In 2000, the United States Congress designated the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor to recognize the national significance of the canal system as “the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America.”
Together, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario make up The Great Lakes, considered the largest body of fresh water on Earth, carved by retreating ice sheets and filled with the meltwater of ancient glaciers. First proposed in 1780s, the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, connecting the lakes to New York City and the Atlantic Ocean.
A remarkable act of imagination and innovation linking two of America’s most dynamic cities, the Erie Canal and Great Lakes are also a byway through the very heart and history of northern America. From the bustling streets of Chicago to historic islands that have banned motorized transportation, and the vast and fascinating displays of Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum to the awesome Niagara Falls, every port offers countless attractions and insights into American life along these historic waterways.
Three companies cruise the Great Lakes, from late May through September: Victory Cruise Lines, Pearl Seas Cruises, and Blount Small Ship Adventures. Itineraries range from four to 15 nights, for those with the energy to try and pack it all in. There are limited opportunities to cruise on the famous Erie Canal – but a River Cruise Artist here at River Cruise Your Way can find you a perfect Erie Canal and Great Lakes cruise itinerary.