Exploring the Rocky Mountaineer
Think of your last train journey and the bustling atmosphere of excitement and anticipation which can only be found at a railway station. What you felt then, I am feeling now – today even more so for we are at Vancouver Rail Station and this is the Rocky Mountaineer, the mighty train through the Canadian Rockies!
There is much ceremony with a pianist tinkling away on the ivories and a bag piper heard above all the noise reminding us indeed that Canada and especially the province of British Columbia is a magnet for migrants; many from Scotland. The melodious bagpipes are a fond farewell from my time in Vancouver and a joyous welcome to the 2-day journey that awaits. The passengers scurry on board as the final whistle and “All Aboard ” is bellowed as we glide out of the station with the lone piper still a piping on the platform.
OK hold a moment. What about the answer everyone wants to know … did the piper play Auld Lang Syne? No. Does one travel GOLD or SILVER? Now Red Class is gone there are only two choices. My advice – Go For Gold! If you have always dreamed of going on the Rocky Mountaineer or it’s a very special occasion such as a milestone birthday or anniversary you must go Gold Leaf. If you flew economy and stayed in 3 star hotel, then caught the airport bus to allow the budget to upgrade on the train; definitely go Gold Leaf. Treat yourself and book it when you are planning your trip, straightaway. Do not leave it until you arrive at the station as it may not be available. As you queue up to try to upgrade you may miss out and have less time to enjoy the piper. Also go Gold if the kids aren’t hanging out for the inheritance. Even if they are it’s your money, or if you have met a new travelling partner who is paying, enjoy the generosity, you will have lots of time to thank them. Around 70 percent of Australians travel in Gold Leaf.
Let’s look at Gold Leaf. The obvious feature is the big glass dome atop of the higher carriage so while seated you will have wide views not only from the side but also above from your reclining comfortable leather chair. There is also a viewing platform for more camera shots. You get served at your table for snacks and drinks. For breakfast and lunch, you pop downstairs, there is an elevator, where you dine on a 5 star meal and wine with full host service. It’s a beautiful experience and the focus moves from the scenery to the food which highlights the local produce. BIG TIP. Try to get to the early breakfast serving coupled with late lunch otherwise you could feel rather full and there is nowhere to “to walk it off.” Plus, the late serving allows a more relaxed lunch. No need to rush back to your seat. The atmosphere is more formal.
Now if you are an obsessive rail fan (and who isn’t?) And your goal in life is to travel on many great iconic trains (and there are plenty of them around the world)… Let me say what an admiral goal you have, and can I suggest you go Silverleaf. You will need to save your travel funds for future trips. Perhaps you got carried away when booking your flight and splashed on premier economy or business class. Bravo you would have had a pleasant journey. Silver is fine. And if the scenery rather than the food is your thing. Silver. Silver is great. Fantastic in fact. After all it is the same train. Same scenery. Same bears.
Silver Leaf; again comfortable seating with large windows to gasp at the changing scenery however no dome. The other difference is your meals are served at your table on tables that fold out and the drinks are served from a cart. I found the atmosphere less formal and the staff friendlier, so was able to chat to them in a casual manner. Yes the meals are not as upmarket but there is no need to move from your seats, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the fine show that is The Canadian Rockies.
I hope these tips and tricks help you make your choice – and what a wonderful decision to have to make!
Now that you have booked your Rocky Mountaineer adventure, it’s time to learn more about the journey.
Click here to read more about the Rocky!