Philip Clapé

Philip Clapé

Philip Clapé

Canadian Castles & Alaska Cruise

Holidays Beckon - Cairns, QLD

In May 2017 we embarked on a fantastic tour of Canada & Alaska for my brother’s 60th birthday celebrations. We had an awesome holiday that was full of amazing experiences and we made some great new friends!

We chose a 13-day Scenic Tour, called Canadian Castles & Alaskan Cruise.

The tour starts in Banff with 2 nights at the luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs in a room with a view out over the Bow River.

From there our tour took us to Lake Louise via Sulphur Mountain for a ride a gondola ride up to the summit.

After a night in an amazing lakeview room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake, we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer for our journey to Vancouver.

We travelled Goldleaf which includes the domed glass-roof upstairs, providing awesome views along the way, and a dedicated dining room downstairs serving gourmet breakfast & lunch. Free drinks & nibbles are served as the train makes it’s way through the Rocky Mountains, while the friendly crew provide excellent entertainment & information along the way.

On the way, an overnight stop is made in Kamloops before heading into Vancouver to stay at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

We then boarded Holland America Line’s MS Nieuw Amsterdam for a 7  night Inside Passage cruise, which was a stunning & memorable way to visit this beautiful part of the world.

My Personal Travel Experience

In May 2017 we embarked on a fantastic tour of Canada & Alaska for my brother’s 60th birthday celebrations. We had an awesome holiday that was full of amazing experiences and we made some great new friends!

We chose a 13-day Scenic Tour, called Canadian Castles & Alaskan Cruise.

We flew from Brisbane to Calgary via Vancouver on Air Canada where we stayed 1 night before catching the Banff Airporter to, well, Banff! It was here that the tour started. We met our tour director Martin and attended the welcome night dinner at the fabulous Fairmont Banff Springs.

By the time we got to Vancouver we had started to get to know our travelling companions on the tour quite well. They were a great bunch of people whose company we really enjoyed and, I am happy to say, I am still in contact with 2 years later!

After arriving into Vancouver late in the afternoon the day prior to the cruise, we were feeling a bit weary but still keen to look around. We stayed overnight at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver which was within easy walking distance of restaurants. So after unpacking & freshening up we went for a walk to find some food. We ate at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews in Thurlow Street, which was a few blocks from the hotel. It was yummy!

Bags had to be packed that night for an early collection the next day. After a relatively good night’s sleep, and yet another early rise (you may tire of them!), we went to breakfast to learn what the day would bring.

We checked out of the hotel early & boarded the bus. Rebellion almost struck as it appeared we weren’t going to get much time to have a look around Vancouver city or to do some shopping. The plan was that the bus would take us sightseeing before we were dropped directly off at the cruise terminal.

Thankfully, in some ways, there were delays at the port as there were 4 cruise ships departing that day, so we were asked to delay our arrival at the terminal. This meant we got to do the sight-seeing as well as the shopping!

Our first stop for the morning was at the popular tourist attraction Capilano Suspension Bridge Park that consists of beautiful parklands & a suspension bridge that crosses the Capilano River. It is a pretty impressive place to visit, and you need time to look around. We arrived here early enough to miss the crowds. The pictures don’t do it justice!

After this it was on to Stanley Park, a well known recreation area and park overlooking Vancouver city. It was a nice way to fill in an hour or so on a lovely sunny day.

Once the sightseeing was done we were taken back to the Hotel where we were given a couple of hours to have some lunch & do any shopping that we wanted.

Finally the bus dropped us at the cruise terminal where we were reunited with our bags for the trip through security, the holding pen, the huge long queue that snaked through most of the terminal buildings, and eventually on board the ship for a much needed drink! We were amongst the last people to board the ship before it departed!

Once on board the ship we made our way up on deck to bid farewell to Vancouver as the ship pulled away from the port.

We had booked a Neptune Suite for the cruise which, as you can see from the photos, was a very comfortable size with a nice large balcony. Not that we got to use the balcony very much as it was too cold! But the extra space was great, and the suite also provided exclusive access to the Neptune Lounge where you can sit, relax & avail yourself to tea/coffee, drinks and snacks.

