Selected departures from May to September 2019
The Canadian Rockies, coupled with an Alaskan cruise, must surely rank amongst the very finest scenic and wildlife holidays on earth! Combining Canada, the world’s second largest country, with a cruise to Alaska, the largest state in the US, our tour has been designed to showcase the very best that such an enormous area can offer.
The magnificent Rocky Mountains are Canada’s crowning glory: home to bears, majestic elk, moose and beaver, with vast forests that seem to go on forever. Opaque lakes of stunning emerald green and turquoise reflect the magnificent scenery like no other place on earth. Carpets of wild flowers bedeck the green meadows spread beneath the towering glaciers - huge expanses of brilliant white ice and snow, contrasting with the muted greys and pinks of the jagged peaks. We stay in Banff, the very heart of the mountains, then travel along a monument to man’s engineering prowess, the ‘road of steel’ that is the great Trans-Canadian railway, on the incredible Rocky Mountaineer train. Crossing high passes, deep ravines and innumerable spectacular bridges, places that can only be seen by rail, the Rocky Mountaineer is acknowledged as the ultimate way to travel through the beautifully rugged terrain of Alberta and British Columbia.
Finally, we arrive in Vancouver, nestling beside the immense majesty of the Pacific Ocean, which ranks alongside Sydney, Cape Town and San Francisco as one of the world’s most naturally beautiful panoramas. With its gleaming glass skyscrapers reflected in the azure-blue ocean, Canada’s third largest city is a fascinating and cosmopolitan metropolis encircled by water and mountains.
Our seven-night cruise with Holland America Line to Alaska is available as an extension on all departures. The cruise includes two days at sea sailing the calm, sheltered waters of the famed Inside Passage. In Alaska, we visit the historic ports of Skagway and Ketchikan, where the prospectors of the 1890’s Klondike gold rush took their first steps towards riches or heartache!
We spend a whole day cruising the pristine waters of Glacier Bay, travelling through a landscape that was completely covered by a 20-mile wide glacier just 200 years ago! The park contains eight tidewater glaciers, extraordinary twelve-storey walls of ice in countless shades of blue and white, creaking and groaning their way to the sea where huge blocks up to 200 feet high break loose and crash into the chilly waters.
On board you will enjoy unparalleled service and extraordinary sights coupled with exciting and unique experiences via the many shore excursions on offer. So, come join us on this wonderful tour and explore one of the most exciting places in North America, located in truly awesome scenery, with enchanting wildlife and welcoming people. You are sure to return with some amazing lifelong memories!
You will fly from the UK to Calgary where you will be met and transferred to the three-star superior Delta Bow Valley hotel in central Calgary for one night.
Today we start our spectacular journey from Calgary across the gently rolling prairies of Alberta and soon the amazing slate-grey, snow-capped peaks of the Rockies come into view. Our hotel for the next three nights is the three-star superior Banff Park Lodge, in the spa resort of Banff. With its wood-panelled interior, cozy fireplace and excellent indoor pool, our hotel is an easy 5-minute stroll into the centre of this attractive small town.
This morning our breathtaking journey is along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most spectacular roads in the world, with stunning mountain vistas. Our first stop is famous Lake Louise, completely encircled by high peaks, perhaps the most photographed view in the Rockies. We then take in Peyto Lake, one of the world’s most beautiful azure-blue glacial waters. Finally we see the Columbia Icefield, the largest in the Rockies, covering an area of over 200 square miles with depths of over 1,000 feet. We’ll ride on a giant ‘Snocoach’ (weather permitting) across the Athabasca Glacier for a closer inspection of the massive crevasses before returning to Banff.
Today we have a free day. Why not take a leisurely ‘float’ trip on the Bow River or a dip in Banff’s relaxing hot springs. There are also helicopter trips on offer, or perhaps a ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain at 7,500 feet on the Banff gondola. Several walks commence from the peak and there’s also a restaurant with an open-air terrace. Also very popular is afternoon tea at the magnificent Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, built in the style of a massive Scottish baronial castle.
This morning we set off on what is one of the world’s greatest train journeys! Boarding the Rocky Mountaineer you’ll be led to your assigned comfortable reclining seats, with plenty of legroom and large panoramic windows. The train begins its spectacular two-day 585-mile journey following the wide Bow River valley before crossing the Continental Divide at Kicking Horse Pass. Next come the famed spiral tunnels, an engineering marvel built 100 years ago, and as we follow the Columbia River we cross the dramatic 500-foot steel span of Stoney Creek bridge. The excellent on-board commentary highlights the intriguing history of the towns en route and the building of the railway itself. Meals in SilverLeaf Class include excellent hot meals served at your seat on each day including complimentary snacks, tea and coffee, non-alcoholic drinks, plus beer and house wine with lunch, all served at your seat (bar service at extra cost). Upgrade to the excellent GoldLeaf Services and their impressive Dome carriages - see overleaf for details. Our overnight stay is in a range of medium-class hotels in the town of Kamloops.
