On VIA Rail— 1 continental breakfast; 1 brunch; 7 breakfast, 6 lunches, 8 dinners
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
CALGARY. Welcome to Calgary! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
CALGARY–BANFF NATIONAL PARK. The discovery of oil converted this cattle-ranching town into a thriving, sophisticated city. Sightseeing highlights downtown, Fort Calgary, Stampede Park, the Saddledome, and Canada Olympic Park. Next, drive west through the foothills of the Rockies into BANFF NATIONAL PARK. On arrival, enjoy an orientation tour.
BANFF NATIONAL PARK. Full day at leisure. Banff is one of Canada’s favorite resorts, and the national park is home to 53 species of mammals. The most commonly seen are deer and big horn sheep. If the timing is right, you may spot black bears, grizzlies, or wolves. Your Tour Director will suggest an optional helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies.
BANFF NATIONAL PARK–LAKE LOUISE–COLUMBIA ICEFIELD–JASPER NATIONAL PARK. First stop is Lake Louise, with its cold waters reflecting the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped mountain ranges, and exquisite lakes come into view as your motorcoach scales three mountain passes. Another highlight today is a stop at the COLUMBIA ICEFIELD to experience the Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that travels on ice measuring 750 feet thick. Late this afternoon, join our optional float trip down the historic Athabasca River. In Jasper, an orientation tour showcases the area’s unspoiled beauty. Accommodation for the next two nights are in JASPER NATIONAL PARK.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Join the optional narrated cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island. On the return journey, you’ll be mesmerized by dramatic Maligne Canyon. With much of the afternoon and evening free, consider hiking or exploring Jasper’s local charm. While exploring the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies keep an eye out for native wildlife, which includes grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and wolves.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK–VIA RAIL THE CANADIAN. Board a morning departure on VIA Rail’s the Canadian for the journey west across Canada’s Rocky Mountains to Vancouver. The Canadian features renovated cars, comfortable cabin accommodations in Sleeper Plus class, and delicious meals. Spend time in the Skyline car, with dome seating and a lounge area, or relax in the Park car and meet other travelers. The comfortable cabins come with bed turndown service, in-car shower access, and lots of little extras, such as a personal toiletry kit. (BR,D)NOTE:Train travel is subject to unforeseen delays.
VIA RAIL THE CANADIAN–VANCOUVER. Continue through the ranchlands along the South Thompson River, the fertile fields of the Fraser Valley, and snowcapped Coast Mountains. Upon arrival in Vancouver, city sightseeing focuses on Vancouver’s Chinatown, Gastown, and lovely STANLEY PARK.
VANCOUVER–FERRY CROSSING–VICTORIA. Today, set sail across the Strait of Georgia through the spectacular Gulf Islands, known for their Mediterranean-like climate. Sightseeing in Victoria includes world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its collection of totem poles.
VICTORIA. A day at leisure gives you the chance to discover this splendid city, including the Royal British Columbia Museum, shopping on Government Street, or a leisurely stroll around the harbor. Perhaps join the optional wildlife and whale-watching cruise on the beautiful waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands for possible sightings of whales, porpoises, seals, and eagles.
VICTORIA–FERRY CROSSING–VANCOUVER Morning departure for Vancouver. Continue your stay in Vancouver for the evening of Day 10.
VANCOUVER (EMBARKATION). Embark your cruise ship.
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)
JUNEAU 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)
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 enroute 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)
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 on camera, then you wait for it all to happen again. (B,L,D)
KETCHIKAN 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)
SCENIC CRUISING: INSIDE PASSAGE 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)
VANCOUVER (DISEMBARKATION) Your cruise ends this morning. Please schedule flights after Noon.