This breathtaking vacation crosses Canada using the scenic railroad. Your trip begins in Toronto with an orientation tour and excursion to Niagara Falls. Board the Maid of the Mist for a thrilling boat ride to view thundering Niagara Falls from the river level. Back in Toronto, board the Art Deco cars of VIA Rail’s The Canadian train for your 3-night rail journey through Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Watch the scenic countryside, lakes, and sun-dappled forests from your windows as you relax in first-class, refurbished cars from the 1950s.Disembark in Jasper and take in the beauty of Jasper National Park. Enjoy an excursion to Maligne Lake for a fully narrated cruise to Spirit Island, and travel through Jasper National Park on Icefields Parkway. Take a thrilling Ice Explorer ride on the 1,000-foot-deep Columbia Icefield. On the way to Banff National Park, drink in the stunning sights of Lake Louise with its green-blue waters forming a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria. In Banff, visit Sulphur Mountain for a ride on the Banff gondola with panoramic views of Banff’s spectacular scenery. Next, enjoy a wine pairing and dinner at a local winery in Kelowna, then catch a ferry to Victoria for a visit to Butchart Gardens and free time on your own.Finally, board Holland America's MS Zuiderdam cruise ship for a 7-night cruise through Alaska's stunning Inside Passage. Watch for soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife. Marvel at glaciers and witness the amazing spectacle of thunder and spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea. Soak in the local flavor of Juneau, Alaska’s capital, and see the world’s largest totem collection in Ketchikan. This is an excellent choice of vacation for those who want to experience the best of Canada via rail and see the majestic beauty of Alaska via an Inside Passage cruise.
Day #1 Arrive in Toronto. Welcome to Toronto! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Toronto–Niagara Falls–Via Rail® the Canadian. Drive south along the shores of Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls. For the adventurous, your Tour Director will suggest optional flightseeing over the falls. Then, board the MAID OF THE MIST for a thrilling boat ride to view the thundering falls from river level. Before leaving the area, see the Floral Clock, then return to Toronto for an orientation tour of the downtown area. Enjoy dinner atop the 1,815-foot-tall CN TOWER before transferring to the train station for your departure on the CANADIAN later this evening. (B,D)NOTE:The operation of the Maid of the Mist cruise is subject to favorable weather and/or river conditions. When weather is unfavorable, a walking tour through the scenic tunnels will be substituted.For your convenience, baggage that will not be needed during the train journey will be checked through to Jasper. Checked baggage will not be accessible during the journey. Plan to pack an overnight bag with necessities for the train portion of the tour, including any medications, eyeglasses, and other important items.
Day #3 Via Rail the Canadian–Ontario. Watch the scenic countryside from your windows as you relax in first-class refurbished art deco cars from the 1950s. Travel past the sparkling lakes and sun-dappled forests of northern Ontario. Try the observation dome for unparalleled views or enjoy quiet conversation in one of the comfortable lounges. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Via Rail the Canadian–Winnipeg, Manitoba. Enter Manitoba with its endless golden prairies and vast cultivated fields. Arrive this morning in Manitoba’s capital city of Winnipeg, where you will disembark the train for time to explore this historic city, including Forks National Historic Site, a commercial hub for more than 5,000 years and now home to the Forks Market that boasts a vast number of boutiques and restaurants. Reboard the train late this morning and continue west. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Via Rail the Canadian through Saskatchewan & Alberta–Jasper. From Winnipeg to Jasper, the train roughly parallels the famed Yellowhead Route, Canada’s historic trail of westward expansion. Arrive in Jasper this afternoon. Tonight, enjoy an excursion to Maligne Lake for a fully narrated CRUISE to Spirit Island. Afterward, enjoy a [LF] lakeside dinner featuring incredible views and local fare including famous Alberta beef. (BR,D)
Day #6 Jasper. Enjoy a day in Jasper to explore at your leisure. Maybe take an optional guided hike on the “Path of the Glacier,” where an experienced guide teaches you about the various glacier formations in the area. This afternoon, perhaps play a round of golf on one of the top-rated courses in North America or stroll the streets of Jasper with its array of specialty stores. (B)
Day #7 Jasper–Columbia Icefield–Lake Louise–Banff. This morning, travel through JASPER NATIONAL PARK on Icefields Parkway to the 1,000-foot-thick Columbia Icefield for a thrilling ICE EXPLORER RIDE. Climb Sunwapta Pass to savor stunning vistas of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and massive glaciers, then scale Bow Pass with splendid views of Peyto Lake. Next, stop at Lake Louise, whose green-blue waters form a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria. Continue into BANFF NATIONAL PARK. (B,D)
