The Rocky Mountaineer train is world famous. Anyone that’s ever considered a visit to that corner of the world will more than likely have considered (or seriously thought about) a trip on it.
Now you may be wondering why a company called www.CRUISE.co.uk is spending time talking about a train. Well surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising considering how beautiful the scenery is) a lot of cruisers like to combine a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer with their cruise holiday; either before or after.
This type of cruise and stay holiday (as it’s called) has gotten more and more popular in recent years with places like the Rockies at the forefront of that (you can see the full list of our cruise and stay holidays here).
As it’s become so popular we decided to send several of our specialist cruise consultants over to check it out and see what it’s all about (it’s a hard job we guess but somebody has to do it)!
You can see what they found out below…
The Rocky Mountaineer isn’t just a straight forward train journey. It offers over forty five different short holiday packages and four completely different and utterly unique rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta, giving you the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful scenery Canada has to offer via a world renowned luxurious train. With all that in mind it’s easy to see how they won the “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” title at the World Travel Awards.
The train itself is split up into three different levels of service and it’s up to you which you travel on, whether it be the Red, Silver or Gold Leaf.
Red Leaf offers travellers just a single level of the train which will give you them the feel of a more classic and traditional train journey. You’ll have one on-board attendant who offers excellent service and commentary throughout the trip, complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the day.
Silver leaf still offers just the single level but in a bigger carriage with panoramic windows, more leg room and a lot more space to walk up the isles which encourages socialising amongst travellers. You also have the option to request seats of two or a set of four facing each other (for those who are traveling as a group). Two attendants will be on hand offering commentary and excellent service throughout the journey.
Traveling silver leaf also means your luggage will be delivered straight to your hotel room. (Now that’s got to beat lugging it around!)
One of our specialist cruise consultants on-board was Liam Mclean. He got to travel by Silver Leaf from Seattle to Vancouver and had this to say… “We were welcomed on board by Becky and Bernardo who were our hosts for this leg of the journey, taking approximately 5 hours. The coach was extremely spacious, and there was plug sockets in the chairs for charging those all-important phones we all are so addicted to checking. On route free drinks (soft and alcoholic) were served with a delicious hot meal. There was ample room to get up and be social among your own travelling companions, but everyone was friendly and all walks of life mingled.” You can read more of Liam’s thoughts on the Rocky Mountaineer here.
Moving up to the seven time award winning Gold Leaf offers guests access to the second level of the train with a full glass domed roof to really take in the spectacular views of the Rockies. You’ll be treated to exclusive dining in the restaurant cart downstairs which actually comes with its own dedicated chef!
The upper level of the Rocky Mountaineer is the roomiest of the three options with luxurious seats that can be rotated around in either direction to chat with other guests. There are four attendants stationed in this carriage all offering the same brilliant service and commentary. Complimentary drinks and snacks are offered throughout the journey and all luggage will once again be delivered to your hotel room before you arrive.
Another consultant of ours, Steve Fuller was lucky enough to experience both Silver and Gold Leaf trains…“The Train itself exceeded all my expectations and I just loved it. Having been lucky enough to experience both Silver and Gold Leaf, trust me it’s worth paying the extra and going Gold. You have more space and the viewing from your windows and the glass above you is awesome. It’s great to go downstairs to a restaurant and have your meals on a table rather than just served to you on a tray. The service is impeccable, the staff are friendly and very knowledgeable along the route- they simply can’t do enough for you. Once you go into the restaurant, it’s very comfortable. Great views from the windows, a menu to choose from and a 3 course meal to follow!”
Sophie Drake, the last of our specialist cruise consultants to ride the Rocky Mountaineer Had a lot to say about choosing between the red, silver and gold leaf options… “The Gold Leaf service is the most luxurious and many people ask me if it is worth the added cost. Without a shadow of a doubt, the answer is YES!
If you are considering a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer, it is likely to be something you will do only once in your life. So do it properly. This is the one trip where corner-cutting just doesn’t work. If you travel in the Red or Silver Leaf service, you sit in a train carriage about the same height above the ground as a train carriage in the UK. So when you look out of the windows you see this:
Some rocks, some tree trunks and some low level foliage. Pretty enough. But if you travel in Gold Leaf, you sit on the upper level of a double decker train. The carriage has a glass dome roof for a truly panoramic view. I took these pictures through the roof of the Gold Leaf carriage:
To ensure passengers don’t miss any of the amazing views the trains only operate during daylight hours, stopping at different destinations all over Western Canada including… Lake Louise, Vancouver, Banff, Calgary and Jasper. Stopping at these diverse locations means guests get to experience many different aspects of Canada from Zodiac boating (described by Liam here)…
“This was absolutely amazing, we get kitted up into some rather bright water proofs, and away we go… We get into our Zodiac boats and tare into the waters of Vancouver at 55 mph. A fantastic experience, and if you are ever in Vancouver, it’s a must do. You hear about the surrounding architecture, local places of interest, and you get a very neat windswept hairstyle (proof is above!).”
Another not to be missed sight is the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver.
The small town is popular in the winter season for ski goers but during the summer traveller’s flock for the opportunity to take a Skyride Gondola up Grouse Mountain. “If you get time I recommend you to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge” says Steve Fuller. “Banff is a wonderful little town with the opportunity to visit the Grouse Mountain via the Sky ride gondola which offers amazing views on a clear day. It looks glorious in the sunshine and you can just imagine it in winter being popular for the Ski resorts. How I’d love to spend Christmas there. Would be a beautiful Winter Wonderland.”
Have you ever done the Rocky Mountaineer? Would you?