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Alaskan Wilderness Discovery
A delightful itinerary featuring the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver before heading into the vast wilderness that is Alaska and the Yukon. Cruise with Holland America Line from Vancouver to Seward, via ports of call such as Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway as well as cruising the amazing Glacier Bay!
Follow this on with visits to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks, ending this superb holiday experience with a couple of days in Seattle before flying home to the UK
Day 1 Fly UK to Vancouver
On arrival in Vancouver, transfer to your chosen hotel for a 4 night stay Transfer included
Day 2 Explore Vancouver
Day at leisure to explore Vancouver at your leisure using your complimentary Hop on Hop off Sightseeing pass.
Day 3 Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour
View the spectacular British Columbia coastline by land and ship, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. Marine wildlife sightings from the outdoor ship decks are common, especially eagles, sea lions and whales. Arrive on Vancouver Island and continue to the Butchart Gardens. The city of Victoria boasts many impressive architectural wonders, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the unique shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in the city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour. Highlights: - A 90 minute cruise through the spectacular Gulf Islands - The world famous Butchart Gardens - Victoria’s Inner Harbour - Empress Hotel and Legislative Buildings - Chinatown, Downtown
Day 4 Explore Vancouver
Day at leisure to enjoy Vancouver and take in the sights. Why not ask one of our Canada Experts for some optional excursions.
Day 5 Join the Noordam
Transfer from hotel to Holland America Lines ms Noordam for your 7 night Alaska Cruise Transfer from hotel to ship is included.
Day 6 Cruise the Inside Passage
Today cruise one of the most scenic sea-lanes in the world - the Inside Passage - where ships can sail close to steep mountain walls, giving magnificent views of the unbelievable scenery from forests to evocative towns.
Day 7 Ketchikan
Built out over the water and climbing weathered stairways, Ketchikan clings to the shores of Tongass Narrows and drapes the mountains with a cheerful air. Besides the main attractions - Creek Street, the Tongass Historical Museum, Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Village, try a flightseeing trip to breathtaking Misty Fjords National Monument--a transformational adventure not to be missed. These deep water fjords left by retreating glaciers left granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above the sea and countless waterfalls cascading into placid waters. The souvenir photos you`ll take from the pontoons of the plane are worth the trip alone.
Day 8 Juneau
Located at the foot of grand mountain peaks on the Gastineau Channel, the town of Juneau has the massive Mendenhall Glacier and the immense Juneau Icefields at its back door. Juneau is the place to let your imagination run wild. Explore the lush Tongass National Forest. Visit the rustic shops in town. Or get out and kayak, dogsled, raft, hike, whale watch, flightsee or fish. There s no end to the adventure because of the long daylight hours. Climb aboard the Mt. Roberts Tramway for a great spot to hike and shoot a souvenir photo.
Day 9 Skagway
The sidewalks are all but rolled up in Skagway come winter, so you can only imagine the frightful conditions endured by the gold prospectors who passed through en route to the Yukon, with a mandatory ton of supplies to be hauled with them over the steep and treacherous Trail of `98. Today, summertime visits to Skagway require nothing of the sort, but you can still ride the antique White Pass & Yukon narrow-gauge railway up through silvery-purple rock faces, past Deadhorse Gulch, to see what it was like back then. Take your time and poke into every little store 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 vintage characters. To complete the picture of those rip-roaring days, visit 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.
Day 10 Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in concert with an ever-changing glacial landscape. It has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than any place else in the world. Watch as monumental chunks of ice split off a glacier and thunder into the sea - the impact sending water hundreds of feet into the air. Hold your breath, catch the moment on film. Then wait for it all to happen again. As it always does….
Day 11 at sea
Day 12 Seward to Alyeska
After disembarkation, travel onward, by coach, to Alyeska. From precious metals to glaciers, Girdwood’s roots are anchored in its natural assets. The city was founded as a gold-mining town at the turn of the 20th century and the mining economy buoyed the town through the ’30s. The downturn triggered by the mine’s closing didn’t right itself until the Seward Highway was built connecting the small town to Anchorage in the late 1940s.In 1960, with the opening of the Alyeska Resort at Mount Alyeska, Girdwood took off as the top ski destination in Alaska. Alyeska’s 16½-meter (54-foot) average annual snowfall at the summit makes it a surefire choice for those seeking deep snow on steep terrain.Surrounded by the mountains of Chugach State Park, the third-largest state park in the country, Girdwood was named after Irish immigrant James Girdwood, a local linen merchant who had four gold claims on Crow Creek. In 1964 a devastating earthquake levelled the town, which later relocated four kilometers (two and a half miles) up the valley.Today it serves as a base for those visiting the mountain, as well as a destination in its own right with colorful boutiques, shops, bed-and-breakfasts, bars and restaurants; it also attracts writers, artists and extreme-sports athletes who participate in local activities from skiing to paragliding. Ascending 617 meters (2,024 feet) in elevation to the top of Mount Alyeska from a starting point at the Hotel Alyeska, the resort's aerial tram runs at half-speed in the summer, giving riders a seven-minute journey during which they can enjoy dramatic views. At the upper tram terminal’s observation deck, you can further contemplate the panorama of the Turnagain Arm, the Chugach Mountains and hanging glaciers, as well as streams and spruce trees; you may even spot some wildlife, such as moose and brown bear.
