I grew up in Cleveland, OH and was always in love with the Great Lakes. The bulk cargo freighters coming and going from the Port of Cleveland gave my young mind fertile ground for imagining the far away places these vessels visited. So when we saw this cruise and were looking for something special to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary and my 74th birthday, it looked perfect. Viking is a first class operation and the Viking Octantis is a first class vessel. Since this was an expedition, we loved the exploration aspect of this particular cruise. What stood out on particular was our tour of Mackinac Island. It was a dream of mine to visit this iconic destination, and it compelled me when I came home to watch the movie "Somewhere in Time." Loved the fudge shops and bought lots of it to take home. I'm still trying to run it off. With rough seas, we were unable to visit another destination in Alpena MI, but the captain of the ship sailed us over to Georgian Bay, and I swear we were in New England. What beautiful islands! As a Cleveland kid, Detroit was the last place I would have ever considered as a destination unless I wanted to brush up on my street fighting skills. A very pleasant surprise awaited us as we toured the Ford Rough Plant and drove around the city a bit to see some of the beautiful squares which again reminded me of my childhood in Cleveland. From there we sailed into Canadian waters and stopped to tour Point Pelee. There happened to be a birding festival that day on the point so we tagged along to see what they were seeing. We are avid birders ourselves. We actually took advantage of three separate Zodiac boat tours with two beach landings. I felt like a Navy Seal, and loved every minute of it. From there we sailed through the eight locks of the Welland Canal, but before we did that we took an expedition to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Haven't been there since I was a kid. What a ride! We ended in Toronto, and the whole tour from start to finish was amazing. Everything was easy, the food was outstanding, the guests were convivial, and the crew was so very accommodating. This was our first ever cruise, and Viking certainly set the bar high for us.