During a Holland America Line cruise to Alaska, the sights and sounds of the Frontier State are front and center during the seven-day voyage.
From interesting ports like Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan to the spectacular scenery of Glacier Bay, the Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord, guests marvels at the beauty of the region.
Most cruisers fly to Seattle or Vancouver to begin their journey, but head directly to the ship upon arrival, missing the wonderful attractions that these two major cities have to offer. If you have the time, a hotel stay or vacation package is an ideal option to explore before or after your cruise.
Guests on Alaska sailings out of Vancouver can opt for a variety of vacation packages ranging from two to five nights. The longest at five nights is the Canadian Rockies and Okanagan Experience. This vacation package allows visitors to get the most out of their stay and see Calgary, the Canadian Rockies, Banff and British Columbia.
Here is a breakdown of the pre-cruise packages so you can see the full experience. The post-cruise package operates in reverse.
Day 1, Calgary: Transfer to a downtown hotel in Calgary and can enjoy the day at leisure. Overnight at Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary.
Day 2, Calgary/Canadian Rockies/Banff: Follow the Trans-Canada Highway through the Canadian Rockies. Pass by the Three Sisters, Fairholme and Rundle mountain ranges en route to the charming mountain resort town of Banff. Enjoy a guided tour including Bow Falls, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos Lookout. A ride on the Banff Gondola is included. Overnight at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
A ride on the Banff Gondola provides spectacular views. Photos courtesy Brewster Travel Canada.
Day 3, Columbia Icefield: Travel north along the famous Icefields Parkway, discovering waterfalls, mountain lakes and awesome glaciers along the way. The Columbia Icefield, located in Jasper National Park, is one of the largest accumulations of ice south of the Arctic Circle. You will travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer onto the Athabasca Glacier as your driver/guide explains glacier formation and geological features of the landscape.
Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefield. Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada.
After the unique ice adventure, guests have free time at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre to relax over an included lunch. Enjoy spectacular views from the newly opened Glacier Skywalk, then return to Banff. Overnight at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
The newly opened Skywalk provides a once-of-a-kind view. Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada.
The unique Skywalk. Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada.
Day 4, Banff/Kelowna: Travel through the Canadian Rockies into the heart of British Columbia. There will be a stop at world-famous Lake Louise for photo opportunities, with time for a walk along the lake and a self-guided visit to the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Enjoy an included lunch in Revelstoke while overlooking the valley. On arrival into Kelowna sample a variety of hand-crafted Okanagan wines at Calona Vineyards. Arrive to Kelowna in the evening with time to explore the lakefront. Overnight at Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna.
Day 5, Kelowna/Vancouver: Breakfast, then experience mountain wilderness on the way to Vancouver. Enjoy an included lunch surrounded by giant cedar trees and raging rivers at Hell’s Gate. Arrive into Vancouver and check in to your deluxe downtown hotel with time to explore the city on your own. Overnight in Vancouver.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Day 6 Vancouver/Bon Voyage: Transfer to the ship for embarkation.
If a simple stay is all that’s desire, Holland America Line is able to offer the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel at Canada Place. In the heart of the city and overlooking the magnificent waterfront, the Pan Pacific is surrounded by panoramic vistas of the harbor, mountains, Stanley Park and the city skyline. With top shopping and entertainment nearby, enjoy the best of the city in luxurious comfort.
The Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel is conveniently located at the cruise terminal.
Making it even more convenient is the hotel’s location at the cruise terminal so no transfer to the ship is needed. For embarking guests, Holland America Line takes the luggage from the hotel room and brings it to the ship. The next time guests see their luggage is in their stateroom onboard.
On select dates, the hotel may be another property in the shopping district of downtown Vancouver, a short distance from the waterfront.
Included in each hotel stay are the hotel overnight (including taxes and gratuities), an airport meet and greet, airport to hotel transfer (or reverse), hotel to ship transfer (or reverse), luggage handling and HAL hospitality representation. And guests can rest assured that all of the hotels are hand-picked based on location and quality, making any package an inclusive, seamless experience.
Seattle is more than just Holland America Line’s headquarters. Seattle is the starting point for several of the Alaska itineraries. Guests wishing to extend their time in Seattle may choose from among Holland America Line’s preferred hotels, each providing superb quality and service. Not only is hotel porterage included, but guests will have a Holland America Line hospitality representative at their service in the hotel.
The Sheraton Seattle Hotel, left, and the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
The Sheraton Seattle Hotel provides a gateway to the diverse sights and sounds of the Pacific Northwest, as well as a quiet, elegant retreat in luxurious comfort. Guests enjoy superb service and an array of superior amenities, and step out the front doors to find gourmet food, exciting entertainment and world-class shopping.
Another option is the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Among the premier luxury Seattle hotels, The Fairmont Olympic is a landmark hotel that boasts impeccable service, splendid Italian Renaissance architecture and two award-winning restaurants.
Even the choosiest tourists will find something to enjoy in cosmopolitan yet outdoorsy Seattle – from locally inspired restaurant fare to world-class museums such as the well-regarded SAM (Seattle Art Museum) and local favorite Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) that recently was re-established in the hip South Lake Union neighborhood.
Seattle Great Wheel. Photo courtesy of Instagram cruise and Seattle Seahawk fan @StevenArtPhoto.
Active visitors can rent a bike to explore the miles of in-city parks and trails designed in the 1900s by the Olmstead brothers of Central Park fame or rent a kayak to paddle to nearby Lakes Union and Washington. The walkable downtown hills offer surprise views at each intersection – catch a glimpse of imposing Mount Rainier or picturesque Elliott Bay where explorers like Captain Cook first sailed waters now plied by ferries, shipping vessels, pleasure boats and of course cruise ships during the May to September cruise season.
Of course, a ride to the top of the Space Needle and the 360 degree observation deck is a must, while the hot attraction in town is the new Seattle Great Wheel, perched on the edge of a pier along the thriving waterfront.
Have you extended your Alaska cruise in Vancouver or Seattle with a vacation package or hotel stay? Tell us about it in the comments below.