The following tours are dated from the year 2012.
2012 Norsk Høstfest (Sept. 25th - 30th) - North America’s largest Scandinavian Festival - 35th Jubilee
Hosted by Bev & Archie Esplin
Day 1, Tuesday, September 25th: Board a Prince Albert Northern Coach, travel to Minot for 6 days of fun, laughter & music. Stop in at the duty free store in North Portal before crossing into the state of North Dakota. This evening is free for mingling and socialising. Overnight: Minot Dakota Inn for next 5 nights.
Day 2, Wednesday, September 26th: This afternoon - to kick off 2012 Hostfest - the first headliner you will enjoy is comedian and actor Jeff Foxworthy. Jeff is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. He is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee and best selling author of 11 books. He is widely known for his redneck jokes. This evening back by popular demand you will be entertained by the Irish crooner Daniel O’Donnell, a story of constant success, achievement & honour. In the past 3 years alone, Daniel has had an astonishing 7 albums in the UK Top 20, topped the DVD Music Charts at Christmas and reinvented himself with his highly successful 'Rock 'n' Roll Show'!
Day 3, Thursday, September 27th: Return for another morning and afternoon of Scandinavian entertainment, handicrafts, and food! Enjoy daily performances. Oak Ridge Boys, Bjoro Haaland, Williams & Ree, New Christy Minstrels, Radio Stars, Paulette Carlson, Western Senators, Goldwing Express, Smörgåsbandet, The Korsliens & Darryl Hicks, Swedish Culture Band, Ringling 5, Geitungen, and the Høstfest in the Schools performers. This evening you get double the entertainment Olivia Newton-John, with special guest Ronnie Milsap. Olivia Newton-John: Over more than 4 decades, Olivia has sold 100 million albums, 4 Grammy Awards, numerous Awards for Country Music, American Music & People’s Choice, ten #1 hits & over 15 top 10 singles. Olivia co-starred with John Travolta in “Grease”, and danced with Gene Kelly in “Xanadu. Ronnie Milsap: Blind at birth, sent to a special school and was taught piano, violin & guitar as a child. He is a popular country music singer who boasts 40 No. 1 country hits, six Grammy Awards, and eight Country Music Association Awards.
Day 4, Friday, September 28th: Continue today to enjoy admission to all of the exhibits, displays & sampling of food. Have a full day of continuous entertainment. The evening entertainment in the Great Hall of the Vikings, and back for the2nd time in 3 years is Vince Gill. Vince has sold more than 26 million albums, earned 18 CMA Awards, 1993/94 Entertainer of the Year, five CMA Male Vocalist Awards, accumulating the most CMA Awards in history. Gill is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and has received 19 Grammy Awards to date. In 2007, the Country Music Association inducted Gill as the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame.
Day 5, Saturday, September 29th: Today will be your last chance to enjoy a day of food, crafts, exhibits, entertainment & shopping.
Day 6, Sunday, September 30th: This morning we head for home, sharing memories of endearing and fulfilling Scandinavian experiences with friends.
2012 Caribbean Delight and Key West (Jan. 16th - 30th)
Professionally hosted by Doug & Nancy Porcina
Day 1, January 16th: Fly from Saskatoon or Regina to Florida to meet your fellow travellers for a welcome reception at your pre cruise hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
Day 2, January 17th (B/D): A motor coach will transfer you to the pier where you board the Emerald Princess and cruise into the night.
Day 3, January 18th (B/L/D): Stop at the Princess Cays, Bahamas and explore unspoiled beaches on Princess Private Island or observe the colourful fish form a glass-bottom boat before continuing your cruise.
Day 4, January 19th (B/L/D): A fun day cruising the Atlantic awaits you to enjoy all the amenities the Emerald Princess has to offer.
Day 5, January 20th (B/L/D): View your next port of call, St. Thomas from a whole new perspective – atop a hill from a cable car or embark a semi submarine to explore the underwater coral world.
Day 6, January 21st (B/L/D): Your next stop is Dominica, on of the Caribbean’s most resourceful islands. Volcanic sand beaches, lush rainforests and dramatic waterfalls paired with the beauty of the underwater world will give you plenty of options to choose from and spend another exciting day on your journey.
Day 7, January 22nd (B/L/D): Grenada, the ”Isle of Spice” awaits you today. Hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls, take a tour to a historic fort or a spice garden and purchase some nutmeg to take home.
Day 8, January 23rd (B/L/D): Explore your next destination, Bonaire, and spend the day snorkelling the coral reefs or explore the island by 4WD-tour.
Day 9, January 24th (B/L/D): Your last port of call on this cruise is Aruba, where you can spend a relaxing day at the beach, visit an ostrich or butterfly farm. Those feeling adventurous can spend the day exploring a ship wreck!
Day 10, January 25th (B/L/D): Spend the Day Cruising the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea, on board the Princess Emerald.
