1 Arrive Vancouver
Get ready to experience the snow-capped peaks, mighty glaciers, vast icefields, multi-hued lakes, rushing rivers, lush forests and an abundance of wildlife of Western Canada. On this journey, you will have six nights in the Rocky Mountains, you’ll stay at iconic Fairmont properties and you’ll enjoy a selection of the finest possible dining and sightseeing experiences. On arrival today, be met and transferred to your hotel. After time to settle in, meet your fellow travellers at an informal Welcome Dinner. Stay Two Nights: Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel (D)
Join a local guide for a tour of cosmopolitan Vancouver, discovering the city’s must-see attractions. Visit Stanley Park, a world-class, 400-hectare evergreen oasis located just steps away from downtown Vancouver. Head over to Granville Island, the bustling heart of Vancouver’s cultural scene, then enjoy panoramic views of picturesque English Bay. With free time at hand this afternoon and evening, you may like to step out and immerse yourself in this vibrant harbourside city at your leisure. Perhaps wander the old cobblestone streets of Gastown, the birthplace of Vancouver, or pay a visit to the shopping mecca of Robson Street. Those seeking tranquillity might like to take a breather in beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park. (B)
3 Vancouver, Rocky Mountaineer, Kamloops
Board the Rocky Mountaineer and relax in the comfort of GoldLeaf Service as you set out into the mountains aboard one of the only passenger trains that covers this historic route. Gaze up at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains and pass the waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon. Glide past the steep rocky slopes as your train follows the Thompson River on the way to Kamloops where you will stay for the night. Stay: Kamloops, hotel as assigned by Rocky Mountaineer (Kamloops has limited accommodation, two or three-star hotels) (B/L)
4 Kamloops, Rocky Mountaineer, Banff
Your rail journey continues east towards the Canadian Rockies today. 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 the train and head for the ‘Castle in the Rockies’ - the stunning Fairmont Banff Springs. Stay Two Nights: Banff National Park, The Fairmont Banff Springs (B/L)
Verdant forests, glacial lakes, crystalline rivers and soaring mountain peaks - the World Heritage-listed landscapes of Banff National Park are at your doorstep and you’ve the chance to explore them on your chosen activity. (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- You may like to take part in the Banff Experience - which includes a visit to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Alternatively, absorb bird’s-eye views of the park on a heli-flightseeing excursion. Perhaps enjoy a float trip along Bow River or learn to be a Canadian ice hockey player with an elite team. You might like to spend your morning relaxing at the Willow Stream Spa or set out on a cruise on Lake Minnewanka.
- Enjoy the chance to relax with dinner at one of the superb restaurants located within your hotel.
6 Banff, Lake Louise
Board the Banff Gondola and ascend Sulphur Mountain, where you’ll be awestruck by the sweeping panoramic views out over six mountain ranges. Return to the foot of the mountain and enjoy a guided tour of the town, then set out along the Trans-Canada Highway. Travel through the lush forest of Banff National Park on your way to the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Overlooking the turquoise shores of Lake Louise, you’ll treasure your stay at one of the most alluring locations on the planet. This evening, you may choose where to have dinner. Stay Two Nights:
Banff National Park, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
in a Lakeview Room (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Select one of the many exceptional restaurants located within your hotel from which to dine.
- Meet a Mountie and hear tales of the iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
7 Moraine Lake, Lake Louise
Today’s sightseeing excursions reveal the sheer beauty of Banff National Park. First, you’ll travel to Moraine Lake, located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, and spend time marvelling at its glacially fed waters tinted a brilliant shade of blue. It’s the striking colour of the water and location - surrounded by snow-capped mountains - that makes it one of the most photographed sites in the Rockies. You’ll look forward to a free evening, during which you can enjoy the location as you wish. (B) Signature Experiences:
- On the sparkling shores of Lake Louise, join an expert Mountain Heritage Guide and learn about the rich natural history of the area.
8 Lake Louise, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper
Join Highway 93, otherwise known as the Icefields Parkway, and wind along one ofthe world’s most scenic stretches of road. After pausing to take in the impossibly blue, glacier-fed waters of Peyto Lake, stop at Columbia Icefield and journey onto the surface of Athabasca Glacier aboard an Ice Explorer vehicle. Later, stroll along the Glacier Skywalk and continue to Jasper via Athabasca Falls. Stay Two Nights: Jasper National Park, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (B)
Today, our Freedom of Choice options offer a thrilling perspective on this rugged wilderness. (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- See the park on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle sidecar tour; embark on a Maligne Valley experience; go rafting down the Athabasca River; ride the Jasper Tramway; join an interpretive nature hike; or enjoy an evening wildlife discovery.
- Tonight, a stylish alfresco dining experience awaits by the shores of Trefoil Lake. Absorb the rhythms of a group of First Nations performers while chefs prepare a gourmet barbecue dinner.
