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Canadian Rockies Cruise Tour


Tudy
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Have any of you done the Canadian Rockies Cruise tour in conjunction with an Alaskan cruise? It seems a little expensive, in that it would add about $4000/pp to the cost of the cruise. However, it is over my husbands 65th birthday and he has always wanted to take me to Banff.

 

My questions are:

  • Did you enjoy it? Was it "the trip of a lifetime?"
  • Did you like the cost:benefit ratio?
  • It does include a night at Chateau Lake Louise. Did you stay here? Were you impressed with the hotel?
  • How much additional needs to be budgeted for meals and tips?
  • Did any of you plan your own post cruise trip across the Rockies?
  • Any additional tips or comments. 

 

I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

 

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1 hour ago, Tudy said:

Have any of you done the Canadian Rockies Cruise tour in conjunction with an Alaskan cruise? It seems a little expensive, in that it would add about $4000/pp to the cost of the cruise. However, it is over my husbands 65th birthday and he has always wanted to take me to Banff.

 

We have not taken the Rocky Mountaineer rail tour, but have seriously considered it and know that there are multiple levels of service.  The lowest price when booked directly with Rocky Mountaineer is currently $2004 (USD) pp for summer 2021.

 

Suggest you look at www.rockymountaineer.com to see what is available at different price levels.

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Presumably your cruise will end in Vancouver.  I would rent a car and drive to Banff.  We have done this many times and the scenery is amazing.  When you drive, you can stop wherever you want, to take pictures rather than trying to get a good shot out the window of the bus.  With the $$$$ you would save, you could stay several nights in the Chateau Lake Louise which is gorgeous or the Banff Springs hotel, also lovely.  Then you could drive to Calgary, which is not far from that area, turn in your car and fly home from there.  This all hinges on you being comfortable driving, of course.  I do hope you get to see the Rockies, Banff and Jasper one way or the other.

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Tudy - we did the Vancouver to Calgary post cruise tour last summer.  Absolutely loved every part of it.  This was booked through Celebrity.  Here is a link to some pics: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7RnFfwjmvgXW29NG9

 

All the hotels we stayed were Fairmont's and they were all wonderful properties but Lake Louise spectacular.  Loved the overnight train experience from Vancouver to Jasper.  The daily tours gave us great opportunity to see the Canadian Rockies.  A few meals were included but we did not find eating venues that expensive although we did splurge at Chateau Lake Louise for a wonderful dinner with a perfect view of the Lake, mountains, and glacier.    Highly recommend!    John and Ron

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Like TeeBag said if you are comfortable driving then look into renting a car, you will get a better feel of BC and Alberta. Choose your hotels or even B&B. If you drive take the Yellowhead route to Jasper, then drive the icefield parkway south to Banff. Remember to stop at Lake Louise it's spectacular. The Rocky Mountaineer always get's great reviews but we can't justify the cost. Once we feel more comfortable to travel maybe we'll take the drive to my cousin's place outside of Calgary.

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Another option would be to lease a small RV (check out companies in Vancouver) then drive to Calgary. We did this (with our own RV) stayed in the beautiful parks and treated ourselves to brunch at the Chateau Lake Louise.  You’re right there with nature. 
Johanne

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We had a trip planned this past June, so I did all the planning and then no trip. I can tell you what we were going to do if it helps. We were doing a Vancouver round trip Alaska cruise the last week of June. I have always wanted to see the Canadian Rockies, so like you we had planned to visit after the cruise. We are more DIY type people so we didn't look at the post-cruise package. I think the planning process is as much fun as the trip. I learn all kinds of things about the places we are going to visit which adds to my enjoyment. Many prefer tours though, so no right or wrong answer, just different.

 

We only had a week after the cruise to travel, so instead of renting a vehicle in Vancouver, we decided to fly to Calgary after the cruise to save time for the Rockies. There were flights about every hour or so and reasonably priced. We had rented a vehicle at YYC and had reserved rooms at both Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise. We didn't have time to include Jasper, but we had planned to drive the Icefields Parkway part way up and back. We had booked a night at the end in Calgary as we had an early flight home. With your budget you could easily do this on your own first class all the way. I'm obviously disappointed we didn't get to go, but I have a good itinerary planned out for the future and will plan on including Jasper next time. If you do have an interest in planning your own trip, the Tripadvisor Canadian Rockies forum is very helpful. I would take a look at that before I made up my mind. I'm sure you will have a great time either way.   

