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The Rocky Mountaineer Train, Canada
The Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey in Canada
The Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train that runs from Vancouver to Jasper via Kamloops, through the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is expensive and billed as being one of the best train journeys in the world, comparable with The Orient Express, but is it worth it?
This lens is about my experience in The Rockies and on the Rocky Mountaineer, photography and some travel tips, advice and recommendations.
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Rocky Mountaineer Train
The Rocky Mountaineer runs from Vancouver and Jasper through the Rockies and was a train billed as being one of the best in the world, compared to The Orient Express both in terms of style, luxury and food. I have not been on The Orient Express, but I doubt this to be entirely true. There are two classes of travel: Red-Leaf and Gold-Leaf. We were advised, by Audley Travel (www.audleytravel.co.uk) who arranged the taylor-made trip for us, to take the lower class on the basis that the view is the same and the food still very good, and it is far less expensive.
Map of the Canadian Rocky Mountains - Map of the route of the Rocky Mountaineer train
View from the back of the train
Rocky Mountaineer Train
Check-in was a fairly ordinary affair and we certainly didn't get the impression that we were being treated in a special way, and on arrival in our carriage we were extremely disappointed. A very ordinary carriage, with fairly small windows which had there been a view to see, at that stage of the journey, would not have shown it off to full effect.
The first meal of the day arrived in plastic trays, in the style of an in-flight meal. Certainly not the culinary delights that we thought had been implied. We foolishly ate the food and sat there complaining quietly to each other in a very English way, rather than complaining to anyone official. It was only when the second mediocre meal arrived, the scenery started getting exciting, and its visibility impaired that we started voicing our discontent. The very professional staff immediately apologized and promised an upgrade for the following day. After-all we had eaten the food, the scenery is even better on the second day and we would need to pay for the full day's upgrade (Â£170 or about $250 each per day!) so if we went the next day we could upgrade for half the price. We accepted. But was it worth it?
View from train
View from the vestibule
A Bear on Vancouver Island
It was certainly worth Upgrading
The Gold-leaf class "dome" carriages have a glass roof and larger open-air Vestibule at the rear. The separate dining room down-stairs served food of the quality we were expecting. Most of the other inmates set off for a show on arrival at Kamloops, at the end of the first day, but having experienced such things in the past, we opted for a dinner at a restaurant next to the motel we had been checked into. No doubt we would have been somewhere more salubrious had we already been in Gold Leaf class, but a good view of river and almost edible food compensated. The following day we checked in at the Gold Leaf Class for the stunning train journey to Jasper. On arrival we searched for the Rocky Mountaineer train manager to pay for the Â£350 (about $US 500) for upgrade to Gold Leaf. He refused charge us and said,"Happy Anniversary"
Essential Travel Kit
Please also see my review of how to choose a good digital camera: digital SLR cameras