Packed with breathtaking scenery, exciting excursions, lively cities and thrilling wildlife encounters, a Western Canada and Alaska cruise has something for everyone.
Gateway to the final frontier, Canada’s island-dotted western coastline is a paradise for cruise passengers. Here they can enjoy multicultural cities, spectacular scenery and unique fauna.
Better known as the British Columbia Coast or the BC Coast, Canada’s western coastline on the North Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Washington features deep inlets and picturesque fjords inhabited by growling bears and soaring eagles.
Covering some 10 per cent of Canada’s coastline, Western Canada also has approximately 40,000 islands, including Vancouver with its blend of glittering skyscrapers, historic neighbourhoods and gourmet restaurants, and Haida Gwaii – also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands – renowned as one of the richest biological and cultural areas in North America.
“From the multi-cultural beauty of Vancouver to the delights of sophisticated Victoria and the magnificent wilderness that is Alaska, this region of Canada has something for everyone when it comes to cruises,” says Cunard’s sales director, Gary Anslow.
On nature’s trail
Nature is undoubtedly the big lure in this sparsely populated region, where passengers will be thrilled to glimpse polar bears, whales, moose and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
Canada cruises often coincide with the summer holidays and countless fascinating shore excursions to suit all ages, making it an ideal multi-generational destination that provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore remote regions in comfort.
As Fred Olsen’s head of destination experience and itinerary planning, Martin Lister, explains:
“The smaller size of our ships allows us to reach a number of the remote islands in the Northern Archipelago, as well as offering spectacular scenic cruising through the narrow sounds, channels and passageways for which this part of the world is renowned.”
Vancouver is the ideal departure point for thrilling cruises along the west coast of British Columbia and through the Inside Passage, a vast stretch of protected ocean dotted with islands, fjords and bays that stretches from British Columbia to Skagway.
As well as Vancouver, Victoria is a popular stop on Canada cruise itineraries covering the western part. The streets of British Columbia’s charming capital – which is sometimes known as The City of Gardens because of its glorious green spaces – are lined with beautifully preserved Victorian architecture. This laidback city is also home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown.
Alaska is seven times the size of the UK and a cruise is definitely the best way to explore this enthralling US state, which is largely inaccessible by land.
Top attractions here include Alaska’s capital, Juneau, where passengers can join an excursion to see the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, or take a 20-minute float plane ride to visit Admiralty Island, known as Fortress of the Bears because it’s home to one of the world’s largest brown bear colonies.
“Cruising is one of the very best ways to explore Western Canada and in particular, Alaska. The region has such a huge variety of natural wonders, from temperate rainforests to towering glaciers.
In such a vast and wild region of the world, cruising makes the destination incredibly accessible and provides an awe-inspiring perspective of the mountains, glaciers and frozen landscapes,” says Celebrity Cruises’ UK & Ireland head of sales, Nicola McNeish.
Alaskan cruises also leave from Seattle but departures from here include two full days at sea, whereas Vancouver is closer to Alaska, giving clients more time to explore.
Rocky Mountaineer European regional sales director Steve Harris says: “Pairing the mountains with the deep blue sea is a natural match for those looking to explore the Final Frontier even further, which is why we combine Alaska cruises with thrilling train trips through the Rocky Mountains.”
Other ports of call on an Alaska cruise include Skagway, the Gold Rush town that was the inspiration for Jack London’s classic novel The Call of the Wild, and Ketchikan, renowned for its abundant salmon and beautifully carved Native American totem poles.
Add to that a host of exciting pre or post-cruise land excursions to Denali National Park or the Kenai River Valley, and agents won’t be lost for ways of selling this wonderful destination to clients.
Appeals to all ages
With breathtaking scenery, exciting excursions, lively cities and thrilling wildlife encounters, a Western Canada and Alaska cruise caters to all cruisers’ tastes.
It’s adventure with lashings of luxury
A cruise ship makes the ideal base for exploring this untamed region.
Reasons to stay longer
Whether it’s a train ride through the Rockies, a trip to Toronto or a hotel stay in LA, there are plenty of ways to extend a Western Canada and Alaska cruise.