Day 11, January 26th (B/L/D): As the ship crosses over to the Atlantic Ocean, be sure to take advantage of your last day and night on board this World Class Cruiser.
Day 12, January 27th (B): Disembark this morning in Fort Lauderdale and board your motor coach for your scenic drive to Key West. Stop at a botanical garden before travelling the 7 Miles Bridge that connects the Keys with the main land.
Day 13, January 28th (B): In the morning, you will have an orientation tour of Key West with a photo stop at Southmost Point, and a visit in a local cigar factory before ending the day with a traditional sun set celebration.
Day 14, January 29th (B/D): This day is spent at your leisure to shop, sunbathe or have coffee at Sloppy Joe’s Cafe, and return to the sights you might have missed before a farewell BBQ.
Day 15, January 30th (B): After the hotel checkout, your motor coach will transfer you to Miami airport. Return home with memories to last a lifetime.
2012 Ecuador, Western Amazon, & Galapagos (Feb. 22nd - Mar. 11th)
Hosted by Colin & Dianne Markusson & Laurie & Betty Cone
Day 1 – Wednesday, February 22nd (D): Fly to Quito, Ecuador. Depart Canada for Quito, Capital of Ecuador at 10,000 ft (2850 m) altitude and 22 miles from the Equator. There are no temperature extremes due to altitude. Quito is a mixture of colonial history and modern enterprise. Late evening arrival. Meet guide, transfer to hotel: Dann Carlton or similar.
Day 2 – Thursday, February 23rd (B/L): Quito - City Tour. In Centro Histórico, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site 1978, enjoy panoramic view of Alameda Park and the Basilica of the National Vow. Walk down the street of the Seven Crosses. Stroll from Independence Square to view the presidential palace, main cathedral, gold-plated La Compañía Church, San Francisco Church and San Francisco Plaza. Equator Line - At midday, head north to the equator to visit the Monument at the Middle of the Word. Choice: Tour Ethnographic or Inti Ñan Museums, both located near the monument site. Enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian lunch. After seeing the incredible sites, drive back to Quito hotel.
Day 3 – Friday, February 24th (B/L/D): Jungle Lodge Adventure. Transfer to airport for flight to Coca. Checked luggage limited to a weight of 30 lbs/person. Transfer by Chiva (open bus) to a dock. Board motorised canoe for transport to Sacha Lodge. Arrive 4:00 pm. Refresh from equatorial heat with a swim in Lake Pilchicocha (black water lake with fish and animals), or at mini tower, observe local bird species near lodge, and matchsun setting. Visit a butterfly house with a naturalist Guide and relish the brilliant colours of different species. After dinner, join a naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest. View animal species found only at night or silently paddle canoes on the lake viewing spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes.
Day 4 – Saturday, February 25th (B/L/D): Jungle Lodge Adventure. Activities begin 6:00 - 7:00 am (full day and boxed lunch). Hike Trail Liana Chica, arrive at canopy walk for spectacular views of rainforest canopy with vibrantly coloured birds. Walk Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats. Native guides explain the use of medicinal plants in the culture. Along Trail Higueron, pass through pristine primary forest with huge, towering Kapok and Fig trees. Arrive at Finca for prepared lunch, then enjoy a leisurely hike along Rio Napo, or try a more challenging hike on trail Leoncillo to try spotting the elusive dusky tit monkey. Continue to main boardwalk for a final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.
Day 5 – Sunday, February 26th (B/L/D): Jungle Lodge Adventure. Hike the trail Lagartococha to learn about native people’s relationship with the forest. Discover trees where native people believe spirits of ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” (devil-man of the forest). At Lake Lagartococha, ride a canoe through the tranquillity of a natural swamp, home to anacondas, caimans, and capybaras. Walk on the opposite side of Largatococha to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through trees. After lunch, a native guide provides fishing instructions for razor-toothed piranha. At 4:00 pm, begin a best trail at Sacha. Take a silent canoe ride through flooded Amazonian forest encircled by squirrel troops, capuchin and howler monkeys. Keep looking for the shy and elusive river otter, and the well camouflaged three-toed sloth! Arrive at Sacha’s 135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. There, observe vibrantly coloured birds through powerful scopes, watch the sun setting behind amazing Mount Sumaco (a volcano) and view the Andes’ snow-covered caps! The mesmerising canoe ride back through a flooded forest at night is an awe-inspiring experience: listen to symphony of frogs and insects, keep eyes open for caimans, watch several species of bats flying overhead, and listen to eerie nighttime calls of nocturnal birds. Return to Lake Pilchicocha and Sacha lodge.
Day 6 - Monday, February 27th (B): Jungle Lodge to Quito. After breakfast depart the lodge with one last walk on the boardwalk to the river, canoe back to Coca and return flight to Quito. Arrival at Quito around noon. Transfer to hotel for free time. Accommodations: Dann Carlton Hotel or similar.
