Rocky Mountaineer: Complete Train Guide
Scenic train routes are not something new to the train world. Rocky Mountaineer is one such scenic train that runs through the famous aesthetic Canadian Rockies. This train journey is best for those who love nature, adventure, photography and a romantic train ride. You would be very close to the wild nature that you can smell the wild roses as you ride through the region. This is the major reason to why the Rocky Mountaineer is one of the top items in any traveler’s bucket list. Read More Most Epic Train Journeys in the World.
Intro to the Rocky Mountaineer
Almost all the train buffs will be familiar with this train. If you are someone new to this passion world, Rocky Mountaineer is a busy tourist train creating memories for more than 100,000 tourists, every year. The train provides four signature itineraries and most of the itineraries run through the amazing Canadian Rockies of British Columbia and Alberta of West Canada. Some avid travelers combine this ride with a cruise to Alaska to enjoy a 360 degree view of nature.
The Leisure Tourism Train
This train is one of the most popular tourism elements of Canada and is owned by prestigious VIA Rail, the national railroad of Canada. The train is not about reaching the destination as soon as possible. The train deliberately runs slower allowing the tourists to enjoy the nature, experience the fragrance of wild vibrant flowers and enjoy a wonderful photo session. It is not a sleeper train and runs only in day light.
All the itineraries start early in the morning and end by late afternoon or evening. By evening, the tourists will de-board and checked into a local hotel. In most of the itineraries, the hotel and the food are a part of the tariff of the ticket. It is a luxury train and you would be enjoying the finest cream quality of all the amenities. Breakfast and lunch are served in the train. The first-class travelers get to dine in the royal dining car and the rest are served in their seat like airplanes.
Advantages of Rocky Mountaineer instead of driving
It is also possible to explore and enjoy the Canadian Rockies via a car drive. When it comes to a car drive, you can actually have a faster and personalized trip.
However, the Rocky Mountaineer has its own unique set of advantages.
- The train adds a beautiful essence to your vacation. There is a romance factor that gets kindled in a train journey than a car drive.
- Only by traveling in a train, you get to be very closer to the nature. Road routes keep you with the highways mostly. With train routes, you get to go over rivers, closer to wilderness and enjoy a panoramic view of the region.
- Spotting wildlife is much easier and safer when you are traveling in train. Top animals to spot while traveling in Rocky Mountaineer are mountain goats, bears and others.
- Every aspect of your journey will be pre-planned and arranged for you. You need not worry about where to park, which hotel to choose, weather and so on.
- A luxury leisure train can give a comfort and pampering that are deserved in a vacation.
- Vacation is all about creating memories and you get to create a regal memory with Rocky Mountaineer that you can brag throughout your life.
The Luxury Part of Rocky Mountaineer
As mentioned before, the Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury leisure travel train. The nature is a velvety luxury element and that is one of the main reasons to why tourists try the train route. Apart from nature, the train has its own list of luxury elements that add beauty to the trip.
- Vintage blue-gold exterior with brighter and airy interior
- Glass domed first-class car
- English speaking assistants
- Tour guide narration
- Dining car exclusively for the first-class passengers
- Finest quality food
- Nostalgic decor
Know More: Top 10 Luxury Travel Experiences in India
Who Prefers Rocky Mountaineer?
In general, any adventure traveler who loves nature would be thrilled to be a part of the trip. Train buffs and photographers enjoy the route too. Many honeymooners take up this exotic trip for the romance factor. Most of the tourists hail from UK, New Zealand, Australia and locals.
Itineraries of Rocky Mountaineer
The train runs from April to October. The train has numerous packages and routes that can create a number of tailored vacations. The most common itinerary of all is the Canadian Rockies Route
Canadian Rockies Routes
This is a circle rail route starting and ending in Vancouver. The trip can extend for 8, 10 or 11 nights. Hotel stops can either be for one night or two, depending on the type of package. The train stops at Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Quesnel, Whistler, Lake Louise and Banff. Top activities to enjoy on the route are helicopter flightseeing, Yoho National Park and town tours.
First passage to West
This is another circular route starting and ending in Vancouver and it is a commonly chosen itinerary running between one and six nights. This is one of the original routes of the train and it stops at many legendary destinations like Banff, Alberta Lake and others.
