Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip report The Canadian Rockies and Alaska by Ferry

14th July 2009.

Dear Sandra

Ref: Canada & Alaska Holiday 31 May to 02 July 2009.

We have now returned from our most enjoyable holiday which was so well organised by Frontier Travel and more than exceeded our expectations. Congratulations on using your detailed knowledge of the two countries which contributed to our marvellous experience and enjoyment of our trip particularly as the weather was good except for two days. We thought you might like more information about our experiences.

Fairmont Palliser Hotel Calgary gave us a great start with superb accommodation, food and service.

Brookes Heritage Inn Drumheller had a comfortable clean room but not much else to commend it. Our visit to the Dinosaur National Park, Tyrrell Museum and Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump was well worth our visit despite the long drive because everything was so well signposted along the way.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Banff again excellent accommodation and food and places of interest were close by.

The drive along the Icefields Parkway was spectacular and we had ample time to visit Lake Louise & Moraine Lake on our way to Emerald Lake and the Lodge.
A truly spectacular location with superb views from our balcony room but The Lodge could do with a refurb and was not the same standard as the Buffalo and food average.

Coast Pyramid Lake Resort, Jasper a spectacular location but a car is essential until the day of departure if catching a train. We persuaded them to provide us with a first floor Suite which has great views of the lake and mountains and the restaurant was excellent.

The Skeena Train was excellent giving us time to relax and rest after our long drive with helpful and friendly staff. The Treasure Trove Casino & Hotel, Prince George was a long way out of town and recommend finding somewhere closer to the station.

Crest Hotel, Prince Rupert an excellent location with amenities close by with Bald Eagles in the trees by the hotel.
Grizzly Bear Tour, Khutzeymatee was fantastic and the local operator looked after us very well. We saw 7 Bears grazing on sedge grass and searching for clams etc by the waterside and visited the Ranger Station. No motion sickness problems!
The Indian Museum is a must visit and recommend the Guided Tour.
Our journey on the Ferry up the Inside Passage was excellent with a clean comfortable cabin, spectacular scenery and occasional Whale Spotting. Again no motion sickness problems!

The Goldbelt Hotel, Juneau was in a good location close to the town but had not a lot to commend it. Because of the numerous Cruse Ships the Town Centre was nothing more than an open air Shopping Mall and Restaurants were not that great. A lovely place for Breakfast is Paradise Cafe under the digital clock seen from the traffic lights entering Main St providing lovely home made Pastries etc.
We took the Bus Tour from the centre to Mildenhall Glacier with a most amusing driver.

Admiralty Island Tour by Sea Plane was again spectacular and Butch our Pilot was great and very friendly. Unfortunately after 5 hours on the island we did not see any Bears. Unless the Salmon are running I would not recommend this.

Westmark Hotel, Sitka a perfect location for visiting the island. We used the hourly hop on off circular bus to visit local attractions. Recommend the Russian Dancing Display at the Museum and the Indian Dancing at the Long House. We also went to The Fortress of the Bear which is at a former Paper Mill. There are two Bear Cubs housed in what was a large Pulp Vat about the size of a Cricket Pitch with a Pool to swim around. By flying out early morning and returning to Juneau later the following day we had ample time to see everything.

Gustavos and the Glacier Bay National Park.
Another amazing experience on a comfortable and large Catamaran with close up views of the carving Glaciers. People at the Goldbelt in Juneau flew over the night before staying at the Gustavos Glacier Bay Lodge which they enjoyed and was really nice and close by the boat jetty.

Ramada Hotel was comfortable, clean and provided a reasonable complimentary breakfast. The Staff was very friendly and the Complimentary Airport Shuttle was great.
We also enjoyed the City Tour on the Tram.

Denali National Park
The drive up by bus was very comfortable with some great scenery and the return journey by train was really nice with large comfortable seats.
The Tundra Wilderness Tour was spectacular with a very knowledgeable guide and we had a wonderful clear day with fabulous views of Mt. McKinley.
Plenty of wildlife sightings of Red Foxes, Moose, Caribou Herds, Goats and 2 bears with 2 cubs each.

The Marriot was in the perfect location and the weather was good so we hired bikes and cycled around Stanley Park.

Vancouver Island
We were so pleased that we chose to fly to Tofino because again the weather was perfect and gave us spectacular views from the air. The Wickaninnish Inn more than exceeded our expectations with excellent sea views from our room and superb weather during our stay.

So thank you once again for arranging our dream holiday

Edward & Glynis

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