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In the style of most Global Escapes Independent Traveler itineraries, this is a perfect blend of self-guided adventure and forward-planning to ensure that the main elements are organised in advance allowing for plenty of time to relax and take in each place you visit.
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The Rockies: "Sigh-inducing mountains, mist-shrouded forests and epic tooth-and-claw wildlife. This is Canada’s legendary outdoor wonderland. And it's served alongside a full menu of distinctive, ever-inviting communities. It’s the vast scale of this seemingly infinite wilderness that strikes most visitors, triggering a humble response in the face of nature’s grand scheme." Lonely Planet author
The Inside Passage: "These are serene waters, where one moment you can be sailing a wide bay of barrier islands and the next you’re cruising through a narrow waterway flanked by towering forested walls. That’s the splendid spectacle of the Inside Passage - the scenery is constantly changing, from picturesque shores to friendly coastal towns."
Click/tap the player above to watch this short video about cruising Alaska's Inside Passage. Want to know more? Click/tap the links below (opens in a new browser tab).
This itinerary is fully customisable to suit your requirements. Add comprehensive, best-in-class, travel insurance for just $299 per person* valued at over $800 per couple.
Special included value:
Lonely Planet is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travelers. Lonely Planet authors are experienced, insightful travel experts. They personally research the places they write about - both in the first and in subsequent editions - and provide essential travel details along with a wealth of insider information and first-hand tips.
You will receive these guides to to help you gain the most out of your holiday. Recommendation: Take the time to read suggestions for things to see and do before you leave Australia. Take your Lonely Planet guides with you in your luggage.
Canadian Rockies tour highlights:
You'll start your journey via the trans-Canada highway; pass through Fraser valley, and head east for Kelowna, the heart of the Okanagan Valley and home to world-class vintners. At Lake Okanagan you'll hear its legendary story and search for the lake monster “Ogopogo”. Visit one of the most renowned wineries before settling down in Salmon Arm/Revelstoke in the evening. Over the next three days you'll discover some wonderful places during your Rockies adventure:
Marvel at the breathtaking scenery and encounter ports like Gold Rush-era Skagway and Ketchikan, the capital city of Juneau and British-flavored Victoria on this amazing cruise. These are places where you can visit a Native village, learn about Alaska’s Gold Rush days or go dog sledding with a real musher. The Inside Passage has stories to tell that will give you a greater understanding of the culture, history and lifestyle of Alaska.
Cruise on-board experience:
* All prices are per-person on a twin-share basis and all bookings are subject to availability. Price and deposit amount varies according to travel date. A flight cost provision (allowance) applies. Total price after Getaway Cash credits and Australian Escapes Free Flights Vouchers is generally payable as follows: Deposit on booking, balance 120 days prior to departure. Packages can be priced for families and groups on request. All prices are estimates only. A firm quote (travel plan) with payment terms will be submitted for consideration prior to booking. Standard prices are for non-members for the same or similar package. Flight pricing included in packages or other estimates is based on travel from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Travel can be arranged from any other major centre and for any number of people. Travel insurance pricing is based on two travellers aged 69 years or less as at the date of departure from Australia. Surcharge applies for travellers aged 70 years and over. Full booking terms and conditions are available here.
Welcome to Vancouver. You are met on arrival and taken to your Downtown Vancouver hotel. Time-permitting, we recommend heading into town for lunch or dinner and a look around. Refer to your Lonely Planet guide for ideas.
After check-in spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the city.
We'll start our journey via the trans-Canada highway; passing through Fraser valley, and heading east for Kelowna, the heart of the Okanagan Valley and home to world-class vintners. At Lake Okanagan, let us listen to its legendary story and search for the lake monster “Ogopogo”. Visit one of the most renowned wineries before settling down in Salmon Arm/Revelstoke in the evening.
Arrive at Canada’s oldest National Park - Banff National Park via Rogers Pass and Yoho National Park. An eye-opening Gondola Ride will captivate you with the majestic views of the Rocky Mountains. Passing by Vermilion Lakes, visit Bow Falls which was also featured in 1953 Marilyn Monroe starred movie River of No Return. Stroll along Banff Avenue where you will find myriad of art galleries, trendy shops and boutiques in the highest town of Canada.
