“ Both Rex and I want to tell you what a wonderful trip we had in Canada. We were very impressed with everything organised by Fresh Tracks Canada. Everything went so smoothly for us. There were no hiccups and it all ran like clockwork. I can assure you that we are very happy to recommend Fresh Tracks Canada. In fact I have already given your names and contact details to some friends of ours.Thanks you again for what was an amazing holiday for us. ”
Essential Rockies by Rail with Alaska Small Ship Cruise
starting fromUS $8,375per person
5 of 5 stars (1 review)
- Choose your own activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours
- Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget
What we love about this trip
Stunning rail journey on the Rocky Mountaineer train
Great choice of adventures in the Canadian Rockies
Exploring beautiful Vancouver
Enjoying luxury aboard the 84 guest Safari Endeavor or SS Legacy cruise ship
Whale watching, glacier viewing, kayaking, beach combing and wilderness hikes in Alaska
Expert guides, hosts, and activity coordinators on your cruise
Enjoy a perfect balance of adventure, luxury, wildlife and wilderness on this 15-day Rockies rail and Alaska small ship cruise vacation. Marvel at the beauty of iconic Lake Louise, before a luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train journey to Vancouver. Travel to charming Sitka, Alaska where your small ship crew will sail you into the heart of Alaska’s wilderness. Leave the large cruise ships behind onboard your agile vessel, as you navigate remote bays and fjords. Daily adventures include glacier exploration, kayaking, whale watching, bear viewing and rainforest hikes.
Arrive Calgary → 2 nights Banff → 1 night Lake Louise → 1 night Kamloops → 2 nights Vancouver → 1 night Sitka → 7 nights Alaska Cruise → Depart Juneau
Sample ItineraryThink of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized experience for you that matches your schedule, travel style and budget.
Day 1 – Arrive Calgary, transfer to Banff
Welcome to Calgary International Airport, where you’ll be transferred through the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the town of Banff. From the very beginning, we take care to ensure your vacation is off to the best start! Your arrival transfer is taken care of with door to door service that takes you from the airport to your hotel. The town of Banff is a unique destination; it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the charm of a small mountain community. Breathe in the fresh Canadian Rockies air – you’ve arrived!
Feature Dinner in Banff
No need to worry about finding a place to eat this evening, we make sure you don’t eat at the tourist trap restaurant across the street from your hotel, rather have the best meal in the best setting that ensures you make memories with your loved one over a great meal!
Day 2 – Explore Banff
Fill your lungs with cool, fresh Rockies air and head out for a day of exploration. Enjoy the views from the Banff Gondola located atop Sulphur Mountain.
You have 3 options to choose from today in Banff:
• Banff Sightseeing tour
Explore the historic sights, hear the folklore, and visit scenic viewpoints surrounding the Banff town site.
Activity rating: Easy
• Sunrise Photography Tour
Wake up early to experience the magical wilderness of Banff National Park at sunrise. Explore with a private guide and learn how to take great photos. Ideal for the amateur photographer wanting to increase their skills with a manual camera. This is a sure way to make friends and family at home jealous!
Activity rating: Moderate
• Banff Helicopter Tour
Soar above majestic peaks and get away from the crowds of Banff on a guided heli-tour. Marvel at pristine and breathtaking vistas that will leave you speechless.
Activity rating: Moderate
Day 3 – Transfer Banff to Lake Louise
Meet your guide for a scenic transfer from Banff to Lake Louise. Upon arrival at Lake Louise, check into the famous Chateau Lake Louise and enjoy the amenities of your fabulous lakeshore hotel. Gaze at the turquoise blue lake, surrounded by glacier clad mountains. Walking trails lead right from the hotel’s front door, the picture perfect overnight stop in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Ask us for our Lake Louise activity menu, from which you can choose activities such as a scenic canoe paddle, Lake Louise interpretive gondola ride, a guided hike or Afternoon Tea in the Fairview dining room.
Day 4 – Board Rocky Mountaineer – Lake Louise to Kamloops
This morning you will have a short transfer from your hotel to the Lake Louise rail station to begin your first day onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train. As the train climbs over Kicking Horse Pass it travels through the Spiral Tunnels, an engineering wonder completed in 1909 which allows trains to negotiate the steep grade. View remarkable changes in the landscape as the Rocky Mountaineer travels into the interior along rocky lakeshores, over high mountain passes from the mighty Canadian Rockies. Enjoy good food, great company and awe-inspiring scenery. Overnight in a standard hotel in Kamloops.
