Rockies Rail & Alaska Cruise
INDEPENDENT TOUR FROM CALGARY TO VANCOUVER
Explore the neighbouring provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. This superb tour includes a journey aboard the famous award-winning train, The Rocky Mountaineer, between Jasper and Vancouver, as well as a 7-night Alaska cruise aboard the MS Volendam.
Arrive in Calgary
Arrive in Calgary and transfer to your hotel for a restful sleep. Depending on your flight arrival time this first night may be at an airport hotel.
Leave the city of Calgary behind today for a scenic drive to Banff, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. On arrival you’ll enjoy a short sightseeing tour visiting Bow Falls and Surprise Corner. A stop at the Banff Gondola will be made for the ride (admission included) to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for stunning panoramic views of Banff and surrounding area before arriving at your hotel.
Enjoy a leisurely morning before a short coach journey to Lake Louise for an overnight stay at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Accommodation is in a Fairmont Room, but you may wish to consider upgrading to a Lakeview Room.
Today’s coach journey along the Icefields Parkway is sure to be one of the highlights of your holiday. Photo stops will be made along the way and at the Columbia Icefield you’ll enjoy a ride on an Ice Explorer (included) onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. The Icefields Parkway is renowned for wildlife sightings so keep your eyes peeled.
Today is a day at leisure to explore the mountain town of Jasper or perhaps take an optional excursion such as white water rafting, a Maligne Lake cruise or a wildlife viewing tour.
Rocky Mountaineer to Kamloops
Transfer by coach (included) this morning to the rail station and board the Rocky Mountaineer for their ‘Journey Through the Clouds’ route. You’ll travel past Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and follow the mighty Thompson River, which was explored by early fur traders, before reaching Kamloops. Transfer to a moderate class hotel which is arranged by Rocky Mountaineer. Breakfast and lunch included.
Rocky Mountaineer Kamloops to Vancouver
Today you will re-board the Rocky Mountaineer and continue on your journey, which today takes you through the Fraser Canyon and the fertile Fraser Valley. You will arrive in Vancouver in the late afternoon where you will be transferred (included) to your hotel.
Included today is a 5-hour sightseeing tour, offering a fascinating look at Vancouver. Points of interest will include Robson Street, Chinatown, historic Gastown and Stanley Park. Then cross the Lions Gate Bridge for a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the north shore rainforest.
End of Land Tour / Start of Alaskan Cruise
Arrangements end for land tour guests with a private transfer to the airport. Cruise guests will check out of their hotel and board the Holland America Line cruise ship MS Volendam for their 7-night cruise to Alaska.
Cruising The Inside Passage – Cruising Only
The fabled Inside Passage is one of the most scenic sea-lanes in the world, and one of the few where deep-draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls. The scenery is unbelievable, with forests in a hundred shades of green, tumbling turquoise glaciers, and evocative towns loaded with history, culture and adventure. With most of Southeast Alaska accessible only by boat or plane, the Inside Passage is a lifeline to the outside world. All day long it hums with activity.
Juneau, Alaska may well be the most remote, most beautiful and strangest state capital in the United States. Surrounded by water, forest and mountains, visitors seeking things to do in Juneau can choose to hike up a glacier, eat freshly-caught fish on a seaside patio and tour a grand capitol building all in one day. The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles.
Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay – bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a boatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to see bears lolling around. The sleepy, misty city of around 32,000 – mostly fishermen and small-business owners – has a frontier town vibe, but welcomes more than a million visitors each summer to its natural attractions, cementing Juneau as Alaska’s number- one tourist destination.
At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, the port town of Skagway served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields, and quickly grew into Alaska’s largest settlement. It was then a raucous frontier hub packed with trading posts, saloons and guesthouses. As the gold rush faded into the 1900s, so did Skagway – but today it has been reinvigorated as a gateway for a new kind of visitor: those looking to explore Alaska’s colourful history, pristine wildlife and unrivalled natural beauty.
At every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in gold rush lore, from the infamous Red Onion Saloon that still keeps a pistol that Wyatt Earp left behind en route to the Klondike, to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, a classic narrow-gauge railway that traverses rugged mountains and passes cascading waterfalls and towering glaciers as it connects Skagway to Whitehorse deep in the Yukon. Much of the town has been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where rangers offer free walking tours around the historic district. Here you’ll also find a vibrant local community, home to a rich collection of local galleries, curio shops and restaurants serving seafood plucked fresh from nearby waters.
Glacier Bay – Cruising Only
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Glacier Bay ostentatious for the way it flaunts its ice. The glaciers practically terminate in your lap. A cruise to Glacier Bay National Park with Holland America Line will show you a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in concert with an ever-changing glacial landscape. When a monumental chunk of ice splits off a glacier and thunders into the sea, the impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. You hold your breath as you catch the moment on film. Then you wait for it all to happen again. And it does: Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anyplace else in the world.
Alaska’s ‘First City’ of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain.
Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and salmon-packing industries – visitors can try their luck on a sport fishing excursion or simply savour the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Centre and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. And leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush-era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.
Cruising The Inside Passage – Cruising Only
Today the ship will re-trace its route back along The Inside Passage, allowing you another chance to take in the breathtaking scenery and beauty of this unique environment.
End of Alaska Cruise / Vancouver
This morning the MS Volendam docks at around 0700hrs, so after breakfast it’s time to disembark and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure exploring this coastal city.
End of Tour
This morning your tour arrangements end upon check out from your hotel. You will then be transferred (included) to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight to the UK.