Take a look at the answers we’ve given to commonly asked questions regarding your Canadian Rockies rail tours. If you don’t see an answer to your question, please feel free to contact us at www.banffaccommodations.org. Call us now for a personalized quote on your next vacation to the Rockies and Western Canada. Call us today toll free at 866-512-2633 or direct at (403)762-0267 to customize or add flights to your Canadian Rockies Vacation.
1. What is the best time of year to travel throughout the Canadian Rockies?
Traveling through the Canadian Rockies is ideal no matter what the season, as each one has its special gift. June is an exquisite time to travel, with alpine flowers blooming and snow still glistening on the mountain peaks. April, May and October are good months if you are looking for large discounts on your trip.
2. What is the advantage of traveling through the Canadian Rockies by rail?
When traveling by rail, you will have a comfortable, roomy seat and the freedom to stretch and take in Rocky Mountain air when in the vestibules between coaches. With great service and informative commentary, rail travel provides vacationers with a leisurely way to enjoy the scenery. When you travel by train, you also will go through areas that are not accessible in any other way such as through river canyons and alongside cascading waterfalls and winding rivers.
3. What is the distance covered when on the Rocky Mountaineer?
When you travel on the Rocky Mountaineer you will spend two entire days, covering approximately 450 km or 280 miles each day.
4. How fast does the Rocky Mountaineer travel?
The Rocky Mountaineer reaches up to 90kph (60mph), but the train will often slow down through scenic areas so that you can take in the sights and comfortably snap your photos. Generally our speed averages 50kph (30mph).
5. Are there sleeper cars on board?
The Rocky Mountaineer is for daytime travel only. After taking in all the Rocky Mountain scenery you can enjoy in one day, you will stay overnight in Kamloops or Quesnel, British Columbia.
6. Can I smoke on the train and in the hotel rooms?
There is not smoking onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, whether in your seat, in the vestibules, or in the restrooms. There are, however, smoking areas in the hotels. Make sure you let your travel or reservations agent know that you are a smoker before you book your room so that you can be accommodated comfortably.
7. Are there souvenirs that I can buy along the way?
A souvenir catalogue is available onboard the Rocky Mountaineer. You will receive a copy on your first day and can also view souvenirs in cabinets located throughout the train.
8. Why does the Rocky Mountaineer operate between April and October only?
Traveling between April and October allows you to take advantage of the long daylight hours where you can experience the unforgettable scenery in the Canadian Rockies. Before and after these months, the days become much shorter, whereby day time train travel would become extremely limited.
9. How long has Rocky Mountaineer Vacations been in business?
Rocky Mountaineer Vacations has been in business for 19 years, as of 2008. They have had over one-million guests on-board, all of whom have enjoyed their glorious rail tour as well as our state-of-the-art equipment designed to ensure both comfort and safety.
10. What is the difference between taking the Rocky Mountaineer train and a Rocky Mountaineer vacation?
Taking the Rocky Mountaineer train is a two-day rail tour that is only a part of what your Rocky Mountaineer vacation can consist of. As a vacation provider, they provide many other non-railway services such as a wide variety of Rocky Mountain attractions, shopping, and providing reservations for travel, accommodations, and meals.
11. How can I receive updated information on Rocky Mountaineer tours?
Contact your travel agent for the latest information on planning your Canadian Rockies vacation trip.
12. What is the “Ice Explorer”?
The Ice Explorer is a vehicle that is especially designed for the icy and snowy slopes of the Althabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. You can take an Ice Explorer for a 5 km (3 mile) round-trip tour to take in this amazing sight while enjoying commentary on how the glacier was formed.
13. What is the Victoria Clipper?
The Victoria Clipper is a ferry that travels between Victoria, BC and Seattle’s Pier 69 in less than three hours.
14. What is the GST?
The GST is the Goods and Services Tax applicable to all purchases made in Canada. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information.
15. What is the Fuel Surcharge?
Rail Fuel Surcharge
Because oil prices have risen to an all-time high, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations has had to place a fuel surcharge on all Rocky Mountaineer and Whistler Mountaineer bookings made on or after May 15, 2008. The surcharge amounts to $30 per person for a two-day rail travel on the Rocky Mountaineer and $5 per person for each direction on the Whistler Mountaineer. For bookings prior to May 15, 2008 where a full payment or deposit has been made, the fuel surcharge is waived.
Helicopter Fuel Surcharge
Because of the increase in global fuel costs, packages including helicopter flights are subject to an additional fuel surcharge of $25.00 per person for bookings made on or after May 13, 2008.
Holland American Line’s Fuel Surcharge
Due to the rise of international fuel costs, a fuel surcharge of $63.00 per person will be applied to all cruise bookings made on or after June 12, 2008.
Before You Travel
1. What is the weather like in the Canadian Rockies?
Depending on the season, time of day, and the Rocky Mountain location, temperatures can vary significantly. In summer, average temperatures can go from as low as 10 C (50 F) up to 30 C (90 F). Kamloops and Quesnel can be extremely warm in the summer months. Make sure you check for local weather updates and forecasts before you travel.
