MS COLUMBUS lit up at night.
Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

When you think of the city of Toronto, you probably think of the CN Tower or the sprawling Pearson International Airport.  Starting in 2011, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises would like you to think of Toronto as something else:

A port of embarkation.

Beginning in September of 2011, the intimate, 1997-built MS COLUMBUS will offer a series of thirteen-day cruises sailing between Toronto and Chicago and calling at a variety of ports along North America’s famous Great Lakes

The 420-passenger COLUMBUS was purpose-built with Great Lakes cruising in mind, and was designed specifically to fit through the eight locks of the Welland Canal: a 28 mile long stretch of water covering a total ascension of 328 feet.  Of course, being a Hapag-Lloyd ship, the vessel is as luxurious as it is functional: the 2010 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships rates COLUMBUS as a 3-star plus ship.

Despite the fact the line caters to a largely German audience, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure its English-speaking passengers feel comfortable and at home aboard the line’s International Sailings.  All travel documentation and information are provided in English, as well as all onboard information such as menus, daily programs, announcements, and safety briefings.  English Shore Excursions are offered in each port of call, and the entire crew is well versed in English.

As a cap-off to the Great Lakes season, COLUMBUS will also offer one special eighteen-day voyage from Toronto to Miami on October 1st, 2011.  This unique repositioning cruise will offer calls at the ports of Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Boston, Newport, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, and Port Canaveral before terminating in Miami on October 19, 2011.

Prices for these extremely unique voyages start at $3,470 per person and offer an incredible experience few competing lines can match.  For more information on itineraries, pricing, and booking information, be sure to visit their site at


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