Day 7 - Wednesday, February 29th (B/L): Quito - Otavalo - Quito. This morning you will leave Quito with your tour guide, heading to Otavalo, the town famous for its weekly artisan market. En route to on the Panamerican Highway we will stop at Calderon, a town where the famous masapan dolls are made, continuing on through Guayllabamba town where you can sample its typical fruit the cherimoyer. We will also stop on the highway to admire the beautiful landscape and snow-capped mountains in the area. We continue on, making a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving in Otavalo. Here we will visit the textile market located at the “Plaza of Ponchos”; this is one of the most famous markets in South America. Here you will find all kinds of handcrafts including tapestries made on the Spanish weaving loom as well as the indigenous back-strap loom. Later, you will enjoy some free time for bargaining and buying with the friendly Otavaleños. After a full day spent in Otavalo we will return to Quito late afternoon/early evening and you will be taken to your hotel. Accommodations: Dann Carlton Hotel or similar.
Day 8 - Tuesday, February 28th (B): Quito. Free Day – Explore, shop, relax in this unique city.
Day 9 - Thursday, March 1st (B/L/D): Quito - Galápagos. Onboard M/V Galapagos Legend. After an early breakfast, transfer with a guide to Quito Airport. Fly to Galapagos Islands (flight approx 2 ½ hours / Boeing 727). Arrive at Baltra. Pass through inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals enter the islands. Meet guide, ride a bus to the harbour. Motorised rafts, ‘Pangas’, transport you to board M/V Galapagos Legend where the crew welcomes you. After departure and lunch, visit the first island: Bartolomé - Dry landing. View volcanic formations: lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. Hike to the summit to view surrounding islands, including Pinnacle Rock’s eroded tuff cone. During the hike to summit, colonies of marine iguanas, lava lizards, tiquilla, and various cacti are often seen. Snorkel and see Galapagos penguins, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks from a safe distance.
(November 2007, the Legend was reconstructed and refurbished as a 5 star, expedition style, motor vessel. With 2,746 GRTs, the Legend offers all the amenities of a larger cruise liner, yet she has the intimate feel of family- style cruising.)
Day 10 - Friday, March 2nd (B/L/D): Cruise Urbina Bay (Isabela) Wet landing. Visit fossil beach and coral area, perhaps observe giant tortoises, land iguanas and flightless cormorants. Walk, then snorkel. Fernandina (Espinosa Point). Dry landing. See the largest marine iguanas mingling with red sally light-foot crabs, and flightless cormorants at nesting sites, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks, and sea lions. Locate brachycereus cactus, "pa-hoe-hoe"lava and "AA" lava formations. Mangrove beds extend to the sea.
Day 11 - Saturday, March 3rd (B/L/D): Cruise Santiago (Egas Port). Wet landing on a dark sand beach. Most landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. Observe hunting herons, great blue herons, lava herons, yellow crowned night herons, oyster catchers. View marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside red sally light-foot crabs. See a colony of fur seals swimming in deep cool-water pools. Swim, snorkel, find octopuses, sea horses, and starfish. Rábida (Jervis). Wet landing. Volcano-formed dark red beach, frequented by sea lions, is considered the ‘geographic centre of Gapagos’- it has the most diverse volcanic rocks on the Islands. Hike to salt water lagoon. At times, one finds flamingos and brown pelicans nesting in salty bushes, Bobeéis and 9 species of Darwin’s finches. Ride along reefs in dinghy, snorkel.
Day 12 - Sunday, March 4th (B/L/D): Cruise. Santa Cruz. Charles Darwin Research Station: Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where international scientists conduct biological research and conservation projects. Admire giant tortoises, prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. Free time to walk around town and shop for souvenirs. Santa Cruz Highlands: Trek through highlands of Santa Cruz, visit Cerro Chato to observe famous giant tortoises. Walk inside dormant lava tubes.
Day 13 - Monday, March 5th (B): Galápagos - Guayaquil. Wet landing on white sand beach located on north side of Santa Cruz Island, encounter sea birds, marine iguanas, sea turtles and swim. Return to Galapagos Legend for check out. Transfer to Baltra’s airport for return flight to Guayaquil. Transfer to hotel: Oro Verde or similar.
Day 14 - Tuesday, March 6th (B/L/D): Guayaquil-Salinas. Transfer to Salinas beach on southwest Pacific coast. Free time. Overnight: Barcelo Colon Miramar Hotel or similar.
Day 15 - Wednesday, March 7th (B/L/D): Salinas. Day of leisure at the beach resort.
Day 16 - Thursday, March 8th (B): Salinas- Guayaquil. Morning at leisure. Transfer to Guayaquil. Hotel: Oro Verde or similar.