Journey through the Clouds
There is a reason for this name. This itinerary will take you to some of the highest peaks of Canada. The route runs from one night to seven, depending on the package. The path starts from Vancouver to Jasper or vice-versa. In some packages, a few days of itineraries are added at the Jasper and Vancouver destinations.
Rainforest to Gold Rush
If you are into wild beauty, this is the itinerary to consider. The itinerary can be of one night, four nights or eight nights long. The route starts from Whistler and ends in Jasper or vice-versa. You can enjoy coastal rain forest, prairie, high desert and Jasper National Park on the route. The best of all landscape is the Mount Robson.
This itinerary starts from Seattle. This trip generally stretches for three nights. However, according to the package you choose, different routes might be added to the trip. The trip starts from Seattle of US and ends in Vancouver after covering Canadian Rockies.
Whistler Sea to Sky Climb
This is a one-day journey from Vancouver to the skiing fame Whistler. The route covers many major attractions like Howe Sound, Brandywine Falls, Coast Mountain, Cheakamus Canyon and Mount Garibaldi.
Canada Coast-to-Coast Route
This is the trekking itinerary of the Rocky Mountaineer starting from Pacific region of Canada to Atlantic region of Canada or vice-versa. This journey takes 15 or 14 days. In this itinerary, tourists are taken to another VIA Rail train during the trip.
Rail and Alaska Cruise
This is a train-cruise itinerary addition which can be added to any of the itinerary of Rocky Mountaineer. This cruise trip covers Norweigan, Holland and American cruise line.
Hotel Stays During the Trip
As mentioned before, the train allows only day travel. By evening, tourists are taken to different types of hotels based on the type of class they have chosen. Passengers can even pay for hotel upgrade, according to their choice. The first class passengers are made to stay in Fairmont Hotels, the 1800’s heritage luxury hotels.
Top options of Fairmont groups are:
- Castle styled Fairmont Banff Springs
- Disney fantasy Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- Modern Fairmont Pacific Rim
Types of Tickets or Classes in Rocky Mountaineer
There are three classes in the train with varying luxury level.
This is the first class and the top luxury class of the train with unique features like
- Double-decker cars with transparent roof
- Comfortable chairs with good legroom and a tray table
- Private dining area
- Freshly prepared meal
- Open-air observation platform
- Coffee, wine and snacks throughout the travel
- Best hotel stays
This is the second level class with
- Single level car coach
- Transparent dome
- Large windows for sightseeing
- Hot breakfast and lunch brought to your seat
- Non-alcoholic beverages and tasty snacks throughout the travel
This is the basic class of the train with features like
- Conventional train car seats
- Meals served to your seat
- Large windows for sightseeing
- Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks throughout the trip
Cuisine in Rocky Mountaineer
As mentioned before, breakfast and lunch are served on-board. If you are a first-class passenger, you will be dining in a special dining car. The other two classes will be served meal at their table. Breakfast and lunch are three-course meals with varying menus.
Here are the top things you need to know about the cuisine:
- Modern bistro styled menu with local specialty ingredients like British Columbia salmon, local produce, Alberta beer and so on.
- Fine dining styled food
- Exclusive collection of wines (some are included in the tariff). Try the local specialty wines like Okanagan wine.
Is Rocky Mountaineer Right for You?
Unfortunately, Rocky Mountaineer is not the right type of train for all kinds of travelers. It is better to avoid Rocky Mountaineer if you are one of the following types.
- Someone who wants to travel in a fast pace covering as many places as possible in a short duration.
- Someone who wants absolute privacy and control of the vacation.
- Someone who is not a mountain lover.
- Someone who is not a morning-person. The trip starts very early in the morning.
- Someone who is a chain smoker. Smoking is not allowed inside the train.
- Someone who has to be connected with internet all the time. The train does not have a Wi-Fi and the route is very wild and untouched by commercialization, that cellphone reception is tricky in many regions.
- Someone who needs electronic gadgets all the time. Only Gold Leaf cars have a few electrical outlets and none of them would be near the seating area.
