Road Scholar : Home
Canada’s Spectacular Coast and Rocky Mountains by Ship & Rail

Program Number: 19788RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/15/2013 - 5/26/2013;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Multi-Country,
Price starting at: $3,436.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 28; 11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Canada’s Pacific Northwest from two vantage points: from the coastal regions of Seattle, Vancouver and Vancouver Island by ship and the iconic granite and snow-capped mountains of Canada’s Rocky Mountains by train. Travel through old growth forests, stately gardens, soaring mountains and glaciers alongside local experts and discover the rich history and culture of the Northwest people.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles on uneven terrain.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Banff, 2 nights; Jasper, 2 nights: Kamloops, 1 night; Vancouver, 1 night; aboard ms Amsterdam, 3 nights; Vancouver, 2 nights.

Days 1-2: Independent arrival Banff (Canada):

Stand in awe of the Rocky Mountain peaks of Banff National Park and learn about the geological forces that created them. An interpreter highlights the tectonic activity that, more than 200 million years ago, formed the Rocky Mountains and the coastal ranges of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Then immerse yourself in the biodiversity of the Bow Valley Parkway and walk along the shore of emerald-colored Lake Louise. Lodging: Comfortable inn.

Days 3-4: Jasper:

Journey along the scenic Icefields Parkway, with stops at some of Alberta’s finest natural attractions and discover Jasper National Park. At the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum, learn about human history in the region, from its earliest visitors 10,000 years ago to the present. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Days 5-6: On board the Rocky Mountaineer:

Roll past the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, en route to Kamloops. Hear interpretive commentary from your onboard attendants highlighting the history of the Canadian National Railway as you watch the passing landscape. We continue on to Vancouver on day 6, passing the fertile farmland of the Fraser Valley and marveling at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains.

Day 7: Vancouver:

During an introduction to Vancouver, explore the English Bay area and the ever majestic Stanley Park, before boarding the ms Amsterdam. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Day 8: Port Alberni / embark ms Amsterdam:

Cathedral Grove is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Explore a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old. Taste the handiwork of an artisan cheese maker at Qualicum Cheeseworks.

Day 9: Seattle, Wash.:

Discover the many fascinating neighborhoods of the Emerald City, Seattle. Experience stunning views from the top of the Seattle Space Needle and explore the Pike Place Market, “The Soul of Seattle,” as hundreds of farmers, craftspeople and the world-famous fishmongers sell their goods.

Days 10-12: Vancouver / disembark / independent departure:

Explore two of Vancouver’s most buzzed about neighborhoods, Gastown and Chinatown, with a local historian. At the Museum of Anthropology, get a glimpse into local native culture and examine the outstanding collection of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

ms Amsterdam

Built in Italy, this ocean liner blends the very latest in shipbuilding technology with the artistry and personalized touches that have made Holland America Line one of the highest-rated cruise lines in the world. At the heart of the ship is the Planeto Astrolabium, a commissioned signature sculpture soaring in a three-story atrium.

Meals and Lodgings
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, Alberta 2 nights
   Amethyst Lodge
  Jasper, AB 2 nights
   Kamloops Hotel TBA
  Kamloops, British Columbia 1 night
   Best Western Sands by the Sea
  Vancouver, BC 1 night
   ms Amsterdam
  At Sea 3 nights
   Best Western Sands by the Sea
  Vancouver, BC 2 nights
 Irwin's Mountain Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: Family owned and operated for over thirty years, Irwin's Mountain Inn was completely reconstructed by the fall of 1995 making the property one of Banff's newer accommodations. Originally built in 1967 by Paul and Elizabeth Irwin with their two sons, Arlen and Larry, Irwin's Motor Inn was recognized as one of the best values in Banff. With farming as their previous livelihood, the Irwin's extended the same hospitality to their guests at the motel as was characteristic of the way they greeted and treated visitors and friends to their farm. A tradition of hospitality and friendliness was established in those early years and the Management to this day still endeavors to live up to Paul and Elizabeth's example in the service and quality of comfort they provide guests to Irwin's Mountain Inn. The name has changed and three times the motel has undergone major rebuilding phases, but the standard of excellence in hospitality that Paul and Elizabeth Irwin exemplified over thirty years ago still serves as the benchmark for the next generation of Irwins that share in the ownership and management of the Irwin's Mountain Inn.
  Contact info: 429 Banff Avenue
Banff, AB T1L 1B2 Canada
phone: 403-762-4566
  Room amenities: Satellite TV and movie channel
  Facility amenities: Fitness centre, coin laundry, small gift shop, sauna and steam room, 10 person jetted pool, games room, massage therapy. Located within walking distance of downtown Banff. On-site dining at the El Toro restaurant, located on the street level of the inn, it has a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Banff, El Toro specializes in steak, seafood and Greek dishes.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact Inn Contact Irwin's directly for rates & availability.

