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Silver Explorer

Silversea and Rocky Mountaineer's Highlights of Alaska and Canada

19-day tailor-made journey

Summary

Short description

Discover Alaska and Canada's historic communities and rugged beauty

Highlights

  • Cruise through Alaska's stunning natural landscape
  • Discover fascinating towns with indigenous history
  • Spot whales, bears and bald eagles
  • Enjoy the scenery from the comfort of an all-inclusive luxury expedition ship and the deluxe Rocky Mountaineer

In Brief

  • 1 Night Anchorage
  • 1 Night Seward
  • 1 Night Esther Passage
  • 1 Night Icy Bay
  • 1 Night Hubbard Glacier
  • 1 Night Point Adolphus
  • 1 Night Sitka
  • 1 Night Wrangell Narrows
  • 1 Night Metlakatla
  • 1 Night Rudyerd Island
  • 1 Night Prince Rupert
  • 1 Night Queen Charlotte Sound
  • 1 Night Alert Bay
  • 1 Night Vancouver
  • 1 Night Kamloops
  • 4 Nights Banff

About

Recommended for:
Exploration cruise | Fishing | Mountains | Natural world | Ocean cruise | Rail journey

This 19-day, tailor made Alaskan and Canadian adventure takes you through remote Alaskan fjords, historic First Nations villages and the imposing mountains of the Canadian Rockies. Spot humpback whales feeding, cruise the dramatic landscape of the Inside Passage, and watch snow-capped mountain peaks and alpine forests give way to vast glacial lakes. You’ll do it all from the comfort of a luxury expedition ship, Silversea's Silver Explorer, and glass-domed train the Rocky Mountaineer, culminating in a stay at one of Canada’s most revered and spectacularly located hotels. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK to Anchorage

You’ll start your journey in style with included VIP airport lounge access before boarding an overnight flight to Anchorage, a wonderful start to your Alaskan adventure. From the serene Cook Inlet to vast national parks, Anchorage is a spectacular sprawl of mountain surrounds, colossal glaciers and roaming wildlife. Spend the afternoon hiking through one of its picturesque state parks or spotting bears by Lake Clark before checking in to your hotel for the evening, Captain Cook, where you’ll enjoy a coveted view of the stunning Chugach Mountains.

Stay: Hotel Captain Cook (Superior)

Day 2
Seward

After breakfast overlooking the city, you'll transfer to the luxurious Silversea Silver Explorer. Check in to your suite before perhaps enjoying a massage onboard the ship’s luxury spa, or treat yourself to lunch on deck as you cruise towards the historic port city of Seward. With the abundant waters of Resurrection Bay at its head, Seward is all glaciers, jagged peaks and marine wildlife, including whales, porpoises, and seals. Explore its fjords with a kayak or hike a route of the vast Kenai Fjords National Park. After an afternoon in Seward, step back on board the Silver Explorer – perhaps enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Panorama Lounge before taking advantage of one of the two gourmet restaurants.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 3
College Fjord/Esther Passage

Today you’ll sail to College Fjord in Prince William Sound, one of the most scenic in the world. Containing ten tidewater and valley glaciers as well as several smaller ones, its name derives from the 23 Ivy League students who once sailed here in 1899. At one point, you’ll be able to spot eight of the glacial expanses that dominate the fjord at once, after which you’ll sail on to the spectacular Esther Passage. This narrow channel tapers so thinly at points that the ship almost feels enveloped by leafy green hills as you spot orca, bears, bald eagles and otters along the way.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Kayak Island/Icy Bay

A scenic sail south will see you arrive at the historic Kayak Island. This rainforest-dense 20-mile landmass is uninhabited and most renowned as the home of the Cape St Elias Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark. Constructed in 1917, the lighthouse was in later years viewed as a crucial aid for navigation along shipping tracks from America to surrounding regions, and is maintained by a dedicated preservation society. This evening you’ll arrive at the remote Icy Bay, a 30-mile long body of water formed after a century-long glacial retreat, making it one of the finest fishing areas in the world. Enjoy the surrounding scenery including the spectacular Mount St Elias, the highest peak in the world that lies so close to tidewater, swelling 18,000 feet out of the ocean and containing the world’s largest non-polar ice fields.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Cruise Hubbard Glacier

