San Francisco, Seattle & Alaska Cruise
Holiday Reference: 16544
Start your adventure in the streets of San Francisco; find your way through the famous fog and discover all its amazing sites. Take time to taste their famous clam chowder and sample a Ghiradelli hot fudge sundae. Treat yourself to lots of legroom on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight service to Seattle. Pick something up at the buffet or take the time to eat in the dining car while enjoying the passing scenery. Stay in techy Seattle, a city with thousands of acres of parkland, located in the Puget Sound. Cap off your west coast adventure with an Alaska cruise on Holland America. You’ll come back with a camera full of memories.
Upon arrival into San Francisco make your way independently to your overnight hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Over the next 2 days you will plenty time to explore. Relax and enjoy San Francisco Bay in comfort as you leisurely sail from Fisherman’s Wharf, taking in views of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and photogenic skyline. See Golden Gate Park, San Francisco National Maritime Park, Angel Island and enjoy close-up views of Alcatraz Island, the former prison home to some of America’s most infamous criminals. A highlight is sure to be sailing under the famous Golden Gate Bridge which stands 746 feet high and spans 4,200-feet across the Bay.
Today you will board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train to Seattle. You will pass through Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento, and Portland, Oregon. Widely regarded as one of the most spectacular train routes, the Coast Starlight links the greatest cities on the West Coast. You will see dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline which will provide you with a stunning backdrop for your journey. Upon arrival in Seattle make your way independently to your overnight hotel.
You will spend the next 3 nights in beautiful Seattle. We have included a 3 hour City Tour where you can sit back and relax in your spacious coach as your tour guide presents Seattle’s neighbourhoods and attractions, such as Pike Place Market, Seattle Waterfront & Pioneer Square and much more. We have also included a City Pass which will allow you to visit such places as the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium & Harbour Cruise to name but a few.
After a leisurely breakfast make your way to the cruise port for your Alaska Cruise.
Stephens Passage is like the best shortcut in the world, a straight line through Southeast Alaska in a landscape that comes with very few straight lines. It’s not only people and ships that use the passage: Concentrated in and around its waters is a greatest hits of Alaskan wildlife, from humpback whales, to giant sea lions.
The southern reaches of Stephens Passage start at the edges of Frederick Sound, one of the best whale-watching areas in the state. The sound narrows and as you are funnelled into the passage, the mountains come right down into the sea, high tide licking the roots of spruce and hemlock. In tiny bays, guillemots and gulls gather; when they take off at the ship’s wake, the noise is like applause.
Juneau, Alaska may well be the most remote, most beautiful and strangest state capital in the United States. Surrounded by water, forest and mountain sights, visitors seeking things to do in Juneau indoors and outdoors can hike a glacier, eat fresh-caught fish on a seaside patio and tour a grand capitol building all in one day.
The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles. Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay—bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a floatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to spy some bears lolling around.
Frosted crags descend into mossy forests and a 457-meter-deep (1,500-foot-deep) fjord at this World Heritage Site, which is also one of the planet’s largest biosphere reserves. Stone, ice and water continue to collide, sculpting a dramatic landscape that is the crown jewel of south eastern Alaska’s natural wonders.
The ports of Alaska inspire visions of remote wilderness outposts, legendary gold-rush towns and Native Alaskan villages, all set amid lush forests and frigid, glacier-flanked waters. And while you’ll certainly find these things in and around Sitka, you’ll witness a unique slice of Alaskan history not found anywhere else. Russia controlled Alaska from the mid-1700s until the United States purchased it in 1867, and Sitka was settled as the capital of Russian America under the name New Archangel.
Sailing into Sitka today, you’ll still see vestiges of Russia’s influence, including the unmistakable onion dome of St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Russian Bishop’s House, both National Historic Landmarks. Stop by the visitor centre of the Sitka National Historical Park to peruse its interesting collections of Russian and Native Alaskan artefacts, and then join a ranger-led tour of the battlefield where Russia defeated the native Tlingit people.
Sitka also boasts an abundance of epic natural scenery and wildlife. Take a walk up Castle Hill to enjoy an ideal vantage point across the water to the dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe, and trips to the nearby Fortress of the Bear and the Alaska Raptor Centre offer up-close encounters with some of Alaska’s most captivating creatures.
Alaska’s “First City” of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain.
Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and -packing industries—visitors can try their luck on a sport fishing excursion or simply savour the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Centre and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. And leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush–era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.
Of all the cities in Canada, Victoria may be the furthest from Great Britain, but it has the most British vibe. Between sipping afternoon tea, visiting flower gardens and castles and stopping in at pubs, one could easily forget about the Pacific Ocean lapping at the other side of Vancouver Island. The influence of the First Nations culture is also strong here in Victoria, with totem poles taking a front-and-centre position on the Inner Harbour and in Beacon Hill Park. Extensive galleries are devoted to the history of the First People at the Royal British Columbia Museum, too, one of Victoria's top tourist attractions. Other waves of immigration besides that of the English are evident in the streets of Canada’s oldest Chinatown here, as well as on the menus of the city’s many restaurants, pizzerias and tavernas.
Start your visit to Victoria's sights and attractions at the Inner Harbour. Whale-watching cruises and sightseeing floatplanes take off and return from their excursions here and government buildings, museums, the Visitor Centre and the grand Fairmont Empress provide a dignified welcome. Just around the point, Fisherman’s Wharf offers a lively contrast with working fishing boats, barking harbour seals and busy seafood restaurants serving up the catch of the day. Take time for a jaunt to the famous Butchart Gardens, a truly stunning show garden developed on the site of a depleted quarry. Enjoy afternoon tea or a walk in the park or a shopping trip to Market Square or along Government Street. However you choose to spend your day here or decide where to go in Victoria, the city’s civilized delights will charm you.
After breakfast disembark your cruise ship and make your way to Settle Tacoma Airport for your flight back to the UK.