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, beaches, and more. The rest of the day is at leisure; your Tour Director can suggest ways to further explore the city. Maybe take a water taxi to Granville Island with outdoor markets, street musicians, and waterfront cafes. Or, visit historic Gastown with its steam-powered clock.
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, beautifully situated on the lake shore and surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Sample local wines on the included winery tour.
Motor north through the Okanagan Valley, famous for its peaches and vineyards. Climb up 4,379-foot-high Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. Take a break at the pass, perfect for photos of the rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. Enter Yoho National Park and ascend Kicking Horse Pass at 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 favourite year-round resorts, and 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 also have suggestions for an optional helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies.
First, to Lake Louise, its turquoise waters a perfect natural mirror that reflects the mountains and glaciers. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens come into view as the motorcoach continues northward into Jasper National Park. A highlight today is a stop at the Columbia Icefield to ride the Ice Explorer that travels on ice measuring 750 feet thick. This afternoon, join our 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, and embark on a narrated cruise. The balance of the day is free to enjoy everything Jasper has to offer- from 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 12,972 feet. Continue following the Yellowhead Highway south along the North Thompson River-a route pioneered by fur trappers. Overnight at the Sun Peaks mountain resort.
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. Enjoy free time to explore many sites of the 2010 Winter Olympics held here. You may decide to join one of many optional excursions, including a flightseeing excursion by floatplane over the glaciated peaks, or a gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains-the perfect bear- spotting vantage point.
Set sail across the Strait of Georgia, known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Afternoon sightseeing in Victoria includes world-famous Butchart Gardens, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its unusual collection of totem poles.
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 trip cruising the beautiful waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands, looking for whales, porpoises, seals, and eagles.
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 metres 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)
Alaska's "First City" of Ketchikan is so named because it is 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. 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. (B,L,D)
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. Sailing the Inside Passage offers opportunities to spot some of Alaska's most iconic wildlife, with humpback whales and orca plying the bountiful waters alongside the ships, bald eagles soaring overhead and brown bears lumbering on the shoreline. (B,L,D)
Your holiday ends this morning. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. (B)