There are few better ways to experience the magnificent landscapes and culture of Western Canada than aboard a luxury train. Rocky Mountaineer, one of the largest privately owned passenger rail services in North America, offers over 45 unique vacation packages and four distinctive rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta that are rich in history and natural wonders,. And while the company just wrapped up its 2011 season, it’s already gearing up for 2012 with new departures dates on some of its favorite itineraries and the official launch of its brand-new SilverLeaf Service.
“Rail travel takes you back to a time when travelers enjoyed the journey just as much as the destination,” says Elizabeth Johnsen, director, sales, USA. “On board the Rocky Mountaineer, our guests can leave their Blackberries behind and sit back, relax and see the stunning scenery unfold outside their windows. Rather than only experiencing Western Canada’s big cities and resorts, the train travels through remote areas not accessible by car. There are also a number of historic points along our rail routes and our guests marvel at being able to learn so much about the history of Canada and the rails.”
One of the company’s more popular tours is the Classic Journey Through the Clouds. This 3-night journey follows the route of the Fraser River, home to some of the area’s largest salmon. Along the way, passengers will pass by the Albreda Glacier, Pyramid Falls, Fraser Canyon and the Coastal Mountain Range, as well as the majestic Mount Robson—the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies and one of this trip’s biggest highlights. Rates start at $1,133 pp.
Meanwhile, the Western Explorer is a 7-night journey that includes all the must-see sights of the Canadian Rockies, including Jasper, the Icefield Parkway, Yoho Park and Banff. Passengers on this itinerary can also experience a sightseeing tour on a summit helicopter. Rates start at $2,889 pp.
“What sets us apart is that our rail journeys through British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies travel in daylight only so that none of the stunning scenery is missed,” explains Johnsen. “Guests overnight at a hotel halfway in either Kamloops, BC or Quesnel, BC depending on which route they travel on. “We also have exclusive rights to operate a passenger train along the Canadian Pacific rail line between Vancouver, BC and Banff/Calgary, Alberta. This route, which is called the First Passage to the West, is rich in Canadian history and linked our country from coast to coast over 125 years ago.
Johnsen also tells Recommend that a significant amount of Rocky Mountaineer guests combine rail journeys with Alaskan cruises. “During the 2012 season we will once again be offering our Rail and Cruise itineraries with cruise departures out of Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, WA. In partnership with Holland America, these itineraries include a 7-night Glacier Bay Inside Passage Cruise and two days on board the Rocky Mountaineer train between British Columbia and Alberta. The 2011 season was the first time we offered cruise departures out of Seattle, WA.”
Also new in 2011 was the launch of the line’s new SilverLeaf Service. “This past season, we had a soft launch of this new service, which offers our guests the option to upgrade from traditional RedLeaf Service and travel in a single level dome coach, boasting panoramic views, entertaining onboard commentary, and a delicious at-your-seat hot meal service,” says Johnsen. “SilverLeaf received an overwhelming response during the 2011 season and will be offered on every Rocky Mountaineer First Passage to the West rail trip between Vancouver, BC, and Banff/Calgary, Alberta in 2012.”
Rocky Mountaineers will begin departures for its 2012 season in April. For more information, call (877) 460-3200 or visit rockymountaineer.com.