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Western Explorer with pre-tour Alaskan Cruise

17 days Cruising
  • 2-Day Rocky Mountaineer Experience
  • 7-night aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Vancouver
  • Kamloops
  • Jasper
  • Lake Louise
  • Banff
  • Calgary

Virgin Holidays' view

Epic adventures don’t have to push you to your limits. Two of North America’s wildest wildernesses, West Canada and Alaska, can be explored in utter luxury and comfort by cruise and rail. The scenery steals the show as you sail the north Pacific’s Inside Passage for seven nights, experiencing UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park, where creaking glaciers calve shelves of ice into the bay with thunderous plumes of water. Holland America’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam tries to live up to its dazzling route with 5-course dining menus, indulgent spa treatments*, and gallery worthy artwork; but Alaska’s ports of call lure you with promises of sights like Juneau’s massive Mendenhall Glacier; Skagway’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park; and Ketchikan’s hill and water-skimming homes. The inland scenery’s just as dramatic. Even near urban Vancouver, a North Shore tour reveals natural beauty at Grouse Mountain and the treetop Capilano Suspension Bridge. And there’s nothing understated about the Rocky Mountaineer’s views – or its luxury. Riding the rails for 2-days on this opulent train, you’ll pass forest-draped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and mighty rivers before arriving in Jasper, where the road takes over with journeys along Icefields Parkway to ride the Ice Explorer onto Athabasca Glacier, and through Yoho and Banff National Parks.

Itinerary

Day 1: Vancouver

Begin your journey at the Vancouver cruise terminal where you board your ship. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (D)

Day 2: Cruise the Inside Passage

Enjoy sailing through the dramatic Inside Passage. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Juneau, Alaska

The town of Juneau has the massive Mendenhall Glacier and the immense Juneau Icefields. Explore the lush Tongass National Forest, visit the rustic shops in town, set out and whale watch, flightsee, hike, kayak, raft, or fish. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Skagway, Alaska

Explore the shops from the Trail Bench to Lynch & Kennedy's Dry Goods, the Red Onion Saloon, and the nostalgic Trail of '98 Museum. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park boasts restored buildings and wooden boardwalks that invite you to take a stroll into the past. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Glacier Bay

As Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay National Park protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in concert with an ever-changing glacial landscape. Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anyplace else in the world. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Ketchikan, Alaska

Explore Creek Street, the Tongass Historical Museum, Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Village, Ketchikan's main attractions. Deep water fjords created by retreating glaciers have left behind stunning granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above the sea and waterfalls cascading into placid waters. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Cruise the Inside Passage

Enjoy sailing through the dramatic Inside Passage. Overnight on Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam. (B/L/D)

Day 8: Vancouver

Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (SilverLeaf) Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Deluxe City View Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Waterfront, Signature Harbour View Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

After breakfast you will disembark the ms Nieuw Amsterdam in Vancouver and spend time exploring this scenic city on your own. (B)

Day 9: Vancouver

Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (SilverLeaf) Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Deluxe City View Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Waterfront, Signature Harbour View Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Enjoy a six-hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver's majestic North Shore including the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain (gondola admission included). Overnight in Vancouver.

Day 10: Vancouver

Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (SilverLeaf) Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Deluxe City View Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Waterfront, Signature Harbour View Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Enjoy a day at leisure and check out Vancouver's must-see attractions. Explore the city’s museums, art galleries, gardens, and varied neighbourhoods. Overnight in Vancouver.

Day 11: Vancouver To Kamloops

Overnight in Kamloops - hotel to be confirmed prior to departure

Travel onboard Rocky Mountaineer from the coastal city of Vancouver to Kamloops. You will see dramatic changes in scenery, from the lush green fields of the Fraser Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mountains, to the desert-like environment of the BC Interior. Highlights include the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River. Overnight in Kamloops. (B/L)

Day 12: Kamloops To Jasper

The Crimson Jasper (SilverLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe) 

Your rail adventure continues north and east to the mighty Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. Highlights include Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Pyramid Falls, and the climb over the Yellowhead Pass into Jasper National Park. (B/L)

Day 13: Jasper

The Crimson Jasper (SilverLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe) 

Jasper National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Canadian Rockies' largest national park. Enjoy a scenic half-day tour of some of the park's natural attractions and rugged peaks. The remainder of the day is free to explore Jasper on your own. Overnight in Jasper.

Day 14: Jasper To Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Room (SilverLeaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Deluxe Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe) 

Travel along the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. A stop will be made at Athabasca Falls before arriving at the Columbia Icefield, where you will ride on an Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier. Afterwards, a stop will be made at Bow Lake. Overnight in Lake Louise.

Day 15: Lake Louise To Banff

Banff Caribou Lodge (SilverLeaf) Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Banff Springs, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

This morning explore beautiful Lake Louise on your own. After lunch, a half-day tour takes you into Yoho National Park to view some of its natural wonders including the Spiral Tunnels, Emerald Lake, and a natural rock bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River. Afterwards, you will be transferred to Banff. Overnight in Banff.

Day 16: Banff To Calgary

Delta Calgary Downtown (SilverLeaf) Fairmont Palliser, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Palliser, Junior Suite (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Enjoy a full-day tour concluding in Calgary. Begin with a sightseeing tour of Banff, including Bow Falls, Lake Minnewanka, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos. A trip on the Banff Gondola is included. Continue on to Kananaskis for a Summit Helicopter Tour. Overnight in Calgary.

Day 17: Calgary

Your vacation ends upon checkout from your Calgary hotel.

B- Breakfast
L- Lunch
D- Dinner 


Optional Breakfast Supplement:

Breakfast supplement includes breakfast in tour hotels on all days not on Rocky Mountaineer. If this optional supplement not taken then tour still includes breakfast on 2 days on the Not applicable to any extra pre and post hotels. 

Dates & prices

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Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the 2017 itinerary and additional tour notes

Visa requirements

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Visitors travelling to or transiting through Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re arriving into Canada by air from either the UK or another destination e.g. the USA, you’ll need an eTA. This costs CA$7 and lasts for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever is first. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, i.e. your passport.

For more information on eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Visa Requirements

Under Canada’s new eTA program, British citizens WILL need to obtain an online authorization before flying to Canada. This is mandatory from March 15, 2016. Travellers will have the opportunity to go online and apply for their eTA. The earlier travellers get their eTA, the sooner they will benefit from knowing they have been pre-screened to enter Canada. A fee of $7 is payable for processing an application for an electronic travel authorization. An application for an electronic travel authorization must be made by means of an electronic system that is made available by the Department (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) for that purpose.

An electronic travel authorization is valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:
(a) The day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires,
(b) The day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
(c) The day on which a new electronic travel authorization is issued to the applicant Visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp to arrange the eTA.

Alternatively you can apply for your eTA through our partners CIBT visas who make the process as easy as possible and will apply for the eTA on your behalf. Contact them on www.cibtvisas.co.uk/virginholidays for more information.