Canadian Rockies and Alaska – A Winning Combination

A Review on One of the World’s Most Desired Destinations

Canadian Rockies & Alaska

I was recently on a cruise tour of the Canadian Rockies and Alaska – and it still rates for me as the second best holiday ever – after my honeymoon!

So when we’re asked at Cruise Express about our favourite cruise destinations, the answer for me is always easy – the Canadian Rockies and Alaska. Why? Just look at any brochure for a combination cruise tour to the Canadian Rockies and Alaska and it’s obvious.

Nature drank a lot of coffee when she designed these two epic destinations. Twice as big as Texas, Alaska is a pristine paradise overflowing with grand glaciers, mighty mountains, fir forests that stretch forever and wondrous wildlife – plus near 24-hour daylight in the northern summer to see it in all its glory.

Whenever stressed, I close my eyes and imagine I am back in Alaska on the deck of a liner, gazing at the wilderness and drinking it all in. For me, Alaska and its unspoiled beauty evoke emotions that make me want to go back. Add a dose of ‘Rocky Mountain High’ vaccine to your Alaska cruise and you have a prescription for one truly breathtaking holiday.

I’ve cruised in Alaska three times and on one of those trips, I had the fortune of preceding my cruise with a rail and coach tour from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies. Wow – what an experience!

We started in Vancouver, one of the world’s prettiest harbour cities, and took the bucket-list Rocky Mountaineer train to Jasper following a picture postcard route snaking through towering peaks. We enjoyed the view from domed glass ceilings on two-storey carriages affording stunning views in all directions. Just don’t drink too much water. Pity the traveller on the Rocky Mountaineer who goes to the restroom and comes back to hear fellow passengers spotted a whole family of brown bears waving at the train! Or so they’ll tell you!

Both the grand Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, with its steaming hot outdoor pool, and the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise with those awesome views, have to be seen to be believed. Many travellers to the Rockies just take pictures of these famous hotels but Cruise Express staff can help you to actually stay there in premium, view rooms.

The best thing about combining the Canadian Rockies and Alaska in the one holiday is that after you return from the Rockies to Vancouver, the adventure is only half over as a luxury, week-long cruise to Alaska is still ahead of you.

Canadian Rockies and Alaska

It’s hard to find a week-long cruise as perfect as one to Alaska, with an idyllic mix of ports, scenic cruising past glaciers and relaxed days at sea. I love the three main Alaskan ports of Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway with their gold rush saloons, frontier spirit, colourful, indigenous Tlingit culture and the majesty of the mountains just a few streets away. The highlight, of course is Glacier Bay where massive glaciers thunder into the fjord. What a thrill! You won’t want to be inside playing bingo on that day!

For a more detailed review of cruising in Alaska click here for another blog post.

Combining the Canadian Rockies and Alaska is a real feast for the senses and having done it myself, I can only say: do yourself a favour and treat yourself to one of the best holidays ever. You’ll be escorted by friendly tour hosts, almost everything is included and everything is looked after from start to finish. You don’t even have to carry your bags between hotels, trains, ships and airports.

Click here for information or call Cruise Express today on 1300 766 537 and speak to one of our travel specialists to find out how you can begin planning your dream trip of a lifetime.

The Growing World Of Longer Cruises

In the World of Holidays – How Long is Too Long?

In 2017, 9 cruise lines will offer no less than 15 world cruises of between 94 days and 180 days, including a 104-night, round-the-globe sailing from Sydney with Princess Cruises. In 2018, a tenth cruise line, Azamara Club Cruises, will offer its first World Journey and it also starts in Sydney all a part of the growing world of longer cruises.

As Australian and international cruisers, many of them retiring baby boomers, become more seasoned and keen for longer and more adventurous holidays at sea, more cruise companies are designing ever-longer itineraries for cruise lovers who think the average 7-night sailing is just that. The longest voyage of all is offered by Oceania Cruises, with Insignia offering 180-day globe-trotting odyssey. That’s a holiday lasting half a year!

World voyages and extended cruises may be long with higher price tags but they are not taking long to fill, with eager cruisers pouncing on the best cabins on new world sailings as soon as they are announced. Long cruises also come with attractive perks like significant onboard credits, that come in handy to cover three months or so of bar bills and shore excursions.

To find out why long cruises are becoming so popular, we spoke to three Cruise Express clients who love nothing more than spending lots of days at sea – often!

Growing world of longer cruisesAndrew and Jennifer

Sydney couple Andrew and Jennifer recently sailed from England to Australia aboard Queen Elizabeth for 42 nights and will soon head to sea again, this time for 84 nights, on Sea Princess for a circumnavigation of South America from Sydney. Advance planners, they have also booked a 71-night Cunard voyage from Australia to England, with 3 crossings of the equator, in 2018. The sea-loving couple has enjoyed 12 lengthy cruises so far, including 3 crossings of the Pacific Ocean, and clearly they are up for many more.

“The big appeal of longer cruises for us are the many sea days,” explains Jennifer. “Port days are busy and when you have lots of port days on a cruise you get tired. We select cruises with multiple, back-to-back sea days so we can relax and do things we love like attend onboard lectures, play card games and join craft classes or passenger choirs,” she says. “During a long cruise, you get to know some staff very well and they get to know you which is nice. I recall one lovely Cunard crew member promised she would show us around her home town of Peru when we travel there, which was lovely of her.” Jennifer says Cunard is their favourite line for extended cruises “because you just feel special on a Cunard ship”.

Growing World of Longer Cruises

Julie

Another fervent cruise fan who loves seeing the world by ship is regular Cruise Express client Julie from Lake Macquarie. A happy solo traveller, Julie has taken over 20 cruises – some more than 2 months long! Many of them were with Voyages of Antiquity, which offers modern-day explorers longer voyages to smaller, more remote places aboard boutique ships.

“I love going to faraway places bigger ships don’t or can’t visit,” Julie says. “You unpack once and visit so many fascinating destinations in one voyage and you make so many friends on these cruises as well. I attend the annual reunions Cruise Express organises and through those a group of us will organise to do a cruise together. These reunions have helped form so many wonderful friendships.”

Julie says she is looking forward to an Aegean Odyssey cruise in the Mediterranean and another 39-day voyage from Lisbon to Athens aboard the same ship next year. “Often when you visit a small, obscure port, cultural groups come aboard and perform concerts which are just magical,” says Julie who lists Istanbul as her favourite cruise destination. “I love the aroma, noise, bustle and colours of Istanbul and the fact it’s so different from Australia.”

growing world of longer cruises

Mereda and John

For Mereda and John from Castle Hill in Sydney, a lifetime dream to see Cape Horn came true earlier this year during a 38-night voyage aboard Queen Mary 2 from Rio de Janeiro to Sydney. “It was such a thrill to see the cape as well as the glaciers of Chile – it was a fantastic trip,” says Mereda, who reveals she and John have sailed on a Cunard cruise every year bar one since 2007, with a trip on Queen Elizabeth from Australia to Japan in 2017.

“Long cruises are so relaxing. You really settle into the way of life onboard, with interesting lectures in the day and shows at night. We love Cunard – it’s just a beautiful way to travel. A whole world cruise with Cunard is definitely something we’d love to do one day.”

If you’re keen to cruise longer, contact our experienced Cruise Express team and we’ll find the perfect cruise for you.

Call us on 1300 766 537!