 Amethyst Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Amethyst Lodge is close to the center of Jasper and just a short walk from rail and bus terminals, museums, and art galleries. Enjoy amazing wildlife viewing and unspoiled wilderness within blocks of your Jasper home.
  Contact info: 200 Connaught Drive
Jasper, AB T0E 1E0 Canada
phone: 780-852-3394
  Room amenities: In-room coffee makers, hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: The lodge offers a number of amenities for your convenience. Two outdoor hot tubs and a coin-operated laundry facility nearby.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kamloops Hotel TBA
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: TBA
Kamloops, BC N/A Canada
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Sands by the Sea
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Best Western Sands by the Sea is conveniently located one half block from the beach at beautiful English Bay and three blocks from Stanley Park's 1,000 acres of trails and gardens. Three bus routes stop at the front door for easy access to other parts of town.
  Contact info: 1755 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1W5 Canada
phone: 604-682-1831
  Room amenities: In-room coffee makers, iron and ironing board, hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include a sauna and exercise room. Same-day dry-cleaning and laundry service is available, and there is a laundromat six blocks from the hotel. Restaurant and 2 bars on site.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Check for availability. Please contact the hotel directly on your own OR if you require personal assistance contact Cleland Travel toll free at 1-888-905-5959. A service fee MAY apply.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 ms Amsterdam
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The ms Amsterdam is the third ship to bear the name of the Dutch capital in Holland America Line's over 135-year history. Built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the ms Amsterdam blends the very latest in shipbuilding technology with the artistry, personalized touches and superior service that has made Holland America Line one of the highest-rated cruise lines in the world. At the heart of the ms Amsterdam is the Planeto Astrolabium, a commissioned signature sculpture soaring in a three-story atrium. The stunning Astrolabe tracks constellations, the planets, world time and ship time. Dutch heritage and tradition is clearly displayed throughout the ship in original Art Deco pieces that once graced the Nieuw Amsterdam of 1938. For a contemporary touch, works of the noted maritime artist Stephen Card adorn public spaces.
  Ship Information: Ship's Registry: The Netherlands Passenger capacity: 1,380 Crew members: 615 Gross tonnage: 62,735grt Length: 780 feet Beam: 105.8 Maximum speed: 22.5 knots
  Contact info: N/A
N/A, BC  Canada
phone: 877-932-4259
  Room amenities: Holland America Line ships are known for graceful mid-sized ships with a generous amount of personal space. We offer four major types of staterooms: Interior, Ocean-view, Verandah Suites and Deluxe Verandah Suites. Depending on the ship, there may be more than one stateroom category in each type. Room measurements are approximate. Please see deck plans for specific information. Interior: 2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed and shower. All L-, N- & NN-category staterooms also have 1 sofa bed & pullman upper. All M- & MM-category staterooms also have 1 sofa bed. Approximately 182 sq. ft Ocean View: 2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed, bathtub, shower. All FF-category staterooms also have 1 sofa bed & pullman upper. Approximately 197 sq. ft. Verandah: 2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed, whirlpool bath & shower, sitting area, private verandah, mini-bar, refrigerator, floor-to-ceiling windows. All A-category staterooms also have 1 sofa bed. Approximately 292 sq. ft. Deluxe Verandah: 2 lower beds convertible to 1 king-size bed, whirlpool bath & shower, large sitting area, dressing room, private verandah, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, mini-bar, refrigerator, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 556 sq. ft Penthouse Verandah: Bedroom with 1 king-size bed, oversize whirlpool bath & shower, living room, dining room, dressing room, private verandah, pantry, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, mini-bar, refrigerator, guest toilet, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 1,159 sq. ft All staterooms are equipped with flat-panel television, DVD player, multi-channel music and ship to shore telephones. Daily housekeeping and nightly turndown service. Large, extra-fluffy Egyptian cotton towels, luxurious terry cloth bathrobes, lighted magnifying mirrors, massage showerheads and salon-quality hair dryers. Generous storage and safes for your valuables. Complimentary fresh fruit, shoeshine service and ice service; 24-hour in-room dining.
  Facility amenities: Full laundry and dry cleaning services available, fitness centre, internet access. Other onboard services include: Digital Workshop The Culinary Arts Centre Explorations Cafe Greenhouse Spa & Salon Lido Restaurant Pinnacle Grill Queen's Show Lounge Crow's Nest
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals to Banff, AB. Check in at 4:00 pm. Welcome dinner is scheduled for 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Independent departures from Vancouver, BC after breakfast. Breakfast is scheduled for 7:30 am. Check-out of hotel is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at Best Western Sands by the Sea the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A passport is required for ALL travel to/from Canada. A US law known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires those traveling to/from the United States by land & sea to also have a passport or other appropriate secure documents (NEXUS card). Passport requirements are subject to change. Visit for information. You will be required to complete an online check-in process prior to embarkation. Once you check-in online, your Express docs, which include your signature preferred boarding pass and luggage tags will be available to print. Your boarding pass is the first page of your Express Docs. For embarkation you will need your boarding pass, appropriate identification and passport. **Full instructions on how to complete your online check-in process are included in your Information Packet.
  Parking availability:
