Canada is a country I've always wanted to visit. So I decided to visit the Great White North, and signed up for the "First Passage to the West – Vancouver to Banff" rail journey with Rocky Mountaineers. During the 2-day journey, we travelled from Vancouver to Banff, and saw some of the most incredible sceneries I've seen in my life. Here are some of the reasons why the Rocky Mountaineer is a trip of a lifetime.
I was blown away by how good the cabin crew was on our journey. In our cabin we had 4 staff who looked after our every need from serving our food and drinks to telling us fascinating stories about the journey and the towns we passed. All of this done with a smile and "nothing is a bother" attitude.
The carriages in the Goldleaf service are custom designed, bi-level and glass domed with the seating and viewing cabin upstairs and the dining cabin downstairs. You spend most of your time upstairs with the amazing fully domed windows giving you unparalleled panoramic views of the jaw-dropping scenery that is the Canadian Rockies. You retire downstairs meals, plus there is also an exclusive outdoor vestibule for you to escape to and get even closer to nature. At night, you stop in town (mine was Kamloops and Banff) where you get transferred to your hotel for the night. All transfers as smooth as clockwork.
The Food and Beverages
I have just one word to describe the food. Wow! Not just with the quality and range, but the sheer amount of food you receive over the course of your journey. As there can be up to 60 people in the one cabin, they serve breakfast and lunch in 2 sittings. If you are placed in the second sitting, fear not, you will still be served a selection of snacks to whet your appetite. From pastries to cheese and crackers you will never go hungry!
Options for breakfast included a choice of omelette or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, or French Toast. For lunch, we were served big portions of wild salmon or local pork tenderloin. Both nights I had no need for dinner! Did I also mention that all drinks are included in the package? So not only juice, soft drinks etc but wine, spirits and beer also and can be had all day everyday if you so desire though that might mean you miss some of the spectacular views.
Let's be honest, this is the real reason for going on the Rocky Mountaineer. I am pleased to report, that it is actually better than the photos! From lush forests to meandering rivers to immense placid lakes overseen by truly spectacular and majestic mountains, it has to be seen to be believed as my words cannot do it justice. If you want to see something a bit livelier, then keep an eye out for wild bears, deer or moose as there are plenty to see on your journey.
If the Rocky Mountaineer is not on your bucket list, then it should be because it is a trip of a lifetime. My only regret is that I didn't do a longer trip.
By Matthew Brien