10 Jasper, Mt Robson, Blue River, Sun Peaks
Join the Yellowhead Highway and re-enter British Columbia, stopping to take in views of Mt Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Located in British Columbia’s picturesque Monashee Mountains, Grizzly Bear Valley - as Blue River locals call it - is an incredible natural wildlife habitat. Here, both grizzly and black bears are sighted daily, as are caribou, moose, deer, osprey, eagles and many other woodland creatures that call the region home. Enjoy lunch then continue your journey to the village of Sun Peaks. Stay: Sun Peaks Grand Hotel
(B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- On a Blue River Safari, a custom-designed boat will take you over glacier-fed waterways up close to the bears seen on the banks. Piloted by an expert guide, not only will you spot wildlife, you’ll see glaciers and pass right by waterfalls toppling from the snow-capped mountains nearby.
11 Sun Peaks, Whistler
Follow the historic tracks of the early gold rush pioneers through the rugged Cariboo region. Travel via the remote rural town of Lillooet, and stop at both Seton and Duffey lakes. Then re-enter the Coast Mountains on your way to Whistler. Ringed by mountains, forests and valleys, you’ll see why this destination attracts outdoor enthusiasts. Stay Two Nights: The Westin Whistler Resort and Spa (B/D)
This afternoon, select the Freedom of Choice activity that appeals to you. After a fun-filled day, you’ll appreciate an evening at leisure to spend how you please. (B) Freedom of Choice:
- Take an eco-trek to Lost Lake or enjoy a floatplane flight for a new perspective on the region. Alternatively, explore Whistler Mountain on a snowcat adventure, enjoy a mountain Jeep safari or ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Others may prefer a tree trek or a zip trek.
- The heritage of Canada’s indigenous people comes to light at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Enjoy breakfast and tour the museum, then discover your First Nations ‘animal spirit’ with the help of your guide.
13 Whistler, Georgia Strait, Victoria
Travel south from Whistler today, via the magnificent Shannon Falls to Horseshoe Bay. Here, take a ferry to Vancouver Island and the small city of Nanaimo. Continue by coach via Chemainus, a town famous for its vibrant outdoor murals, before arriving later in Victoria. Forgo the journey by land and ferry, and take a one-hour floatplane flight from Whistler to Victoria (own expense). Enjoy incredible views of the Georgia Strait and arrive in Victoria in the early afternoon. Stay Two Nights: Delta Hotels Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort (B)
14 Victoria, The Butchart Gardens
This afternoon presents you with the chance to select from a range of activities. On the final evening of your land journey, enjoy a special dinner with your fellow travellers. (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Perhaps join a whale watching cruise; take a seaplane flight; learn about the city’s heritage district on a guided tour; fish for salmon; ride in a horse-drawn carriage; or delight in afternoon tea at the elegant Fairmont Empress.
- Visit The Butchart Gardens before the crowds this morning and enjoy breakfast in the original Butchart residence. You’ll enjoy plenty of time to explore the colourful gardens in serenity before the gates open to the general public.
15 Victoria, Vancouver, Embark Ship
Return to Vancouver and board your ship for your Alaska Inside Passage
cruise. Enjoy plenty of time to settle in and explore the ship. Stay Seven Nights:
Holland America Line’s MS Nieuw Amsterdam
or MS Volendam
in a Verandah Stateroom (B/D) Signature Experiences:
- To celebrate the beginning of your cruise, you’ll be treated to a delightful Sail Away Dinner at the renowned Pinnacle Grill.
16 Cruise the Inside Passage
The excitement builds today as you open your curtains to the legendary scenery of the Inside Passage. Enjoy a full day at sea as your ship cruises past fjords and tiny islands off the coast of British Columbia. (B/L/D)
Cruise to Alaska’s capital, Juneau, set at the foot of the mountain peaks on the Gastineau Channel. Outdoor activities abound here, while the town centre is home to a wealth of cultural attractions. Disembark and choose to explore at leisure or set off on one of the available excursions (own expense). (B/L/D)
Arrive in Skagway, at the Inside Passage’s northernmost point. Once a gateway city for the Klondike Gold Rush, Skagway’s frontier-style atmosphere remains evident today. See many of its colourful heritage buildings now protected as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Here, a variety of excursions are on offer (own expense). (B/L/D)
19 Glacier Bay National Park
Wake to the breathtaking sight of World Heritage-listed Glacier Bay National Park, which boasts more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anywhere else. As you cruise through the national park and take in the rivers of ice and sky-high peaks, 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. You may be among the lucky few to sight whales in the wild. Humpbacks and orcas are plentiful in these waters. (B/L/D)
A cheerful town set on the shores of the Tongass Narrows, Ketchikan and its surrounds present a range of attractions, including Misty Fjords National Monument - one of America’s largest wilderness areas. Disembark and spend the day exploring as you please. (B/L/D)
21 The Inside Passage
Heading south through the Inside Passage, watch the glorious landscape slip by on your final day at sea. Or relax and make use of the wonderful amenities on board your ship. (B/L/D)
22 Disembark Ship, Depart Vancouver
Disembark your ship on arrival in Vancouver today and transfer to the airport. (B)