To arrange parking at the hotel (Irwin's Mountain Inn), please contact the hotel directly at 403-762-4566. **Please note it is recommended that participants do not drive to the program, as the program starts and ends in different locations.**
To Start of Program
  Location:  Banff, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  Transportation to site: Hourly shuttle service to Banff is available from the Calgary International Airport (approximately CAD $53 one way; approximately CAD$106 return). Check out for the most up to date shuttle information. Reservations are required. Please call 1-888-449-2901. Approximate travel time from Calgary International Airport to the start of the program in Banff is 2.5 hours. Should you plan on arriving into Calgary by air, mid to late morning arrivals are strongly recommended. Volunteers on the Arrivals level at the Calgary Airport (wearing white cowboy hats and red vests) are very helpful in getting people on their way to transportation and the hotels. Taxi from airport (approximately CAD $160 one way)
  From End of Program
  Location:  Vancouver, BC
  Nearest city or town:  Vancouver
  Nearest highway: Highway 1 - Trans Canada
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  Transportation from site: Independent departures from Vancouver, British Columbia. TAXI Taxi service is available from the program hotel to the Vancouver Int'l Airport (10 mile/30 minute trip). The cost is approximately CAD $25 - $30. Shuttle service is no longer available from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver. For current arrival and departure information to/from the airport, please visit SKY TRAIN Take the SkyTrain (public transportation) to the airport. The trip between the Vancouver City Centre Station and airport takes about 24 minutes; trains depart every 7 minutes. The SkyTrain (public transportation) is one of Vancouver's best transportation bargains. If you want to get from one part of Vancouver to another, the Vancouver SkyTrain, like the bus and SeaBus, costs approximately $2.50 for one zone, approximately $3.75 for two and approximately $5.00 for three. SkyTrain's run from about 5:30AM until around 1:00AM, depending on the station. Seniors and children pay reduced rates. If you need specific Vancouver SkyTrain schedule information, consult the Translink website at or call Translink at 604-953-3333. From the hotel to the airport, walk on Davie Street towards Bidwell Street and take the city bus route C21 towards Yaletown. Depart bus at the Yaletown/Roundhouse Station, there will be signage directing you to the Canada Line. Take the Canada line to the airport. For information on schedules and routes contact Canada Line (TransLink) 604-953-3333 or visit Approximate cost per person on way is $7 - $10 and approximate travel time is 35-45 minutes.
Elevation Note: The train may reach elevations in the Rockies of up to 9,000 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals, Banff Alberta
(Wednesday, May 15)
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals in Banff. CHECK-IN: Available from 4:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Enjoy casual dining at the hotel. Welcome dinner scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: Meet your group leader and fellow participants during an orientation to the program and Banff.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to the Canadian Rockies/Yoho National Park/Emerald Lake
(Thursday, May 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: LECTURE/FIELD TRIP: Discover the geological highlights of the Rockies with Ben Gadd, renowned naturalist and author of the ground-breaking Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Following an introductory lecture, travel to Yoho National Park with commentary en route.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in a picturesque mountain setting.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Trail walk around Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies, and is one of the few lakes with a trail all the way around it. Thanks to its position of the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, a 360 degree tour of Emerald yields up four very different environments: a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the coastal rainforest.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a free evening to explore Banff.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bow Lake/Athabasca Glacier & Falls/Columbia Icefield/Jasper
(Friday, May 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP & PRESENTATION: Icefields Parkway and Glaciers. Depart by coach for Jasper. En route, a local interpretive guide will tell you about the glaciers of the Icefields Parkway. Learn how the remnants of the last Ice Age left behind this magnificent landscape, and discover the flora and fauna of this mountainous region. Continuing north along the Icefields Parkway, considered one of the most scenic highways in the world, you will visit Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier and Falls. At the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre, you will learn all about this impressive geological feature. The Icefields are the largest accumulation of ice and snow in the Canadian Rockies, covering an area of nearly 125 square miles (325 square km) and straddling the Continental Divide with an average elevation of 25,480 square kilometers (9,800 square miles). The Icefields feed eight major glaciers, including the Athabasca, Dome and Stutfield glaciers, all of which you will see from the coach. The Icefields lie on the boundary between Banff and Jasper National Parks, and their melt waters flow to three of Canada's largest river systems and eventually to three oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic. There is only one other such watershed in the world, and that is in Siberia.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Jasper late afternoon; check into the hotel and freshen up before dinner. Jasper lies in the center of Jasper National Park, deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and it is known around the world for its rugged beauty. It is also a renowned, world-class resort town that has many attractions, yet it retains its small-town feel. Its distance from large urban centers and its relatively intact ecology give you a real sense of the early days in the Rockies.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: FREE EVENING to explore the area on your own or rest after a long day of travelling.
Accommodations: Amethyst Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Pyramid Lake/Maligne Canyon/Yellowhead Museum
(Saturday, May 18)