Today you’ll head further inland to this spectacular icy expanse. The Hubbard Glacier is the largest of its kind in North America, with a calving front at six miles wide. Watch and listen as house-sized chunks of ice break off and crash into the ocean below. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 6
George Island/Inian Islands

After sailing south you’ll reach Elfin Cove on the north shores of Chichagof Island, reached only via seaplane or boat. An epicentre for sport fishing, this quaint village is set on a tiny picturesque harbour in close proximity to Cross Sound, where salmon, halibut, cod and rockfish come in their swarms. You’ll then set sail to reach George Island where whales and other marine life are a likely spot along the way – head on deck to take in the surroundings. Once on the island, it's a short hike uphill for wonderful views of rugged bays and carpeted inlets. This afternoon you’ll head to the ultra-scenic Inian Islands in the chilly waters of Icy Strait between Glacier Bay National Park and Chicagof Island – keep an eye out for bears foraging on the atolls. This extraordinary landscape is part of the Tongass National Forest where stunted trees reflect the extreme weather of the ocean and make for remarkable views. You’ll finish your evening with a cruise through Point Adolphus – enjoy a pre-dinner drink on the outer deck as you spot orca and humpback whales.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Sergius Narrows/Sitka

The navigation of Sergius Narrows is notoriously problematic due to whirlpools and raging currents, meaning you’ll wait until slack tide before passing through the narrow passage. It’s worth the anticipation, though, when you’re greeted by miles of forest-dense hills, with the strait tapering to a width of less than 100 metres in places. A sail south will see you arrive at Sitka, an ocean city steeped in culture and history. The legacy of each of Sitka’s tenants, from the ancestral Tlingit to the Russians, is evident round every corner. This rich history is paired with dense rainforest trails, bears and totem poles, honouring the indigenous Tlingit people. You’ve got all afternoon here to explore – embrace the culture with a guided tour of the major historical sites, go flyfishing and catch some of the world’s biggest halibut, or hike the surrounding mountain forests.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Sail Island/Wrangell Narrows

Frederick Sound is the spectacular home of Sail Island and only accessible by boat or air. It’s fed by glaciers with abundant numbers of krill and herring, meaning humpback whales come here to feed in their masses. It’s also home to the world’s largest sea lions, which you’ll often spot lazing on the rocks that edge the shores. You’ll then sail south to one of the country’s most notable ‘narrows’. The Wrangell Narrows’ picturesque channel winds 22 miles between the Mitlof and Kupreanof Islands, peppered with several lights and buoys throughout due to its navigational difficulty.

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Ketchikan/Metlakatla

Day 9 will see you exploring Ketchikan, a culture-rich town with a heritage defined by years of logging and fishing. You’ll have the morning here to explore, so take advantage and hire a guide to go fishing on the open water – there’s a reason Ketchikan has been labelled the salmon capital of the world. Reminders of the town's history are present throughout, from the restored native buildings to the 20-foot-tall native Alaskan totem collections. For souvenirs, a stroll down the eclectic Creek Street is hard to beat, and for spectacular views, head to the vast Misty Fjords National Monument on Ketchikan’s doorstep. This afternoon, you’ll arrive at the Indian settlement of Metlakatla, meaning ‘salt water passage’. With just over 1400 residents, the Tsimshian community thrive in this tiny region of Annette Island. Embrace the culture with a narrative tour that includes native singing and dancing. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Walker Cove/Misty Fjords

Enormous waterfalls plunge into the fjord alongside towering rock walls in ultra-scenic Walker Cove where you’ll spend your morning, spotting bears, seals and bald eagles along the shoreline. After a quick sail to Rudyerd Bay in the Misty Fjords of the impressive Inside Passage you’ll see one of nature’s most spectacular scenes: dramatic 1000-foot waterfalls plummeting down rainforest-covered rocks to the fjord below framed by snow-topped peaks. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Prince Rupert

Today you’ll reach Canada in the form of Prince Rupert, where the largest community on British Columbia's north coast resides. At the mouth of the Skeena River, this fascinating city on Kaien Island has coastal rainforest and deep green fjords as its surrounds. Sample some freshly caught and smoked fish – Prince Rupert is situated on the salmon route of the north coast waters – or head out and catch it yourself. The heritage of the Tsimshian people is strong here – explore the Museum of Northern British Columbia to discover thousands of years of fascinating history. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 12
At sea

