Category Archives: advice

Rocky Mountaineer Vacations in 2018

Canadian travel companies, including ours, have been very busy over the past few months. With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year, resulting in free entry into all National Parks here, combined with the weak Canadian dollar as well as Canada being seen as a safe country to visit, we are seeing record visitors in 2017. There is no better time to come and visit our magnificent country and join in with the 150th birthday celebrations. However, due to the popularity we are seeing some hotels and rail dates now completely sold out which, if you have set dates in mind, is proving to be quite disappointing, as not all the guests booking this late into the season will be able to secure rooms in the best hotels. If there is availability, then you will receive a FREE hotel night when you book a 2017 Rocky Mountaineer package of 4 of more nights, but this offer does not hold a candle to those who are now booking their 2018 vacation this far in advance. If there is one thing our guests have learned from the 2017 season, it is that booking far in advance gets you the best rates and deals, as well as availability at the best hotels. For a deposit, you can lock in the 2018 dates you want, at the best hotels and receive the best deals.

Rocky Mountain Holidays have just updated their website to include all of the 2018 Rocky Mountaineer Vacation packages. We are very excited about the addition of the “Culinary and Adventure Packages“. These packages have been introduced based on customer feedback and are to appeal to foodies and the more adventurous types – we think they will be very popular indeed!

Rocky Mountaineer have also renamed some of their popular packages to avoid confusion and to allow you to know for sure, you are booking a genuine Rocky Mountaineer vacation package. Look out for following trade-marked route names in the packages:

Rocky Mountaineer Rail Routes – 2018
  • Journey through the Clouds™
    Means the package incorporates Jasper-Kamloops-Vancouver 2-day train route (or reverse)
  • First Passage to the West™
    Means the package incorporates Banff-Kamloops-Vancouver 2-day train route (or reverse)
  • Rainforest to Gold Rush™
    Means the package incorporates Jasper-Quesnel-Whistler-Vancouver 3-day train route (or reverse)
  • Coastal Passage®
    Means the package incorporates the newest Seattle-Vancouver 5 hour train route (or reverse)

Any operators trying to mimic a Rocky Mountaineer package can no longer do this as they can not use the above trade-marked terms in their package names. We welcome this change as it ensures guests know that they are booking a genuine Rocky Mountaineer package, and not a trimmed down inferior product.

With our Canadian dollar so weak, you can now book your trip of a lifetime for less than you think. With a weak dollar, travelling outside of Canada is expensive for us Canadians, so we are finding many Canadians are now exploring their own country with a good old “staycation”. It is a great time to travel in Canada, no matter where you are from.

The Canadian Dollar ["Loonie"]
The Canadian dollar has weakened significantly against other major currencies.
Right now, Rocky Mountain Holidays are offering their best rates and deals for 2018. You will also be able to get locked into their private tours while availability is still good. Be sure to contact them directly to ensure you receive the absolute best service: RockyMountainHolidays.com

Have you travelled with Rocky Mountain Holidays or onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train? Share your experiences with us below!

Rocky Mountaineer release 2015 Rail Schedule & Rates

Rocky Mountain Holidays posted Rocky Mountaineer’s anticipated rail schedule and rates for 2015 today. We have highlighted the main changes below.

Rocky Mountaineer's Coastal Passage Route
The Rocky Mountaineer train travelling north from Seattle to Vancouver  [Coastal Passage Route]
After Rocky Mountaineer’s launch of their successful Coastal Passage Route in 2013, which connects Seattle to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies, they have introduced a planned 18 northbound and southbound departures, up from 12 departures this year (2014). The Coastal Passage Route can still only be booked in conjunction with 2-day rail, it cannot be booked as a standalone product.

The Rocky Mountaineer 2-day rail departures for 2015 remain the same, however, there will be no break in 2015 during the first week of August as per previous years. This break was due to annual maintenance of the trains but they have now changed this schedule to ensure a continuous service.

Rates have increased significantly for 2-day rail over their 2014 rates and at time of press, Rocky Mountain Holidays were still offering 2014 Rocky Mountaineer vacation package pricing for 2015.