Note: Much of the Maligne Canyon walk is on rather smooth rock that, in summer, wet or dry, can be a little slippery. Participants are encouraged to wear shoes with treaded soles. The walk is approximately 1km (0.62 miles) with slight ups and downs. Participants should also be able to stand for short periods of time (approximately 10 minutes) during interpretation.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP & PRESENTATION: Jasper National Park. Depart by coach for a field trip in the nearby area, stopping at Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake and Maligne Canyon (weather permitting). Your guide will provide commentary en route and discuss points of interest along the way. The Maligne Canyon trail is rich in natural history, with impressive geologic features and wildlife. Search for fossils and find out how this deep canyon formed during glacial ages and how Maligne Canyon may not be a true canyon! The tall pine covered forests of these wilderness areas are home to an abundance of mountain goats, elk, moose, and bears. Scenic trails let you explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: LECTURE: The History of Jasper. A local naturalist will deliver a lecture on the history of Jasper and Canada's National Parks. OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Jasper - Yellowhead Museum. Enjoy an optional excursion to the Jasper -Yellowhead Museum and Archives, where you can explore the history of the Jasper-Yellowhead corridor from its earliest visitors 10,000 years ago to the present day. The Historical Gallery includes exhibits on the fur trade, the pioneers, the railways, early tourism in Jasper National Park and the town of Jasper Spend some free time exploring the town on your own or relaxing at your hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: LECTURE: The Ecology of Jasper National Park. A local expert will deliver a lecture on the ecology of Jasper National Park. Learn about the local flora and fauna and get an in-depth look at some of the parks most interesting habitants.
Accommodations: Amethyst Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Rocky Mountaineer to Kamloops
(Sunday, May 19)

