Posted October 7th, 2017, 09:15 AM
Last edited by Cornishpastyman1; October 7th, 2017 at 09:38 AM
Have begun to watch your terrific videos on You Tube. What a wonderful job you did, we are thoroughly enjoying your tour. Makes us want to visit the Rockies even more. We love these types of trips to Alaska as well, can never get enough of the scenery.
Would you mind if I ask what rental car company you used? You made a self drive trip very tempting. Our only concern is that we would want to end up in Seattle where our cruise begins.
Would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Again, your videos were terrific, you have a nice looking family. Everyone seemed to be having a ball.
Denise & Mark "Sleddogs"
Hi Denise and Mark
Thanks for your kind words, I always make vids of my trips as especially on trips like that I would otherwise never remember where we went ! We had a great time with that one.
On the car hire, to be honest I can't recall which company we used except it was one of the big ones (Alamo/Avis/Hertz) but our "search" would not have been very sophisticated. We flew into Calgary from London, collected the car at the airport and drove to Banff. As we needed a Dodge Caravan or similar I imagine my sister (Chief Administrator for Overseas Trips) just Googled "car hire Calgary airport" and took it from there. We collected it at 4 pm which meant it had to be at the Vancouver drop-off point by 4 pm a week later or we would trigger another day's hire charge. Despite seemingly meticulous planning we only made it with 10 minutes to spare but that could be because I threw in an unscheduled stop at Whistler purely because I went skiing there 20 years ago. The others were not overly impressed
We bought a 5 day National Park pass, and as we were a family/group (of 6) it was just under $20 a day. The driving is very easy, with plenty of parking everywhere. 2 nights at Banff and 3 at Jasper worked well. For our white-water rafting my niece was too young to go on the grade 3 rapids and rather than split the party we just did the grade 2. I think unless you go up to grades 4-6 the difference is marginal, and it was good fun. As it turned out I could easily have taken the camcorder but with the cruise coming up the next week didn't want to risk ruining it, so that is why that bit has just a few stills from the CD that you can buy at the end.
Overall I would give ourselves 8.5/10 for the itinerary and what we saw. Maybe even a 9. With hindsight I think I would have done a glacier drive/walk instead of the Glacier Skywalk and missed out the Banff Gondola, which is all very pleasant but had no wow factor after all the really steep gondolas/cable cars we have ridden on our ski trips. My favourite sights were the crashing waterfalls and walking the canyons, especially Maligne Canyon. It was a wonderful experience in the summer but would be even more spectacular in winter when waterfalls are frozen.
You'll see that we followed the well-trodden path that 99% of first-timers do, nothing very groundbreaking. As long-time skiers, while we enjoyed the scenery we really wanted to see bears and after a slow start we got lucky. Which was just as well as we didn't see any on the Alaska cruise, and specifically our day out of Skagway and into the Yukon, which was always going to be our best chance.
As you're heading for Seattle you'll taking the same roads. Jasper-Vancouver is a very long way, which is why we had to stop at Kamloops. But we did get to see a Grizzly bear at the wildlife park, which you won't in the wild. Obviously how you would do it is down to time, budget and how much driving you want to do. It's clearly not ideal to have a long travel on the day you start the cruise but Vancouver - Seattle is "only" 142 miles so if your ship departs late you could leave Vancouver early to catch it. But that would mean seeing very little of Vancouver and also Seattle (I've not been but imagine it's a great city).
These are only my thoughts, there are so many ways to do this sort of thing, but having a car gave us options each day by allowing us to stay longer here and shorter there as the mood took us , as well as be able to work around the vagaries of the differing opinions of a party of 6
We saw the Rocky Mountaineer at Jasper but all the passengers on that would have to get on coaches to go where we did so they must have been all around us at various times. All the best, Tony