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13 hours ago, TeaBag said:

Presumably your cruise will end in Vancouver.  I would rent a car and drive to Banff.  We have done this many times and the scenery is amazing.  When you drive, you can stop wherever you want, to take pictures rather than trying to get a good shot out the window of the bus.  With the $$$$ you would save, you could stay several nights in the Chateau Lake Louise which is gorgeous or the Banff Springs hotel, also lovely.  Then you could drive to Calgary, which is not far from that area, turn in your car and fly home from there.  This all hinges on you being comfortable driving, of course.  I do hope you get to see the Rockies, Banff and Jasper one way or the other.

Thanks for the great suggestion. I was thinking that it would be great to let someone else tend to the details but you raise some very pertanent points. 

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13 hours ago, RKF said:

Tudy - we did the Vancouver to Calgary post cruise tour last summer.  Absolutely loved every part of it.  This was booked through Celebrity.  Here is a link to some pics: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7RnFfwjmvgXW29NG9

 

All the hotels we stayed were Fairmont's and they were all wonderful properties but Lake Louise spectacular.  Loved the overnight train experience from Vancouver to Jasper.  The daily tours gave us great opportunity to see the Canadian Rockies.  A few meals were included but we did not find eating venues that expensive although we did splurge at Chateau Lake Louise for a wonderful dinner with a perfect view of the Lake, mountains, and glacier.    Highly recommend!    John and Ron

LOOOOVVVVEEEEDDD your photos.I especially appreciate the composition and techniques that you used. They made your point quite eloquently.:-)

 

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47 minutes ago, JL87 said:

We had a trip planned this past June, so I did all the planning and then no trip. I can tell you what we were going to do if it helps. We were doing a Vancouver round trip Alaska cruise the last week of June. I have always wanted to see the Canadian Rockies, so like you we had planned to visit after the cruise. We are more DIY type people so we didn't look at the post-cruise package. I think the planning process is as much fun as the trip. I learn all kinds of things about the places we are going to visit which adds to my enjoyment. Many prefer tours though, so no right or wrong answer, just different.

 

We only had a week after the cruise to travel, so instead of renting a vehicle in Vancouver, we decided to fly to Calgary after the cruise to save time for the Rockies. There were flights about every hour or so and reasonably priced. We had rented a vehicle at YYC and had reserved rooms at both Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise. We didn't have time to include Jasper, but we had planned to drive the Icefields Parkway part way up and back. We had booked a night at the end in Calgary as we had an early flight home. With your budget you could easily do this on your own first class all the way. I'm obviously disappointed we didn't get to go, but I have a good itinerary planned out for the future and will plan on including Jasper next time. If you do have an interest in planning your own trip, the Tripadvisor Canadian Rockies forum is very helpful. I would take a look at that before I made up my mind. I'm sure you will have a great time either way.   

Oh that sounds like it would have been a wonderful trip. Usually I like to plan trips down to the last detail, but for some reason, I find that overwhelms me with this trip. I think it is too many different places that I want to go I want it to be just right for buy husband because he has wanted to do this for so long. I plan to present him with options and let him decide.

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1 hour ago, JL87 said:

We are more DIY type people so we didn't look at the post-cruise package. I think the planning process is as much fun as the trip. I learn all kinds of things about the places we are going to visit which adds to my enjoyment.    

 

That's exactly how we approach cruises and pre- or post-cruise activities. 

 

37 minutes ago, Tudy said:

Oh that sounds like it would have been a wonderful trip. Usually I like to plan trips down to the last detail, but for some reason, I find that overwhelms me with this trip. I think it is too many different places that I want to go I want it to be just right for buy husband because he has wanted to do this for so long. I plan to present him with options and let him decide.

 

Your husband will be thrilled to have the options, not to mention having the trip itself. Bravo for letting him choose.

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We have flown in to Calgary rented a car then drove to Lake Louise. We stayed there a couple nights after driving around the area. We then boarded the Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf service with an overnight in Kamploops, then on to Vancouver, up to Whistler by car then back to board a ship. The train travels along and in areas you wouldn't see by car in that trip to Vancouver. 

The rivers are spectacular. We were in the Dome Car, and there was an outside viewing area on one of the last cars that we enjoyed standing and taking pictures.  Service was very good on the train. Kamploops was the self proclaimed "Armpit of Canada" by a theater group that provided entertainment at Kamploops in the evening.  I wouldn't go to that theater group again, one and done. Hotel in Kamploops was okay nothing special. Two choices if I recall correctly, not sure if the less expensive hotel would of been much different. 

