Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West route takes guests to Alberta’s Bow River Valley. // © 2012 Rocky Mountaineer
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Alberta, Canada, offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in the Rocky Mountains and, when traveling to Alberta’s natural wonders, Rocky Mountaineer, a luxurious rail vacation, gives guests the chance to appreciate the area’s crags, peaks and wildlife in a unique way. Unlike other rail vacations, Rocky Mountaineer is only a daylight train, giving travelers the chance to relax and spend the night in top hotels across the region.
In Alberta, there are three primary routes on Rocky Mountaineer: First Passage to the West, Rainforest to Gold Rush and Journey Through the Clouds. Although each route can be customized to the guest’s preferences, all three routes depart from Vancouver and stop at popular destinations such as Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. During the duration of their trip, Rocky Mountaineer allows guests to create their own itinerary of activities off of the train. Such popular excursions include a helicopter tour over the Canadian Rockies, soaking in the mineral pools in Upper Hot Springs in Banff, golfing at the Fairmont Banff Springs, visiting the Calgary Stampede, hiking in Jasper National Park, cruising across glaciers at the Columbia Icefield and more.
One reason why Rocky Mountaineer is a popular vacation choice is because of its ability to provide diverse vacation packages. Some of its most popular vacation packages are the Rail and Cruise Vacations.
“More than 50 percent of Rocky Mountaineer’s Goldleaf guests combine their rail trip with an Alaska cruise,” said Karen Wiseman, Rocky Mountaineer’s director of sales.
In collaboration with Holland America Line, Rocky Mountaineer has recently been able to add more rail and cruise itineraries for guests to choose from, whether its pre- or post-cruise.
Although the striking and awe-inspiring scenery of the Rockies is what will draw most vacationers, Rocky Mountaineer’s trains can be a luxurious experience in and of themselves. With three different rail services to choose from, each choice offers an unforgettable experience. Goldleaf is the premier service of all of Rocky Mountaineer’s Canadian Rockies routes. Guests ride in the top floor of a two-story coach. The train’s glass dome ceiling offers a 360-degree view of passing scenery and wildlife. Below the stairs, just down a spiral staircase, is Goldleaf’s dining room, where gourmet meals are served to guests seated next to oversize picture windows. Menus include local specialties and a list of award-winning local Okanagan Valley wines.
Rocky Mountaineer’s Silverleaf is the new single-level glass dome service. This “business-class” rail just debuted earlier this year as a unique way to experience the First Passage of the West Journey. Like Goldleaf, it includes reclining seats, a hot meal served at the guest’s seat and luggage concierge services.
The third type of service offered is Redleaf. It features a single level, classic rail coach with reclining seats, complimentary meals and assistance from onboard attendants.
Whether guests choose the Goldleaf, Silverleaf or Redleaf services they can be sure to enjoy exceptional service from Rocky Mountaineer Hosts. These hosts add to each rail trip by entertaining guests with storytelling of passing regions and encouraging friendly interactions and lasting friendships.
“Lasting connections are made among passengers, the fine dining onboard is a truly gourmet experience and guests visit some unforgettable destinations such as Vancouver, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Whistler,” said Wiseman. “The ability to experience such incredible wildlife and scenery — as well as popular city stops — from the comfort of a luxury train is unique to Rocky Mountaineer.”
Another important factor that makes Rocky Mountaineer trips unique is the variety of itineraries offered, which provide travel agents with the ability to customize trips to their clients’ specific desires. Trips can be targeted at a wide variety of high-end travelers, whether it’s a romantic getaway, a culinary experience, adventures for families and multigenerational groups and more.
“Agents might want to suggest a rail vacation to their clients who love to cruise but are looking for something new, as the new clientele and packaging of Rocky Mountaineer trips are often quite analogous to a high-end cruise client,” said Wiseman.
While this luxury rail line is certain to be a classic vacation option for years to come, it is also ever-changing with new routes and amenities. In 2013, the line will launch new routes that begin in Seattle and journey through Vancouver to Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. This will be the first departure from the U.S. and will be particularly valuable for agents looking to combine a rail journey with an Alaska cruise out of Seattle.
Rocky Mountaineer trips run from April through October and cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,500, depending on the package and rail service. As an added incentive, agents who book a qualifying 2012 vacation package in Goldleaf or Silverleaf service by March 31 will receive a $100 bonus.