Today you will journey to Lake Louise, also known as the "Jewel of the Rockies." After, you will make your way to the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. There you will ride on the specially designed “Ice Explorer” onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. After, you will enjoy a thrilling experience walking on the new Glacier Skywalk. Later you will pass by Crowfoot Glacier, before arriving in Golden where you will stay overnight.
Proceed to Eagle Pass and visit the Last Spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Head west to BC interiors and arrive in Kamloops, a city with over 2000 hours of sunshine each year. Visit the only GMP certified Ginseng factory and learn about manufacture and the amazing healing power of Ginseng. After passing by the District of Hope, where Sylvester Stallone filmed First Blood in 1982 and Hunter’s Creek, return to Vancouver by late afternoon.
Tonight you'll stay in Vancouver. Take the opportunity to head out for the evening to dine at one of Vancouver's many great restaurants. Tomorrow we're boarding our home for the next seven nights as we cruise north to Alaska.
Your cruise departs Vancouver at 4.30pm so this is an opportunity for you to explore the ship and get to know where everything is. Here are a few tips to get you started: First day on board
The next day you'll be at sea travelling through the beautiful Inside Passage to your first port at Ketchikan.
Ketchikan is known as Alaska's "First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means "eagle with spread-out wings," a reference to a waterfall near town.
In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska's claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska's fourth-largest city.
Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world's oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's colorful history. Ketchikan, with its abundance of salmon, is also a sportfishing paradise. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.
In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans." From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital
of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.
Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau's 3,248 square miles. Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.
Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn't the easiest.
Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail.
The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska's largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. But when the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome. Today, Skagway has less than 1,000 residents. It still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.
Glacier Bay is the highlight of our 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. Just west of Juneau, this breathtaking national park and preserve boasts some of the world's most spectacular tidewater glaciers, such as Margerie Glacier, which often drops colossal chunks of ice into the sea. Not surprisingly, Glacier Bay National Park and its epic ice giants are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Alaska's magnificent park system.
During your scenic cruise, friendly Park Rangers will join the ship to share their knowledge of this amazing place and host a fun Junior Ranger program for kids. They may even be able to help you identify Glacier Bay's abundant wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, black bears, mountain goats, bald eagles and large colonies of seabirds.
Take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy an unforgettable day of sailing through this dazzling park, where you'll glide along emerald waters and past calving icebergs, and can breathe in the crisp, fresh air to your heart's content.
Discovered in the northwest corner of Prince William Sound during an 1899 research expedition, spectacular College Fjord and its glaciers were named after prestigious east coast schools by the college professors who first laid eyes upon their majesty. Stretching for miles, these massive rivers of ice tumble down from mountains and through valleys, dipping into the pristine waters of the fjord. There you'll have a chance to watch the awe-inspiring process of glaciers calving, or dropping enormous pillars of ice into the sea, as they crack and land with a thunderous splash ? a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed!
College Fjord not only boasts the world's largest collection of tidewater glaciers, but it features magnificent snowcapped mountains as far as the eyes can see. Plus, during the summer, it's not unheard of to catch a glimpse of one of the area's 40-ton humpback whales feeding in the waters of the fjord.
It's a magical wonderland of epic proportions, so breathtaking you won't want to blink!
Whittier, approximately 65 miles southeast of Anchorage, lies nestled at the base of the Chugach Mountains bordering Passage Canal. Established as a World War II port for cargo and troops of the Alaska Command, Whittier remained activated until 1960. Today, Whittier's economy and its 290 residents rely largely on the fishing industry, the port and, increasingly, on tourism.
Once accessible only by boat or via a war-era railway tunnel, The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel was recently enhanced to accommodate highway traffic as well, making it the longest highway/rail tunnel in North America at 2.5 miles. Named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, the community is also the gateway to spectacular Prince William Sound, with its magnificent tidewater glaciers and abundant marine life.
Tonight you'll stay in Anchorage before heading to the airport for your flight back to Australia.
Depending on flight time you will have some extra time to relax and enjoy Anchorage before returning to Australia. This Canada and Alaska adventure will open your eyes to the majesty and beauty of this part of the world and will certainly be one of your best holidays ever.
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