We've put together simply THE best way to experience Alaska plus the Canadian Rockies. Start in the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver before sailing through the natural wonders of Alaska on a leisurely Inside Passage cruise with Holland America. Then the cherry on top......an escorted trip through the Canadian Rockies including 'the world's most spectacular train journey' - Rocky Mountaineer. You'll experience overnight stays and visit some of Canada's most incredibly scenic locations: Jasper, Lake Louise, the Columbia Icefield and Banff.
Holland America is the undisputed leader when it comes to Alaska cruising, showcasing the state since 1947, twelve years before Alaska actually became a state! Ships are designed to get you closer to each wonder, from the breath-taking Inside Passage to awe-inspiring Glacier Bay National Park with more glacier viewing opportunities, Alaska-themed entertainment and expertly led shore excursions.
With your morning at leisure, consider heading to the colourful market on Granville Island to sample local delicacies, browse the galleries and enjoy a coffee overlooking the sea. Then it's time to embark on Volendam and toast your voyage of Alaska's Inside Passage with a chilled glass of champagne.
Arguably one of the greatest cruising routes in the world, the Inside Passage stretches through stunning landscapes, from Misty Fjords National Monument to famed Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. This protected network of waterways offer you the perfect opportunity for wild life spotting. Dress in layers and spend your time on deck to see how many humpback whales, bald eagles and brown bears you can spot.
Numerous ports along the way will recount Alaska’s colourful history from the rowdy Wild West era of the Klondike Gold Rush to Russia's onetime foothold in the Americas.
Arrive in the misty, sleepy city of Juneau, Alaska, one of the most remote, beautiful and strangest state capitals in the USA! Surrounded by water, forest and soaring mountains this frontier town is all about wildlife. Take a hike up Mount Robson to view wild deer and bald eagles or hhop on a whale-watching tour north to Auke Bay.
If you prefer to be on land for the afternoon, a float plane trip to the Chichagof or Admiralty Island wildlife reserves are recommended.
You’ll awake in Skagway today. At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, it served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields and quickly grew into Alaska’s largest settlement. It was known as a raucous, unruly frontier hub in its day full of trading posts, busy saloons and rowdy guesthouses. Step back in time and relive the heyday of the gold rush era. As much of Skagway has been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the rangers offer free walking tours around the fascinating historic district. You’ll also enjoy strolling around the local galleries, western boutiques and dining on seafood plucked from the ocean that very day in the many restaurants that line the waterfront.
Rise early today to witness your arrival into beautiful Glacier Bay.
When Captain George Vancouver sailed here in 1794, a vast shield of ice more than 3,937 feet thick, dominated the area. In one of the fastest retreats on record, the glaciers shrank back 65 miles by 1916. The land is rebounding now, rising 1.18 inches each year. Visitors can observe this rebirth: A spruce-hemlock rain forest has sprouted near the mouth of Glacier Bay. Farther north, the more recently exposed land shows sharper edges and thinner vegetation. Still, it’s enough to encourage the return of wildlife, from bald eagles to bears, moose and humpback whales.
The best vantage point is from the open deck of your ship, so be prepared for the elements with hat, gloves, wool or fleece layers, a warm coat and waterproof gear - even in summer!
*Time spent here is subject to the weather and ice conditions.
Alaska’s “First City," Ketchikan, is perched on the banks of the Tongass Narrows and flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain. Ketchikan is a great spot to try your hand at sport fishing as it’s an important hub for the salmon fishing and packing industry. Its also a great base to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.
View intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park. The attractions of Saxman Village, just outside the city, offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. In the town itself, head for Creek Street where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.
Welcome back to Vancouver. Once you disembark Volendam, you've time at your leisure to further discover the joys of the city. Stanley Park, historic Gastown and Chinatown are all must-dos. We've included admission to Vancouver Lookout with 360 degree views of the city, sea and mountains.
If you wish to venture further afield, ask Bon Voyage about excursions to world-renowned Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, the mountain town of Whistler and Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain.
Transfer from your hotel early morning to board Rocky Mountaineer and the start of your escorted tour.
Travel in comfort to Kamloops, in the heart of British Columbia’s interior. As you dine on gourmet cuisine and sip fine wines, you'll witness the dramatic changes in scenery, from the lush green fields of the Fraser Valley to the desert-like environment of the BC Interior. Highlights include the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in Fraser Canyon and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River.
Your day concludes as Rocky Mountaineer travels along the shores of Kamloops Lake and arrives into town early evening.
Today’s highlights are sure to be Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Pyramid Falls and the climb over Yellowhead Pass into Jasper National Park. The rail adventure part of your guided tour comes to an end this evening in the pretty mountain town of Jasper.
Experience one of the world's most astonishing drives, the Icefields Parkway, between Jasper and Banff - At the heart of the Icefields Parkway is one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world. Here, you’ll travel on a massive Ice Explorer to a place where you can walk on, feel and drink from the Athabasca Glacier. This is followed with staggering views from the Glacier Skywalk- a glass walkway suspended 280 metres above the Sunwapta Valley. Lunch today is also included, before a brief stop at beautiful Bow Lake.
With easy access to vast wilderness, Banff is Canada's first National Park and has a rich heritage as one of the world's most awe-inspiring mountain destinations. Spend your late afternoon/early evening enjoying its laid-back vibe and some of the finest dining experiences you'll encounter in the Canadian Rockies.
A half-day motorcoach tour takes you the natural wonders of Yoho National Park and its famed Spiral Tunnels. There will be time to stretch your legs with a stroll around Emerald Lake. Around mid-afternoon, arrive in legendary Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel, your luxury lakeside home for the evening. Take a gentle walk around the lake, enjoy a leisurely canoe trip, or simply relax along the shore and soak up the impressive scenery.
Aim to rise early and experience sunrise over Lake Louise, it's an unforgettable sight!
You'll start your day with a motorcoach sightseeing tour of Banff including the must-see attractions of Bow Falls, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos before heading to your final stop, Calgary.