Canada is well known for its incredible diversity and an immense variety of travel adventures and temptations.
The world’s second-largest nation (by area) can proudly boast ownership of its longest recorded coastline, six time zones, three different oceans and offers a kaleidoscope of spectacular scenery, wildlife, cosmopolitan cities, great skiing, the Niagara Falls, Maple syrup and a people known for their genuine friendliness.
The provinces of British Columbia and Alberta offer exceptional experiences. Combining them creates a holiday which fully embraces the Canadian Rockies region.
The majestic western region of Canada is home to thousands of miles of lush coastline, soaring mountains, stunning landscapes, glacier-fed lakes and a host of islands, set across six distinct regions.
This makes British Columbia an ever-popular tourist destination for all ages. Take to the water for kayaking, sailing, fishing, whitewater rafting and whale watching, or explore the land on a biking, hiking, bird watching, golfing or skiing adventure.
Its predominant city, the vibrant urban playground that is Vancouver, combines a lively downtown district with lush parks, fabulous shopping opportunities, historical attractions and a distinctive range of global influenced communities.
Alberta is renowned for the awe-inspiring Rockies, which form the backbone of this incredible province, as well as the breathtaking beauty of its Rocky Mountain parks: Banff, Jasper, Kananaskis and Waterton. These parks form a gateway into an outdoor recreational playground which is fun to explore at any time of year.
Considered by many to be the trip of a lifetime, a rail journey aboard the award-winning blue and gold Rocky Mountaineer train, showcasing the diverse beauty of Canada's West and the Canadian Rockies, is a magical and unique experience.
For over 25 years these magnificent beasts have been transporting travellers in pampered luxury through the gorgeous region between Vancouver, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and Seattle.
It is an engineering feat that overcame the almost impossible challenge of passing through difficult terrain, over gushing rivers and through soaring mountains.
With the spectacular scenery of British Columbia and Alberta as a backdrop, every corner turned brings the enthralling sight of another picture-perfect landscape of soaring mountains and flowing rivers viewed through the unique glass-domed carriages.
From the moment you step onboard, the hosts will help make the journey unforgettable with their exquisite service and engaging stories.
There are no sleeper carriages on the Rocky Mountaineer, so luggage is delivered to your overnight hotel accommodation via the complimentary baggage service.
The daylight hours are spent taking in the view, learning about the passing sights and observing the wildlife in its natural habitat, whilst feasting on locally sourced culinary delights.
Watch the eagles soar overhead, the bighorn sheep perching on the mountainside and look out for the magnificent grizzly or brown bears on their home turf. The train may even slow down when some of this incredible wildlife is sighted.
The train has a two-class system, the dual-level Gold Leaf and single-level Silver Leaf, each with several itineraries. In both classes the attention to detail and service is high. For example, bags are taken to and from your room at the pre and post-stay hotels, as well as for the overnight stay en route.
Gold leaf hosts serve their locally sourced gourmet meals in the luxurious lower level restaurant where you will be attended to by several hosts plus a full culinary team.
In Silver, meals are served at the seat and sightseeing is through vast scenic windows, although there are plans to introduce glass-domed carriages.
Both leaf services include complimentary beverages with sweet and savoury snacks.
Travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer is not just a journey and opportunity to explore the diversity of the Canadian landscape but an entire bucket-list experience of its own.
At the conclusion of your iconic rail trip, why not continue a North American adventure by embarking on a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska, a perfect way to discover its fascinating history and indulge in the vast splendour of this spectacular region?
An Alaskan cruise will afford the time to relax on-board and be truly immersed in the surrounding beauty of glaciers and wonderful wildlife, whilst enjoying delectable gourmet meals and the on-board entertainment and facilities.
There is a selection of cruise ships and routes available and I will be able to tailor-make the right one after chatting through preferences and what is most important to you.
A 7-night voyage is ideal and will include stops at:
Originally an Indian fishing camp, Ketchikan has a rich native heritage.
Juneau is famous for its gold mining. By the end of World War II, it had mined over $150 million in gold. These days, as the capital of Alaska, it is known more for the business of government and is one of the biggest towns (in size) in the world.
Skagway is also known as the ‘Gateway to the Klondike’, a reference to the Gold Rush to the Yukon. Learn about their most famous resident, Soapy Smith, a historical villain, and what you may see if leaving the port on the last day of summer!
College Fjord is where you will have a chance to watch the grandeur of the glaciers in all their glory. See how the process of calving, the breaking of ice chunks from the glacier, evolves and how they crack and land into the sea. The 40-ton humpback whales can often be seen here in the summer.
Canada and Alaska offer incredible scenery whatever way you prefer to see them.
A train journey is simply resplendent, and a cruise offers relaxation throughout.
Either work as a standalone excursion, or combine them to extend the enjoyment of exploring this wonderful part of the world.
Footnote for fans of the Rocky Mountaineer:
Rocky Mountaineer will launch a new south-west US route next year, taking in Colorado’s spectacular mountain scenery.
The two-day Rockies to the Red Rocks route will journey from Denver to Moab, Utah, with an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Departures for the new route will start August 2021.
The route will sit alongside the operator’s three other rail routes in western Canada, operating between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.