From the glaciers of Alaska to Canada’s stunning national parks and renowned ski resorts, this vacation through breathtaking scenery is sure to delight. Highlights of this trip include a 2-day, all-day train journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Banff. On board, witness some of Canada’s most spectacular scenery, including snow-capped mountains, untamed rivers, and beautiful lakes. Enjoy a 7-night cruise on board Holland America's luxurious MS Volendam for a voyage through the famed Inside Passage. Hear the thunderous roar as glaciers calve off into the sea, watch for orcas and humpback whales, and visit the small towns of Juneau, Alaska’s capital; Skagway; and Ketchikan.Other trip highlights include a thrilling Ice Explorer ride on the 1,000-foot-thick Columbia Icefield, a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain for spectacular views of Banff, and a visit to Victoria’s world-famous Butchart Gardens, with its 55 acres of floral displays. Spend time in Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Jasper, Sun Peaks, Whistler, Victoria, and Vancouver. Be sure to watch for wildlife throughout your journey. For thrilling adventures and magnificent scenery, this trip is like no other. Be sure to pack your camera and get ready for a trip of a lifetime!
Day #1 Vancouver. Welcome to Vancouver! Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Day #2 Vancouver. This morning, an included city tour highlights STANLEY PARK, Chinatown, the harbor and beaches, and more. The remainder of the day is at leisure, and your Tour Director will have suggestions for your further exploration of the city. Shoppers and browsers can take a water taxi to lively Granville Island with its outdoor markets, street musicians, and waterfront cafes. Or, visit historic Gastown with its steam-powered clock, antique shops, art galleries, and street vendors.
Day #3 Vancouver–Rocky Mountains–Fraser Canyon–Kamloops. An exciting morning as you board the Rocky Mountaineer for a 2-day, all-daylight, classic rail journey. Follow the Fraser River through snowcapped mountains, eventually arriving at Kamloops. The 'Rocky Mountaineer' travels through some of Canada's most spectacular scenery. Breakfast and lunch are included. (CB,L)
Day #4 Kamloops–Rocky Mountaineer–Yoho National Park–Spiral Tunnel–Banff. Reboard the train witness spectacular sights such as Shuswap Lake, the Monashee Mountains, and Glacier National Park. Travel through the heart of the Selkirk Mountains before entering the spectacular domain of YOHO NATIONAL PARK. The train winds through the Spiral Tunnels before climbing Kicking Horse Pass. Cross the Continental Divide and enter the province of Alberta and BANFF NATIONAL PARK. (CB,L)
Day #5 Banff. Morning sightseeing includes a visit to Sulphur Mountain for a GONDOLA RIDE, complete with panoramic views of Banff's spectacular scenery. The balance of the day is at leisure. Play golf, horseback ride, hike the many wilderness trails in the area, stroll through Banff, or simply relax at the hot springs. Your Tour Director will suggest an optional helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies and can offer recommendations for dinner.
Day #6 Banff–Lake Louise. Enjoy a day of scenic grandeur. Travel to Lake Louise and Yoho National Park. See the Natural Bridge spanning Kicking Horse River. Also visit Emerald Lake and Moraine Lake. Overnight in Lake Louise, where green-blue waters form a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria.
Day #7 Lake Louise–Columbia Icefield–Jasper. Scale Bow Pass with splendid views of Peyto Lake, then climb Sunwapta Pass to savour stunning vistas of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and massive glaciers. Next stop: 305-meters (1,000-foot) thick COLUMBIA ICEFIELD for a thrilling Ice Explorer ride.
Day #8 Jasper–Sun Peaks. Stand at the base of awesome, 3,953-metre, 12,970-foot Mount Robson. Travel through British Columbia's Gold Rush and Cariboo regions, enjoying tantalizing glimpses of the soaring granite mountains of Canada's Rockies. Watch for wildlife as you continue to the internationally renowned Sun Peaks ski resort.
Day #9 Sun Peaks–Lillooet–Whistler. Head south following the once-treacherous Cariboo Wagon Trail. From Lillooet–"Mile 0 of the Gold Rush Route" – our motorcoach will follow the shores of Seton and Duffey Lakes with a mid-afternoon arrival in Whistler. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from, including flightseeing by floatplane over the lakes and glaciated peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Day #10 Whistler–Ferry Crossing–Victoria. This morning, set sail across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island. In Victoria, sightseeing includes BUTCHART GARDENS, the Empress Hotel, Legislative Buildings, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park.
Day #11 Victoria. A day at leisure gives you the chance to stroll around the harbor, go shopping on Government Street, or have lunch in one of the many pubs. Your Tour Director will suggest several optional excursions, including a whale-watching cruise.
Day #12 Victoria–Vancouver (Embarkation). Board your ferry this morning and head back to the Canadian mainland, where you will transfer to Holland America's luxurious MS Volendam for a 7-night voyage through the famed Inside Passage.(D)
Day #13 Scenic Cruising: Inside Passage. Spend the day cruising one of the world's most spectacular waterways. Located along the coast of British Columbia, the Inside Passage is the longest sheltered inland waterway in the world. Watch the water for orcas and humpback whales. (B,L,D)
Day #14 Juneau. Located at the foot of grand mountain peaks on the Gastineau Channel, Alaska's capital city of Juneau has massive Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau Icefield at its back door. Juneau is the place to let your imagination run wild. Visit the rustic shops in town-or get out and kayak, dogsled, raft, hike, whale watch, flightsee, or fish. There's no end to the adventure because of the long daylight hours. Climb aboard the Mount Roberts Tramway for a great spot to hike and shoot a souvenir photo. (B,L,D)
Day #15 Skagway. In winter, the sidewalks are all but rolled up in Skagway, so you can imagine the frightful conditions endured by gold prospectors who passed through en route to the Yukon. Take your time and poke your head into every little shop, from the Trail Bench to Lynch & Kennedy's Dry Goods. The Red Onion Saloon, with its honky tonk piano and costumed barmaids, is a treasure trove of memorabilia, featuring pictures of Klondike Kate, Peahull Annie, and other historic characters. To complete the picture of those rip-roaring days, visit the nostalgic Trail of '98 Museum. (B,L,D)
Day #16 Scenic Cruising: Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anyplace else in the world. How does it feel when a colossal chunk of ice splits off a glacier and crashes into the sea? The sound is like thunder. The impact shoots water hundreds of meters into the air. You hold your breath as you capture the moment photographically. Then you wait for it all to happen again. (B,L,D)
Day #17 Ketchikan. Built out over the water and up weathered stairways, Ketchikan clings to the shores of Tongass Narrows and drapes the mountains with a hospitable air. (B,L,D)
Day #18 Scenic Cruising: Inside Passage. Cruise through the awe-inspiring scenery of the Inside Passage. Keep your cameras ready for spouting whales, soaring eagles, and other wildlife. Tonight, enjoy a sumptuous dinner and onboard entertainment. (B,L,D)
Day #19 Vancouver. Disembark the ship this morning and transfer to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight home. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. You can extend your holiday with extra nights and explore the "Jewel of the Pacific" further with a variety of exciting optional activities. (B)