Empire Builder with Alaska Cruise to Glacier Bay - Rail and cruise holiday featuring the Empire Builder train to Seattle and a cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage
Empire Builder with Alaska Cruise to Glacier Bay
The Empire Builder travels the historic 3,550-kilometer route from Chicago, across the northern United States west to Seattle, the Gateway to Alaska. But this picturesque rail journey is only the start of this unforgettable 11-day holiday. Upon arrival in Seattle, board your Holland America cruise ship bound for Alaska where you will be awed by the state’s scenic Inside Passage.
Tour Inclusions & Scenic Highlights
One-way rail transportation aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle
Roomette sleeping accommodations for two nights onboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder
All meals onboard the Empire Builder and Alaskan cruise
Hotel accommodations for one night in Seattle
7-day Holland America Alaska cruise aboard the ms Oosterdam
Transfer between hotel and cruise terminal
Transfer to airport for return flight home available for flights after 13:00
Scenic highlights of your rail-cruise holiday include:
Glacier National Park, Montana
St. Michael’s Cathedral
Sitka National Historic Park
Sheldon Jackson Museum
Totem Heritage Center
Misty Fjords National Monument
Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the Empire Builder
Arrive at Chicago’s historic Union Station for your 14:15 departure aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Settle in for the 3,550-kilometre journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. You won’t want to miss an exclusive wine and cheese tasting in the Sightseer Lounge, where you can sample regional wines and cheeses produced along the route you’re travelling. As you make your way northwest, meet volunteer park rangers from the Chicago/Mississippi National River and Recreation Area who will share stories and artifacts from the region as part of the Trails & Rails programme. This evening, enjoy a hot meal in the Dining Car and settle in for your first evening aboard the train as you travel through the Wisconsin Dells and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 - Empire Builder En Route to Seattle
As you awake this morning, the train makes its way through North Dakota and into Montana’s Big Sky Country. As you enjoy a delicious breakfast in the Dining Car, review the route map and take note of today’s scenic highlights. Don’t miss the spectacular Gassman Coulee Trestle west of Minot in the morning. Keep your camera handy today as you’ll be passing through unspoiled natural beauty ripe with wildlife including bison, elk, prairie dogs, foxes, muskrats, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles. As the train continues to move westward, the landscape gives way to rolling hills, canyons, gorges, and rugged mountain terrain. The Sightseer Lounge, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, is the best place to enjoy the passing scenery, especially as the train rolls through Glacier National Park this evening. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Arrival in Seattle, Gateway to Alaska
When you glimpse the peaks of Mount Rainier, you know your train journey is nearing its end. The Empire Builder is scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 10:30, giving you the better part of the day to explore the city. Don’t miss Seattle’s most popular attractions including the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market, and Pioneer Square. Overnight Seattle. (B)
Day 4 - Seattle at Your Leisure / Alaska Cruise Departure
This afternoon transfer on your own to the cruise terminal and prepare to board Holland America’s ms Oosterdam for the second half of this memorable vacation. Your ship sets sail at 16:00. With the next day at sea, there is ample time to explore the ship and all its many features. Overnight ship. (D)
Day 5 - ms Oosterdam at Sea
Take the day to indulge in some of the ship’s finer amenities and multitude of activities. Treat yourself to a hot stone massage at the spa, spend time at the Culinary Arts Center—presented by Food & Wine Magazine—or play a game of chance at the casino. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Glacier Bay
Today brings a visit to Glacier Bay, located in south-eastern Alaska. Glacier Bay and the surrounding land is recognized as Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a Biospehere Reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and protected ecosystem of plants and animals. Glacier Bay is famous for having the most actively calving tidewater glaciers in the world. Keep an eye—and ear!—out for them. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Juneau, Alaska
Alaska’s capital city of Juneau is best known for the Juneau Icefield, hosting more than 30 glaciers including the mighty Mendenhall Glacier. In addition to this stunning sight, the city offers many unique things to see and do. You may wish to visit the lush Tongass National Forest, stop at rustic local shops, or ride aboard the Mt. Roberts Tramway for beautiful views of the surrounding area. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Sitka, Alaska
Sitka, located on the west side of Baranof Island, is today’s port of call. Surrounded by majestic mountains and the glistening Pacific Ocean, the city was once a Russian settlement which can be seen in its buildings’ architecture—St. Michael’s Cathedral, a National Historical Landmark since 1962, being a prime example. Spend the day uncovering the town’s storied history. You may elect to enjoy a performance by the New Archangel Dancers, meet Tlingit natives, or visit the Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska’s oldest federally designated park. Hike the scenic coastal trails within the park and discover a collection of cedar totem poles donated by Native leaders in southeast Alaska. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Ketchikan, Alaska
The world’s largest collection of totem poles can be found in Ketchikan, Alaska’s southernmost city and today’s port of call. Appreciate the town’s sights and attractions with a self-guided walking tour. A highlight of your route can include Creek Street, a wooden boardwalk featuring museums, galleries, restaurants, and popular local shops. The Totem Heritage Center showcases a collection of 19th century totem poles, and the Saxman Native Village and Totem Bight State Park respectively offer a glimpse into native Tlingit traditions.
A must-see attraction in Ketchikan is Misty Fjords National Monument, a protected area of more than 928,348 hectares of Tongass National Forest in Alaska’s panhandle. These deep water fjords, left by retreating glaciers, create granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above the sea and countless waterfalls tumbling into tranquil waters. Try a flightseeing trip to get an up close and personal perspective on this breathtaking sight and gain a unique vantage point from which to snap priceless souvenir photos. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The ms Oosterdam sails into Victoria, British Columbia today. The city’s British heritage is evident from the double-decker buses and horse-drawn carriages to the tea rooms and vibrant gardens. Victoria has earned the reputation as the “City of Gardens,” and no trip to this beautiful city is complete without a visit to the 22-hectare Butchart Gardens with its year-round brilliantly-coloured blooms. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Welcome Back to the Emerald City
Your magical Alaska cruise comes to a close this morning as your ship docks in Seattle. Consider extending your stay in Seattle to fully explore the city, or transfer to the airport for your return flight home for flights after 1:00 pm. (B)
Prices are per person based on double occupancy. All prices are subject to change without notice. Single prices also available, contact us for details.
*Bedroom upgrade prices are appoximate.
Holland America reserves the right to re-instate a fuel supplement for all guests at up to $9 per person, per day should the price of light sweet crude oil according to the NYMEX increase above $70 per barrel.
The Empire Builder travels daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail. Enjoy magnificent views of the mighty Mississippi, Minneapolis’ glowing night skyline, the spectacular Gassman Coulee Trestle, and the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
The ms Oosterdam showcases an elegant décor of warm colors, crystal, marble, inlaid woods and brass, colorful flower arrangements, priceless artwork and antiques, and a full wraparound teak promenade deck with padded deck chairs. Many activities, delightful features, and lovely amenities are available to meet every guest’s every need.
Warwick Hotel: This 230-room hotel is steps away from most Seattle attractions including the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Opera. Hotel rooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors with magnificent views of the Space Needle or city skyline. The hotel has an indoor heated pool, whirlpool, sauna, and fitness room in addition to one restaurant and bar.
ms Oosterdam Ocean-view Stateroom: Ocean-view Staterooms include two lower beds which can be converted to one queen-size bed, bathtub and shower.
ms Oosterdam Deluxe Verandah Outside: Deluxe Verandah Outside rooms include two lower beds which can be converted to one queen-size bed, bathtub and shower, sitting area, private verandah and floor-to-ceiling windows.