Canadian Rockies by Rail & Ultra Luxury Alaska Cruise
Based on 30th May 2017 departure. Similar Itineraries available May – August 2017
Fly from the UK to Calgary and take a private transfer to downtown Calgary. Overnight stay at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary
Depart Calgary for a full-day tour concluding in Banff. Journey to Kananaskis where you will enjoy a 12-minute Summit Helicopter Tour over the remarkable landscape of the Rockies. Continue on to Banff for a sightseeing tour including Bow Falls, Lake Minnewanka, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos. A trip on the Banff Gondola is included. Your tour ends on arrival in Banff late afternoon. Overnight in Banff at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
A half-day tour takes you into Yoho National Park to view some of its natural wonders. Among the attractions are the Spiral Tunnels, Emerald Lake and a natural rock bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River. The tour ends in Lake Louise where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy this magnificent location. Overnight in Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Banff and Jasper National Parks via the Icefields Parkway. Among the highlights are Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls. Upon arrival at the Columbia Icefield you will take a ride on an Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier. Time will be available for lunch (not included). Arrive in Jasper late this afternoon. Overnight in Jasper at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Jasper National Park is a World Heritage Site and the Canadian Rockies largest national park. Today you will enjoy a short scenic tour including the many natural attractions, rugged peaks, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of some of the many creatures that call this mountain park home. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore more of Jasper independently. Overnight in Jasper.
Travel onboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Jasper to Kamloops. You will be surrounded by the dramatic scenery of the Continental Divide and by the river valleys of the Monashee and Cariboo mountains. Highlights include Mount Robson, Pyramid Falls, Yellowhead Pass and the journey along the North Thompson River. Overnight hotel in Kamloops.
Your journey continues west towards the coastal city of Vancouver. Highlights include the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River and the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon. Stay for 3 nights in Vancouver at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Leisure time to explore this beautiful city located on the Pacific Coast.
Enjoy another day of exploring Vancouver at your own pace.
Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. This young city became part of the Canadian Confederation in 1871. Its history remains visible to the naked eye; along the waterfront visitors can see everything from cobblestone late-Victorian Gastown to shiny postmodern glass cathedrals. In 1792, Captain George Vancouver explored Burrard Inlet during a coastal survey of what is now known as the Inside Passage. But it was not until gold was discovered on the Fraser River in the 1860s that Vancouver actually became a town. At that time, the city was known as Gastown, named for saloonkeeper “Gassy Jack” Deighton, who opened Vancouver's first bar in 1867. A fire destroyed the settlement two months after it was incorporated. Most of the buildings in Vancouver date to the rebuilding of the small city in 1886. The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1889, with Vancouver as its terminus, and the city established itself as Canada's main port for trade with the Orient. Today, the Port of Vancouver is still Canada's largest port, serving as a gateway to China and Japan. In the early 1900s, Vancouver boomed with the development of the fishing and timber industries. World War II catapulted the city's economy into the modern era, and successful redevelopment in the past twenty years has made Vancouver a very livable modern city. Several new structures were built for Expo, the 1986 World's Fair. Canada Place Pier, currently the home of the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, was built in 1985 to house the Canadian Pavilion for Expo. It was modeled after the old sailing ships and from the back looks similar to a Spanish galleon. A polyhedron-shaped building, which looks like a giant silver golf ball, was also built for Expo and is now the home of the Vancouver Science Centre.
The Tlingit Indians originally settled this area as a summer fishing camp, where five different species of salmon spawned every year. The natives called it “Kitchsk-hin,” which means Kitchsk's stream. This word sounds like another Tlingit phrase, which translates into “Thundering Wings of an Eagle,” and is sometimes given as the origin of the word Ketchikan. However, most locals agree that Kitchsk's stream is the more accurate translation. During World War II, Ketchikan was the site of a major United States Coast Guard base and housed over 750 enlisted men and officers. The early 1900s were a boom time for Ketchikan, along with the rest of Alaska. Gold was discovered in the nearby hills and on Prince of Wales Island, and copper was discovered a short time later. Ketchikan became the supply center for all the mines in the surrounding area. By the mid-1930s, Ketchikan had aptly named itself “The Salmon Capital of the World.” In 1936 alone, the city packed more than 1.5 million cases of salmon. Once a quintessential Alaskan logging and fishing town, Ketchikan was a workday place where visitors could wander the docks. But drastic declines in both the logging and fishing industries forced the city to change course. Today, Ketchikan is a typical Alaskan tourist town, catering to cruise ship guests.
