Cool Off on a Great Lakes Cruise

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Great Lakes Cruise - Enjoying High Tea on the Victory 1. Photo by Pat Woods
Enjoying High Tea on the Victory 1. Photo by Pat Woods

Life On-board the Victory 1

Throughout the cruise Victory 1 rode smoothly in the waters of all five Great Lakes.

Tasty meals with lush desserts prepared by seasoned chefs were well received. The wait staff was experienced, well-trained, and attentive to guests’ special requests. Free-flowing alcohol was served with lunch, dinner and cocktail hours. The first-deck dining room was large enough to accommodate all guests in one seating, a definite plus. Open seating encouraged mingling with guests from throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Breakfast was a buffet with some hot items made fresh upon request. Lunch offered soup, salad, and a choice of three hot entrees or a burger. Dinner was comprised of soup, salad and meat, fish or vegetarian entrees. Steak, chicken breast or salmon were always available.

An alternate dining venue on an outdoor deck, Cliff Rock Bar & Grille featured hot lava rock cooking at 800 degrees. Guests had the option of cooking their own entrees. Reservations required.

A definite plus, Victory 1 has an elevator serving decks 1 through 4. The vessel can accommodate 202 guests, most of whom are well-traveled retirees. There are no formal nights. Guests are advised to bring comfortable walking shoes, jackets, rain gear and their own toiletries. Hand/body soap and shampoo are provided.

Shore excursions, meals, tours and most alcoholic beverages are included in cruise fares, but the ship does not provide transfers. At a special lobster dinner, we bid a reluctant farewell to our new friends. We left with cherished memories of green vistas, cool lake breezes and diverse port adventures.

Learn more about future cruise itineraries and prices from www.victorycruiselines.com, 1-888-907-2636 or your travel agent.

Great Lakes. The Toronto Skyline. Photo by Pat Woods
The Toronto Skyline. Photo by Pat Woods

Have Time for a Sidetrip? Travel in Toronto

With less than a day in Toronto before boarding a Great lakes cruise on the Victory 1, we moved quickly. From Terminal 1 at the airport, we took the clean, comfortable UP Express train to downtown ($6 Canadian senior rate). Thirty minutes later we arrived at the downtown Union Station. www.UPexpress.com, 1-416-869-3300.

We stayed at the contemporary Westin Harbour Castle (www.westintoronto, 1-416-361-7585). From our 32nd floor North tower room overlooking Lake Ontario, we watched boat traffic and changing weather patterns. When I called Guest Services, Oileil Fisher quickly delivered extra luggage stand, decaf coffee and even a microwave to heat a therapy device.

After a long travel day, we appreciated the large indoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. Our room was quiet, and the “heavenly” bed lived up to its name. I awoke relaxed and refreshed. We enjoyed a 2-hour narrated City Sightseeing tours (1-416-410-0536) before boarding our ship.

The hotel is very close to Tim Horton’s and a Greek eatery with excellent carryout. From this convenient downtown waterfront location, guests can walk to City Sightseeing tours, Union Station, plus a bevy of attractions. Hint: Request a North Tower room.

Author Bio: An avid cruiser and widely published travel writer, Pat Woods encourages her readers to SKI (spend the kids’ inheritance) on a cruise.