Experience all the beauty of the Pacific Northwest on this 15-day rail-cruise vacation.
About the Tour
Your journey starts in Chicago where you will begin the 2,206-mile journey to Seattle aboard Amtrak's legendary Empire Builder. On the way, stop at breathtaking Glacier National Park, where you will have three days to take in the gorgeous landscape of this famous National Park. Continue the journey to Seattle, where you will set sail aboard the ms Oosterdam to cruise along Alaska's Inside Passage, completing your incredible vacation.
This vacation can be booked online for departures from the following Amtrak stations: Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Paul/Minneapolis. For other departure cities, please select the Chicago location, and a rail specialist will contact you within 48 hours with a package customized with a departure from your most convenient Amtrak station.
- Transportation aboard Amtrak (2 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- 7-night cruise aboard Holland America's ms Oosterdam
- All meals aboard the train and ship
- Chicago hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour
- Big Sky Circle Tour in Glacier National Park
- Seattle hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour
- Transfer to the cruise terminal
- Ports of Call include:
- Juneau, Alaska
- Hubbard Glacier
- Sitka, Alaska
- Ketchikan, Alaska
- Victoria, British Columbia
Day 1 - Arrive Chicago
Arrive in Chicago and check into your centrally-located hotel. Spend the day exploring Chicago on a hop-on/hop-off trolley tour, and see all the famous sites including the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and the John Hancock Observatory. Tonight enjoy some local cuisine like a famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Overnight Chicago.
Day 2 - Depart Chicago aboard the Empire Builder
Arrive at Chicago's historic Union Station for your 2:15 pm departure aboard Amtrak's Empire Builder. As you begin your overnight journey to Glacier National Park, socialize with fellow travelers or take in the gorgeous scenery in the Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. (D)
Day 3 - Arrive in East Glacier Park, Montana
Today's rail journey takes you through the “Northern Prairie State” of North Dakota and into Montana. Arrive at Glacier National Park this evening. Your hotel for the next three nights is the Swiss Chalet-inspired Glacier Park Lodge. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge. (B, L)
Day 4 - Big Sky Circle Tour
Today embark on an inclusive tour of Glacier National Park that starts with a morning drive over Marias Pass, with wildlife viewing at Goat Lick and a stop at the historic Izaak Walton Inn. After an optional lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge, tour the grand cedar and hemlock forests that lie within the Lake McDonald Valley. Ascend to the high alpine region of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass and down into the St. Mary Valley, stopping at the Wild Goose Island overlook for another incredible photo opportunity. Your excursion concludes with grand vistas of grassland, prairie, and mountains as you arrive back at Glacier Park Lodge. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge.
Day 5 - Glacier National Park
You have a full day to explore Glacier Park Lodge, its grounds, and the Park itself. Perhaps take an Interpretive Tour of the grounds, visit the Native American Trading Post, or venture into the park for a leisurely hike. There is also a golf course, pool, and other amenities on site. Shuttle transfers to Two Medicine Lake and Many Glacier are also available. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge.
Day 6 - Depart Glacier National Park for Seattle by Train
Enjoy one last afternoon basking in the majesty of Glacier National Park. This evening board the Empire Builder for your departure to Seattle. Spend the night aboard the train talking to fellow passengers about all the incredible sights of Glacier National Park. Overnight train. (D)
Day 7 - Seattle
Arrive in Seattle mid-morning and check into your centrally-located hotel. The day is yours to explore the city at your leisure, with opportunities to visit landmarks such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Chinatown on your Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Overnight Seattle. (B)
Day 8 - Seattle and Alaska Cruise
The morning is at your leisure. At 4:00 pm, set sail aboard the ms Oosterdam and begin your cruise adventure through Alaska's Inside Passage. Take time to explore the ship and its many amenities. Overnight ship. (D)
Day 9 - ms Oosterdam at Sea
Today indulge in some of the ship's finer amenities. 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. Enjoy a gourmet meal and dancing this evening. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Juneau, Alaska
Today's port of call is Juneau, Alaska's capital city. It is home to the Juneau Icefield. This large ice mass encompasses more than 30 glaciers including the mighty Mendenhall Glacier. You may wish to visit the Icefields or consider a visit to the lush Tongass National Forest, browse the rustic local shops, or climb aboard the Mt. Roberts Tramway for beautiful views and a great spot to hike. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Hubbard Glacier
Hubbard Glacier is up to 213 feet wide at its face and 164 feet tall, but that’s only the tiniest piece of the ice: The main channel of this frozen river begins 76 miles back, pouring down from around the 11,100-foot mark off the shoulder of Mt. Walsh.
