Canada is synonymous with spectacular scenery. It has 48 national parks, unbelievably beautiful turquoise lakes, soaring mountains and forests as far as the eye can see. Canada is also home to some of the world’s most majestic animals, from the regal elk to the powerful black bear.
Much of this terrain is inaccessible – that is, unless you’re one of the fortunate travellers carving your way through the Canadian Rockies on Rocky Mountaineer.
Rocky Mountaineer is known as Canada’s must-do rail journey, with its promise of a truly immersive experience, thanks to its all-dome fleet. In 2018, Rocky Mountaineer will introduce the first two of ten GoldLeaf domes into service, enhancing the experience even more.
Flight Centre travel expert Jillian Santry travelled with Rocky Mountaineer on their Coastal Passage itinerary – an ocean view rail journey, seamlessly connecting Seattle, USA with Vancouver, BC and the Canadian Rockies. We asked her to tell us a little about it.
For you, what were the highlights?
The scenery is spectacular from the train and the large glass dome windows allow for great visibility. The food on the train was a real highlight for me and the service was impeccable. My favourite stop was beautiful Banff. I enjoyed exploring the little village and taking the gondola up to the summit to look at the surrounding mountains and back down at the village below.
What optional activities did you do?
We did the North Shore Tour, the Banff Gondola and panoramic Helicopter Tour. Again, the Banff Gondola ride was incredible. The panoramic views were incredible – you can see six mountain ranges from up there. I took so many photos on the summit, and friendly little squirrels came right up to say hello to the camera.
Did you see any wildlife? What was that like?
I didn't actually see a bear, but I hear some people were lucky enough to see one from the train. I saw a variety of different birds, sheep, and a moose in Banff.
How was your experience on board?
The service on and off the train was outstanding. The staff were very attentive and the commentary kept us all entertained while on board.
What was the accommodation like?
The accommodation was 5-star all the way, with the exception of Kamloops because it’s a smaller town (although the hotel there was perfect).
Any tips for people planning a journey with Rocky Mountaineer?
Book at least a couple of nights either end of your journey so you can do some more in depth exploring before and after your rail journey.
Why travellers love Rocky Mountaineer
· It’s not just about the scenery. Rocky Mountaineer stops overnight in cosmopolitan cities like Vancouver and the quintessentially Canadian mountain towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.
· Each day you’ll enjoy world-class culinary creations inspired by the regions through which you pass. You’ll have a choice of breakfasts, three-course lunches, and each route offers a wine and cheese service in the afternoon. Ingredients of note in your exquisite menu include fresh salmon, prime Alberta beef and local berries. What’s more, the culinary adventure encompasses prize-winning wines from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, high-end spirits and local Canadian beers.
· You can combine any rail package with an Alaska cruise and add breaching humpback whales to your list of unforgettable moments.
· Your journey will be in absolute comfort, with generous, reclining plush seats.
· Professional hosts are knowledgeable but also totally engaging, and you’ll be captivated by the stories they tell.
· It’s a brilliant way to meet like-minded travelling companions and make new friends, with whom you’ll share a whole lot of incredible memories.
All images: Rocky Mountaineer
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