We continue our journey to Vancouver. Following the Fraser and Thomson River canyons, passing the Jaws of Death Gorge, Avalanche Alley and Hell’s Gate Canyon, we criss-cross the river many times as we travel through some of British Columbia’s most scenic country. We finally reach Vancouver during the afternoon after a truly once-in-a-lifetime journey. Our hotel for the next two nights is the three-star superior Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in downtown Vancouver, close to the main shopping areas and the harbour-front promenade.
Vancouver regularly features as one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities: the blue of the Pacific Ocean with its picturesque harbour, the glass skyscrapers reflecting the sunlight and the lush coastal mountains form a stunning backdrop. This morning we tour the city stopping at Stanley Park, with its famous collection of totem poles and Prospect Point, which offers lovely views. The afternoon is at leisure - there’s plenty to see and do in this sophisticated city. A popular, easy walk starts from Vancouver’s waterfront pedestrian promenade to the huge expanse of Stanley Park. The path continues along the seashore and offers stunning vistas across the bay until you reach English Bay’s sandy beach, a lovely spot to watch the sunset.
For all those continuing on to our Holland America Line Inside Passage cruise, embarkation begins at 11.30am and cabins are normally available from around 1pm. Our ship sails at 5pm, passing below Vancouver’s spectacular Lion’s Gate suspension bridge.
Our first full day at sea and there’s plenty of time to ease into shipboard life and take in the amazing scenery of the Inside Passage. For anyone who prefers a little more activity, there are a huge variety of onboard talks and activities available. This evening is the first formal night of the cruise.
We spend the morning cruising the narrow 25-mile long Tracy Arm fjord to view the massive twin Sawyer Glaciers. Hemmed in by near vertical ice-scoured granite mountainsides, the glaciers are surrounded by a wild and barren landscape – reminiscent of the last Ice Age! Look out for harbour seals basking on the many ice floes in the bay. After lunch we arrive in Juneau, Alaska’s state capital. From here there’s a widely varying selection of shore excursions on offer, ranging from flying to a glacier by helicopter and dog-sledding with teams of huskies, to whale-watching, kayaking, a typical Alaskan salmon bake, fly fishing by sea plane and a variety of hikes in the surrounding area.
An early start today as we arrive in Skagway at 7am. Our ship remains here all day allowing plenty of time to explore this historic gateway to the Klondike, originally a lawless tented city during its gold rush days. The shore excursions include a number of helicopter glacier sightseeing opportunities, but what makes Skagway unique is that it’s the start of the White Pass & Yukon railroad and there are a number of excursions that include a fascinating ride on the restored carriages of this 100-year old route through the Alaskan wilderness. The most striking feature of Alaska is the sheer sense of isolation and tranquil beauty. People are a rarity, settlements more so; the land is not farmed or used by man in any way and the forests, seemingly, unmanaged! There’s wildlife galore, safe in the sanctuary of this pristine wilderness - there are few places like this left on the planet.
Today is yet another tour highlight as your cruise ship slowly enters the magnificent Glacier Bay National Park, with eight actively calving glaciers, more than anywhere else on Earth, access to this amazing spectacle is strictly controlled by the US Parks Service. Surrounded by snow-clad 10,000-foot peaks of the Fairweather Range, the nutrient-rich waters teem with salmon and humpback whales. On-shore it’s also home to black bears, moose and wolves. Our ship will spend the day cruising this huge area comprising 900 square miles of marine waters and although we do not actually dock anywhere, National Park Service rangers will come on board to provide specialist commentary and answer any questions.
After a morning’s cruising, we arrive at the small town of Ketchikan after lunch, where a number of breathtaking trips are available, via seaplane, into the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument or the remote Tongass National Forest – a perfect environment, only accessible by air, where bears can be spotted fishing for salmon. Amongst the many other activities available, there’s salmon fishing, a crab feast, sea kayaking, and for the really adventurous, a ‘zip-line’ descent through the forest canopy!
Our last full day is spent at sea returning through the Inside Passage.
We arrive back in Vancouver in the morning, where you disembark and transfer to the airport at the appropriate time for your return flight.
We arrive back in the UK, with some wonderful memories.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room, flights to Calgary and returning from Vancouver, seven nights on room-only basis, staying in superior three-star hotels (medium class in Kamloops, arranged directly by the Rocky Mountaineer), two breakfasts and lunches plus selected drinks and staff gratuities on Rocky Mountaineer train, all transfers and hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person, the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager, single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement.
Included excursions are a tour of Vancouver, guided visits to Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and the Athabasca Glacier plus ride on the Snocoach.