Day 5 – Onboard Rocky Mountaineer – Kamloops to Vancouver
Re-board the Rocky Mountaineer this morning for the second part of your train journey. On today’s train trip, you’ll be treated to a wide range of scenery as you travel through the Fraser River Valley along winding river canyons to the arid interior region. Sit back and enjoy the excellent service aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, and keep your camera ready to snap a few shots of the Coast and Cascade Mountains. Upon arrival at the Rocky Mountaineer station in Vancouver, you will be transferred to your downtown hotel.
Day 6 – Enjoy Vancouver
Welcome to Vancouver - one of the few cities in the world where a typical day might include a morning on the ski slopes and a relaxing afternoon sailing on the glistening waters. For a real taste of the Vancouver lifestyle, we suggest adding a guided cycling tour around the famous Stanley Park Seawall (ask your agent about adding on a tour). Later, catch the sunset from the beach at English Bay or board the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain for a cocktail and a spectacular view.
Day 7 - Vancouver to Sitka
After a private transfer to the airport, fly to Sitka, Alaska to begin your cruise adventure. Sitka is Alaska’s most charming seaside town, surrounded by misty islands and soaring, snow capped mountain peaks. Explore the influence of Tlignit, Russian, and American culture at the Cultural Center, or simply relax in your hotel. Overnight in Sitka.
Day 8 - Sitka, Alaska – Cruise embarkation
Feel the excitement build as you are led to your small ship vessel, your home base for the next 7 nights. Stepping onboard, your friendly crew greets you with a champagne toast and warm smiles. And as you sail away in Sitka Sound, take in the unmistakable views of Mt. Edgecumbe—a dormant volcanic wonder which has inspired myths and legends.
Day 9 - Krestof Sound / Nakwasina Sound
Keep your ears and eyes open as you sail past the dense Baranof forest and wild, little known islands. As you kayak, hike, or simply relax on-deck, listen for sea lions calling, see black bears foraging and eagles soaring above. Back onboard, after a day of adventure, a treat awaits!
Day 10 - Icy Strait
Watch for the thrilling spray of a breaching humpback on the horizon as you sail into whale territory this morning. Waters rich with marine life, like porpoise, sea lions, and whales, provide an amazing day of adventure photography. Make the most of your day by taking advantage of the keen eye of the wildlife experts onboard; visit the Captain on the bridge or the Expedition Leader on the main deck. Later in the day, explore your surrounds by kayak or skiff and keep your eyes on the shores for a possible glimpse of wildlife.
Spend the evening relaxing in the on deck hot tub or enjoy a nightcap with fellow passengers while reminiscing in the salon.
Day 11 - Glacier Bay National Park
Travel close to 100 km toward the tidewater glaciers of Margerie and Grand Pacific. Enjoy the narration of the National Park Ranger onboard and learn about how the glaciers calve the massive icebergs floating in the bay. If the water is suitable, get up closer to the icebergs onboard a small skiff or kayak. Paddling along, you may see eagles, sea lions, puffins, mountain goats, bears, or moose, all amongst the backdrop of some of the most dramatic scenery on earth. Overnight at anchor in the bay.
Day 12 - Chichagof Island
Sail deeper into the wildlife-rich Alaskan wilderness today. Watch for whales and other creatures before tucking into Port Frederick or some other wild inlet. Head out on a bushwhacking hike in the Tongass National Forest, or board a skiff to skirt the shoreline searching for bears.
Day 13 - Lynn Canal / Captain’s Choice
Explore North America’s deepest fjord today. Once busy with Klondike gold rushers, it now prime habitat for humpbacks, orcas, Dall’s porpoise, Steller sea lions, salmon, halibut, and mischievous river otters. Your captain’s job will pick the prime spot for adventure – so head out to stretch your arms on a paddling excursion, explore weird and wonderful sea life in tidepools, or venture deep into the forest on a guided hike.
Day 14 – Historic Haines, Alaska
Considered an Alaska adventure hotspot, Haines offers a variety of choices for all activity levels. Hike to the top of Chilkat Peninsula or the shores of Chilkat Inlet, or float along the Chilkat River through a bald eagle preserve. This area is rich in culture and history, and in the afternoon Chilkat Tlingit members come aboard to share their thousands-of-years-old traditions and stories.
Relax in the salon this evening, after a delicious Farewell Dinner, and relive your favorite moments as your Expeditions Leaders present a “photo journal” of your adventure together.
Day 15 – Disembark cruise and depart from Juneau
Savour your last breakfast onboard the ship before disembarking in Juneau. You will be transferred to the airport in time to meet your departing flight (earliest flight possibility is 11:30am).
Note: Due to the nature of cruise explorations, itineraries are guidelines and may change to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.
Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation choices. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.
Georgian Court Hotel
An example of our Comfort accommodations
The Georgian Court Hotel features 180 guestrooms in a 12-story brick building, in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Enjoy a comfortable sleep in your elegant room, surf the internet with the complimentary wireless, or enjoy a meal on the seasonal patio.