Note: Today you will travel by train from Jasper to Kamloops – Redleaf Service. Take only your small overnight bag on the train with you (it will be stored under your seat or overhead) and ensure that you carry all medications on board with you. Pack what you will need for the two full days and one night. You will not have access to your large luggage during this time; it will be checked through to Vancouver. Small overnight bag not to exceed 23 cm x 92 cm x 46 cm or 9” x36” x18”.

 Breakfast: Breakfast served at your seat on the train.
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Red Leaf Service, bound for Kamloops. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary as you marvel at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains and the fertile farmland of the Fraser Valley. As the surrounding scenery unfolds, so will the commentary about the changing landscape and the interplay of geology, glacial history, ecology and human history that has shaped this diverse and beautiful land. Hear about the history and development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, including the travails of building the line through the Rocky Mountains. NOTE: Take only your small overnight bag on the train with you (it will be stored under your seat or overhead) and ensure that you carry all medications on board with you. Your large bag will be checked through to Vancouver. RedLeaf Service Features: Group block seating in roomy reclining seats in air-conditioned comfort - Large picture windows for viewing the dramatic landscape - Service and onboard commentary by Rocky Mountaineer attendant - A selection of chilled breakfasts, lunches, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages served at your seat - Spirits, fine wines and a selection of beer available at your own expense - One night moderate accommodation in Kamloops - Commemorative RedLeaf pin
 Lunch: Cold lunch served at your seat.
 Afternoon: Arrive and check into the hotel in Kamloops. Name of the hotel will be confirmed as we get closer to departure. Kamloops is situated at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers in the Thompson Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia. It was the native fur trade that attracted the first Europeans, and they established a trading post here in 1812. Gold rush fever in the 1850s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s contributed to the rapid expansion of the settlement.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Kamloops.
 Evening: Free evening to explore Kamloops on your own or rest at the hotel.
Accommodations: Kamloops Hotel TBA
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver
(Monday, May 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast served at your seat on the train.
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Red Leaf Service, bound for Vancouver. From the comfort of your roomy, reclining seat enjoy and experience the spectacular scenery through large picture windows. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary during this beautiful journey.
 Lunch: Cold lunch served at your seat
 Afternoon: Arrive in Vancouver in the late afternoon. Coach transfer from the railway station to the hotel; check into the hotel. Located in a stunning ocean harbor and surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks, Vancouver is on the leading edge of public policy and planning, and it has developed a plan for sustainable development. This large metropolitan center provides an international gateway for exploring the natural wonders of southwestern British Columbia.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Free evening to explore Vancouver or relax at the hotel after a long day of travelling.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Granville Island/Embark ms Amsterdam
(Tuesday, May 21)

