See the natural world in all its glory from land and sea with this incredible itinerary. From the snow-capped peaks of Vancouver to Alaska’s glittering glaciers, you are guaranteed an experience like no other. And as if that’s not enough, you’ll also be treated to the luxury of the Rocky Mountaineer and an opportunity to be awe-struck by the turquoise waters of Lake Louise.
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Fly from London to Vancouver.
Arrive in Vancouver. Private transfer to your 5* hotel for your two-night stay.
Vancouver, B.C., CA
Make your own way to port and embark Seabourn Odyssey. Depart Vancouver.
Cruising the Queen Charlotte Sound
The Queen Charlotte Sound lies between the Queen Charlotte Strait, which winds between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland in the south, and Hecate Strait, which is northward, adjacent to the Haida Gwaii Islands off the Pacific coast of British Columbia. It is a broad reach in the long shipping route called the Inside Passage threading the myriad islands stretching from Washington’s Puget Sound to Alaska.
Ketchikan, Alaska, US
Ketchikan is a picturesque coastal town with a colorful frontier history, standing at the southern entrance to Alaska’s famed Inside Passage. It began as a salmon cannery in 1885, built by company employee Mike Martin at the mouth of Ketchikan Creek. Once dubbed the ‘Canned Salmon Capital of the World,’ today government, commercial fishing, and tourism are its main industries. The renowned Creek Street, perched on stilts along the mouth of the creek, would bring lasting infamy to the area for the red-light district that burgeoned there during the Gold Rush.
The town’s site first served as a camp for Tlingit people, and for thousands of years this has been their home. Their rich culture is being preserved to this day. A visit to Ketchikan is not complete without visiting one or all of Native American sites such as Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park, Saxman Native Village and the Totem Heritage Center. Together, these locations comprise the world’s largest collection of standing Native American totem poles.
Cruising Clarence Strait
Transit Snow Pass
In the passage between Sumner Strait and Clarence Strait in Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago, midway between Price of Wales Island on the west and Zarembo Island on the east, is a small cluster of islands with a picturesque passageway between them called Snow Pass. It makes a scenic up-close route for your Seabourn ship during the transit.
Sitka, Alaska, US
A stroll through the streets and National Historic Park of Sitka is a glimpse into its unique and colorful past. A blend of Tlingit and Russian cultures defines this first capital of Alaska. Although fish canning and gold mining were the initial catalysts for growth in Sitka, the construction of an air base during World War II truly paved the way for Sitka to come into its own. One of Sitka’s most intriguing structures is the Cathedral of Saint Michael, built in 1848 to honor a Russian Orthodox bishop.
Sitka’s history begins thousands of years ago with the Tlingit people and their use of the land for sustenance and spirituality. Old Sitka, located just north of the present-day settlement, was founded by Russian-American Company trader Alexander Baranov in 1799. Originally named Novo-Arkhangelsk (New Archangel) under Russian rule, its name was changed to Sitka after Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867. Sitka is a Tlingit word meaning ‘by the sea.’
Juneau, Alaska, US
Juneau, Alaska’s capital, is accessible only by air and sea, due to the rugged mountain terrain that surrounds the city. It has been a world-class travel destination since the early 1900’s. The city has plenty to offer the outdoor adventurer. You may choose to explore on foot along the Perseverance Trail or around Mendenhall Glacier, or board one of the many local whale-watching boats, or view the mountains and extensive glaciers of the Juneau Icefield from a helicopter.
Although founded by Alaskan pioneers, this area was in use for thousands of years by the Tlingit people and was originally settled by the Auke tribe, taking advantage of the abundant food and natural resources provided by the land and sea. Their descendants continue to gather clams, gumboot chitons, grass and sea urchins to this day.
Originally named Harrisburg in 1880, after the gold prospector Richard Harris, the name was later changed to honor his partner Joe Juneau.
Inian Islands, Alaska
As the gatekeepers to the northern entrance of the fabled Inside Passage, the remote Inian Islands stand between Cross Sound and Icy Strait, exposed to the high energy seas of the Pacific Ocean. Tidal currents surging through the narrow channels separating the islands can be severe. Nicknames like ‘The Laundry Chute’ justify their notorious reputations.