2. What should I pack?
When packing for your Rocky Mountain vacation, plan on bringing a sweater, slacks, and a light top coat or raincoat. Light summer wear is a must for warm days. Footwear should include comfortable walking or hiking shoes and casual shoes for wear on the train. Casual wear is best for your ride on the Rocky Mountaineer, and don’t forget to bring along your sunglasses to guard against the sun’s glare. Bring along your sun block as well, to protect your skin against burning in the high altitudes. If you are traveling during the spring and autumn months, include a warm coat or jacket.
3. Do I need to bring my passport?
As of January 23, 2007, all passengers, including Canadian and U.S. citizens are required to present a valid passport when traveling by air between Canada and the United States. For more information on passport requirements for U.S. citizens, please visit: www.travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html. For foreign nationals, contact your government for details.
4. What currency do I need when on the Rocky Mountaineer and when traveling in Canada?
You will need Canadian dollars when traveling throughout Canada. Though we encourage you to covert your currency to Canadian dollars before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer, we will accept U.S. currency at an amount close to the current exchange rate. Transactions onboard can also be made with traveler’s checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Card, and JCB.
5. Does the Rocky Mountaineer accommodate people with special needs?
Rocky Mountaineer Vacations makes all efforts necessary to accommodate guest with special needs or disabilities. Some of the Rocky Mountaineer coaches are wheelchair accessible. GoldLeaf Dome Coaches are equipped with elevators for vacationers who have difficulty using the spiral stairway. Please let your travel agent know if you will need any special assistance.
6. Can children travel on the Rocky Mountaineer?
Yes, but make sure your child is up for a trip that takes a minimum of nine hours per day onboard.
7. Can I bring my pet?
Sorry, but no pets are allowed onboard the Rocky Mountaineer.
8. What kind of meals do you offer on the meal plan?
Rocky Mountaineer Vacations meal plans include breakfast and dinner. If you are dining at certain hotel restaurants, you may be subject to an additional surcharge.
9. Can I arrange for a rental car or a hotel in Calgary or Vancouver?
Yes, just go to our transportation section at Airport Shuttles where we can help you arrange for all your rental and reservation needs.
10. Do I need to plan for connecting transportation on the day of the Rocky Mountaineer’s arrival?
It is best not to arrange connecting transportation on the day of your scheduled arrival. This is because all passenger rail travel in Canada can be subject to unforeseen delays due to weather changes and other exigencies.
11. Can I make a special group request?
Absolutely. Rocky Mountaineer Vacations offers a wide selection of Rail & Cruise vacation packages in partnership with Holland America Cruise Lines. Please see our Rail & Cruise section for details.
12. Can I add an Alaskan Cruise to my rail vacation?
Of course. Because Canadian Rocky rail and cruise seasons are similar, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations offers a wide variety of packages in partnership with Holland American Cruise Lines. Please see our Rail & Cruise section for details.
Onboard the Rocky Mountaineer
1. Can I move around inside the train?
Riding the Rocky Mountaineer train definitely affords you space to move around. If you are taking the RedLeaf, you can move around the coach freely as well as through the vestibules between coaches. If you are taking the GoldLeaf dome coach, you have access to two levels for stretching your legs during your Canadian Rocky travel.
2. Can I use my cell phone and my laptop computer on the train?
Through most of your train ride, you will be out of cell phone range, however you will have access once you are in the major areas visited on the Rocky Mountaineer tour. There are no connectors for laptops onboard, so if you intend to bring your laptop, you will have to rely on its battery. Our advise, however, is to leave your laptop at your hotel so that you can take advantage of the amazing Canadian Rocky sights without distraction.
3. What can I do about dietary concerns when on board?
It is best to advise your booking agent regarding your dietary needs before embarking on a Rocky Mountaineer tour. The Rocky Mountaineer will make sure they do everything they can to accommodate you so that your vacation travel is all that you hope it will be.
4. Can I access the RedLeaf and GoldLeaf coaches with a wheelchair?
Yes, wheelchair accommodations are available on both coaches, with areas where wheelchairs can be secured along with washrooms that are equipped for wheelchair service. Wheelchair lifts have been installed in all stations, and you will find interior ADA-style elevators installed in the GoldLeaf dome coaches. Please let your booking agent know that you are using a wheelchair so that Rocky Mountaineer can make sure that you have the most comfortable ride possible.
5. Are tips included in the fare?
No, tips are not included. This holds true for your Rocky Mountaineer train ride, guided drives, transfers, and porters. If you are pleased with the services that you receive, gratuities will be graciously accepted.
6. What kind of wildlife is there to see in the Canadian Rockies?
The Canadian Rockies is home to elk, deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, salmon, osprey, and bald eagles, though there is never a guarantee that you will see each and every type of wildlife there is to see. One of the wonderful benefits of train travel is that you can often spot wildlife in their habitat as you ride through canyons and alongside rivers and waterfalls. If you are on foot and come into contact with animal life, please remember to use caution by maintaining your distance and remaining quiet. Additionally, make sure you never feed an animal in the wild.
1. How can I get to the railway station?
You are able to take a motor coach transfer from your Vancouver or Whistler hotel to the railway station. This service is included on all Whistler Mountaineer bookings.
2. How long is the Whistler Mountaineer tour?
The Whistler Mountaineer train excursion covers 120 km (74 miles) and takes approximately three hours.