An example of our Superior and Deluxe accommodations
The 4.5 star Rimrock Resort is built into the side of a mountain, when you enter the main lobby, you are actually on the 7th floor, and the views from the pamorama of windows over the Bow Valley are simply stunning. The hotel has an upscale yet understated feel, and the service is impeccable.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
An example of our Comfort, Superior, and Deluxe accommodations
The 5 star Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is undoubtedly a beautiful and impressive hotel. Its amazing location overlooking beautiful Lake Louise and the distant mountains can not be compared. There are a variety of restaurant types, so you can do casual or fine dining as you choose. Strolling around the lake, renting a canoe, riding horses, or hiking up to the tea house are all great summer activities. In winter choose from snow shoeing, skating, skiing or taking a sleigh ride around the lake.
Fairmont Banff Springs
An example of our Deluxe accommodations
Styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, The Fairmont Banff Springs is located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy one of the many activities that the hotel has to offer from tennis, horseback riding, a round of golf, skiing, relaxing at the the Willow Stream Spa (charge), or enjoying a great meal at one of 12 restaurants, lounges or pubs.
An example of our Expedition Vessel accommodations
The shallow draft of the Safari Endeavour makes this ship capable of nimble exploration and allows access to the areas larger ships cannot go. The ambiance aboard the refurbished 84-guest Safari Endeavour is casual elegance with upscale amenities Exquisitely appointed, the Safari Endeavour features an intimate Wine Bar and spa area with two hot tubs, sauna, fitness equipment, yoga mats, and massage suite. Three decks provide wonderful outdoor viewing opportunities.
Prices & Dates2018 Trip Start Dates
Starts Calgary on Sundays*
May 6, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22
August 5, 19
Dates onboard the Safari Endeavor:
The Safari Endeavor is an 84 passenger expedition style boat.
June 10, 24
July 8, 22
August 5, 19
Dates onboard the SS Legacy:
SS Legacy is a powerful and fast, 86 passenger boat. The vessel is a replica 1898 coastal gold rush steamer, with all of the necessary expedition equipment.
May 6, 20
June 3, 17
July 1, 15
* Eastbound itinerary is available, and includes 1 less night in Vancouver plus slightly different cruise itinerary.
Prices listed may vary by departure date, hotel class and degree of personalization. Please speak with one of our travel advisors to get a personalized quote.Comfort Level Hotels
Master's Cabin, SilverLeaf Servicefrom US $8,375to US $10,643per person
Our Comfort Level vacations include our favorite 3 star hotels, in great locations. Combined with our unique sightseeing tours and personalized service, you’ll receive exceptional value, a step above what you might expect anywhere else.Superior Level Hotels
Captain's Cabin, SilverLeaf Servicefrom US $9,855to US $12,058per person
Our Superior Level provides amazing value for clients wanting something more upscale but not at the price of a top-end 5 star resort. Superior level hotels are some of our favorites because of the character and unique charm that you won't find at the average chain hotel. Unique tours and seamless transfers complete your itinerary.Fresh Tracks FavoriteDeluxe Level Hotels
Captain's Cabin, GoldLeaf Servicefrom US $10,999to US $13,365per person
On our Deluxe Level vacation, it's likely you'll be staying at one of the iconic Canadian Fairmont Hotels in a room with a view. Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 20th century, these hotels are luxurious and full of history – ensuring an experience you'll never forget. Enjoy unique sightseeing experiences and the insider detail that only Fresh Tracks Canada can provide.
Will it be cold when I visit Canada in summer?
The temperature varies from mild to hot, depending on location. Northern Canada will range between 50°F to 64°F (10°C – 18°C) in summer. The interior of BC, prairies, Ontario and Quebec can reach temperatures around 95°F (35°C). Canada's west coast, mountain regions, and Maritimes enjoy milder summer temperatures. They range on average from 59°F to 77°F (15°C – 25°C).
What are the best ways to travel around Canada on my vacation
Canada has a network of spectacular roadways, train routes, ferry crossings, and float planes. We can arrange for you to travel by car or to sit back and relax.
Is it safe to drive in the mountains?
New visitors will drive with ease because of the wide and well maintained roadways. We'll ensure your trip includes the most spectacular and safest routes throughout your trip.
When is the best time to see wildlife?
That depends on the destination and type. As a rule, the main feeding and migration seasons are best for wildlife experiences. Tell us which animals interest you and we'll make your trip coincide with the best viewing season.
Are your tours escorted?
No, but you'll feel like it is with all your connections and experiences prearranged. Our clients love the freedom and flexibility it gives them. Some of our wildlife experiences are small group tours led by specialist guides.
Customer Reviews (1)
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- Choose your activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours.
- Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.