Victory Cruise Lines
Victory Cruise Lines began operating with a short first season in 2016 along the St. Lawrence River and in the Great Lakes, using the American-built coastal ship Cape May Light (built in 2001), which had operated for Delta Queen Coastal Cruises until that company went bankrupt. After a lay-up period and work for other firms, she joined the new line in 2016 as Victory I.
A second unit, built as the US-flag Cape Cod Light, most recently sailed as the Sea Discoverer until chartered by this line in 2017. Following a refit in Europe, it appeared in summer 2018 as Victory II and focused on New England, Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence Valley, and the Great Lakes.
In 2019, both ships were purchased by American Queen Steamboat Company, and the pair will continue to operate as a brand, retaining the name Victory Cruise Lines. They expanded their horizons to include the American Southeast and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
The line also includes the charter of a small 200-passenger ship called Ocean Victory, which was built for Miami-based SunStone Ships, offering Alaska and Pacific Coast cruises. Another operator, Albatros Expeditions, will charter the vessel for the rest of the year.
An interesting aside, sister-company Hornblower Cruises & Events operates dinner cruises, chartered private events and sightseeing tours from major American cities and destinations, including Niagara Falls, Liberty Island and Alcatraz.
Victory Cruise Lines will resume cruising in April 2021.
Be sure to check the line’s website for up-to-date news.
- Victory I (built 2001 & 202 passengers) – Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River
- Victory II (b. 2004 & 202 p) – Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, New England, American Southeast & Mexico
- Ocean Victory (b. 2020 & 200 p) – Alaska & Pacific Northwest
Americans, Canadians, and a few Europeans mainly 50 and up. Many passengers will be veterans of American Queen Steamboat Company who will have broader horizons to pursue.
$$ to $$$ – Pricey
- Pre-voyage hotel stay
- On-board meals, afternoon tea service & evening cocktails
- Wine, spirits, beer, coffee, tea & soft drinks
- Wi-Fi in public areas
- One shore excursion in each port
Tips are not included; the recommended amounts are $15 per person per day for the ship’s crew, and ashore, $5 per person for guides and $2 for the bus driver.
Victory Cruise Lines is known for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River cruises, which run from between 8 to 16 nights, and Canada and New England cruises, which run from between 8 to 13 nights.
After the autumn foliage changes, the ships sail south for 12- to 13-night cruises of the historic American Southeast and the Bahamas (they cruise this region in the spring months as well, when the ships are repositioning back north).
Over the winter, the ships cruise Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula with 10-night itineraries. The line also offers an Alaskan and Pacific Northwest cruise, ranging from 11 to 16 nights, during the summer months.
Yucatán’s Mayan Cruise Tour begins with an overnight in Cancun, Mexico before embarking in Cozumel/Tulum for 9 nights of sailing on the scenic Gulf of Mexico with calls at Costa Maya, Progresso, Campeche and Valladolid before returning to Cancun.
The key is the ease of cruising on a small ship to attractive ports, large and small, in the US and Canada. Few ships cruise the Great Lakes, though the numbers are growing. So it’s less charted territory for the many aficionados of exploring inland waters — lakes, rivers and canals.
When to Go?
The Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and Alaska cruises operate from May to October, the best months for touring the region.
Mexico is visited in the winter, with the U.S. Southeast in the shoulder months.
On Ocean Victory, passengers are given personal water bottles that can be refilled at various on-board water stations.
Activities & Entertainment
Victory I and Victory II host on-board lectures and have games in the lounge. Each night there’s live entertainment from the in-house band. Each port has a free excursion or optional premium experience led by local guides.
These 202-passenger sister ships each have 5 decks accessed by elevator.
There are two dining rooms, the main Coastal Dining Room serves regional and seasonal fare and there’s a contemporary and casual Grill.
A cozy tavern serves up cocktails, while the Compass Lounge handles lectures and larger gatherings in a bright and airy space.
The sun deck provides an aft-facing observation lounge, and a wraparound promenade has a narrow path for constitutional walkers. Victory I & II also have a fitness center, spa, salon and medical clinic.
All cabins are doubles with twin or queen-size beds, picture windows and measurements of 146 to 185 sq. ft., and a single owner’s suite at 335 sq. ft.
Single travelers normally pay 160% for single occupancy of a double cabin.
In cabin: en suite, individual climate control, TV, minifridge, safe.
A contemporary expedition ship, the 200-passenger Ocean Victory packs a lot on its six spacious passenger decks (all of which have elevator service).
Meals are served in the Main Restaurant, the Panorama Specialty Restaurant, at an outdoor bistro and barbeque deck. Enjoy coffee, tea and cocktails at the Explorer Bar and an observation lounge that wraps around the front of the ship for optimal views.
Passengers can attend programs in the Expedition Lecture Room and learn on their own at the Voyager Library.
For relaxation, there’s a showpiece pool that has glass infinity-style walls, two Jacuzzis, a fitness center, spa and boutique. Ocean Victory has Zodiacs and kayaks, a mudroom and medical clinic.
Cabins have queen and twin beds and desks, many have private balconies, a few have French balconies, still others have porthole views.
In cabin: en suite, TV, minifridge, safe, hair dryer.
A doctor is carried on all cruises, operating out of an infirmary.
Along the Same Lines
Victory Cruise Lines, US-based; www.victorycruiselines.com; +1 (833) 548 0187.
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