Rocky Mountaineer and The Canadian

Staff member: Leah // Trip date: May 2012

Vancouver

I arrived into Vancouver Airport with a transfer to my hotel already booked via Rail Plus. As soon as I collected my bags I walked straight out the front. Across the road was the spot where I was to be picked up. There were a group of about 8 of us waiting for the shuttle bus. You don't need to book a particular time as the shuttle runs every 30 minutes.
The Shuttle bus was modern and clean with leather seats. It took around 15 minutes to get to my hotel in
Downtown Vancouver.

My second day in Vancouver I spent on the Vancouver Sightseeing Trolley which I booked through Rail Plus. This trolley was fabulous. There are two different routes you can take. I did both. I picked up the trolley at Canada Place which is downtown Vancouver, it is very easy to find as it is near the water and the port where cruises depart. The first route I took basically took me around central Vancouver. You can hop on and off at any stop. All stops have a little Vancouver Trolley sign on them. I hoped off at Granville Island and looked around the lovely markets there. The Trolley driver gives live commentary which is very handy. The second route I took went through Stanley Park. I loved Stanley Park it was just beautiful. The driver pointed out important information around the park. People got on and off at different stops throughout the park.

My third day in Vancouver I pre-booked a tour through Rail Plus of Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. I highly recommend this tour. We were picked up at our hotel by bus. We then made our way to Capilano Bridge. The driver gave full commentary. We had about 2 hrs to investigate the bridge and the treetop walk. We then got back on the bus and made our way to Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain was fantastic. We took a Gondola up to the top then had our own free time. There is plenty to do on Grouse Mountain such as hiking, visit the two Grizzly bears that live, there is a flying fox, 3 restaurants and in the summer they put on shows for you to watch. We then caught the Gondola back to the bus and we were dropped back at our hotel. The day started at 10am and we were back in our hotel by 4.30pm.

Rocky Mountaineer Famil

I met a group of 12 travel agents at Hotel Vancouver which was the start of our 5 day Rocky Mountaineer Famil. We had a hosted dinner at Hotel Vancouver which was beautiful. The food was fantastic and the rooms even better. This hotel is nothing but 5 stars. We were in bed early as we were to be up at 6am to meet our Rocky Mountaineer representative and check in.

At 6am we met our representative in the lobby of the hotel who checked us into the train then and there. She also tagged our luggage and advised we would see out luggage at our hotel in Kamloops. We then boarded the bus and arrived at the dedicated Rocky Mountaineer train station 15 minutes later. Once at the station there is complimentary tea and coffee before boarding. Boarding was then announced. As you walk through the door to the train there is Rocky Mountaineer staff to direct you to your carriage. Our first day from Vancouver to Kamloops would be spent in the new SilverLeaf Class.

As soon as we boarded we were greeted by two attendants. We were then served a hot breakfast of French toast, fruit etc. SilverLeaf Class had big reclining seats and huge windows to watch the magical scenery. Our attendants were fantastic. We were served snacks and drinks throughout the morning. Lunch was served at 12.30pm and we had the choice of two hot meals to choose from. I chose the chicken and veggies which was very nice. You also receive one complimentary alcoholic beverage with your lunch. The attendants commentated throughout the day so we knew all the important spots. There is also an in-house newspaper with a map of your journey inside and other tips and information.

We arrived in Kamloops at around 7.30 that night. We stepped off the train and straight onto a bus that took us to our hotel. We were given our room keys onboard the train. Once we arrived in our room our luggage was waiting for us which I thought was pretty cool. Another touch from Rocky Mountaineer was a gift on our bed. The girls received a leather pouch and boys a leather notebook. There really isn't that much to do in Kamloops so we just went out for a quick bite to eat then to bed as the bus would be picking us up at 6am in the morning. In the morning we left our luggage in our room and were told that it would be in our room waiting for us once we arrived in Banff.