Note: There will be a short five minute ferry ride to Granville Island. Moderate amounts of walking on Granville Island on uneven terrain and some cobblestone streets. There will be rest areas along the way to stop for a break if needed.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Granville Island. Join an expert from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts on a historical and culinary exploration of Granville Island and the Public Market, known for its eclectic mix of artisanal food shops and studios. Recognized as the first culinary school in Canada to embrace Ocean Wise status and Green Table Network programs, discover this urban oasis filled with fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios and the most spectacular fresh food market you've ever seen. Savor the wares of the market's many globally influenced and locally impassioned artisans, farmers and food purveyors. Explore and taste what's been grown, fished and cooked fresh in this bustling public marketplace. Along the way, learn about what makes the island both a sensory and historic delight.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Pacific Institute's Bistro 101.
 Afternoon: Depart for ship. Arrive at Canada Place Pier and board the ms Amsterdam. Use any free time this afternoon to explore the ship and all of its wonderful amenities.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Free evening to enjoy shipboard entertainment.
 In Transit: Ship sets sail for Port Alberni, BC at 4:00 p.m.
Accommodations: ms Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Central Vancouver Island: Cathedral Grove/Coombs Market/Qualicum Cheeseworks
(Wednesday, May 22)
 Arrive To: Ship arrives at Port Alberni, BC at 8:00 a.m.
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Travel to "Cathedral Grove" old growth forest where we experience the forest as the First Peoples & settlers did. This wondrous display of 800-year-old trees has undergone trail restoration since a severe windstorm damaged several sections of the park in January 1997, toppling a number of huge ancient trees. Trails are short walks, not hikes, winding through some of the biggest trees in Canada including the largest Douglas-fir trees with the biggest one measuring over 9 meters in circumference.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at Coombs Market. The Old Country Market in Coombs is famous for its "goats on the roof". The goats have posed for many a picture. Inside the Market you will find the freshest local produce, a selection of gifts from the farthest reaches of the world and a delicatessen that specializes in a variety of international meats and cheeses.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon, explore Qualicum Cheeseworks. Take a tour of the farm and enjoy the tastes and smells of some of the 16 Artisan cheeses made fresh on location. Return to Port Alberni to re-board the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: This evening enjoy a cocktail party on board the ship in the Crow's Nest.
 In Transit: Ship sets sail for Seattle, WA at 5:00 p.m.
Accommodations: ms Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Guided City Exploration/Seattle Space Needle/Pike Place Market
(Thursday, May 23)
 Arrive To: Ship arrives at Seattle, WA at 8:00 a.m.
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Begin your exploration of Seattle with a guided city exploration by coach. From the modern Fifth Avenue to historic Pioneer Square and the International District, a tour through the downtown core of Seattle, will teach you about the roots of Seattle and how Seattle has morphed into the modern and eclectic society that it is. Explore some of the oldest and most colorful neighborhoods in the city including Fremont, locally known as the center of the universe, as well as other iconic Seattle neighborhoods. Stop en route at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks. Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Botanical Garden en-route to the Army Corps of Engineers locks connecting Elliott Bay to the lakes residing throughout greater Seattle. Observe vessels making their way from lake to sea through the locks and if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the salmon making their spawning runs. EXCURSION: Experience a bird’s eye view from the world famous Space Needle, where an elevator will shoot you up to the Observation, or as the locals call it, “The O Deck”. This is your chance for an unforgettable view of the Emerald City and its surrounding mountains and bodies of water.
 Lunch: Lunch will be on your own at the Pike Place Market. From fresh baked goods, to exquisite garden sensations, there is something for all appetites in this world renowned market!
 Afternoon: FREE TIME: Enjoy an independent exploration of Pike Place Market! "The Market," as the locals affectionately say, attracts 10 million visitors a year, making it one of Washington state's most frequently visited destinations. Pike Place Market is internationally recognized as America's premier farmers' market and is home to more than 200 year-round commercial businesses, 190 craftspeople and approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day; plus 240 street performers and musicians. Here you can discover the multitude of culinary offerings and the wide variety of arts and crafts. Meet back up with your group and return to the pier to re-board the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Free evening to enjoy activities on board the ship.
 In Transit: Ship sets sail for Vancouver, BC at 5:00 p.m.
Accommodations: ms Amsterdam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Settlement of Vancouver/City Tour of Gastown & Chinatown
(Friday, May 24)

Note: Today's activities include walking of approximately 2 miles on paved streets and relatively flat terrain. This will include short stops along the way. Participants should also be able to stand for short periods of time (approximately 10 minutes) during interpretation. Public transit will also be used during today's programming.

 Arrive To: Ship arrives at Vancouver, BC at 7:00 a.m.
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: LECTURE: Disembark from the ship this morning in downtown Vancouver. Our in depth look at Vancouver begins with a lecture on the settlement of Vancouver and the distinct communities and neighborhoods that define this multicultural metropolis. Gain a sense of how the city of Vancouver functions by someone who knows the city like few others, gaining fascinating (and occasionally offbeat) insights to the city's history, architecture, and people.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Alongside a local historian, explore two of Vancouver's most fascinating communities, Gastown and Chinatown. Beginning in Gastown, the city's birthplace, walk through this historic neighborhood, with much of its early architecture and character intact, and see how it is evolving into one of the city's newest residential areas. Explore the bustling neighborhood of Chinatown, boasting rich culture and a striking collection of heritage buildings recalling the contributions of early pioneers and leaders. En route to the Museum of Anthropology, traverse Stanley Park by coach, with stops throughout the park to view monuments, sculptures and the signature totem poles. FIELD TRIP: At the Museum of Anthropology, you will gain a remarkable glimpse into the lives of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia. Explore one of the world's outstanding collections of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts. Massive totem poles, carved boxes, bowls and feast dishes are displayed in the Great Hall, while smaller (but equally magnificent) pieces in gold, silver, argillite, wood, ceramic and other materials are exhibited in the galleries. Canada's largest teaching museum is located in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea, and its collections, exhibitions and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world. You will be guided by docents who are students of Anthropology at the university.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the wide variety of dining options Vancouver has to offer.
 Evening: Free evening to explore Vancouver on your own.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Stanely Park/Free Afternoon/Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, May 25)

