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Best Ports of Call for Your Rail and Cruise Vacation

7 November 2019

There is no need to choose between the land and the sea when you embark on a Rail and Cruise Vacation from Vacations By Rail. These journeys take travelers through diverse cities and vast expanses of wilderness by train, and then offer another point of view as travelers cruise to interesting destinations aboard luxury ships. You can look forward to some of the best ports of call your Rail and Cruise vacation has to offer as you travel through Alaska and Eastern Canada.


A wildland filled with tradition, culture and wide-open expanses to be explored, it is no wonder that Alaska is hailed as America's Last Frontier. Vacations By Rail offers a variety of tours that include cruising through Alaska's pristine waters, such as California Zephyr and Alaska Cruise, Trans Canada By Rail and Alaska By Sea and Coast Starlight with Alaska Cruise via Glacier Bay. During your time on the water, you can look forward to these ports of call:


Alaska's capital city offers an enticing mixture of wilderness and big-city amenities. Visit shops, art galleries, and diverse restaurants downtown, as well as attractions such as the Alaska State Museum and the Walter Soboleff Building. Venturing out of the city, visitors can enjoy Tracy Arm Fjord and Mendenhall Glacier, among many other incredible natural sites.


Turn back the hands of time with a visit to historic Skagway, where the Gold Rush comes to life. Walk along the wooden boardwalks as you travel through the vast array of stores and restaurants and art galleries. Corrington's Museum of Alaskan History and Klondike Gold Rush Historical National Park are favorite stops among visitors.

Glacier Bay

While cruise ships do not dock within the Glacier Bay National Park, this port of call is a highlight of any Rail and Cruise Vacation through Alaska. The park is home to 16 glaciers, 12 of which reach the shoreline. There are icebergs, mountain vistas and plenty of lush forests to be seen from the deck of your ship. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the shore and marine life in the bay, including bears, moose, wolves, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, sea lions, otters, and harbor seals.


Few places are more quintessentially Alaskan than Ketchikan. Here, beautiful coastal scenery meets stunning mountain terrain, deep indigenous history combines with a firmly rooted fishing society and the attractions of downtown compliments the serenity of nature. Popular places to visit in Ketchikan include Tongass Historical Museum, Totem Bight State Park, Saxman Village, and Misty Fjords National Monument.


Imagine immersing yourself in Native Alaskan, Russian and American ways of life all at once: Welcome to Sitka. This island destination is filled with fascinating attractions; in fact, there are 24 that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is a thriving art community in Sitka, which is exemplified through galleries throughout town. Can't-miss stops for visitors include Sitka National Historical Park and the Sheldon Jackson Museum.


From the lighthouses of the Maritimes to the eclectic cities and villages a little further inland, Eastern Canada is filled with beloved destinations and beautiful sights. Take a gander for yourself on one of our Canadian Rail and Cruise vacations: Eastern Canada Rail and Cruise or Quebec to Toronto along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Interesting locales to look forward to during your cruises include:


Nova Scotia's coastal capital city is a history buff's dream and a culture lover's paradise. The city is filled with historic sites, such as the Citadel and one of the oldest breweries in North America. There are also historic homes and beautiful lighthouses to explore. Halifax Public Gardens and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic are favorite destinations of visitors, as is the Historic Properties Wharf, where seaside boutiques and restaurants mingle amongst centuries-old properties.

Sydney (Cape Breton Island)

Docking at Sydney while on a cruise through the Atlantic waters of Canada offers your ticket to all the best of Cape Breton Island. Within the harbor town, there are historic sites dating back to the 1700s, a giant fiddle, a lovely boardwalk and marina, and several museums that bring the history of Sydney to life. Venturing out of town, visitors have access to incredible hiking along the Cabot Trail.

Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

The birthplace of Canada and the vibrant capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown is a hub of activity. From unique shopping and dining opportunities to fascinating historic sites and landscapes so idyllic they inspired literature, Charlottetown has so much to offer visitors. The Confederation Centre of the Arts, St. Dunstan's Basilica and the Province House National Historic Site are favorites of visitors. The island also offers challenging golf courses and pristine coastal views.

Quebec City

A visit to the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico City puts amazing history at your fingertips. Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements, and sites such as the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, the Palace Royale and the Basilica transport visitors back in time. Walk along the cobbled streets, and explore the locally-owned shops, award-winning restaurants and beautiful galleries that bring this charming city to life.


Located along the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Canada. Festivals fill the streets with excitement throughout the year, and there are attractions both modern and historic to entice visitors. Some of the most popular sites to visit while in Montreal include the Old Port of Montreal, the Notre Dame Basilica, St. Joseph's Oratory, Mount Royal Park, the Biodome, and Montreal Botanical Garden.

No matter where your Rail and Cruise journey takes you, your vacation time is sure to be filled with adventure and excitement when you book a tour with Vacations By Rail. Learn more about these journeys or find the one that meets your travel goals by contacting one of our Rail Specialists.