Rocky Mountaineer Unveils a New Route

Travel becomes more about the journey than the destination

By: By Bryce Longton

Travel has become much more about the destination rather than the entire journey. In an era of non-stop flights, the Chunnel and the Autobahn, it would seem that the days of leisurely clacking along train tracks are long gone. Not so says Rocky Mountaineer Vacations. If your clients are the least bit interested in seeing Canada while being pampered on a first-class train, sign them up for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Train Trekking
I glance at my watch and note the time: It’s 12:30. I want to remember this moment. This is the quintessential Rocky Mountaineer moment. I’m in the dining car on my way from Whistler to Quesnel. I’ve got a plate of salmon eggs Benedict in front of me, breathtaking lake-and-canyon filled panoramas rolling along outside the window, and just for a moment, I am completely at peace.

It’s moments like that that bring to mind words like serene and gorgeous all good descriptors for the newest train route unveiled by Rocky Mountaineer Vacations this May. Adding to their menu of services that already includes the Kicking Horse Route (Vancouver-Kamloops-Banff/Calgary) and the Yellowhead Route (Vancouver-Kamloops-Jasper) their latest the Fraser Discovery Route winds through traditionally hard-to-get-to areas from Whistler to Quesnel to Jasper each stop more spectacular than the last.

Offering two levels of service, GoldLeaf and RedLeaf, the Rocky Mountaineer aims to please. The Gold Leaf service for the Fraser Discovery Route includes seating in the greenhouse-esq dome coach with glass stretching from the seat all the way over head offering unparalleled views of the beautiful Canadian scenery, breakfast and lunch in a formal dining car and access to the open-air viewing area at the back of the train.

The GoldLeaf service also includes dinner and one night moderate accommodations in Quesnel.

The RedLeaf service includes reclined seating, large picture windows, in-seat meal service and one night moderate accommodations in Quesnel.

Besides the romance of just simply traveling by train, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations allows guests to choose their own adventure with a completely customizable schedule. If they like, your clients can spend a few days in Vancouver before boarding the train or take two or three days to ski down the renowned runs in Whistler. And on the backend of the trip lazy days in Jasper are a must.

To kick off your clients’ trip, send them to the laidback metropolis that is Vancouver. A big city with a small-town feel, Vancouver will likely be the perfect introduction to Canada. And since the city host the 2010 Olympics Vancouver is opening its arms and bursting with pride for the upcoming festivities.

A must-see (or rather, must-do) is the infamous Stanley Park. Travelers can rent bikes and roll around the Seawall, taking in the greenery. If you’ve got some foodies on your hands, book them for the Taste of Vancouver Tour, which takes clients on a tasting tour of the local fare at the Granville Island Public Market. Weak stomachs be warned: Fish innards are just one of the items to choose from.

Next stop, Whistler. Jaded travelers will likely find themselves leaning out of the back of the Whistler Mountaineer snapping photos of the snow-capped mountains as the train jogs along from Northern Vancouver to the picturesque resort town that is home to the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The short three-hour ride leaves the rest of the day open for skiing, snowboarding, zip-treking or golfing. If your clients are interested in seeing history in the making, have them stop by the burgeoning bobsled run, all in preparation for the Olympics.

From Whistler, the Fraser Discovery Route runs to Quesnel an unspoiled, small town with a friendly vibe. As the train heads closer to Quesnel, the wildlife increases exponentially: Caribou, deer and Black Bears are in abundance. If your clients want to experience being famous, make sure they are looking out the window as the train pulls into the stations the townspeople like to greet travelers with waves, smiles and much fanfare.

Last stop, Jasper. If your clients haven’t been won over by the majestic beauty of Whistler or the charm of Quesnel, Jasper will likely reel them in. Bordered by the Rockies and dotted with emerald lakes, Jasper is the perfect spot for canoeing, hiking, river rafting, dog sledding and skiing not to mention just relaxing. In addition, Jasper is home to the Icefields Parkway, touted as the most beautiful drive in the world complete with mountains, waterfalls, lakes and the famous Columbia Icefield.

Commission: 10 percent

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