Rocky Mountaineer is the right one for you if,
- You love nature
- Avid photographer
- Train buff
- Romantic travelers
- Enjoy good undisturbed time with special ones away from business life
- You love relaxing slow paced vacation
Comparison Between Rocky Mountaineer and Palace on Wheels:
Here is everything that you need to know to compare the two train journeys.
Palace on Wheels focuses on attractions in and around the heritage land of kings, Rajasthan of Western India. Rocky Mountaineer on the other hand covers the exotic destinations of Canadian Rockies located in West Canada and other surrounding attractions.
Palace on Wheels provides one signature itinerary which is a classic wonder route covering every element of Indian paradise starting from culture and tradition to the world wonder, Taj Mahal. Rocky Mountaineer provides many unique itineraries like Canadian Rockies Route, Journey through the cloud, Rainforest to Gold Rush and so on.
View more: Palace on Wheels Route Map
With Palace on Wheels, the itinerary is a stand-alone beauty covering all the major attractions in and around Rajasthan. With Rocky Mountaineers, you can add Alaska Cruise along with any of the itinerary to cover American, Norwegian and Holland cruise line.
Palace on Wheels is a self-sufficient luxury train on tracks. Tourists can enjoy all the amenities inside the train during day and return to their sublime cabin for a luxurious sleep time. Whereas, the Rocky Mountaineer is a day-travel train with chair cars. By evening, the tourists are taken to hotels at each destination. The level of luxury in accommodation depends on the type of tickets the passengers hold. The first-class travelers stay in heritage hotels and luxury chains.
Type of Accommodations
The Rocky Mountaineer has three levels of accommodation. The Gold Leaf is the most luxurious accommodation with comfortable chairs and better hotel options. Other levels in this train are Silver Leaf and Red Leaf. There are just two types of accommodations in Palace on Wheels such as Deluxe Cabins and Super Deluxe Cabins.
Explore More: Palace on Wheels Coaches
Only the Gold Leaf travelers are allowed to dine in the separate dining room. The rest of the travelers will be dining in their chair like flight travel. In Palace on Wheels, the train has two luxury restaurants with Rajasthan styled decor and all the travelers can dine in any of the restaurants, as they please.
Know More: Palace on Wheels Restaurants
You can find freshly prepared meals in the private dining room of Rocky Mountaineers. Similar cuisine is also served to the passengers of other classes. Ingredients are procured from each destination to create a destination themed cuisine. In Palace on Wheels, a team of culinary experts headed by minor celebrity chef run the kitchen serving top delicacies of each region. Many different styles of cuisines are served in both the restaurants.
An open-air observation car is open only for Gold Leaf travelers in Rocky Mountaineer. There is no open-air observation car in Palace on Wheels. However, there is a luxury lounge with alcohol, arm chairs, panoramic windows, board games and a small library. This lounge is open for all the travelers in Palace on Wheels.
Smoking is not allowed in any of the trains.
The cabins of Palace on Wheels are fitted with enough outlets capable of charging all required equipment. In case of any adapter requirement, you can talk to your butler. For other entertainment purposes, you can find Live TV, library and others. Free internet is provided for all the travelers. However, the strength of the internet will vary based on the destination through which the train is travelling.
In case of Rocky Mountaineers, electrical outlets are found only in Gold Leaf cabins and none of them would be closer to the seating area. Internet is not provided by the train. Even the mobile connectivity will be lost in most of the destinations of the itinerary of Rocky Mountaineer.
Rocky Mountaineer revolves around the beauty of the rolling hills, unique destinations away from civilization and everything close to nature. In many itineraries, the tourists can smell the fragrance of wild roses while traveling in the train. On the other hand, Palace on Wheels is a holistic trip covering heritage sites, monuments, busy market regions and so on. Bharatpur and Ranthambore are the two major nature destinations of Palace on Wheels.
The tickets for Rocky Mountaineer should be booked in CAD (Canadian Dollar). Whereas, Indians booking tickets in Palace on Wheels should book in INR (Indian Rupees) and the rest should pay in USD (US Dollars).
Check out the Palace on Wheels cost
Months of Service
Rocky Mountaineer runs between April and October. Palace on Wheels runs between September and April.
Both Rocky Mountaineer and Palace on Wheels try to create a nostalgic effect with vintage style. Palace on Wheels has carriages which were used by the kings of India, before independence.
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