Note: The walk to/from and through Stanley Park will be approximately 2 miles or 3.22 km over relatively flat terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Stanley Park. Discover on foot Stanley Park - this breathtaking park remains unspoiled and a testimony to the giant trees which occupied the site of Vancouver in its former days. Its natural west coast atmosphere offers a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees. World famous landmarks in the park will also be discussed including the totem poles and various monuments and sculptures, and the 5.5 mi seawall which encircles the entire park.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: FREE TIME: This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Stanley Park or other areas of Vancouver on your own.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: WRAP-UP SESSION: Enjoy farewell celebrations and a review of your program’s highlights.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Independent Departures from Vancouver, B.C.
(Sunday, May 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Independent departures from the hotel after breakfast (scheduled for 7:30 a.m.). Check-out is 12:00 noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Vancouver, BC Vancouver Museum
The Vancouver Museum houses permanent displays, exhibitions and educational programs about the natural, cultural and human history of the Vancouver region. Canada's largest civic museum moves into its second century, it continues to explore the human and natural history of the Vancouver region, the Pacific Northwest Coast and Pacific Rim with exciting, ever-changing new exhibitions. The Vancouver Museum continues to celebrate the rich legacy and heritage of our diverse multicultural society through varied programs. For additional information, visit
  Banff, Alberta Banff Hot Springs
All the amenities of a modern facility are featured in this splendid, historic spa and bath house – against a backdrop of spectacular alpine scenery. Luxuriate in the comfort of soothing hot water where travelers have come to “take the waters” for more than a century. For additional information, visit
  Banff Park Museum
The Banff Park Museum is a national historic site because the museum's original exhibit collection reflect and commemorate an early approach to the interpretation of natural history in Canada. Also, the architectural style and detailing of the 1903 log building are characteristic examples of early federal buildings in the Park. The museum displays an extensive collection of natural history specimens (more than 5,000) which are characteristic of early museum practices. The emphasis is on changes in attitudes toward natural resource management. Although the building, the collection, and the grounds have been modified over time in response to the demands of the day, the developments and treatments are "in keeping" with the historical significance of the building and collections themselves. For additional information, visit
  Lake Minnewanka Cruise
Lake Minnewanka (home of the 'Banff Crasher Squirrel') lies in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, just a short 15 minute drive from the townsite of Banff. Banff Lake Cruise provides a unique sightseeing tour experience on one of two 43 passenger Lake Cruisers or the 65 passenger Alberta Explorer operating several times daily from mid-May to mid-October. This magnificent interpretive lake cruise of Minnewanka and the scenic Canadian Rockies is 1 hour and provides unique photo opportunities unavailable elsewhere. Our experienced crew will guide you through this rugged paradise richly steeped in history, native folklore and geology. The narration is intriguing, entertaining and informative. You will learn about the wildlife and vegetation that inhabit these mountains, the early explorers who named them and the tremendous forces that created them. The Lake Minnewanka valley offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the Canadian Rockies For additional information, visit
  The Banff Centre
A globally respected arts, cultural, and educational institution and conference facility, The Banff Centre is a leader in the development and promotion of creative work in the arts, sciences, business, and the environment. It is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet. Over 8,000* artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Rockies, A Natural History

Author: Richard Cannings

Description: This engaging, illustrated guide to the geology, history, habitats, wildlife and climate of the Rockies is geared for naturalist-travelers and includes hundreds of color photographs.

The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia

Author: Jean Barman

Description: A fascinating history of the Canadian province from the 18th century to the mid-1990s. The author weaves portraits of major personalities and events into a readable overview of the cultural and social influences that have shaped the region.

Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest

Author: Katharine Berry Judson

Description: Presented here with 52 photographs, these traditional stories, first collected in 1910, reveal myths and traditions of creation, the salmon and noted geographical features of the territory.

How to Be a Canadian, Even If You Already Are One

Author: Ian Ferguson, Will Ferguson

Description: A tongue-in-cheek portrait of Canadian people and society, written by two native sons. Not entirely (but mostly) in jest, the book is an insightful look at the Canadian national character.

Canadian Rockies Panorama

Author: Steven Flagler

Description: A souvenir collection of full-color photographs of the Canadian Rockies, including Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff. The horizontal format is perfect for showing off the stunning photography.

A Traveller's History of Canada

Author: Robert Bothwell

Description: A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768