Day 17 - Friday, March 9th (B/L/D): Guayaquil – City Tour & Historic Park. Today after breakfast your guide will take you on a full day tour of the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. The city tour will start with a visit to the Administration Plaza and the Malecon 2000 (Integration Plaza, Olmedo Plaza, Rotonda Monument). After the visit to the Malecón, we will go to the Peñas neighbourhood. This is the oldest part of the city, where you will have the opportunity to climb to the Cerro Santa Ana. You will have wonderful views of Guayaquil and the river Guayas. Finally we will end our tour at Guayaquil’s historical park located in Canton Zamborondón, only 30 minutes away from the city. It is one of the biggest parks in the country and here you get the opportunity to learn more about the culture, history and tradition of the city. Accommodation: Oro Verde Hotel or similar.
Day 18 - Saturday, March 10th (B/L/D): Guayaquil – Rodeo Grande Hacienda. Tour banana farm, Skipper: 275 acres of bananas, Dole contract, produces 270,000 boxes of bananas a year. Visit adjoining 3000 acre cattle farm on Ecuadorian coastal plain, 10 meters above sea level. The farm is worked by cowboys in a traditional way, caring for 1500 cattle and buffalo that coexist with wildlife: birds, ostrich, sloth, iguanas, squirrels, turtles, snakes, plus flowering trees in vivid colours. Tour: 8 hours. Evening: Wind-up banquet before transferring to Guayaquil Airport for overnight flight towards Canada.
Day 19 - Sunday, March 11th (B): Return to Canada. Return home this afternoon to Canada with amazing memories.
2012 Africa - The Big Five (Mar. 5th - 28th)
Professionally Hosted by Ed & Eleanor Glynn
Day 1 - Monday, March 5th: Depart Canada. The adventure commences with your flights from Canada to New York. Evening: Welcome Reception. Overnight: Hampton Inn or similar.
Day 2 – Tuesday, March 6th (B/L/D): Depart New York. This morning, you will depart New York for Johannesburg, then onto Nairobi.
Day 3 – Wednesday, March 7th (B/L/D): Nairobi. Arrive in Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, meet and transfer to Nairobi Serena Hotel. Overnight: Nairobi Serena or similar.
Day 4 – Thursday, March 8th (B/L/D): Nairobi to Masai Mara. After breakfast drive via Narok to the Masai Mara National Reserve, enjoying wonderful scenery and plenty of game. Arrive for lunch at Mara Sopa Lodge. Afternoon game drive. Spend the next two nights at Mara Sopa lodge or similar.
Day 5 – Friday, March 9th (B/L/D): Masai Mara. A full day game viewing in the Mara along with the chance to enjoy a ballooning experience (optional) above the northern Serengeti.
Day 6 – Saturday, March 10th (B/L/D): Lake Naivasha. Drive to Lake Naivasha, with its commanding setting at the foot of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Arrive for lunch. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Naivasha Sopa lodge with splendid views over the lake.
Day 7 – Sunday, March 11th (B/L/D): Amboseli. Drive via Nairobi to the Amboseli National Park lying below the most famous symbol of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Picnic lunch en route. Afternoon game drive. Spend the next two nights at Amboseli Sopa lodge or similar.
Day 8 – Monday, March 12th (B/L/D): Amboseli. Morning and afternoon game viewing in Amoseli park and, with luck, a magnificent view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Day 9 - Tuesday, March 13th (B): Nairobi. After breakfast, drive to Nairobi to catch your afternoon flight to Johannesburg.
Day 9 – Tuesday, March 13th (D): Arrival at Johannesburg. On arrival at O R Tambo International Airport, you will be met by your guide who will assist the group to their transfer vehicles and depart for your hotel. Overnight: Protea Hotel Wanderers or similar.
Day 10 – Wednesday, March 14th (B/D): Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park. After an early morning departure, we travel across the Gauteng Highveld and descend into the subtropical Lowveld region of Mpumalanga. In the afternoon enter the world famous Kruger National Park. You will enter the park in the late afternoon for game viewing before arriving at your accommodation situated just outside the Paul Kruger Gate. Dinner is included at the hotel. Overnight: Protea Hotel The Winkleror similar.
Day 11 – Thursday, March 15th (B/D): Full day inside the Kruger. To make the most of the day, we recommend an early breakfast so as to commence game viewing soon after sunrise. A full day spent inside the Kruger National Park in search of wild animals. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon in good time for drinks and a hearty dinner. Protea Hotel The Winkler or similar.
Day 12 – Friday, March 16th (B/D): Kruger to Swaziland. Depart this massive wildlife sanctuary and travel to the Independent Kingdom of Swaziland. We arrive at our accommodation situated near to the capital city, Mbabane. Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the activities at the lodge. Overnight: Forresters Arms Lodge or similar.
Day 13 – Saturday, March 17th (B/D): Swaziland to St. Lucia. Today we visit one of the local markets and a candle factory, continue through Swaziland and re-enter South Africa. You are met with the warm welcome of the locals in another kingdom, the Kingdom of the Zulus in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province. Proceed to your hotel situated on the banks of the St Lucia Estuary overlooking Lake St Lucia. Overnight: Protea Hotel Umfolozi or similar.