 

I do think Rocky Mountaineer is something we would consider doing maybe once more. It is a trip that I believe that none of the people we talked to on the train had been on before. Was it worth the expense? For our trip I would say yes. For a repeat, maybe. 

 

Your mileage may vary. 

 

Mirage

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By coincidence, we recently watched an episode of "Mighty Trains" that was devoted to the Rocky Mountaineer.  It seemed quite nice, but very pricey for what it was (and that was without the Celebrity markup).  Obviously, I have no personal experience with it.

 

But my wife and I have vacationed in the Canadian Rockies and, as others have said, this is very do-able on your own.  You can set your own pace, see and do what you want, and stay where you want.  We flew into Calgary, rented a car, and then drove to Jasper, and, over the course of many days, made our way down through Lake Louise to Banff.   (We had originally planned to do it in reverse, but the smoke from wildfires made it impossible to stay in Banff when we arrived.  Fortunately, we were able to flip our itinerary at the last minute.)   It was all stunningly beautiful, of course, especially the area around Jasper, which many folks don't include in their trip.  And we absolutely loved our glacier hike on the Athabasca Glacier of the Columbia Icefield.  

 

Unless you really want to "leave the driving" to Celebrity (or the Rocky Mountaineer), I would at least consider doing the Rockies on your own. 

 

Enjoy whatever you choose, and happy 65th to your DH!

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Hi - we were supposed to do this combination in May and booked the Rocky Mountaineer through AAA after booking our cruise with Celebrity. Purchased the "train" portion as a package from Rocky Mountaineer with extra nights in Calgary and Vancouver.

Due to Covid-19, Rocky Mountaineer cancelled the trip.

If you plan to deal with Rocky Mountaineer, my advice is to make certain that you have really good travel insurance that will cover your expenses if for any reason the trip can't be done. RM has refused to refund any of our $6K, including the cost of the hotels (all of which are fully refunding pandemic related cancellations).

We're so frustrated with this situation that we're not sure we ever want to travel with them. We have friends who did the trip with the Gold Leaf Service (which is what we had booked), and they said it was fantastic. Thousands of positive reviews on TripAdvisor, but the negative reviews detail exactly what we have dealt with. Just go in with your eyes open and read their Terms & Conditions carefully. (They're on the website and in their brochure.)

Whenever we get to Alaska for our long-awaited cruise, we're considering hiring a driver to take us on the same route as the train. Then we'll have more control over what we see,  when we eat & where we sleep and will save a boatload of money!   Kay

 

Edited by MarKay525
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We did the Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf service.  It was a nice train ride. The food and service was excellent.  THe scenery was good but the real scenic portions were less of the trip than I was expecting. The trip we took two days to get to Jasper with a stop over in Kamloops. It included two nights at Jasper, a night at Lake Louise, two nights at Banff and a night in Calgary. We did a self drive option with a rental car instead of the bus tour once we got in Jasper.

 

It was a good trip but if I had to do it over I would book the hotels on my own and do it as a driving trip.

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If you are comfortable with doing it on your own...fly to Edmonton and drive towards Jasper National Park that day.  You can then proceed to visit The Icefields, Lake Louise, Banff, and perhaps part of BC (wine tours and Rockies).  Flying home via Calgary Is very doable.
If not, then you can fly into Calgary and utilize “local” tour companies that will specialize in packages from there.  Your  travel agency may have brochures or you can google it.

Driving from Vancouver/Seattle is about 12 hours depending on traffic, season, and destination.

The train is awesome.  If that price is steep perhaps VIA Rail but I believe most of it is night time.

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On 8/7/2020 at 12:37 PM, RKF said:

Tudy - we did the Vancouver to Calgary post cruise tour last summer.  Absolutely loved every part of it.  This was booked through Celebrity.  Here is a link to some pics: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7RnFfwjmvgXW29NG9

 

All the hotels we stayed were Fairmont's and they were all wonderful properties but Lake Louise spectacular.  Loved the overnight train experience from Vancouver to Jasper.  The daily tours gave us great opportunity to see the Canadian Rockies.  A few meals were included but we did not find eating venues that expensive although we did splurge at Chateau Lake Louise for a wonderful dinner with a perfect view of the Lake, mountains, and glacier.    Highly recommend!    John and Ron

My late wife and I did the same tour a few years back but in reverse as a pre cruise tour. We also stayed in Fairmonts. Thoroughly enjoyed it; Lake Louise, the Icefields etc and overnight Via Rail from Jasper to Vancouver. The cruise was Vancouver to Seward on X Millennium followed by a 7 day post cruise rail tour to Fairbanks which included a 3 night Denali.

