Tips and suggestions requested

I saw a picture of Boldt Castle, taken on this tour, posted on another thread. It got me wanting to see more w/r to this tour since it is one that I've been thinking about taking at some point.

For anybody that has taken this tour I'd love to see a few of your pictures and hear any tips and suggestions that you might be willing to share with respect to things to see, do, eat, etc. during any of the tours free times or non-provided meals.

Thanks in advance for your help.


  • I've never done an escorted tour in the US or Canada. Places are just too easy to get to and there's often so much more to see and do than a tour allows time for. I was going to add this is especially true for national parks and cities, but that pretty much covers it, doesn't it? :) Regarding the tour you mention, I've been to each location several times, though it's been a number of years.

  • It is too bad, but as far as I can tell, the tour does just a 'float by' of Boldt Castle , your don't go ashore. :/ You could easily spend several hours there. Each year they renovate, repair, and dress more of it.

  • The North American tours are for when we deem ourselves “too old” to endure 20 to 30 hour each way travel experiences to the more remote tours. With each new ache in my body that time is getting closer and closer. We’re already to the point that a long car tour is a non-starter. Likely two Canadian tours ( Capitol Cities, and one in the Rockies) and one Alaskan tour would be the North American tours. Each of those are still a distance from Tucson.

  • Ditto! :s The Canadian Maritimes is on our list as well, maybe The Hudson River Valley (though we camped in the Adirondacks when I was young), and one or two out west.

  • Still looking for pictures, tips, and suggestions - need you assistance.

  • Can’t help you, but we’ve taken several North American tours with Tauck as second Vacations of the year. We’ve been to many of the places independently and with our children when they were younger. But in those days we stayed in cheap hotels and especially the parks, It’s hard to get reservations in their hotels, for example the Grand Canyon, we had to stay outside and drive all the way in. Tauck also know the best time to get you there.. so you arrive to see the sunset at the Canyon and then the sunrise in the morning because you are staying on the rim. The people on the US tours tend to be more friendly and less demanding too. One thing, our only dud TD was on one of the N American tours.

  • While we have not been on a Tauck tour of the capital cities, we have been there many times. We live in the northeast and have family in Canada. It is worth visiting all four cities as well as Niagara Falls. We've stayed at both the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa and the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and know where the other two hotels are located. The two chateaus are both European style hotels and very well located. The Chateau Laurier is on the Rideau canal right next to the parliament buildings. It's also a short walk from the Byward Market which has many small shops and nice restaurants. In the Spring Ottawa has thousands of tulips spread throughout the city especially along the canal. These were a gift from the Netherlands since Canada sheltered the Dutch royal family during WWII. In the summer they have the changing of the guard as well as a light show in the evening. There are top notch museums...the art museum (a short walk from the hotel) as well as the museum of civilization across the river in Hull are great.

    Ottawa is a capital city and has much of what you'd expect from a smaller capital city.

    Here are some pictures of Ottawa. I'll include comments on the other cities in a subsequent post.

    The first is a view of the parliament form the hotel.
    The second is the soldiers processing to parliament hill. The hotel is in the background.
    For the third...yes Tauck was in town the same days we were.
    The fourth is parliament hill from outside the hotel.

  • I misidentified the final picture. It's taken from the outside of the Chateau Laurier, not from across the river. You can see the tower in the central building which is worth climbing.

  • Kfnknfzk - I look forward to seeing your pictures.
    Kathy M - Did you intend to post some pictures?

  • The Chateau Frontenac is the belle dame hotel in Quebec city. It is well located in the upper city with everything at your feet. from the write up it appears that you have most of a day plus a half day to explore on your own. The tour of the Chateau Frontenac should be great. We were there for a business meeting and I took the elevator to all the floors and explored while my husband was in his sessions. There are so many different nooks and crannies to explore and the views of the roofs of the building from the various windows is something to behold. You can easily walk down to the lower city which is similar to a European city. With French the predominant language you can imagine you are in France.

    Sights to see include a museum in the lower city that explains the settlement of the area, the citadel with the changing of the guard and even the governor's home. Quebec has its own parliament building just outside the city walls of the upper city. Quebec has often wanted to secede from Canada and has its government set up so it could be an independent country!

    Montreal is a larger city and doesn't have the same feel that you find in Quebec City and Ottawa. It has good restaurants of all types. Last time we were there we had a different cuisine each evening. One night we even had a wonderful Portuguese dinner, after the French and Italian choices the prior evenings. Montreal is noted for smoked meat which is similar to corned beef which makes a good lunchtime option.