Our bus took us straight back to the Rocky Mountaineer. Today we were going to be in GoldLeaf. GoldLeaf was just amazing. Huge panoramic windows, big seats and plenty of room. GoldLeaf is complimentary drinks all day which is nice. There is a dining car under the carriage which we had breakfast in. It is a hot breakfast and you have a menu to choose from. They have two sittings for breakfast and lunch. We were in the first sitting. Breakfast was the same as at a 5 star restaurant very high quality. After breakfast we went back to our seats and took in the scenery. Again there was commentary. We were on high alert to look for wildlife. The scenery was just stunning. At around 12.30 we were called to go back to the restaurant for lunch. Lunch was a 3 course meal. I had Salmon and couldn't fault it. After lunch we were again back in our seats. It was then that we saw our first black bear strolling around. The train slowed down so we could have a look. Throughout the afternoon there was commentary and drinks being served. It was a great afternoon. Snacks were bought out late in the afternoon which I thought was a nice touch. We arrived into Banff at around 8pm. Our bus took us straight to the Banff Springs Hotel where we checked in and looked around the amazing hotel. As I was so full from the food during the day I didn't eat dinner however there were restaurants in Banff where you could go for dinner. Dinner was not included on the train.

The next morning we had a site inspection and a hosted breakfast at the Banff Springs. The hotel is amazing, it is like a castle. The views are just stunning. No room is the same but they are all of high standard. The breakfast buffet was huge and yum. I highly recommend having breakfast included in your room. After breakfast we were picked up by bus for a tour of Yoho National Park on route to Lake Louise.

We arrived in Lake Louise about 12.30pm. We were staying at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This hotel is one of a kind. It is huge with 5 restaurants and loads of shops. We checked into our Deluxe Room where our luggage was waiting for us along with a complimentary box of chocolates. The rest of the afternoon we had free time. The Hotel is located directly on Lake Louise. The Lake itself was frozen but you could still walk around it. I walked for over an hour and then turned around. But I am told if you keep going in the summer you will come to a fully operational teahouse. I recommend staying in Lake Louise 1 - 2 nights as there is lots you can do. We had a hosted dinner that night. We had fondue which I hadn't had before. It was amazing and a great experience.
The next morning we took another bus to Calgary. We really only spent the night in Calgary so I didn't get to see much of the actual city. We stayed at the Fairmont Palliser. Our room was very big and modern. We had dinner in the restaurant and I had lamb. It was the best lamb I have ever had. I would have liked to stay in Calgary a little longer to explore. We said goodbye to our group early the following morning and boarded a Red Arrow bus to Edmonton.

We arrived in Edmonton within 3 hours from Calgary. We had an afternoon to explore the West Edmonton Mall. The mall is huge, there is a theme park, water world and much more. After shopping all day I was beat and headed back to our hotel as we were to be up early to catch The Canadian from Edmonton - Vancouver.

The Canadian

We arrived at the station to catch The Canadian at 7am. The station that The Canadian runs out of is not in downtown Edmonton. It has its own station which is near the airport. When we arrived we checked our luggage in and then boarded the train. I had my own sleeper cabin for 1. Before I boarded the attendant introduced herself and advised of where all amenities were including the restaurant. She also advised we could go to the restaurant and book in our dinner time which we did. There are 3 sittings to choose from. We chose the 7pm sitting. When I arrived in my cabin it was set up in a day configuration. I suggest checking your luggage as this cabin is small and there is no real room for suitcases. There was a viewing car that was upstairs. Lots of people seemed to take advantage of this car as you get the best view of the scenery. After breakfast I turned my cabin into a sleeper. I sat up in bed read and watched the scenery go by. We arrived into Jasper around 2pm. Here we had an hour to look around before the train took off. Once back on board we sat in the viewing car where they gave out complimentary champagne and desserts. Here is where we saw 3 black bears on the side of the tracks. A mum and her two cubs, it really was an amazing sight.

We arrived in the restaurant at 7pm for our dinner. An announcement was made for us to go the restaurant first. We had a three course meal and a menu to choose from. The food was fabulous and very tasty. Alcohol is not included on The Canadian this is at an extra cost. After our huge meal I was ready for bed. There are showers and washrooms at the end of each carriage. I brushed my teeth then settled in for a very comfortable sleep. I think I only woke up once.

Breakfast is served from 7am until 10am. I jumped in the shower and then headed to breakfast. I should mention in your cabin you will find a shower kit complete with 2 towels, soap, toothbrush etc. Breakfast again was of high standard. We had a menu to choose from. As we finished breakfast we arrived into Vancouver.

Summary

Overall I found Canada to be absolutely amazing. The people and scenery are like no where I have been before.
The Rocky Mountaineer is an experience in itself. I definitely recommend it. I also recommend staying at the Fairmont properties for the full experience. Also a night or two in Banff would be a great idea.
The Canadian was another great service. Very different from the Rocky Mountaineer but a great way to get from A - B in Canada. The food was great along with the service.

More staff stories

Go to staff stories page

 

Back To Top