There are so many exciting places to visit in the world and some of them are right next door!
Last spring, I took an amazing luxury vacation by train with Rocky Mountaineer and while there was some air travel involved, there were no long flights or painful layovers. Plus, I got to have a glass of wine in my hand while I experienced some of the most spectacular scenery around — the Canadian Rockies!
Rocky Mountaineer offers four distinct rail routes through British Columbia, Alberta and the Pacific Northwest. The trains have domed windows for maximum viewing, and a lot of the incredible mountain scenery is otherwise inaccessible.
When the train leaves the station
My trip covered a lot of ground in just a week. I started my vacation in Vancouver and ended in Calgary, with nights spent in excellent hotels in Kamloops, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff.
Packages include a formal farewell at the private Rocky Mountaineer Station in Vancouver, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the train journey, delicious gourmet breakfasts and lunches on the train, transfers by coach, and baggage delivery directly to my hotel.
Rocky Mountaineer offers two levels of service for its guests to choose from — SilverLeaf or GoldLeaf. I experienced both levels of service. The main differences I noted were the level of luxury of the hotels and, on the train, GoldLeaf service includes a separate observation deck with a dining car for meals below. With either level of service, I found that a natural camaraderie quickly developed among the travellers.
Some unforgettable experiences included in my vacation package were:
· the Vancouver Lookout for an amazing bird’s eye view of the city
· a “dine-around” with historical stops in Kamloops
· an Ice Explorer ride on the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield
· a night at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (for both Silverleaf and GoldLeaf guests)
· the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and a 12-minute helicopter ride over the foothills
· admission to the landmark Calgary Tower for more great city views
Who is this trip suited for?
A trip with Rocky Mountaineer would be perfect for travellers who want to stay in Canada due to health concerns, such as a pre-existing medical condition. The trains can accommodate wheelchairs.
This is also a great option for those travelers not keen on long flights; the flight time from Saskatoon to Vancouver is two hours and from Calgary to Saskatoon is slightly over an hour. Families with children would find this trip to be a great way to bond (internet access is spotty going through the Rockies) and there is the opportunity to see moose, bear and other critters.
For couples, comfortable and spacious seating on the train is assigned two-by-two. Additionally, it goes without saying that train enthusiasts would find this vacation to be a dream come true.
Contact me to find out more about the routes and packages that Rocky Mountaineer offers. All aboard!
Lucille Brown, CTC
“Thank you for suggesting this place! The staff is very gracious. A bonus was that they let us release baby turtles onto the beach at sunset with a guy holding a tray of drinks afterwards. It doesn't get any posher than this!” —Nancy Tapper