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Rockies Explorer and Alaska Cruise

March 28, 2016

 

Tranquil lakes, mountains and wildlife abound on this journey. Explore Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria: visit Jasper and Banff as well as enjoying the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train. Why not complete your holiday with a cruise through Alaska's famed Inside Passage? 


This tour really does offer the ultimate tour experience with stays at iconic hotels including a guaranteed Lakeview room at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and a guaranteed mountain-view room at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

 

Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrive Vancouver

On arrival into Vancouver, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Settle in to your elegant room with views of the city. Meet your fellow travellers at an informal dinner.

 

Day 2: Vancouver
This morning, go sightseeing. Visit Stanley Park, an evergreen oasis located just steps away from downtown Vancouver. Then head to Granville Island, the heart of the cultural scene. Here, wander amid the colourful public market. You'll also see picturesque English Bay and Vancouver Harbour, before enjoying the afternoon and evening to spend at your leisure. 

 

Day 3: Rocky Mountaineer, Kamloops
Step aboard the famous Rocky Mountaineer and relax in the comfort of your GoldLeaf carriage as you set out into the mountains along this awe-inspiring route. Take in the lush fertile fields of the Fraser River Valley; see the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains; pass the thundering waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon; and glide past the steep rocky slopes as your train follows the Thompson River on its way to the city of Kamloops.

 

Day 4: Spiral Tunnels, Banff 
Your Rocky Mountaineer rail journey continues east towards the magnificent Canadian Rockies. Journey through vast ranchlands past Shuswap Lake and along the South Thompson River; see the engineering marvel of the Spiral Tunnels; and traverse Kicking Horse Pass, which takes you across the Continental Divide of the Americas and into the province of Alberta. On arrival in Banff National Park, disembark and head for the ‘Castle in the Rockies' - The Fairmont Banff Springs. 

 

Day 5: Banff, Freedom of Choice Sightseeing and Dining 
Today you'll enjoy the opportunity to choose. You may like to take part in the Banff Experience which includes a visit to the fascinating Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Alternatively, absorb views of the spectacular National Park as you take to the skies on a wonderful heli-flightseeing trip; enjoy a scenic float trip down the beautiful Bow River; relax at the indulgent Willow Stream Spa; cruise across Lake Minnewanka; or perhaps embark on a Voyageur Canoe Tour. Following your activity, this evening you'll have the opportunity to dine from one of the superb restaurants located within The Fairmont Banff Springs.

 

Day 6: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Freedom of Choice Dining 
This morning you'll meet a Mountie, who'll regale you with tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Afterwards, board the Banff Gondola and ascend to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where you'll be awe-struck by the sweeping panoramic views out over six mountain ranges. Returning to the foot of the mountain, you'll then enjoy a guided tour of the enchanting Banff township, before setting off over the Trans-Canada Highway. Travel through the lush forest of Banff National Park to Moraine Lake, located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. After pausing to admire the beauty of this stunning glacially-fed lake, continue on to your iconic hotel, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. 

 

Day 7: Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper
After breakfast, you'll set out along the Icefields Parkway. Travel along this famous and picturesque route that winds through the Canadian Rockies past the ancient glaciers, vast icefields, broad sweeping valleys and pristine lakes that straddle the Continental Divide. Continue on to the giant Columbia Icefield. Here, you'll board a specially-designed Ice Explorer vehicle and journey right out onto the Athabasca Glacier. Afterwards, having entered Jasper National Park, you'll stop to take in the spectacle of powerful Athabasca Falls before arriving at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. 

 

Day 8: Mount Robson, Blue River, Sun Peaks 
Join the Yellowhead Highway this morning, which will take you over the Yellowhead Pass and back across the Continental Divide into British Columbia. Stop in Mount Robson Provincial Park to take in views of the south face of Mount Robson - the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. On arrival in the town of Blue River, board a custom-designed boat and skim over the waterways, watching for the grizzly and black bears that are frequently sighted here, as well the caribou, moose, eagles and many other native creatures that call the Monashee Mountains home. After disembarking from your Blue River Safari, enjoy lunch before continuing on by coach to Sun Peaks, a delightful European-style alpine resort village.

 

Day 9: Whistler
Following breakfast, depart Sun Peaks and follow the tracks of the early gold rush pioneers through the rugged Cariboo region. Travel via the city of Kamloops and the rural town of Lillooet, stopping along the way to take in the pretty scenic views out over both Seton and Duffey lakes. Later, you'll travel though the towering Coast Mountains before arriving in the iconic alpine town of Whistler.

 

Day 10: Georgia Strait, Victoria 
This morning you'll depart Whistler, travelling down the Sea-to-Sky Highway via pretty Shannon Falls on the way to Horseshoe Bay. From here, board a ferry for the journey across Georgia Strait to the small city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Disembark, and travel by coach to Victoria.


Optional: Floatplane to Victoria

Forgo the journey by land and ferry to take a one-hour flight from Whistler to Victoria (at your own expense). Enjoy incredible views of the Georgia Strait and arrive in Victoria in the early afternoon, where you'll enjoy time at leisure to explore.

 

Day 11: Victoria, The Butchart Gardens, Freedom of Choice Sightseeing 
This morning visit The Butchart Gardens before the crowds arrive, and enjoy breakfast in the original Butchart residence. Afterwards; go on a whale watching cruise; take a seaplane flight; tour the city's historic houses and gardens; fish for salmon; ride in a horse-drawn carriage; or delight in afternoon tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel. Tonight, as the land portion of your trip draws to an end, enjoy a Farewell Dinner.

 

Day 12: Holland America Line Cruise 
Return by ferry to the mainland, board your ship, and settle in for a seven-night cruise of the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. 

 

Day 13: Cruise the Inside Passage
Enjoy a full day at sea as your ship cruises along coastal British Columbia and the Alaska Panhandle. Glide past rocky headlands and over the icy waters of the Inside Passage.

 

Day 14: Tracy Arm, Juneau
Cruise to the entrance of Tracy Arm. A narrow and twisting fjord that features 2,000-metre-high peaks, sheer rock faces and waterfalls at almost every turn. This is a truly unforgettable experience. At the end of the fjord, pass the breath-taking twin Sawyer glaciers. The ship then makes its way to Alaska's capital, Juneau.  

 

Day 15: Skagway
Today you'll arrive in Skagway at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage. Once a gateway city for the Klondike gold rush, Skagway's frontier-style atmosphere remains evident today. Disembark after breakfast and explore.

 

Day 16: Glacier Bay
Wake up to the sight of Glacier Bay National Park, which boasts more tidewater glaciers than anywhere else in the world. You'll benefit from the insightful commentary of local rangers who will come aboard your ship to explain the geological wonders and point out some of the diverse wildlife and marine mammals.

 

Day 17: Ketchikan
Ketchikan is a cheerful town that's set right on the shores of the Tongass Narrows, with many colourful shops and houses built right out over the water. Besides the main attractions of the town itself, including the Tongass Historical Museum and Totem Bight State Park, Ketchikan also acts as a gateway to Misty Fjords National Monument - one of America's largest wilderness areas. Disembark your ship and enjoy exploring this charming town independently.

 

Day 18: The Inside Passage
Heading south through the Inside Passage, watch the glorious landscape slip by on your final day at sea. Marvel at the snow-capped peaks and glaciers, and from the ship's deck, watch for whales that frequently frolic in nearby waters.

 

Day 19: Depart Vancouver


On arrival back in Vancouver this morning, disembark and transfer to the airport for your return flight.

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