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Canadian Rockies Cruise Tour


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32 minutes ago, Glendakayself said:

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

The reason the Rocky Mountaineer stops in Kamloops is to make sure that the entire route in in the daylight for scenic viewing.

 

VIA which is more of a passenger rail service, does not have the same concerns.

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39 minutes ago, Glendakayself said:

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


Exactly.
 

Two entirely different companies and experiences. 

 

VIA Rail is Canada’s rail passenger network (similar to Amtrak in the US, only superior IMO). 
 

Rocky Mountaineer is a private tour operator. 
 

Don’t confuse the two. 

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4 hours ago, BEAV said:


Exactly.
 

Two entirely different companies and experiences. 

 

VIA Rail is Canada’s rail passenger network (similar to Amtrak in the US, only superior IMO). 
 

Rocky Mountaineer is a private tour operator. 
 

Don’t confuse the two. 

And if you decide to combine a VIA rail trip with a cruise be sure to do the cruise first followed by the eastbound rail trip from Vancouver to Jasper rather than taking a westbound rail trip from Jasper to Vancouver followed by a cruise.  Reason being that the westbound train can be as much as 15 to 20 hours late due to the fact that it originates in Toronto and freight trains have priority over passenger trains.  The eastbound VIA trains are generally not significantly late since they originate in Vancouver. 

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In my opinion, it is the drive between Banff and Jasper that is the true highlight of the area.  Frankly, after spending a few days touring the area, Lake Louise was a letdown.  Way too many people with the types of views that can be seen elsewhere.

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Just now, ericosmith said:

In my opinion, it is the drive between Banff and Jasper that is the true highlight of the area.  Frankly, after spending a few days touring the area, Lake Louise was a letdown.  Way too many people with the types of views that can be seen elsewhere.

 

It is the drive on the icefield parkway that is spectacular. I have only done it from Jasper in the north towards Banff in the south and what a drive. We had been to a "Group of Seven" exhibit at our local art gallery and I saw the vistas that inspired some of those very large paintings. When we were at Lake Louise there weren't very many people and it was quite nice.

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14 hours ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

And if you decide to combine a VIA rail trip with a cruise be sure to do the cruise first followed by the eastbound rail trip from Vancouver to Jasper rather than taking a westbound rail trip from Jasper to Vancouver followed by a cruise.  Reason being that the westbound train can be as much as 15 to 20 hours late due to the fact that it originates in Toronto and freight trains have priority over passenger trains.  The eastbound VIA trains are generally not significantly late since they originate in Vancouver. 

 Wow! Glad to know this. At least if I am doing a tour, they will be responsible for making adjustments if this happens.

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28 minutes ago, Tudy said:

 Wow! Glad to know this. At least if I am doing a tour, they will be responsible for making adjustments if this happens.

Our May 21 Millennium cruise offers the post cruise Canadian Rockies tour from Vancouver. The train used is Via Rail east bound as suggested. I know the Celebrity web site is quirky to say the least, but I do not believe from what I am seeing that Celebrity offers a Canadian Rockies tour other than post cruise from Vancouver as suggested by NantahahaCruiser.

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We did this trip a few years ago. Alaska sailing on the Infinity, then the Rocky Mountaineer, albeit Silver Class. We loved Banff and would happily spend a few days there. The stop in Kamloops was literally a ‘night off the train’ - nothing to do there apart from sleep in the hotel. At the end, we then went to Calgary for the Stampede.

The train was enjoyable, the staff certainly looked after you well, food was very good and generous drinks service. I am glad we did it but would not do the train again. 

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Please enjoy planning the Canadian part of your adventure. Should you decide to do the driving yourself as some of us have suggested, be aware there will be wildlife along the route. Please, I can not stress this enough, these are wild animals and as such unpredictable. If you see the the cute little bear cub on the side of the road...DO NOT be that person who gets out of the car to get a better picture, if you can't see Mama Bear be aware she will be close by and if you get between her and the cub, you do so at your peril. Also be aware that not all these bears are black bears, some will be Grizzlies. No we don't have polar bears wandering around BC, but there are white bears in The Great Bear Rain Forest along the Pacific coast. You may see mountain goats, big horn sheep, deer and elk. Respect the wildlife, give them their space, you are a guest in their house.

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Great advice Blackduck.  Any time we have driven that way, we have been amazed at all the people out of their cars trying to get that great picture.  I would add also that sundown is particularly dangerous for those big elk and such that like to graze near the road at that time.

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We have reached a decision. Thought I would let you know. Thanks again for all your input.

 

Our travel agent suggested a tour with Railbookers. They organize train vacations all over the world. We will be traveling independently. They just book the train, hotels, and excursions. It is customizable. As I was rereading the description of Celebrity's cruise tour, I noticed that they also describe their tour as "Independent."

 

For our tour, we are taking the train from Vancouver to Jasper, staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (Just like Celebrity). We will stay there for 2 nights. The first day has no structured activity. We will probably get a picnic basket and take a hike.

 

The next day we will be taking a 1-way excursion to Lake Louise through the Columbia Icefield. We will stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. We will take a Mountains, Lakes, and Waterfalls excursion from Lake Louise. 

 

In Banff we will be staying at the Rimrock Resort Hotel for 2 nights. Our excursion is an Explore Banff Tour with Banff Gondola and Lake Minnewanka Cruise. We will, of course, see the Hoodoos.

 

From Banff we will take a shuttle to the airport in Calgary.

