CRUISES BY STATE OR PROVINCE
CRUISES BY STATE OR PROVINCE
St. Lawrence Seaway Cruises
2022, 2023, & 2024
Cruising the St. Lawrence Seaway
The St. Lawrence Seaway is the world's longest deep draft commercial waterway, connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Besides its commercial traffic, the St. Lawrence Seaway is the gateway for Great Lakes cruises sailing to and from New England and North America's east coast.
An essential part of transportation and commerce now, the opening of the Seaway was a construction project of immense proportions. From Lake Erie and east all the way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the system consists of 5 canals. Those canals together contain 15 locks, with dredged channels to permit deep-draft freighters safe and efficient transfer along the St. Lawrence Seaway's many rapids, lakes, and changes in elevation.
Established in 1959
Opened in 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway is the result of a close partnership between Canada and the United States, serving two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and eight American states (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania). Ships passing though the Seaway cross the US-Canadian border 27 times during transit, making bi-national coordination critical to its operation.
The Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the US Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation work together to coordinate day-to-day operations, rules and regulations, annual operating calendar, safety and navigation technologies, as well as bilateral environmental and trade programs.
An Essential Piece of the Great Lakes Economy
The economic impact of the St. Lawrence Seaway is significant for the region and the world. Cargo shipments, such as iron ore, coal, grains, and even blades for wind farms traverse the seaway each year, connecting the agricultural and industrial heartland with global markets.
Since its opening more than 50 years ago, over 2.5 billion tons of cargo have moved between Lake Superior and the Atlantic ocean. Over 25% of the ships passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway are "salties," ocean-going vessels connecting the region to foreign ports.
As a region, the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway System is the world's fourth largest economy with nearly US $5 trillion in annual economic output.
Protecting the Great Lakes Environment
The St. Lawrence Seaway serves as an environmental gatekeeper for the Great Lakes region. Shipping via the seaway reduces congestion and fuel consumption through marine transport. Each ship with 30,000 tons of cargo replaces 300 rail cars or 963 semi trucks.
However, with increased traffic from global ports, invasive species have also crept into the waters of Great Lakes. Great Lakes fisheries are home to 177 species of fish, support more than 75,000 jobs, and are valued at over US $7 billion annually. Because of its potential impact on fisheries of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway has put into place sustainable management practices for ballast water to limit the importation of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), such as zebra mussels and sea lampreys, into the Great Lakes region.
Great Lakes waterways also provide drinking water, resources and recreation to one quarter of the population of North America, making water quality is also a serious concern for governments and communities in the region.
Quick Facts - Canals & Locks
Canals and Locks
- The St. Lawrence Seaway was created in 1959, a joint venture between the US and Canada
- The Seaway is jointly operated by the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the US Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
- It connects the inland ocean of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic ocean, via a system of canals, locks and deep-draft channels on the St. Lawrence River
- It takes approximately 8.5 days to sail the 2,038 nautical miles of the St. Lawrence Seaway, from Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Atlantic.
- The St. Lawrence Seaway operates a total of 5 canals and 15 locks, in addition to the 5 Soo locks at Sault St Marie.
- Ships cross the US-Canadian border 27 times during their passage through the St. Lawrence Seaway
- Vessels are lifted or lowered a total of 571 feet (174 m) between Lake Superior and the Atlantic ocean.
- All of the St. Lawrence Seaway's locks have the same dimensions:
766' L x 80' W x 30' D (233.5m L x 24.4m W x 9.1m D)
- Each lock holds 21 million gallons of water (that's 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools!) and use simple gravity to fill and empty.
- The St. Lawrence Seaway has designated upbound and downbound lanes as well as twinned locks (#4-5-6) in the Welland Canal to maintain two-way traffic
- "Superlaker" ships of over 1000 feet (304m) cannot pass through the eastern locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway and sail only the western Great Lakes.
- 90% of St. Lawrence Seaway cargo is bulk cargo such as wheat, iron ore, oil, etc.
- The seaway contains 5 canals, each with their own system of locks to accommodate the changing elevation.
- South Shore Canal
- 2 Canadian Locks (St. Lambert and Ste. Catherine)
- 14 nautical miles long
- Connects the Port of Montreal with Lake St. Louis
- Beauharnois Canal
- 2 Canadian Locks
- 11.3 nautical miles long
- Connects Lake St. Louis with Lake St. Francis
- Wiley-Dondero Canal
- 2 US Locks (Snell and Eisenhower)
- 8 nautical miles long
- Connects the St. Lawrence River with Lake St. Lawrence
- Iroquois Canal
- 1 Canadian Lock
- 0.3 nautical miles long
- also includes a water level control facility
- Welland Canal
- 8 Canadian Locks
- 23.5 nautical miles long
- Connects Lake Ontario with Lake Erie
- South Shore Canal
Plan your visit to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors' Center at the US Eisenhower Lock at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation website.
Explore Destinations on the Canadian
St. Lawrence Seaway
DESTINATIONS / PORTS OF CALL:
Toronto, Ontario Canada Cruises
Montreal, Quebec Canada Cruises
Quebec City, Canada Cruises
Gaspe, Quebec Canada Cruises
Tadoussac, Quebec Canada Cruises
Saguenay, Quebec Canada Cruises
Sept-iles, Quebec Canada Cruises
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada Cruises
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Cruises
Kingston, New York & Canada Cruises
Clayton, New York & Canada Cruises
& Many More