Rocky Mountaineer Experience

Sarah McCarthy 13 May 2018
Hats off to Air Canada...We arrived At Heathrow airport at 9am to find out that our flight to Vancouver had been delayed by 7 hours. On approaching the ticket desk, the Air Canada representative’s very fast thinking and efficiency resulted in us being rerouted via Calgary on a 10am departure and we actually arrived to a very sunny Vancouver an hour ahead of schedule. We had a very enjoyable and comfortable journey on-board a brand new aircraft. A great start to what was to be an incredible journey.

I was lucky to share this trip with my colleague and very close friend Mary. Once we dropped the luggage we found a lovely restaurant/bar directly opposite the hotel with a lovely outdoor terrace so we had a bottle of wine in the sunshine and watched the world go by. It was a glorious evening and I thoroughly enjoyed all the people watching.

The next morning bright and early we met with the rest of the group made of up many nationalities. After the initial pleasantries we set off on a whistle stop tour of Vancouver. Starting off with a brief stop at Stanley Park, a big public park in the middle of the City, home to many outdoor amenities including beaches, cycling routes, walking treks and picnic areas. Opposite Stanley Park you will find the cruise terminal, Canada Place. Stunning waterfront location and promenade . We experienced “Fly over Canada” whilst there. This is a 4D simulator experience of the highlights of Canada. It was really cool and I would highly recommend.

Next stop, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This was incredible. I never realized that Vancouver is pretty much located in a rain forest. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver, British Columbia. The reason is simple, there are so many things to see and do! The Bridge crosses to towering evergreens, cedar-scented rainforest air and Treetops Adventure, 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. The new Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along Capilano River with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms and only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure! We only had 2 hours but you could spend much more time and they offer complimentary shuttle buses all day from downtown Vancouver.

Next morning..........ALL ABOARD..........the very special and remarkable experience that is The Rocky Mountaineer. A world as wondrous as the Rockies provides a lot of stunning photo opportunities. Our host let us know in advance of any major sightings so we did not have to worry about missing out on any amazing photo opportunities. Onboard the train, we were surrounded by a super friendly team of staff who were truly dedicated to excellent customer service. Our coach had a lovely host who shared engaging stories of the history of the area and surrounds. We journeyed from Vancouver to the quaint town of Kamloops where we stayed overnight and were hosted by one of the local bars for some local beer tasting. Great fun was had by all.

Early start on day 2 as we headed off towards Banff National Park via the Rockies. WOW...there are no words for the scenery....incredible.....I always find that the Irish are not easily impressed by scenery because we live in such a scenic country but I was absolutely blown away. It rained for quite a bit of the day and the clouds descended on the mighty Rockies but this didn’t dampen the mood and we even spotted some bears.

Next stop Banff, I just adored this resort town located within Banff National Park. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with chateaux style hotels and souvenir shops. So quaint, I just loved it.

We had the most wonderful day trip through the Rockies enroute to the Columbia Icefield Parkway where we stepped on a glacier, this was a surreal experience. The views and photo stops along the way were nothing short of incredible. I was awestruck for the entire day at the sheer beauty of the magnificent mountain range. We were so so lucky to have spent 45 mins at the majestic Lake Louise as our last call for this evening.

On day 2 in Banff we took a trip on the Banff Gondola and what I witnessed on top of the observation desk could only be described as a winter wonderland. It was truly special.

En-route to Calgary for our homeward flight we experienced a helicopter scenic trip for a final farewell to the Rockies. What an awesome and fitting way to complete such an incredible journey.

The Rocky Mountaineer Experience was a truly unique, once in a life time experience and you most definitely have to add this to the bucket list if it is not already on there, put it at the top of the list! I promise an unforgettable and very special experience.