Day 14 – Sunday, March 18th (B/D): At St. Lucia/Hluhluwe. This morning’s activities will include a game drive in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. The afternoon will be spent on Lake St Lucia on an Eco cruise. Overnight: Protea Hotel Umrolozi or similar.
Day 15 – Monday, March 19th (B): St. Lucia to Durban. The tour continues to Shakaland, an authentic Zulu Village. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Zulu customs. Lunch is included at Shakaland before heading for the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and sub tropical climate. Arrival in the bustling harbour city of Durban, filled with markets, street vendors and friendly locals. The rest of the day is at leisure to stroll along the promenade. Overnight: Protea Hotel Edwards or similar.
Day 16 – Tuesday, March 20th (B/L): Durban. A free day in the Honolulu of Africa. A chance to enjoy the beautiful warm waters of the Indian Ocean, stroll along the boardwalk, beach, or just kick back and relax. Overnight: Protea Hotel Edwards or similar.
Day 17 – Wednesday. March 21st (B): Durban to Port Elizabeth. Meeting in the lobby after lunch, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Port Elizabeth. Spend the evening in the bustling seaport city of Port Elizabeth, with its year round atmosphere of fun and excitement. Overnight: Protea Hotel Marine or similar.
Day 18 – Thursday, Match 22nd (B/D): Port Elizabeth to Knysna. Depart the Eastern Cape and travel to the Garden Route, one of the country’s most beautiful areas. Your journey takes you through the Tsitsikamma National Park, continuing onto Plettneerg Bay, arriving in the late afternoon at Knysna, known as the Jewel of the Garden Route. Dinner this evening will be at the Quays. Overnight: Protea Hotel Knysna Quays or similar.
Day 19 – Friday, March 23rd (B/L): Knysna. After a leisurely breakfast you are taken to the Knysna harbour to board a ferry which will take you to the Featherbed Nature Reserve for a tour of the reserve, including lunch. Featherbed Nature Reserve is a unique 150 ha private reserve, encompassing the whole of the Western Head of Knysna and is one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites. Overnight: Protea Hotel Knysna Quays or similar.
Day 20 – Saturday. March 24th (B/L): Knysna via Oudtsshoorn to Cape Town. Depart Knysna in the early morning and travel inland along the winding Outeniqua Pass to the Ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn. Here you visit a working ostrich ranch for a tour. Those daring enough may even have the opportunity to ride an Ostrich! Lunch is included at the Ostrich farm. Continue along Route 62 through the semi-desert and the N1 highway to Cape Town. Your journey will take you through the towns of Robertson and Worcester before arriving in the “Mother City”. Evening is at leisure. The Protea Hotel Sea Point or similar.
Day 21 – Sunday, March 25th (B): In Cape Town. Today you take in the sights and sounds of Cape Town. Tour includes: Table mountain (weather permitting), SA Museum, Cape Castle and Robben Island (weather permitting). Overnight: The Protea Hotel Sea Point or similar.
Day 22 – Monday, March 26th (B/D): In Cape Town. The Cape Peninsula awaits you on a full day tour. Returning to Cape Town for our Farewell Banquet. Overnight: The Protea Hotel Sea Point or similar.
Day 23 – Tuesday, March 27th (B/D): In Cape Town. This morning is at your leisure to take in some last minute shopping on the world famous Victoria & Alfred waterfront. Leave at noon for your transfer to Cape Town International Airport for your outward flights.
Day 24 – Wednesday, March 28th (B): Arrive Home. Today you will return to Canada with memories of Africa that will last a life time.
2012 Victoria B.C. In The Spring (Apr. 15th -26th)
Day 1, Sunday, April 15th: Travel from Saskatchewan to Canmore for an overnight. Enjoy the Welcome Reception. Join Hosts for Singing/Music - Bring your musical instruments: Enjoy music and fun!
Day 2, Monday, April 16th (B): Enter the foothills and travel through Banff National Park, stopping to enjoy Banff for the afternoon before driving to Kelowna for the evening. Overnight in Kelowna.
Day 3, Tuesday, April 17th (B): Travel west along the highway from the Okanagan to Vancouver. Overnight in Vancouver. Those flying into Vancouver will met at the airport and be transferred to the hotel.
Day 4, Wednesday, April 18th (B): Enjoy a morning tour of Vancouver. The rest of the day is your to explore the Olympic City. Overnight Vancouver.
Day 5, Thursday, April 19th (B): Drive southwest to the ferry at Tsawwassen. Cross the Strait of Georgia to arrive in Victoria. This afternoon, enjoy the City Tour of Victoria where you will view the Legislative Buildings, Olde Town, and pass by the Crystal Gardens. View mile ‘0’ of the Trans Canada Highway, then continue to Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. Overnight: Victoria. Spend five nights in inner harbour area.
Day 6, Friday, April 20th (B): Free day. You can choose to visit sights such as the Royal BC Museum, the Maritime Museum, Imax Theatre, Undersea Gardens, or take a local whale-watching excursion. Overnight: Victoria.