Hubbard is the longest tidewater glacier (meaning it ends at the ocean) in North America. But unlike nearly every other tidewater glacier on the continent, Hubbard is advancing, not retreating; it’s forever pushing a little further into the bay. Chunks of ice that break off become floaties for seals, who like the bergs because orca sonar doesn’t work well among them.
The deep blue of the face of the glacier on a sunny day—the color made by compression of ice crystals that can be a foot or more long—is the blue of the furthest stars. The glacier is on the move. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - Sitka, Alaska
Situated on the west side of Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago, Sitka is flanked by majestic mountains and the glistening Pacific Ocean. The town's history as a Russian settlement can be seen in its early architecture, like the onion domes of St. Michael's Cathedral, a National Historical Landmark since 1962. Spend the day uncovering the town's storied history. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 13 - Ketchikan, Alaska
Known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" and home to the world's largest collection of totem poles, Ketchikan is the southernmost city in Alaska and today's port of call. Appreciate the town's sights and attractions with a self-guided walking tour. Include a visit to Creek Street, a wooden boardwalk featuring museums, galleries, restaurants, and favorite local shops.
A must-see attraction in Ketchikan is Misty Fjords National Monument, a protected area of more than 2,294,000 acres of Tongass National Forest in Alaska's panhandle. These deep water fjords left by retreating glaciers created granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above the sea and countless waterfalls tumbling into tranquil waters. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 14 - Victoria, British Columbia
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 55-acre Butchart Gardens with its year-round brilliantly colored blooms. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 15 - Welcome Back to the Emerald City
Your magical rail-cruise vacation comes to a close this morning as you dock in Seattle. Consider extending your stay in Seattle to fully explore the city, or transfer to the airport for your return flight home (transfer available for flights after 1:00 pm). (B)
Hotels include the Palmer House Hilton, Glacier Park Lodge, and Sheraton. Amtrak accommodations include a Roomette, all meals on the train, and exclusive access to the Pacific Parlour Car. Upgrade to Bedroom sleeping accommodations is available for an additional fee. Travel aboard the ms Oosterdam is in an Inside Stateroom including two lower beds that convert 1 Queen-size bed and a shower.
Hotels include the Palmer House Hilton, Glacier Park Lodge, and Sheraton. Amtrak accommodations include a Roomette, all meals on the train, and exclusive access to the Pacific Parlour Car. Upgrade to Bedroom sleeping accommodations is available for an additional fee. Travel aboard the ms Oosterdam is in an Oceanview Stateroom including two lower beds convertible to one Queen-size bed, bathtub, and shower.
Deluxe Verandah Outside
Hotels include the Palmer House Hilton, Glacier Park Lodge, and Sheraton. Amtrak accommodations include a Roomette, all meals on the train, and exclusive access to the Pacific Parlour Car. Upgrade to Bedroom sleeping accommodations is available for an additional fee. Travel aboard the ms Oosterdam is in a Verandah Stateroom including two beds convertible to one Queen-size bed, whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, private verandah, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
Know before you go
Please be aware Amtrak may experience occasional schedule changes and service disruptions. Vacations By Rail recommends visiting the Amtrak web site prior to your departure for the latest information.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Tour Dates & Prices
Register for Free Notification of 2023 Dates & Prices
Sign up to receive insider access and special deals on 2023 departures of Empire Builder - Glacier National Park & Alaska Cruise.