    From a sightseeing perspective, there's a good museum about the founding of the city that shows what they've found during excavation. There's also a wonderfully decorated church, l'Eglise Notre Dame de Montreal. The colors are phenomenal. I was first in Montreal with my parents for Expo '67. For anyone who was there, along the river they still have what was described as Habitat '67 which was supposed to be a new concept in apartment living. It is now being used as anticipated.

    Toronto is an even larger city than Montreal and less walkable. The hotel is centrally located. You can see the city hall plaza (ice skating in the winter) as well as a number of museums. The tour doesn't appear to give you much time on your own but of all the cities, I think it's the one that can be limited without losing much.

  • edited April 2020

    Kathy M - Thanks for your insights. It sounds like Quebec is amazing, with its French history and amazing architecture. From what I can tell all of the Fairmont hotels seem to be a history lesson in themselves, with amazing locations. The government buildings in Ottawa all look so amazing. Outside of the cities what were your favorite things? I may have to move this tour up the pecking order.

    The apartment complex is very unique. For whatever reason, it reminds me of India housing, with its sense of chaos.

  • I'm looking forward to doing the Canadian Maritimes when I get too old to go farther afield. Given COVID-19, maybe that will be sooner than I had anticipated.

  • My entire write up of Ottawa disappeared. Here it goes again.

    We've been to the Canadian cities many times over the years. We live in the northeast and have family in Canada. We've stayed at the Chateau Laurier and the Chateau Frontenac and know where the other two hotels are located.

    Ottawa as a capital city is is well worth the visit. The hotel that Tauck uses, the Chateau Laurier is ideally located right next to Parliament Hill and on the Rideau canal. It's also within walking distance of the Byward Market which has quite a few small shops and restaurants. We've enjoyed the national art museum which is quite extensive (walking distance of the hotel) and the Museum of Civilization which is across the river in Hull Quebec.

    If you go in the Spring Ottawa will be festooned with tulips. They have thousands of tulips throughout the city. In WWII Canada took in the Dutch royal family who rewarded them with thousand of tulip bulbs that are planted each season. In the winter the Rideau canal is almost drained and turned into a miles long skating way that joins the residential areas with Parliament Hill. They even set out stands that sell beaver tails (fried dough with maple syrup).

    In the summer they have a changing of the guard ceremony and often a light show on the parliament buildings.

    Here are some pictures from Ottawa:

    The first is Parliament Hill taken from the terrace of the Chateau Laurier.
    The second is the changing of the guard with the Chateau Laurier in the background.
    The third is the Rideau Canal next to the Chateau Laurier
    The fourth shows that Tauck was there when we were in the summer even though we were there for a family wedding.

  • Kathy M - I love the pictures. Too funny on the Tauck bus. In January, we took a trip to Panama and during a visit to the rainforest we crossed paths with two Tauck buses.

  • Tauck buses have the best applied murals of any tour company.

  • We did the Canadian Capitals tour with Tauck many years ago. At that time we lived in Maine and took the train to meet the tour in Montreal. We enjoyed it immensely. Lovely people and very clean everywhere. After moving to Florida we flew to Montreal and sailed the St Lawrence back to Boston. We never tire of Canada. We have also taken the train from east coast to Vancouver. Great country .

  • Don't miss a snack at a Beaver Tails in Ottawa.

  • edited April 2020

    Choc - Trains are interesting. My Dad was a conductor so our family got free passes. As such, when I was little the family would ride the train from Seattle to Iowa (Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa was the route) to visit relatives. It seems like it takes three months to get across eastern Montana ( nothing to see but endless miles of grazing land ). I also worked on the railroad in summers when I was going to college. It was a great summer job - out in the fresh air. Other than passing through the Toronto airport on the way to somewhere else my exposure to Canada has been limited to British Columbia. Vancouver and Victoria are wonderful places to visit. In addition, Whistler is a great vacation destination in either winter or summer. I look forward to seeing the Rockies and the eastern cities and country of Canada someday.

    Just remembered, during one visit to Victoria when I was young we got to see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. She was still very young. That visit was in the late 50s or early 60s.

  • BKMD - Now you've done it. Pastries are my downfall. I Googled Beaver Tails and found the following:

    It's hard enough on a Tauck tour to not come home with a "Tauck Body" and now you've pointed out a place like this to me. Good thing there isn't a hot air balloon ride on this tour or I might cause the weight limit to be exceeded.

    Thanks for the tip! :D

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