Your cruise includes seven nights in an inside K-category cabin with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner; transfers on return to Vancouver and all port taxes. Numerous other cabin categories are available at a supplement. Cruise itinerary is subject to change depending on weather conditions. On-board currency is the US dollar.
US$12.50 per person per day (US$13.50 in suites) will be added to your on-board account for cruise staff gratuities and a 15% service charge is added to all drinks bills.
The Holland America Line Vista-class ship, launched in 2010, the 2106 passenger MS Nieuw Amsterdam has more outside ocean view staterooms and verandas than most other ships in Alaska. The promenade deck goes right round the ship with plenty of classic teak deck chairs to relax in, whilst its stunning 8-deck atrium and spacious public rooms are adorned with a wide variety of art and antiques.
Dining options include the Vista dining room, serving five-course meals with impeccable service. A more intimate option is the Pinnacle Grill (US$29pp supplement), which features sterling-silver beef served on top of the range china and linens, The Canaletto Italian Restaurant ($10 pp supplement), and the Pan-Asian Tamarind Restaurant ($20pp supplement). The informal Lido restaurant has free seating and buffet-style service for lunch and breakfast and waiter service for dinner. You may also enjoy daily afternoon tea, complimentary hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour and late night snacks. There is also the chance to go to the B.B. King's Blues Club, a vibrant blues musical experience. There are two formal evenings when gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie.
The spacious, elegantly appointed staterooms all feature complimentary 24-hour room service, fresh fruit daily, flat-panel TVs, bathrobes, Egyptian cotton towels and Elemis bath products. The Deluxe Veranda staterooms are particularly popular and early booking is recommended.
Other ship facilities include a three-tier theatre, the Crow's Nest observation lounge, a piano bar and sports bar, the Explorers Lounge where complimentary newspapers, books and internet are available, the Greenhouse Spa and hair salon with its steam room and 'hydro' pool, a covered pool and a large open observation deck right at the very top of the ship.
For the MS Nieuw Amsterdam deck plan please click here.
Your tour includes the Silver Leaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer train, however, you may wish to upgrade to the double-decker Gold Leaf Dome carriage with its panoramic wrap-round windows that make you feel right in the middle of the breathtaking scenery! Gold Leaf guests also have access to the open-air observation vestibule at the end of each carriage. Impeccable service is complimented with 3-course gourmet dining in the lower-level dining room.
Upgrades are subject to availability and are not bookable online. If you would like to upgrade please call our reservations department.
Choose from a wide range of shore excursions
During your cruise, you may wish to add on glacier helicopter flights, bear and whale-watching, fishing, kayaking, hiking and even dog-sledding.
Travel with us on our 5th July 2019 departure to experience the greatest rodeo on earth!
Staying for two nights in Calgary, we have included tickets to watch the rodeo – with the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls competing in the spectacular bull riding, steer roping, bronco riding and barrel racing. It’s an unforgettable experience like no other!
Please ensure that you check the date of departure correctly when booking, as this experience is exclusive to the 5th July 2019.
Visa/eTA for Canada
Under Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization Programme, British passport holders are required to obtain an eTA prior to travelling to Canada rather than obtaining a full tourist visa. The application must be done via the website: www.canada.ca/eta.
You will need to provide some basic personal information similar to what was previously collected on arrival into Canada. eTA is electronically linked to your passport, which means you will need to travel with the same passport you used when applying for and obtaining your eTA.
Visa/ESTA for USA (Alaska)
Under the USA Visa Waiver Programme, most British passport holders do not require a visa to travel to the United States if travelling as a tourist for up to 90 days.
Those qualifying for the Visa Waiver Programme must apply online for authorisation to enter the USA, for which there is an administration fee of $14 per person. This is called an ESTA. This may only be obtained online by visiting the official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and registering at least 72 hours prior to travel.
Those who do not qualify for the VWP will be required to apply for a visa. Please contact the relevant embassy for any additional information. Without authorisation prior to travel, admission may be denied at a US port of entry.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to application. Other nationality passport holders should check with the relevant embassy.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
There are no current health requirements for travel to the USA and Canada, however, whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that we often enjoy walking tours (sometimes over unmade paths) so this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. Please bear this in mind when considering this holiday.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Calgary International Airport||Calgary||20 mins||Vancouver||Vancouver International Airport||30 mins|
WOW, what a holiday. The best I have ever had, and I have had some good ones. Because of the floods in Calgary we had to use another hotel which was quite adequate. We could not go to Banff because the roads were washed away so we...
D & M Barratt
What a fabulous holiday we have had, Caroline our tour guide was great, helpful, informative and fun. We also had a great bunch of people in our group, which made the holiday even more enjoyable for us. The hotels were of a good s...