For millennia, Tlingit people came here to hunt and fish in the rich bounty that these waters provided. Today, the Inian Islands Institute, located within the islands, provides access to the abundant and protected waters for scientific research. Sitka black-tailed deer and brown bears frequent their rugged and rocky shores, while sea lions fill their stomachs with salmon before hauling out to rest on the many rocky outcrops making up this island group. Sea otters, bald eagles, and humpback whales frequent the area in great numbers during the summer months.
The Inian Islands were named by William Healey Dall, one of Alaska’s earliest scientific explorers, in 1879.
Icy Strait Point, Alaska, US
Icy Strait Point is a unique community on Chichagof Island near the entry to Glacier Bay National Park. It was created and is owned by a corporation of over 1300 Native Americans of various local Tlingit tribes, for the purpose of offering visitors an enjoyable, educational experience of Alaska’s native cultures, as well as the human and natural history of the region. Your tender will dock at the historic 1912 salmon canning facility, which today is a museum. The surrounding grounds offer cultural performances, Native American-owned shops and galleries, restaurants and a variety of tours and excursions for every interest from sport fishing to whale watching, guided nature walks and excursions to view bears and other wildlife, ATV tours and even a zipline adventure that is said to be the longest (over a mile) and highest (over 1330 feet of drop) in North America. The small village of Hoonah is just over a mile away, and can be reached either by walking or on a shuttle. It also has shops and eateries, as well as a totem-carving enterprise run by the corporation. The Huna Totem Corporation maintains complete control of the content and access to the community, which has won a number of prestigious awards for its sustainable approach to exploiting the natural and historical heritage of Alaska and its native peoples for their benefit.
Tracy Arm is a 30-mile fjord in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. It is one of two branches extending from glaciers into the Holkham Bay. Tracy Arm and the other branch, Endicott Arm, are designated as the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. During the summer, these fjords are typically filled with floating ice fragments calving from the glaciers that fill about a fifth of their extent. The ice varies from small “bergie bits” to icebergs the size of a three-story building. Depending on the current ice conditions, your captain will sail slowly along one of these fjords for scenic viewing of the ice and the wildlife along the way. Your Ventures by Seabourn team may also offer optional kayak or Zodiac excursions in the arms.
Transit Decision Passage
Decision Passage is the western end of the Sumner Strait, which runs through the Alexander Archipelago into the Pacific Ocean in Southeastern Alaska, bounded on the north by Kuiu Island and Cape Decision, the location of a 1932 lighthouse. This is the route your ship takes when coming from or going to the colorful historic community of Sitka on the west coast of Baranof Island, which was originally the Russian fortress town of New Archangel.
Cruising Sumner Strait
Sumner Strait runs for 80 miles/110 km more or less east-and-west through the Alexander Archipelago in southeast Alaska, from the mouth of the Stikine River, north of the community of Wrangell, to Iphigenia Bay. The islands of Mitkof, Kupreanof and Kuiu are on the north side of the strait, and Zarembo and Prince of Wales Islands are on the south. The first European to navigate the strait was a fur trapper named William Brown, in 1793. That same year, James Johnstone surveyed the strait as a part of George Vancouver’s expedition. It was named in 1875 for the abolitionist Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner. The strait passes between picturesque snow-capped peaks, and there is a 1932 lighthouse located at Cape Decision which is still a functioning signal.
Wrangell, Alaska, US
One of the thousands of islands of the Alexander Archipelago, Wrangell Island sits at the heart of the Tongass National Rain Forest and receives approximately 80” (203 cm) of rain per year. The city of Wrangell, a true Alaskan frontier town, sits at the northern end of the island, a short distance from the mouth of the mighty Stikine River. The history of Wrangell is deeply rooted in the Tlingit people, the fur trade and the gold rush. The Stikine River trade route brought the Tlingit people here thousands of years ago, evidenced by some forty petroglyphs at Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site and Totem Park.
