Duration: 20 Days
Canada’s national parks and scenic drives highlight this wonderful Canadian Rockies tour that overnights in Vancouver, Kelowna, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Sun Peaks, Whistler, and Victoria. Plus, enjoy a 7-night Alaska cruise and marvel at the amazing spectacle of thunder and spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea.
You’ll spend time in Banff National Park, with its valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, and meadows, and Jasper National Park, with its majestic mountains and abundant wildlife. Other Canadian national parks on this tour include Glacier National Park, with its rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, and Yoho National Park, with its vertical rockwalls, waterfalls, and beautiful peaks. In addition to national parks, you’ll also visit some of Canada’s most popular resort towns on this Canadian Rockies tour. In the resort city of Kelowna, attractively set on the shores of Lake Okanagan and surrounded by orchards and vineyards, enjoy a winery tour. In the mountain resort of Sun Peaks, you’ll overnight after a beautiful drive that includes passing Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest mountain at 12,972 feet. You’ll also overnight and have a full day in Whistler, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
A tour highlight is a stop at the Columbia Icefield, the largest expanse of ice in the Canadian Rockies. Here, you’ll ride the Ice Explorer that travels on ice that is 1,200 feet thick. You’ll also travel to the Pacific Coast, where you’ll sail across the Strait of Georgia to Victoria for a sightseeing tour, two overnights, free time to discover some of Victoria’s most popular attractions, and a visit to Butchart Gardens, rated as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
For the value-minded traveller, this Canadian Rockies tour with an Alaska cruise is a dream holiday!
Welcome to Vancouver! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
This morning, an included city tour highlights STANLEY PARK, Chinatown, the harbor and beaches, and more. The remainder of the day is at leisure; your Tour Director will have suggestions for your further exploration of the city. 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.
This morning, our journey begins in British Columbia's fertile valleys and continues through rich mountain forests to Lake Okanagan. Travel along the lake to the resort city of Kelowna's beautiful setting on the lake shore, surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Sample the local wines on the included WINERY TOUR this afternoon.
Motor north through the Okanagan Valley, famous for its peaches and vineyards. Then, begin the climb up 1335 metre (4,379-foot) high Rogers Pass in GLACIER NATIONAL PARK. Take a break at the pass, a perfect spot for photos of the impressively rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. Enter YOHO NATIONAL PARK and ascend Kicking Horse Pass at an altitude of 5,421 feet. Reach BANFF NATIONAL PARK, gateway to the majestic Canadian Rockies. An orientation tour includes Banff's unspoiled beauty.
Banff is one of Canada's favorite year-round resorts, with activities ranging from skiing in winter to hiking, boating, and fishing in summer. With this free day, your Tour Director will suggest an optional helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies.
Spend a day of scenic grandeur, first with Lake Louise-its turquoise waters providing a perfect natural mirror reflecting the mountains and glaciers. A highlight today is a stop at the COLUMBIA ICEFIELD to board the Ice Explorer, an allterrain vehicle that travels on ice measuring 229 metre (750 feet) thick. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens come into view as the motorcoach continues northward into JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Late this afternoon, your Tour Director suggests an optional float trip down the Athabasca River. Enjoy an orientation tour of Jasper townsite upon arrival.
Today, join our optional excursion to Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, where you embark on a narrated cruise of the lake. The balance of the day is free to enjoy everything Jasper has to offer-from guided hikes and quaint shops to meandering wildlife.
Leave Jasper and follow the Fraser River to the base of Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, peaking at 3955 metres (12,972 feet). Continue following the Yellowhead Highway south along the North Thompson River-a route pioneered by fur trappers a century ago. Overnight at the mountain resort of Sun Peaks.
Head south, following the once-treacherous Cariboo Wagon Trail. Via Lillooet, "Mile 0 of the Gold Rush Route," your motorcoach will follow the shores of Seton and Duffey Lakes, with a late-afternoon arrival in Whistler.
Spend the day in the alpine resort of Whistler, nestled at the base of breathtaking Blackcomb Mountain. Free time to explore many of the 2010 Winter Olympics' sites or join one of the many optional excursions, including flightseeing by floatplane over the lakes and glaciated peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Set sail across the spectacular Gulf Islands. Afternoon arrival in Victoria. Visit world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, one of Victoria's most celebrated sites and rated among the most beautiful gardens in the world. Sightseeing continues with Marine Drive, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its unusual collection of totem poles.
Today is at leisure to discover some of the attractions this splendid city has to offer, including the Royal British Columbia Museum. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, an IMAX presentation at the National Geographic Theatre, whale watching on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and fine shopping along Government Street.
A scenic ferry crossing to the mainland. Upon arrival, transfer to Canada Place to board Holland America's MS Koningsdam or MS Volendam for an unforgettable Inside Passage cruise. (D)
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)
Located at the foot of grand mountain peaks on Gastineau Channel, Alaska's capital city of Juneau has massive Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau Icefield at its back door. Visit the rustic shops in town-or get out and kayak, raft, hike, whale watch, flightsee, or fish. There's no end to the adventure because of the long daylight hours. (B,L,D)
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)
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 on camera, then you wait for it all to happen again. (B,L,D)
Built 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)
Cruise through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage, keeping watch for spouting whales, soaring eagles, and other wildlife. Tonight, enjoy a sumptuous dinner and onboard entertainment. (B,L,D)
Your holiday ends this morning. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. (B)