Juneau is one of only two state capitals in the country that is not accessible by road. Considered by many to be the most beautiful capital in the nation, Juneau is the second largest city, in area, in the United States. The city's terrain is hilly and its winding, narrow streets are full of character. However, Juneau's small-town charm is mixed with cosmopolitan flair; here you will find interesting museums, sophisticated shops and fine restaurants. In 1880, prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, led by Tlingit chief Kowee, beached their canoes along Gastineau Channel at the mouth of Gold Creek, where they staked out a 160-acre town site and a boomtown was born. After the loose gold in streambeds ran out, Juneau became a center for hard rock mining. By the turn of the century, three of the largest mining operations in the world were located in Juneau (Alaska-Juneau mine, the Alaska Gastineau mine and the Treadwell Complex, comprised of four separate mines). These mines yielded over $158 million in gold between 1880 and 1944. The last of four large mines that operated in the area closed down during World War II. By this time, Juneau had become the capital of Alaska and the business of government had replaced the business of mining. Juneau is the destination with the most diversity of Alaska sightseeing, active adventure and romance. This quaint, yet sophisticated town is rich in native culture and gold mining history. It nestled in the rain forest where the mountains meet the sea amid 17 million acres of Tongass National Forest and a 1,000-square-mile ice field. Today, Juneau is famous for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers, fjords, lakes and wildlife that is unrivaled.
"North to Alaska" was the song sang by those rushing to the goldmines of the Klondike. Usually they meant Skagway. The White Pass and Chilkoot Trails were the gateways to the Yukon Territory. The gold rush was a boon and by 1898 Skagway was Alaska's largest town with a population of approximately 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling prospered, attracting Skagway residents as well as the 10,000 people living in the nearby tent city of Dyea. But, as the gold dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly moved to Nome. Today with a population of less than 1,000, the town retains the flavor of the gold-rush era in its downtown, a historic district.
Sitka began as a major Tlingit Indian village and was called “Shee Atika,” which translates roughly as “settlement on the outside of Shee.” “Shee” is the Tlingit name of Baranof Island. In 1799, Alexander Baranof, the general manager of the Russian American Company, decided to move his base of operations from Kodiak and set up camp at what is now called Old Sitka, 7.5 miles north of the present-day town. He called the settlement St. Archangel Michael. The Tlingit Indians of the area resisted the occupation and, in 1802, with Baranof away, burned the fort and massacred the Russian settlers. Two years later, Baranof returned and besieged the Indian fort. The Tlingits withdrew and the area was once again in Russian hands. This time, the Russians built the new city on a different site and called it New Archangel. For over six decades, New Archangel was the capital of the Russian empire in Alaska. By 1867, the Alaska colony had become too much of a financial burden to Russia. William Seward, U.S. Secretary of State, negotiated with the Russian Czar to purchase the Territory of Alaska for $7.2 million. The American press scoffed at Seward and the U.S. government for purchasing what they called “Seward's Folly,” “Seward's Icebox,” and “Walrussia.” On October 18, 1867, the Russian flag was lowered at New Archangel and the Stars and Stripes were raised over newly renamed Sitka. The name comes from the Tlingit word “Sheetkah,” which means “in this place.” All Russian citizens living in the former colony were given the opportunity to become American citizens. Many went home, although a few stayed or migrated to California. Sitka remained the capital of the Territory of Alaska from 1867 to 1906, when it was moved to Juneau. The move was a direct result of the gold rush. In plain terms, Sitka did not have any and Juneau did. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Sitka became a full-scale naval base. At one time during the war, Sitka had a total population of 37,000. With the end of World War II, however, the city settled into a quieter existence. The biggest boom in modern days for Sitka came in 1959 when the Alaska Lumber and Pulp Company built a pulp mill at Silver Bay, near the city. Today, picturesque Sitka is known for its fishing and of course its many historic attractions.
Seward, founded in 1903, is named after the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, who endeavoured to purchase the land we know today as Alaska. It is a small, fishing village that has become a fairly busy port, due to its access to the state's highway, something many Alaskan towns lack. It is the southernmost terminus for the Alaska Railroad and is the closet port to Anchorage for those embarking cruise ships. Anchorage is located in south central Alaska, where to the east, the Chugach Mountains serve as the backdrop for the city's magnificent skyline. To the west are the expansive, steel-coloured waters of Cook Inlet, named after the explorer Captain James Cook who sailed into the area in 1778. Anchorage was incorporated as a city in 1920. Though steadily growing, it remained a relatively small frontier town until the beginning of World War II. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Anchorage found itself on the front lines of the conflict. Airfields, roads, and other buildings were constructed during the war. After World War II, the infrastructure was left behind, creating the framework for Anchorage's development. On January 3, 1959, Congress voted Alaska into statehood.
This morning you can disembark your cruise any time after breakfast. You will then board the train to take you from Seward to Anchorage. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight Anchorage - Hilton Hotel
After flying from Anchorage to Vancouver. On arrival You are free today to explore the city at leisure. No trip to Vancouver would be complete without a visit to Stanley Park. Situated between English Bay and Burrard Inlet, the peninsula at the north-western edge of down-town Vancouver, Stanley Park covers 1,000 acres. Its seawall, beaches, walking trails, totem poles, aquarium, pool, miniature railway and more attract 8 million visitors each year. Why not hop on one of the horse drawn tours that make its way around the park? Overnight in Vancouver at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Travel into the mountains to visit the original Vancouver tourist attraction - Capilano Suspension Bridge. Spend time exploring the temperate rain forest, and the park's many thrilling attractions including the Cliffwalk. You finish the tour with a visit to the Granville Island Public Market and driving through Chinatown and Historic Gastown. Overnight in Vancouver at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Today, after checking out of your hotel, please make your own way to Vancouver International Airport for your overnight flight back to the UK