Day 7, Saturday, April 21st (B): Drive to Crofton to board the ferry. Sail to Salt Spring Island with its community of artisan studios and galleries. You will have time to see their paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewellery, weavings, and more. Stroll, have lunch on your own, and relax in one of the cafes or bistros before returning to Victoria. Overnight: Victoria.
Day 8, Sunday, April 22nd (B): Tour the Craigdarroch Castle, a Victorian era Mansion. Drive the scenic coastline to visit Butchart Gardens, “the world’s premier floral show gardens” from 1904. This is a 55-acre garden with 26 greenhouses. Have lunch at the garden, then visit the Butterfly Gardens before travelling along the Saanich Peninsula to the Sidney Wharf. Overnight: Victoria.
Day 9, Monday, April 23rd (B): Do the Malahat tour today - visit the totems and forestry of Duncan plus the murals of Chemainus. Continue north to Nanaimo to view petroglyphs and visit the harbour boardwalk. Continue across to Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest area. Overnight: Victoria.
Day 10, Tuesday, April 24th (B/D): Travel back across the Gulf Islands to scenic Vancouver then onto Kamloops for our wind-up banquet. Overnight Kamloops.
Day 11, Wednesday, April 25th (B): Rise early this morning to catch your train from Kamloops to Edmonton via the majestic Rocky Mountains. Arriving into Edmonton late transfer to the hotel for the night. Overnight: Edmonton.
Day 12, Thursday, April 26th (B): Late check-out will have you back to Saskatchewan before dinner with fond memories of the fellowship, friends, and fun!
2012 Footsteps of the Cossacks (June 26th - July 8th)
Hosted by Bev & Archie Esplin
Optional 8-Day Western Ukraine & Poland Extension
Day 1, June 26th (D): Depart Canada on an overnight flight and arrive in the capital city of Kiev, Ukraine the next day.
Day 2, June 27th (D): Kiev. Our group will be met at the Kiev airport & transferred to our ship. After boarding, join our "welcome walk" to stretch your legs before dinner on the ship.
Our Ship - Viking Lomonosov. Join us on an unforgettable journey along the Dnieper River through the heart of Ukraine on this traditional cruising vessel. Constructed at the famous Boizenburg Shipyard on the Elbe River in Germany, Viking Lomonosov is part of the 22-ship “301” series, the largest and most luxurious ships in Russia at the time. Viking Lomonosov was fully refurbished in 2003, and refitted for the 2011 sailing season to offer additional deluxe staterooms on the Middle Deck.
Ship Features: 1) 102 comfortable outside staterooms, 2) Sun deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting area, 3) Observation lounge and two bars with panoramic windows, 4) Two restaurants with panoramic views, 5) Library, sauna and on board boutique, 6) Free ship-wide wireless internet service, 7) Laundry service, 8) Three walk-around, open air promenade decks, 9) Doctor on board.
Stateroom Features: 1) Stateroom size: 93 sq. ft., 2) Two single beds 75 inches x 30 inches, 3) Large window 3.97 ft. x 2.66 ft. (can be opened), 4) Private yacht-style bathroom with handheld shower head and premium bath products, 5) Bathrobe and slippers available upon request, 6) Air conditioning, 7) Space under bed for storing suitcases, 8) Roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers, 9) Voltage: 220V.
Fine dining aboard Viking Lomonosov: Our chefs create a variety of tasty offerings for you, with freshly prepared seasonal local vegetables, local specialties adapted to satisfy the tastes of our passengers, and homemade soups prepared daily. For breakfast, choose from our selections of pastries, cereals, breakfast meats, egg dishes, fresh fruit and selected cheeses. At lunch, select from the soup and sandwich bar, or a choice of entrées and dessert. And for dinner, you are treated to a five-course gourmet menu with regional specialties. You can also select from our regional wines to perfectly complement your meal. And wherever you sail, you will find enhancements reflecting your itinerary—it is all part of experiencing the local culture.
Day 3, June 28th : Kiev. Tour Kiev, one of Europe's oldest cities, experiencing the heritage of the Viking, Cossack and Ukrainian peoples. Explore its historic buildings and monuments, then take a guided tour of the lovely domed St. Sophia Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch aboard, tour the Monastery of Caves, an extensive complex of churches and museums founded by monks in 1051. Dinner on board the ship is followed by an evening of sailing along the peaceful Dnieper River.
Day 4, June 29th (B/L/D): Dnieper River. Enjoy a full day of scenic cruising, taking in the Dnieper's landscape of rolling hills, ancient forest groves, historic villages and wide lakes. A series of on board activities are available to help you familiarise yourself with the history and culture of Ukraine.