Much of what we did during the cruise is document as part of the shore excursions article published elsewhere.

Life on board the ship was tranquil. There weren’t that many sea days unfortunately. I would have like one or two extra days as they are a time that you can really wind down. There are some great spots to while away a few hours, such as Explorations Café with it’s magnificent views, the Spa, some quiet lounge areas, and of course the bars & restaurants!

The day we spent in Glacier Bay was fantastic & memorable. The sun had come out & it was perfectly still. We enjoyed eating lunch while staring out the window and joined some of the others on the rear deck to soak up the views & the atmosphere.

The choice of food on board was excellent. We mostly ate in the Lido Market, but also enjoyed evening meals in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants were divine, especially Tamarind Restaurant. It served Asian fusion cuisine, with lots of fantastic Thai food & some Japanese dishes as well. We celebrated my brother’s 60th at the Pinnacle Grill.

One night while having dinner we struck 50-knot winds. The ship was rolling quite a bit with the swell. At one stage one of our travelling companions gasped and pointed. From where she was sitting she saw through to the opposite side of the ship and could see big waves & water! We were on the 11th deck at the time! But we were safe & soon back into the calm waters of the Inside Passage.

A few of our travelling companions had fallen ill during the tour, with at least one being confined to their cabin! We didn’t get to see her until just before the end of the tour! Thankfully we managed to avoid whatever the worst of the lurgy comprised of.

On our last evening of the tour, we all got together in the main dining room for a final feast.

And then it was over!

I would have no hesitation in recommending a Scenic tour to this amazing area, nor in doing shore excursions at each of the ports. My thoughts are that you may never be back this way again, so take advantage of whatever opportunities you can to learn & experience more of the world!

Read About My Travel Experiences

My Accreditation & Awards

Certificate III in Travel (SIT30216) Open Colleges 2017
International Fares 2 - Travel Training Australia
CLIA Master
CLIA Cruise Champion
Azamara Club Cruises certified
Holland America Line Certified Expert
Norwegian Cruise Line Associate Degree
P&O Australia Flagship Master Class
Princess Academy Certified Expert
Royal Caribbean International certified
Silversea Academy Graduate
Uniworld River Cruise Specialist
Aussie Specialist Agent Tourism Australia
Australia's Outback: Northern Territory
Matai Specialist Tourism FIJI
South African Certified Specialist
G Adventures National Geographic Journeys Specialist
Rocky Mountaineer Specialist TRACKS program
Aussietravel Cover Insurance certified
Covermore Travel Insurance Authorised Representative
nib Travel Insurance certified

Travel Advisors listed on Find A Travel Expert are:

  • Affiliates of Your Travel & Cruise Pty Ltd, operating since 2003.
  • Your Travel & Cruise is a member of ATAS, CLIA and the Magellan Travel group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Helloworld Travel.


My Reviews

Thank you for organising our Darwin holiday.
Thankyou Philip for organising our Darwin holiday. Philip was professional, friendly, informative, happy to answer any of my questions, no matter how silly…and explained anything I didn’t quite understand.
Very satisfied with the service from Holidays Beckon 😎🏖️🛫🌞🌞
- Julie Cee, WA
Friendly, professional and very very helpful.

Philip was an absolute treasure to work with. He was friendly, professional and very very helpful. He kept us up to date with all stages of the process. Now can not wait to go on our holidays with everything planned out by this wonderful person.

- Janeene Potts, QLD
Professionalism & responsiveness made it easy

Philip helped us with a recent overseas trip and his service and helpfulness made everything run smoothly! Philips’s professionalism and responsiveness made all the organising very easy and the trip was a great success!

- Brydon King, VIC
Extremely happy with the service

We recently returned from a holiday to Phuket. Philip organised all our flights, connections, transfers etc and made the whole process so easy! The service was so good – about 1 week prior to leaving, we received an email with ALL relevant paperwork located in the one email (we’d been emailing back and forth for a while) which seriously just got us so organised. Extremely happy with the service and would definitely use Philip again for our next trip.

- Debbie Neat, WA
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