British Columbia based and family owned, Rocky Mountaineer has spent almost 30 years welcoming nearly 2 millions guests on board their luxury trains. Impressively, they have become the largest privately owned luxury tourist train company in the world! Their goal is to provide unforgettable experiences and that is exactly what they did for me as I explored Canada for the first time.
Rocky Mountaineer offers 3 routes through British Columbia and Alberta, and once you pick your route, there are over 65 unique and carefully curated vacation packages to choose from. With such a selection, there are sure to be excellent options for every traveler. My route was the First Passage to the West which showed me the beauty of Alberta and the majesty of the Canadian Rockies. Honestly, this is the best way to explore the Canadian Rockies!
I spent two wonderful days on board with Rocky Mountaineer and it was definitely one of the best train trips I’ve ever experienced, read why…
Rocky Mountaineer trains provide the height of luxury and ours certainly did not disappoint. When you are spending the majority of your day on a train, comfort is a priority and they understand that.
Seats are conveniently pre-assigned and all are five-star, so you do not need to scramble to find the best one. Both the seats and the leg room are ample, you do not feel crammed whatsoever. The seats have heaters to turn on whenever you wish, if you get a bit chilly! They also recline too which is a plus.
As we traveled through beautiful Western Canada, the views kept getting better and better. Rocky Mountaineer’s trains are sure to give you every opportunity to admire the sights.
The viewing angles from my seat were superb thanks to the bi-level glass-dome coach. This is something I had never experienced before on a train. It really made me feel connected to the nature around me. The full glass-dome windows offered panoramic views, therefore, I loved not only to be able to look out to my side, but also up to the sky!
However, it is not required that you sit in your seat the entire time. Before I knew it, the outdoor viewing platform was calling my name. It was already a little chilly, even in September, but not enough to stop me from enjoying the fresh air while on board. This exclusive platform was the perfect place to take photos, as well as get even closer to all the action outside. It was so thrilling to be outside while the train was moving.
THE FOOD & SERVICE:
During my First Passage to the West Journey, I enjoyed both their delicious breakfast and lunch offerings over the course of 2 days. The food is gourmet, with a full culinary team on board to make sure we are satisfied. Each menu has plenty to choose from, and the food always tasted fresh and flavorful. There are complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included in your package.
The first morning, we enjoyed warm scones and orange juice as a welcome treat before picking our breakfast entrée. I went with the Sunrise Skillet, which included a baked egg served over Yukon Gold potatoes, smoked farmer’s sausage, bacon, tomatoes and roasted mushrooms. It was a hearty breakfast and the perfect way to start off the day. Other choices included buttermilk pancakes, a berry parfait, eggs benedict and more.
Lunch is always a 3-course affair, with a choice of soup or salad as a starter. One afternoon, I enjoyed the Pacific Prawns that are lightly sautéed with garlic herb risotto and local market vegetables. The Rocky Mountaineer Signature Burger is also a popular choice, made with AAA Alberta beef patty with light mesquite seasoning, portabella mushrooms, and smoked cheddar with house-made onion pepper relish on a brioche bun. While I did not try it, the pork tenderloin option looked delicious too, as well as the risotto and vegetable gyoza (both vegetarian options). The chocolate cake with a fresh strawberry was my favorite dessert.
If you enjoy snacking in between meals, I promise you will not go hungry on board! Sweet and savory snacks are also included. I particularly enjoyed the wine and cheese cart that would come around, typically before dinner. The chefs also served us warm chocolate chip cookies the last evening on the train as a special treat.
We had a few hosts on our journey that not only served our meals, but were excellent guides as well. Anytime we were passing by somewhere significant, they would get on the microphone and share facts about history of the area, or about the flora, fauna, and wildlife. They were so entertaining, knowledgeable, and engaging.
Another perk was the complimentary baggage delivery. This meant that we did not have to lift a finger when it came time to transport luggage to our overnight hotel accommodation in Kamloops and Banff. Rocky Mountaineer understands what five-star service is, and we felt so looked after the entire time!
We started our journey in the beautiful coastal city of Vancouver where we boarded our train in the early morning and headed towards Kamloops. The transformative landscapes along the way really took my breath away. I loved seeing all of the greenery turn into the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains. The powerful Fraser River was a sight to see while dining from inside the train or while enjoying the outdoor viewing platform.
We arrived in the charming city of Kamloops in the early evening. This is located in British Columbia, where the North and South Thompson rivers meet. It is the perfect place to enjoy wildlife and explore the hiking trails along the riverside. The next morning, we said goodbye and continued winding our way eastward through the Shuswap region where we were treated to stunning lake views along the way.
This is when we began, on our second full (and final) day, to journey into the Canadian Rockies. Before I knew it, from our incredible glass-dome coach, I was surrounded by mountain views with a glass of wine in my hand. What could be better?! We were heading to Banff, but I was in no rush to get there as the scenery outside my window was so mesmerizing.
Once we arrived in the town center of Banff, we were greeted with a lovely welcome reception at Mount Royal Hotel, our home for the next two evenings. For over 100 years, Mount Royal has been in the heart of the Banff community as an iconic landmark. Its recently been returned to its former glory after a devastating fire in 2016. However, the heritage is still there, along with added modern amenities and design.
My package included staying on an extra 24 hours to explore Banff and nearby Lake Louise, which I will share more about in my next post! My experience with Rocky Mountaineer was fantastic from start to finish. Thanks to their award winning service and travel planning, all we had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Alberta and British Columbia than on this luxury train journey.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Rocky Mountaineer, but all opinions here are my own.