Day #8 Banff. Sightseeing includes a visit to Sulphur Mountain for a ride on the BANFF GONDOLA, complete with panoramic views of Banff ’s spectacular scenery. Also visit Bow Falls and the hoodoos. The balance of the day is at leisure. Consider an optional helicopter flightseeing trip for a bird’s-eye views of the Rockies. (B)
Day #9 Banff–Kelowna. This morning, travel through the spectacular beauty of Yoho National Park, one of Canada’s most popular recreational areas and the site of pre-Cambrian fossil finds. On to Canada’s Glacier National Park, where the motorcoach climbs 4,379-foot-high Rogers Pass, a perfect spot for photos of the impressive surrounding mountain cliffs and glaciers. Continue on to the resort city of Kelowna, attractively set on the shores of Okanagan Lake. A special evening is in store for you, with [LF] dinner and a wine pairing at a local WINERY, producing some of the best wines in British Columbia. (B,D)
Day #10 Kelowna–Victoria. Catch a BC FERRY over to Vancouver Island and the charming, very British “Garden City” of Victoria. Upon arrival, visit world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS. Later, your orientation tour of Victoria includes the gardens of Beacon Hill Park, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park. Enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many restaurants in this harbor city. (B)
Day #11 Victoria. This morning, enjoy free time for independent sightseeing and shopping. Your Tour Director suggests an optional wildlife and whale-watching trip. For shoppers, Government Street’s elegant shops and Market Square’s collection of specialty stores are good places to start. History buffs should be sure to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum. (B)
Day #12 Victoria–Vancouver. This morning, take the FERRY and sail through the Gulf Islands, an archipelago known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Arrive in Vancouver for a city tour that includes the harbor and beaches, Chinatown, historic Gastown, and Stanley Park with its towering evergreen forests and totem poles. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day #13 Vancouver (Embarkation). Embark Holland America’s MS Zuiderdam. (B,D)
Day #14 Scenic Cruising: Inside Passage. Sit back and relax as you cruise through the beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery of the Inside Passage. Keep your cameras ready for spouting whales, soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day #15 Tracy Arm & Juneau. This narrow, 26-mile-long fjord is another of Alaska’s most dramatic glacier settings. The lush rainforest recedes to reveal a stunning canyon of bare rock. The panorama of 7,000-foot mountain peaks and nearly vertical rock cliffs is astounding. Waterfalls appear at every turn. Icebergs make their way to the sea in all sorts of wondrous shapes. And tucked away at the end of this remarkable waterway are two very active reminders of the Ice Age—the twin Sawyer Glaciers, which calve icebergs into the jade-colored inland sea. Kittiwakes, mountain goats, and seals are a common sight. Whales and bears may even make an appearance in this magical place.Then, visit one of the most scenic and remote capital cities—Juneau. Accessible only by air and water, Juneau is located at the base of two towering mountains in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and is home to a rich Gold Rush history, Native culture, wildlife, and a wealth of natural wonders. Step ashore to shop for gold nuggets; visit the stately Governor’s Mansion; saunter through the swinging doors of the Red Dog Saloon, the city’s famous watering hole; or visit mighty Mendenhall Glacier, an impressive river of ice that is 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. (B,L,D)
Day #16 Skagway. Once a major port for gold prospectors who passed through en route to the Yukon, today you can still ride the antique White Pass & Yukon Route narrow-gauge railway up past Deadhorse Gulch to see what it was like ages ago. Step back in time as you stroll the wooden sidewalks of the town, preserved as a national historical park. (B,L,D)
Day #17 Scenic Cruising: Glacier Bay National Park. This Biosphere Reserve and UNES CO World Heritage Site protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in an ever-changing glacial landscape. Here, witness an amazing spectacle of thunder and flying spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea— making for lasting memories. National Park rangers accompany the ship to add expert commentary to the day’s events. (B,L,D)
Day #18 Ketchikan. Experience Native Alaska firsthand. Meet the spirits of the raven, whale, and eagle as you view the largest collection of totems in the world at Saxman Totem Park or Totem Bight State Historic Park. Or, explore Creek Street, now home to contemporary art galleries and quaint boutiques. (B,L,D)
Day #19 Scenic Cruising: Inside Passage. (B,L,D)
Day #20 Vancouver (Disembarkation). Airport transfers are provided. Please schedule flights after Noon. (B)