The Real Deal: Eight nights' accommodations, local transportation, some meals, and guided sightseeing tours and cruises, from $1,709 per person—including taxes.
When: Depart May 24, June 7, 14, 21, July 5, 12, 19, Aug. 2, 9, 23, 2008; add $20 for Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13; additional departure dates available.
The fine print: Breakfast daily, a welcome reception, and three-course dinners are included, as are hotel taxes and national park entry fees. Maximum tour size is 45 people. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $566. Add airport-hotel transfers for an additional cost: For the arrival transfer, add $22 per person for two passengers traveling together, or $44 per person for solo passengers; add $15 per person for the departure transfer. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Globus Tours, 866/755-8581, globusjourneys.com.
Why it's a deal: The escorted tour breaks down to $214 per person per night and allows you to experience these cities without worrying about travel details such as transfers, transportation, and hotels—and with the context of knowledgeable tour guides. You'll avoid all the hassle of making your own bookings and still have some time during the tour for exploring on your own.
Trip details: The Upper and Lower Canada tour provides eight nights' hotel accommodations and transportation by private bus to explore the fascinating cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, and Montreal, with highlights that include a thrilling boat ride below Niagara Falls and a scenic cruise along the waterways of Thousand Islands National Park.
You'll begin in Toronto, where you'll check into downtown's monumental Delta Chelsea Hotel, with over 1,500 guestrooms, three restaurants, and two lounges. Mix and mingle with your fellow travelers during a 6 p.m. welcome reception and orientation.
The next morning, you'll head south for a 90-minute bus ride along the shores of Lake Ontario to iconic Niagara Falls. Upon arrival, the group will board the Maid of the Mist for an hour-long boat ride to explore the dramatic falls from river level. For the adventure-inclined, an optional helicopter ride over the falls offers spectacular photo ops of dazzling sights that include Rainbow Bridge, the steel-arch bridge connecting Canada and the United States, as well as the 2,220-foot-wide crest of Horseshoe Falls. The flight lasts eight minutes and costs $95 per person.
In the afternoon, a sightseeing tour of Toronto covers the historic Legislature Building, home to Ontario's Parliament, and a visit to the Eaton Centre, a six-story glass-ceilinged mall with more than 300 stores. At night, enjoy an optional dinner outing at the revolving restaurant atop the CN Tower, with panoramic views from 115 stories above the streets of Toronto ($75 per person).
On the third day, you'll travel by bus along Lake Ontario to Kingston, a historic city at the confluence of the Rideau Canal and the St. Lawrence River. Then continue south to Gananoque and on to Ivy Lea, where you'll embark on an hour-long scenic cruise through the waterways of Thousand Islands National Park. You'll arrive in Ottawa, Canada's capital city, where you'll stay at the 359-room Lord Elgin Hotel located in the heart of downtown directly across from Confederation Park and the National Arts Centre.
Awake and depart after breakfast for a morning sightseeing tour that includes visits to the Canadian Mint and Parliament Hill, as well as a tour of the stables and training center of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Afterwards, you'll have the afternoon off to sightsee on your own.
Begin again the next day with a four-and-a-half-hour drive to Quebec City, with a stop along the way in Cap de la Madeleine to see the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, a well-known shrine with colorful stained-glass windows. Arrive in late afternoon at the 236-room Delta Quebec Hotel and choose from a list of local restaurants for your included dinner.
On the sixth day, a guided tour allows you to explore the sites of Old Quebec, now celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain. You can soak up the history in Place d'Armes and Place Royal, where street performers and musicians come to play, and along the Lower Town's narrow streets lined with 17th- and 18th-century houses.
Next you'll make the three-hour drive to Montreal, a lively city with top-notch museums and restaurants and a burgeoning music scene. A local guide will show you around. Expect to see Notre Dame Basilica, a magnificent Gothic Revival building constructed in 1829, and the Seminary of St. Sulpice, the oldest structure in the city of Montreal, erected between 1684 and 1687. Your base for two nights will be the Sheraton Montreal, with 825 guestrooms, two restaurants, and amenities that include an indoor pool and sauna.
You'll have a day to yourself for recuperating, heading off to attractions like McCord Museum of Canadian History, or wandering along the scenic streets in Old Port Montreal, the city's historic district along the St. Lawrence River. The next morning you'll have breakfast and then go to the airport.
Extend your stay at either the beginning or end of the tour for an additional cost. Extra nights at the Toronto Delta Chelsea Hotel cost $165 per person for a single room and $104 per person for a twin room. Extra nights at the Sheraton Montreal cost $179 per person for a single room and $111 per person for a twin room.
For more information on what to see and do in these cities, check the official tourism board Web sites of Toronto and Montreal. Before you go, check the weather forecast, the local time, and the exchange rate at BudgetTravel.com.
Getting there: The lowest fares we found for flights arriving in Toronto and departing from Montreal in late May were $327 from New York City (Continental), $381 from Dallas (multiple airlines), $424 from D.C. (United), $441 from Los Angeles (WestJet), and $500 from Seattle (multiple airlines).