Today will be spent sailing south through the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, where you’ll pass open ocean interspersed with inlets and fjords. Head to Tor’s Observation Library to witness the ever-changing landscapes ahead, or perhaps attend an expert lecture to learn about the wildlife and magnificent natural wonders of Alaska and Canada. Relax poolside or indulge in some shopping before wine tasting, before perhaps heading to The Grill for a delicious supper, preparing your own food at the table using the 'hot rocks' cooking method. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 13
Inside Passage/Alert Bay

Sailing the Inside Passage will entail taking in a spectacular landscape of colossal glaciers, islands carpeted with native 100-metre-tall Sitka trees, and endless alpine forests, whilst spotting whales, eagles, and sea lions. This wonderful passage will lead you to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, the home of the ‘Namgis First Nations people. A hub of native art and culture, Alert Bay is the oldest community of Vancouver Island, with the village houses and heritage buildings lining the waterfront a reminder of the village’s early pioneering days where a fish saltery once thrived. A themed walking tour will allow you to experience the living culture of the First Nations, with crafts, the world’s tallest totem pole and traditional dances. 

Stay: Silver Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 14
Vancouver

Your last day at sea will see you arriving in the bustling ocean city of Vancouver framed by enormous mountains and miles of forest. Here, you’ll disembark the Silver Shadow before being directed to your three-hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver, where you’ll see parklands, ocean forests and gardens, before having the rest of the day to explore. Perhaps take a stroll through the deep forests of Stanley Park or take in the views from Skyride, the gondola that speeds up Grouse Mountain, before checking in to your hotel for the night, the Fairmont Waterfront. You’ll enjoy a spectacular view of the outlying mountains that edge the coastal shores, and you'll be just a few minutes walk from historic Gastown, the home of numerous trendy eateries.  

Stay: Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 15
Vancouver to Kamloops

Today you’ll begin your scenic journey through the magnificent landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. Transfer to the luxury Rocky Mountaineer where the glass-domed roof will ensure you’re the first to be greeted with the ever-changing backdrop. A gourmet breakfast in the downstairs dining room will welcome you aboard, after which you’ll traverse through the spectacular Fraser Canyon and Valley. After speeding over the ferocious Hells Gate, the abrupt narrowing of the Fraser River, you’ll enjoy a variety of lunch entrées in the dining cart. A journey down the Thompson River will see you arrive at your destination for this evening, the stunning mountain-framed town of Kamloops.

Stay: The Thompson Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 16
Kamloops to Banff

You’ll head east to the Rockies today after re-boarding the Rocky Mountaineer. After a gourmet breakfast in the dining room you’ll speed over vast ranchlands to the Shushwape Lake – a perfect opportunity to take in the splendour on the viewing platform found at the end of each train cart. The immense glaciers and mountains of Rogers Pass will be the passing scenes as you enjoy lunch and approach the Yoho National Park, when you’ll speed through the rivers and mountain ridges of the Spiral Tunnels. Your final destination is Banff, the home of glacial lakes, alpine forests and hot springs – the jewel of the Rockies. You’ll arrive in the early evening to check into the famed Fairmont Banff Springs Resort which lies at a 1400m altitude, with plenty of time to indulge in a spa treatment or take in the remarkable lake views from your window.

Stay: Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 17
Banff

Breakfast at the hotel will be the start of a morning of exploration at your leisure. The surrounding mountains offer hundreds of spectacular hikes, or relax at the historic Banff hot mineral springs which lie just 10 minutes from the hotel. Spend the afternoon absorbing the sights of Lake Louise – the UNESCO World Heritage Site offers up scenery on a spectacular scale. You’ll learn about the fascinating mountaineering heritage, explore the shorelines and walk up the Valley of Ten Peaks viewpoint, looking over the sparkling Moraine Lake. Your last night at Fairmont Banff Springs can be spent however you wish – though it’s a great chance to indulge in some locally sourced Alberta wild game or beef at 1888 Chop House, one of the hotel’s gourmet onsite restaurants. 

Stay: Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 18-19
Banff to UK

After a final breakfast, you’ll check out of the hotel, transferring to Calgary to board your overnight flight to the UK, arriving on day 19.

Meals: B

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