Day 5, June 30th (B/L/D): Zaporozhye. After breakfast, tour Zaporozhye, ancestral home of the Cossacks. Drive along Lenin Street, see the Lenin Monument, dam and the city's massive hydroelectric plant. Next, visit the Cossack Museum of Khortitsa. Enjoy a special Cossack horsemanship show including folkloric music and dance. Return to the boat for lunch and cruise away the lovely afternoon while enjoying on board activities such as a Ukrainian tea party.
Day 6, July 1st (B/L/D): Kherson. After a morning of scenic cruising and a Ukrainian language lesson, your ship arrives in Kherson, an important Ukrainian port on the Black Sea. Disembark for a tour of this small city, founded in 1778 by the order of Catherine the Great and named after the nearby ancient Greek colony of Chersonesus Taurica. Walking along the river embankment, you will see the monument to Prince Potjomkin and visit St. Catherine's Cathedral, decidedly Mediterranean in design. Dinner is served as the boat departs.
Day 7, July 2nd (B/L/D): Sevastopol. After lunch, arrive in Sevastopol, base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Tour the city centre and see St. Vladimir Cathedral and Admiral Nakhimov Square. The rest of the afternoon is free, or join an optional archaeological tour of the ancient Greek city of Chersonese, founded in the 6th century B.C. near today’s Quarantine Bay and designated one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Dine aboard and remain docked overnight; this evening you can attend an optional Black Sea Choir concert.
Day 8, July 3rd (B/L/D): Sevastopol. This morning’s tour goes to the Tatar city of Bakhchisarai. Tour the Khan Palace, built in 1519, and see the many different architectural styles within the complex. Visit the courthouse, harem and mosques, then stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds. After lunch, enjoy free time to further explore Sevastopol, site of the famed “Charge of the Light Brigade” during the Crimean War, or take an optional tour to Balaklava to visit the Panorama Museum and the submarine tunnels.
Day 9, July 4th (B/L/D): Yalta. Enjoy a morning tour of Yalta. Travel along Lenin Embankment to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Livadia. Visit the White Palace, site of the 1945 Yalta Conference between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, and take a guided tour through official halls and private apartments of the czar’s family. Lunch aboard; this afternoon, explore at your leisure or choose an optional tour either to the Nikita Botanical Garden featuring 20,000 plant species, or to one of Anton Chekhov’s homes in Yalta, now a museum about the famous playwright. Dine aboard; dock overnight.
Day 10, July 5th (B/L/D): Yalta. Spend the morning further exploring Yalta, or join one of the optional tours including the beautiful mid-19th-century Aloupka Palace and gardens or a wine-tasting excursion to Massandra. Depart this afternoon.
Day 11, July 6th (B/L/D): Odessa. After breakfast, enjoy a half-day city tour of Odessa, an elegant city of terraced hills and landscaped parks. Travel along Primorski Boulevard to the Opera House and Potemkin Steps. Lunch and dinner are served aboard; take the afternoon and evening at leisure to explore this fascinating city.
Day 12, July 7th (B/L/D): Odessa. Today is yours to explore enchanting Odessa on your own. The city’s stately 19th-century architecture is a blend of its Russian heritage and more Mediterranean sensibilities, and there are miles of sandy beaches to stroll along. Or, you may opt for an art museum and/or Jewish Odessa tour. This evening we will attend a musical or ballet performance.
Day 13, July 8th : Odessa. Disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Canada with your new friends. In Toronto, overnight then catch your morning flight back to your departure city.
OR Take the optional extension! Meet your guide after disembarkation and transfer to your overnight hotel. The remainder of your day is free to explore.
This tour includes: 1) Return Airfare from Saskatoon/Regina (other gateways may be subject to surcharges, please inquire), 2) 11 Night / 12 Day River Cruise aboard the Viking Lomonosov (main deck), 3) Airport Transfers, 4) 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners (complementary wine, beer and soft drinks with your lunch and dinner aboard the river cruise), 5) 8 Guided Tours with audio headsets, 6) 1 Overnight in Toronto if departing from Odessa, 7) Professional Hosts.
Documentation: All passengers will require a valid passport for the trip. Passports must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of return.
Responsibility: Lobstick Tours acts only as an agent for passengers and accepts no responsibility for delays, misconnections, loss, damage or injury to persons or property, or mechanical defect or failure, however caused, or any substitution of carrier equipment beyond our control with or without notice, or for any additional expenses associated thereby.
Day 14, July 9th: Odessa-Lviv. Transfer to the Airport for a flight to Lviv, enjoy an orientation tour and then check into your hotel.
Day 15, July 10th (B): Lviv. After breakfast, begin your full day of sightseeing by exploring Prospekt Svobody (Freedom), a wide, tree-lined boulevard near the Phoshy Rynok, the Market Square. The old cobbled square is surrounded by 16th - 18th century merchant dwellings, 19th century Town Hall and the oldest working pharmacy. In the afternoon, you will visit the Ukraine History Museum which houses over 320,000 artifacts from antiquity to the present followed by Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption.
