Seeing Canada on a Rocky Mountaineer train

When my mom approached me with the idea of taking a train ride through Canada, I was skeptical. I suffer from motion sickness pretty badly, and the idea of being on a moving vehicle for multiple days in a row made me weary.

But my fears were quickly put to rest as soon as we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer train in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the company has its own fancy train depot. After being welcomed by a live bagpiper, we boarded the train bound for Jasper in Alberta, with an overnight stop in Kamloops.

rocky mountaineer

The view from inside the Rocky Mountaineer

Mom treated us to GoldLeaf service, which meant we had seats on the upper level of the train car with a see-through dome, perfect for viewing all the beauty Canada has to offer, as well as allowing me to see the horizon so I wouldn’t get ill. There was a ton of leg room, and the ride was super smooth — no sudden stops and starts like on the Metro Expo Line at home in Los Angeles.

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What about the food?

You get two meals on the train, breakfast and lunch, as well as drinks (there’s a full bar on board that includes local beer and wine) and snacks throughout the day — and it’s all included in the price of the journey. You will definitely not leave hungry! Because this was a two-day trip and the downstairs dining room isn’t big enough to seat everyone at once, you eat in shifts. But if you’re eating in the second seating (this switches from day to day, so it’s fair), you get even more snacks to tide you over. The scone with butter and strawberry jam is especially delicious.

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I enjoyed all the food on board — lunch comes with wine, too! — but dessert was a bit lacking in execution (dry cake, hard crumble topping). My favorite dishes were the egg souffle for breakfast served with potatoes and sausage, and the salmon for lunch served with risotto (not really, but still tasty) vegetables and a mustard vinaigrette.

Would I do this again?

Mom and I took a Rocky Mountaineer train twice on this trip: once from Vancouver to Jasper, then back from Banff to Vancouver (with some sightseeing by coach in the middle). The first and last legs of these trips were exactly the same, so I’m not sure I would want to do that again, but we bookended our trip with stays in Vancouver, so it made sense this time. We saw so many beautiful things — lakes, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife — even though the air wasn’t clear due to wildfires in British Columbia (this was in August earlier this year).

I would recommend this trip to anyone wanting to see western Canada while taking it easy in the lap of luxury. Mom was very pleased. In fact, there were a lot of older people on these trips, for exactly this reason, I suspect. But I’d say we younger folks could use a luxurious relaxing experience like this, too.

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Maya Meinert

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11 2017

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