The Stikine River, Shakes Glacier and Anan Creek Bear Observatory are highlights in the region. Anan Creek boasts the largest pink salmon run of the Inside Passage, attracting brown and black bears in great numbers. Wrangell was named for Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel, a Russian explorer and administrator of the Russian-America Company during the mid-1800’s.
Rudyerd Bay (Misty Fjords), AK, United States
Scottish-American naturalist John Muir compared the 2,294,343-acre (930,000 hectare) Misty Fjords National Monument to his favorite place in America, Yosemite National Park. Often shrouded in mist, Misty Fjords is a true wilderness.
Its vertical granite cliffs, which reach 3,000’ (900 m) above sea level, descend another 1,000’ (300 m) below the water’s surface. Carved by glaciers and covered in a green carpet of mosses and lichens, Misty Fjords receives more than 150” (381 cm) of rain per year. Western hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western red cedar dominate the prolific vegetation along its shore. Mountain goats, brown and black bears, coastal wolves, sea lions, bald eagles, ravens, Dall’s porpoises, orca and humpback whales can be spotted along its shorelines and throughout its waters.
Long before the arrival of John Muir, the Tlingit people lived and moved throughout this region, surviving on what the land provided. Evidence of their historic and ongoing presence is recorded in the many pictographs found along the shores of Misty Fjords.
Scenic cruising Misty Fjords
Misty Fjords National Monument is a section of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska’s extreme southeastern Panhandle region. The monument consists of over two million acres of deeply cut fjords cradled in U-shaped valleys between mountain ranges rising 2,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level. The fjords themselves extend as much as 1,000 feet below the surface. These granite ranges are covered with virgin forest, and most of the monument is also a dedicated wilderness area. Misty Fjords inspired the explorer John Muir to proclaim them among the most beautiful places he had ever seen. Your ship will cruise among these spectacular forests, waterfalls and mountains. The onboard Ventures by Seabourn team will offer optional excursions including kayaking the fjords and a short sightseeing floatplane flight.
Scenic cruising Princess Royal Channel
The Princess Royal Channel separates the largest island along British Columbia’s coast from the mainland. It is located roughly halfway between Bella Bella in the south and Prince Rupert in the north, in one of the province’s most remote areas. Princess Royal island was named in 1788 by Captain Charles Duncan, in honor of his ship, the Princess Royal. The island is uninhabited, although there are two small villages in the channel, the First Nations community of Klemtu on Swindle Island and Hartley Bay on the mainland. Wildlife, by contrast, is plentiful, including Kermode, black and grizzly bears, deer, wolves and foxes. Golden and bald eagles nest in the region, as well as the endangered marbled murrelet. In the waters, there are abundant salmon, elephant seals, whales, orcas and dolphins.
Transit the Seymour Narrows
The Seymour Narrows is a 3-mile/5 km stretch of the Discovery Channel north of Vancouver Island, British Columbia that is notorious for the strength of the tidal currents flowing through it. The average width of the narrows is just 750 meters. During extreme tides, the current through the narrows is subject to severe Venturi effect, resulting in an increased velocity that can reach 15 knots. For much of its modern history, there was an additional hazard in the narrows called Ripple Rock, a shallow obstruction that claimed no fewer than 119 ships and 114 lives. In 1958, after months of tunneling and preparation, Ripple Rock was blown up in the largest commercial, non-nuclear explosion ever recorded in North America. Still, the navigation of Seymour Narrows is dependent on tidal and other conditions, and requires skill and technical accomplishment.
Vancouver, B.C., CA
Arrive in Vancouver and disembark Seabourn Odyssey. Private transfer to your 5* hotel for your one-night stay.
Enjoy your five-night GoldLead Rocky Mountaineer experience including;
2 Nights stay at 5* hotel in Vancouver
1 Night stays in Kamloops, Lake Louise, Banff and Calgary
GoldLeaf experience on Rocky Mountaineer
North Shore Tour with Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain
Sightseeing Tour from Yoho Park to Banff
Banff Gondola Ride
Private transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to London.
Arrive in London.