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7 hours ago, MarKay525 said:

Whenever we get to Alaska for our long-awaited cruise, we're considering hiring a driver to take us on the same route as the train. Then we'll have more control over what we see,  when we eat & where we sleep and will save a boatload of money!  


Much of Alaska is very do-able on your own, unless you have problems with driving. In fact, one of our best trips was the ten days we spent driving around Alaska before embarking on a cruise from Seward to Vancouver.  Alaska cruises are beautiful, of course, but imho they don’t beat spending time on land (and inland) in Alaska.  I always encourage people considering an Alaska cruise to cruise one way, and spend time pre-or post- cruise driving around the state. 

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12 hours ago, MarKay525 said:

Hi - we were supposed to do this combination in May and booked the Rocky Mountaineer through AAA after booking our cruise with Celebrity. Purchased the "train" portion as a package from Rocky Mountaineer with extra nights in Calgary and Vancouver.

Due to Covid-19, Rocky Mountaineer cancelled the trip.

If you plan to deal with Rocky Mountaineer, my advice is to make certain that you have really good travel insurance that will cover your expenses if for any reason the trip can't be done. RM has refused to refund any of our $6K, including the cost of the hotels (all of which are fully refunding pandemic related cancellations).

We're so frustrated with this situation that we're not sure we ever want to travel with them. We have friends who did the trip with the Gold Leaf Service (which is what we had booked), and they said it was fantastic. Thousands of positive reviews on TripAdvisor, but the negative reviews detail exactly what we have dealt with. Just go in with your eyes open and read their Terms & Conditions carefully. (They're on the website and in their brochure.)

Whenever we get to Alaska for our long-awaited cruise, we're considering hiring a driver to take us on the same route as the train. Then we'll have more control over what we see,  when we eat & where we sleep and will save a boatload of money!   Kay

 

Thanks for sharing your experience.  That is exactly the kind off situation that I am looking to avoid.  It's too much money to lose.

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We live in the area.  Last 20 years in Calgary,  Previous 20 years in Vancouver.  Lots of travel in the mountains.  Very frequent trip between the two.

 

Our advice...unless you are the escorted tour type skip the train.  It is expensive, you will see much.  But we think that you will see and experience a lot more by doing it yourself.  Rent a car in  Vancover,  drop it off in Calgary.  Or do a loop Vancouver return.

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We have a group of family/friends sailing (Fingers X'd) on the Millennium 9/9/21 out of Vancouver. Several couples are planning on DIYing the Canadian Rockies first- flying into Calgary, booking one-way car rentals, renting vacation condos in Canmore for 3 nights then on to Jasper for another 3 nights. We will stop overnight enroute to Vancouver....not excited about staying in Kamloops with a population of 90k...but have found a few other options. We hope to firm up our lodging options soon.

 

We like being independent of set tours, but there are  busoptions aside from the Mountaineer and Celebrity's excursion. Here is one:

https://keywesttravelandtours.com/rocky-mountain-bus-tours/. I am sure you can find others including Globus.

 

Check out our roll call! @BCHappyGal has posted some great tips for the Rockies and Vancouver!

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We have the post-cruise tour booked for Millie , May  21, 2021. We had it booked for Sept. 2020 before COVID cancelled everything. I  have always wanted to do the overnight train, but I do not want to take the chance of Rockie Mountaineer not refunding if the virus continues to keep us from traveling. I have read that insurance does not pay for pandemic cancellations. Renting a car might work, but we would miss the train adventure. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will research and rethink our options, but for now we may as well stay put with our Celebrity booking to see if cruising even starts up again.

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@Glendakaymyself, keep in mind the Rocky Mountaineer is not an "overnight" train, you stop in Kamloops and stay in a rather ordinary hotel. Then back on the train for the second day. Best of luck for your trip coming through, I hope you make a lasting memory whichever way you choose to travel western Canada.

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2 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

@Glendakaymyself, keep in mind the Rocky Mountaineer is not an "overnight" train, you stop in Kamloops and stay in a rather ordinary hotel. Then back on the train for the second day. Best of luck for your trip coming through, I hope you make a lasting memory whichever way you choose to travel western Canada.

I just double-checked our tour. Our overnight train is Via Rail, not Rocky Mountwineer.

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