 

This tout is one additional day compared to Celebrity's. The cost is a little less overall. I am purchasing trip insurance because the company does not do refunds, just credit for future travel. (Thanks to those of you who shared your frustrations.)

 

I appreciate all your feedback.

Happy Travels!

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If you have time while in Lake Louise, there is a Relais & Chateaux Boutique Hotel "The Post Hotel,"  which has a fabulous dining room....  IMHO much better than the restaurants at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.  I have stayed at both places several times.  If this may be the only time you will visit Lake Louise then absolutely stay at the Fairmont and pay the extra to have a view room on the GOLD FLOOR.  So worth it!  H.  On another visit I would recommend the intimate guest rooms and suites at the Post that are right beside a creek ... Charming and Romantic! Either way, I would definitely reserve at  the dining room in the Post Hotel which is known for its exquisite culinary experience with an amazing wine cellar.  Happy and Safe travels next year!

 

Pam

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Excellent plan Tudy, enjoy your adventure. If you have a moment look up "the group of seven" on google. They were a group of Canadian artists and when you are on the icefield parkway you will see the places that were the inspiration of some of their paintings.

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13 hours ago, Tudy said:

We have reached a decision. Thought I would let you know. Thanks again for all your input.

 

Our travel agent suggested a tour with Railbookers. They organize train vacations all over the world. We will be traveling independently. They just book the train, hotels, and excursions. It is customizable. As I was rereading the description of Celebrity's cruise tour, I noticed that they also describe their tour as "Independent."

 

For our tour, we are taking the train from Vancouver to Jasper, staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (Just like Celebrity). We will stay there for 2 nights. The first day has no structured activity. We will probably get a picnic basket and take a hike.

 

The next day we will be taking a 1-way excursion to Lake Louise through the Columbia Icefield. We will stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. We will take a Mountains, Lakes, and Waterfalls excursion from Lake Louise. 

 

In Banff we will be staying at the Rimrock Resort Hotel for 2 nights. Our excursion is an Explore Banff Tour with Banff Gondola and Lake Minnewanka Cruise. We will, of course, see the Hoodoos.

 

From Banff we will take a shuttle to the airport in Calgary.

 

This tout is one additional day compared to Celebrity's. The cost is a little less overall. I am purchasing trip insurance because the company does not do refunds, just credit for future travel. (Thanks to those of you who shared your frustrations.)

 

I appreciate all your feedback.

Happy Travels!

Congratulations.  Sounds like a good trip.

 

I have found you can usually plan your own trips (even using a tour company),  with as good if not better accommodations, than the cruise lines tend to charge.

 

I did a trip spending 12 days in Peru, touring a large portion of the country, including air fare, for less than a cruise line wanted for a 3 day visit to Machu Picchu

 

Edited by npcl
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On 8/6/2020 at 6:54 PM, 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.

 

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.

 

WOW, $4 Grand extra, is that for one or two?

 

When we did Alaska, we had a week in Vancouver and did a wonderful four day bus tour to the Canadian Rockies (Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff) with a firm called Key West Tours.  Cost was about $660 pp.  This was a few years ago, and I understand the prices are higher now, but still very affordable.  We stayed in very nice hotels and the tours were great.   The other option was using the Canadian Rail for the four day rail tour, Rocky Mountaineer.   That tour was three times the cost of the Key West tour and didn't visit as many places as we did.

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9 hours ago, npcl said:

Congratulations.  Sounds like a good trip.

 

I have found you can usually plan your own trips (even using a tour company),  with as good if not better accommodations, than the cruise lines tend to charge.

 

I did a trip spending 12 days in Peru, touring a large portion of the country, including air fare, for less than a cruise line wanted for a 3 day visit to Machu Picchu

 

We loved Peru and did a fantastic four day tour of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu for $799 pp.   Hotels were great and it was a private tour.   We did Lima on our own and took local tours.   Airfare from Georgia to Cusco one way was less than $400 pp.

 

Tour company was Peru Agency.

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21 hours ago, Dr. Pam said:

If you have time while in Lake Louise, there is a Relais & Chateaux Boutique Hotel "The Post Hotel,"  which has a fabulous dining room....  IMHO much better than the restaurants at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.  I have stayed at both places several times.  If this may be the only time you will visit Lake Louise then absolutely stay at the Fairmont and pay the extra to have a view room on the GOLD FLOOR.  So worth it!  H.  On another visit I would recommend the intimate guest rooms and suites at the Post that are right beside a creek ... Charming and Romantic! Either way, I would definitely reserve at  the dining room in the Post Hotel which is known for its exquisite culinary experience with an amazing wine cellar.  Happy and Safe travels next year!

 

Pam

Thanks so much Pam! We are foodies and love a great restaurant in a great setting.

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20 hours ago, TeaBag said:

Looks like you have a great trip planned Tudy.  Is this is addition to the Alaska cruise?  I hope all goes as you have planned and that you take home some great memories.

Yes, it is! It's my husband's 65th birthday and we are planning a bit of a splurge. 🙂

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13 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

Excellent plan Tudy, enjoy your adventure. If you have a moment look up "the group of seven" on google. They were a group of Canadian artists and when you are on the icefield parkway you will see the places that were the inspiration of some of their paintings.

Thanks! That is just the kind of thing we enjoy doing.

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Your trip sounds great, the Canadian Rockies are my favorite place to visit. Icefields Parkway is amazing and I am always amazed at how much wildlife we manage to see while we are driving. 

 

Hopefully you will get to enjoy this amazing planned trip.

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