our website.

Positive Impact of Clelia II

We recently posted an article that the Clelia II was heading to the Great Lakes for a series of summer cruises. From a recent report from a local news program, the Clelia II is having a positive impact to Duluth, Minnesota’s economy.

Besides nice views of the ship, there were some nice interviews with passengers from the ship.

View the video or read the report from Duluth’s WDIO-TV.