Day 16, July 11th (B): Lviv. Today you will continue your tour of Lviv with a visit to the Lychakiv Cemetery, containing almost 100 acres of Monuments. Next, visit High Castle Hill, home to the 14th century remains of a stone castle that replaced the original 13th century wooden fortress. The afternoon is free.
Day 17, July 12th (B/L): Lviv - Krakow. After breakfast at the hotel, depart by private coach from Lviv for the Polish border. After clearing customs and crossing the border, you continue to the town of Lancut. Stop and enjoy lunch and a visit to the 17th century Lancut Castle before continuing on your way to Krakow.
Day 18th, July 13th (B): Krakow. This morning, explore Krakow on foot with a visit to Wawel Castle. Wawel Castle, on the hill above the Old Town, was the seat of Polish kings for hundreds of years. Enjoy the Main Market Square, on of the finest urban designs of its kind before your free afternoon.
Day 19, July 14th (B): Krakow. This morning, head for the outskirts of the city again for a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Miners have worked these mines for 700 years. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the UNESCO site of Auschwitz and and Birkenau, located about an hour outside of Krakow.
Day 20, July 15th (B): Krakow - Warsaw via Czestochowa. Depart Krakow for Warsaw, stopping in Czestochowa, a town south-central Poland set among the limestone cliffs of the Czestochowa-Krakow Uplands.
Day 21, July 16th (B/D): Warsaw. Today, enjoy a walking tour of Old Warsaw, admiring the powerful Royal Castle, home of Poland's kings from the 16th century, the Market Square, a beautiful pedestrian area filled with cafes, market stalls and strolling townspeople, and Warsaw's neoclassical Grand Theatre. Head to the former Warsaw Ghetto. Begin at the only remaining piece of the Ghetto wall in a secluded courtyard of the "Little Ghetto" and finish with the Walk to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument. Gather in the evening for a festive farewell dinner at a restaurant in Lazienki Park.
Day 22, July 17th (B/L): Canada. Transfer to the airport and fly home with wonderful memories.
2012 Mediterranean Empires Aboard the NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) Spirit (Oct. 23rd - Nov. 8th)
Hosted by Richard and Agnes Fredericks
Day 1, October 23rd (B/L/D): Board the overnight flight to Venice, Italy.
Day 2, October 24th (B): Arrive in Venice and meet your driver who will transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon enjoy an orientation tour and welcome reception.
Day 3, October 25th (B/L/D): After breakfast and the transfer to the pier, board the NCL Spirit. After you are settled in your cabin meet your guide and take an excursion to the sights Venice has to offer. The ship docks overnight.
Day 4, October 26th (B/L/D): Begin cruising the Mediterranean Sea and explore the ship with its many features.
Day 5, October 27 (B/L/D): As you sail to Greece, enjoy the day at sea with all the amenities the NCL Spirit has to offer.
Day 6, October 28th (B/L/D): Arrive Piraeus, Greece where an expert local guide will invite you to explore the mysteries of ancient Greece for the full day.
Day 7, October 29th (B/L/D): Today you will enjoy an orientation tour of Izmir, Turkey. Visit the House of Virgin Mary, the Ruins of Ephesus and shop for Turkish Handicrafts before departing for your next destination.
Day 8, October 30th (B/L/D): Arrive Istanbul, one of the most dynamic cities in the world. It extends on both the European and Asian side of the Bosporus Strait. A guided group excursion will show you a great history of civilisation and some treasures they left behind. The tour ends in the Great Bazaar, one of the world largest bazzars, where you can shop for bargains.
Day 9, October 31st (B/L/D): Cruise the Mediterranean Sea this morning and arrive in Mykonos, Greece in the afternoon. Walking is a great way to explore this famous island as you do some sightseeing, search for treasures or simply relax.
Day 10, November 1st (B/L/D): Enjoy a day on board as you cruise to the exciting City of Naples. This is a perfect time to enjoy the sun and pools or visit with friends.
Day 11, November 2nd (B/L/D): Arriving in Naples, Italy you might want to travel to famous Pompeii or take a short boat ride to the island of Capri.
Day 12, November 3rd (B/L/D): Beautiful Rome awaits you today with a full day excursion. See the famous Colosseum and toss some coins into the Trevi Fountain.
Day 13, November 4th (B/L/D): Tour Pisa or shop for leather in Florence. This day is yours to enjoy as you wish before heading for your next destination.
Day 14, November 5th (B/L/D): Toulon, France is the gateway to many different cities in the French Riviera. Choose one of the different excursions with NCL or wander the streets of the city.
Day 15, November 6th (B): The cruise ends in Barcelona, Spain. After disembarking you will meet your local guide who will take you on a City Tour with all major sights including a visit to the Picasso Museum. Spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 16, November 7th (B/D): A free day to shop, explore or relax before gathering with your fellow travellers for the Farewell Dinner this evening.
Day 17, November 8th (B/L): Transfer to the Barcelona Airport for your flight home with a mind and suitcase full of memories and new friends.