Day 13 Alyeska to Anchorage
Today we head for Anchorage, enjoying a Portage Lake Cruise and a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre, before arriving at our hotel (hotel allocated by cruise line)
Day 14 Anchorage to Talkeetna
Join the McKinley Explorer as you make your way to Talkeetna: Relax and view the scenic beauty of a ride in a deluxe dome railcar. Your railcar's dedicated Car Manager will be your guide during your trip. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and magnificent views of Mt. Denali. On a clear day you will start to get a glimpse of the Mountain within half an hour of departing Anchorage. Three hours into the trip marks one of the most spectacular views of McKinley, and if the weather is good the train will slow to allow passengers to snap a few photos. Enjoy the great view from your second level dome seat. Beverage service is available in the dome area and gourmet meal service is available in the dining room downstairs. Each car has an open-air viewing platform, a lower level observation lounge and gift shop. You will arrive in Talkeetna at approximately 12:00pm. (hotel allocated by cruise line)
Day 15 Talkeetna to Denali National Park
Re-join the McKinley Explorer to Denali National Park: Relax and view the scenic beauty of a ride in a deluxe dome railcar. Your railcar's dedicated Car Manager will be your guide during your trip is sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and magnificent views of Mt. Denali. North of Talkeetna you will cross the startling 918-foot Hurricane Gulch trestle, towering 296 feet above the creek below. Be sure to have your camera ready, as this is one of the route's best photo opportunities. Before arriving at Denali Park you will pass though Broad Pass, the highest point on the Alaska Railroad at 2,363 feet. Enjoy the great view from your second level dome seat. Beverage service is available upstairs in the dome and gourmet meal service is available in the dining room downstairs. Each car has an open-air viewing platform, a lower level observation lounge and gift shop. You will arrive in Denali at approximately 4:40pm.
Day 16 Tundra Wilderness Tour
Today features the unforgettable Tundra Wilderness Tour. This 6-8 hour fully narrated sightseeing excursion is a deep dive into Denali National Park — the very best chance of seeing both the mountain itself and Denali’s iconic wildlife (snack included)
Day 17 Denali to Fairbanks
Travel from Denali to Fairbanks by coach Fairbanks: earing the nickname the Golden Heart, Alaska’s second-largest city was born of gold rush fever, thanks to Italian immigrant Felix Pedro who found the precious metal in 1902 near where Captain E.T. Barnette decided to build a trading post on the banks of the Chena River. Though much of Fairbanks today is an amalgam of modern shops and malls, its history is celebrated at the 18-hectare (44-acre) Pioneer Park, which includes a Gold Rush Town with 35 restored buildings. Fairbanks also preserved its City Hall, which now houses the Fairbanks Community Museum.The city’s location in Alaska’s interior makes it a gateway to the arctic, and in summer tourist boats run cruises along the Chena and Tanana rivers. Fairbanks is a city of festivals, from July’s Golden Days commemorating its past, to Ice Alaska in February and March, when residents make the best of its brutal winters by playing host to a slew of international ice sculptors who descend on the city for the World Ice Art Championships. The city is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, which appears on average 243 nights of the year. For more insight into Fairbanks, the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center is a good place to start. (hotel allocated by cruise line)
Day 18 Gold Dredge / Riverboat excursion
Take advantage of our included excursions today - the Gold Dredge in the morning, followed by Riverboat Cruise in the afternoon. FAIRBANKS GOLD DREDGE Your adventure begins at Gold Dredge 8 with a ride on a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad near some of the original rail routes. Once aboard our narrow gauge railroad, you will enjoy a short narrated journey to the dredge. Your regular conductor and commentator is Earl Hughes, who provides festive music along your journey. You will also learn from actual working hands at sites along the way. Described as either a floating workhorse or a mechanical gold pan, Gold Dredge 8 extracted millions of ounces of gold from the frozen Alaskan ground. Today, Gold Dredge 8 National Historic District serves as a monument to the hard working miners who built Fairbanks. The train will stop beside the dredge and miners will give a sluice box demonstration and talk about mining in Alaska. Later in the tour, you will have the opportunity to explore the dredge and feel the gold history come alive! Gold Panning As part of your tour, Alaskan miners will show you how to pan for gold, and you will receive your own poke filled with pay dirt. Friendly guides are on hand to help you uncover the gold in your pan. Comfortable benches and warm water make this an easy and enjoyable experience. Everyone will share your excitement when you strike it rich— and nothing beats the thrill of taking home real Alaskan gold! FAIRBANKS RIVERBOAT DISCOVERY Welcome aboard! Take a ride on the authentic sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery III for a fully-narrated 3 hour cruise along the Chena and Tanana Rivers. See a bush plane demonstration. Visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher. Gain insight into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture with a one hour visit to a replica of an Athabascan Indian Village. Alaskan Native guides will take you ashore for a personalized tour of the village where you'll discover traditional Native lifestyles. Learn how the wolf, fox, martin, and beaver were used to provide food and protection in the harsh Arctic climate. Enjoy the work of an Athabascan beadwork artist. Back on the boat, watch a fish wheel in operation and see the 'Wedding of the Rivers' where the Chena and Tanana Rivers converge. End the tour at Steamboat Landing and Discovery Trading Post which features Captain Jim's Gourmet Smoked Salmon.
Day 19 Fly Fairbanks to Seattle
Transfer to Fairbanks airport, included, for your flight to Seattle. (hotel allocated by cruise line) On arrival, make your way to your chosen Seattle hotel for 2 nights. Private transfer to hotel is included
Day 20 Explore Seattle
Day at leisure to explore Seattle
Day 21 Fly Seattle to UK
Transfer to Seattle Airport for your flight to the UK Transfer included.