I had high expectations of the Canada/Alaskan tour & they were exceeded ++. We were met at the airport in Vancouver & taken to the Marriot hotel – very nice & close to the bay. There were 6 of us Travel with me solos in the group of 48. We had met up before & got on well. We had a drive around Vancouver the next day, Stanley Park (1000 acres) Granville Island markets then went up Grouse Mountain by gondola. Next 2 days we travelled on the Rocky Mountaineer. It was marvellous, from being piped on board, to meals & scenery. 33 of the 48 travelled Gold Leaf & were very happy with that decision.
The options in Jasper included a 2 hour wildlife experience that turned out to be 5 1/2 hours of wonder, not because of the wildlife which were remarkably coy on our tour, but Maligne Canyon & Lake were like nothing I had experienced before. Chuck, like all the guides on the tour, was passionate & knowledgeable. He then took us to a cruise on Medicine Lake, to Spirit Island & Valley of the Gods. This ranked right up there with Lake Louise as simply the best. Others went on the Harley Davidson tour & enjoyed that, & got teased for the rest of the trip!
Beautiful scenery, as usual, & we had a glacier walk where 5 glaciers fed into that valley, before getting to Lake Louise. What can I say – every one has seen photos of the beautiful setting there.
In Banff some of us went up for helicopter rides, a first for me. We travelled through “Avalanche Alley” Kicking Horse passYoho park & glacier& Mt Ravelstone to the Thompson- Okanagan region. A visit to the Grey Monk winery over looking a lake mellowed us & the hanging flower baskets were the best I saw anywhere.
Whistler was a beautiful walkable town with heaps of activities, summer & winter. We went on the 3.2 km gondola ride between peaks.
As usual the weather was beautiful. The tours behind us got snow, also to see bears! We travelled down the Sea to Sky highway & caught the ferry to Vancouver Island then by bus to Victoria, very beautiful too with flowers every where. The Parkside was a rather spectacular hotel – I could live there! We walked around central Victoria & went on the little “buzzabout” ferries. The Butchart Gardens were amazing beyond words. They have 4 displays a year! And the meal there was tops.
The Holland America cruise was terrific. I love cruising anyway but for some it was their first cruising experience & the Inside Passage was so calm & beautiful. The 7 days went so quickly, then it was time to come home with happy memories & great scenery.
It was the trip of a life time & I would do it all again tomorrow.