In 2015, there are no longer two price bands of April through to May, and June through to October. In the past, April and May departures for 2-day rail were reduced to encourage guests to travel earlier in the season. As a result of this change, there have been some significant price hikes, especially for travel in April and May:

2-day Rail – Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies [Jasper, Lake Louise or Banff]

For April and May train departures in 2015:

  • RedLeaf = +26% rate increase over 2014
  • SilverLeaf = +12% rate increase over 2014
  • GoldLeaf = +10.5% rate increase over 2014

For June through to October train departures in 2015:

  • RedLeaf = +14.6% rate increase over 2014
  • SilverLeaf = +5% rate increase over 2014
  • GoldLeaf =  +5% rate increase over 2014
Rocky Mountaineer Train, Morant's Curve
The Rocky Mountaineer train in Banff National Park, travelling eastwards between Lake Louise and Banff [Morant’s Curve]

2-day Rail – Vancouver through the Canadian Rockies to Calgary

For April and May train departures in 2015:

  • RedLeaf = +23.4% rate increase over 2014
  • SilverLeaf = +11% rate increase over 2014
  • GoldLeaf = +9.8% rate increase over 2014

For June through to October train departures in 2015:

  • RedLeaf = +13.2% rate increase over 2014
  • SilverLeaf = +4.6% rate increase over 2014
  • GoldLeaf =  +4.7% rate increase over 2014

Vancouver to Whistler 3.5 hour train [Sea-to-Sky Climb]

For May through to September train departures in 2015:

  • Classic Service – One Way = Almost 18% rate increase over 2014
  • Classic Service – Return =  Over 11% rate increase over 2014

Seattle to Vancouver train [Coastal Passage Route]

  • SilverLeaf = +10% rate increase over 2014 ($50 increase per person)
  • GoldLeaf = +7.1% rate increase over 2014 ($50 increase per person)

Why such dramatic rate increases in 2015?

Our assumption is that rising operating costs, updates to their GoldLeaf dome coaches, along with expansion into the United States are all reasons for increased rates. The weakening of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar has also contributed to potential increased costs in 2015.

The upgrade margins between RedLeaf, SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf service have been narrowed to entice guests to indulge in the ultimate luxury of GoldLeaf service onboard.

From November 1st, 2013, Rocky Mountaineer imposed rail fuel surcharges on all of their routes in 2014 due to rising oil prices, so taking that into consideration, the actual percentage rate increases from 2014 are less (as long as more fuel surcharges aren’t imposed for 2015). Rocky Mountain Holidays are still currently offering “rail and cruise fuel surcharge protection” on all of their Rocky Mountaineer bookings, so they will pay any fuel surcharges imposed on your behalf when you book through them.

The Canadian Dollar ["Loonie"]
The Canadian dollar has weakened significantly over the past year, most dramatically over the past few months.

How do these rate increases affect you?

The good news for most international guests is that the Canadian dollar has weakened significantly over the past year, most dramatically over the past few months.

For example:

  • The U.K. pound has increased in value against the Canadian dollar by 17% over the past year
  • The U.S. dollar has increased in value against the Canadian dollar by 10% over the past year

Unfortunately, Australians have seen a 5% decline in the Australian dollar against the Canadian dollar over the past year and most guests who live in Canada will not see any benefit in a weakened Canadian dollar.

That being said, the early-bird booking deals set to be offered for 2015 will be very attractive to encourage guests to book far in advance.

What do you think about these changes? Feel free to comment below.

Source: Rocky Mountain Holidays

All ski resorts in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies will be open this weekend and to celebrate, we are offering a FREE 3-day Tri-Area ski pass to one lucky Twitter follower (CA$279.09 value with tax). The Tri-Area ski pass covers Banff Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise ski resorts as well as the ski shuttles from Banff. Banff Norquay celebrated it’s earliest opening ever and is currently open weekends until November 30 2012. Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are set to open for the season this Friday, November 9 2012.

To enter, follow all you have to do is:

  1. Follow us on Twitter @HolidaysCanada
  2. RT the tweet below

One of tweeters who RT will be chosen at random to win the 3-day Tri-Area pass. The pass must be redeemed and used this season. Good luck and happy skiing!

Rocky Mountain Holidays™| Reviews

You should always research the travel company before you make a reservation with them.

We are proudly based in Beautiful British Columbia (BC) here in Western Canada which is currently one of the most heavily regulated Canadian provinces for travel companies. With this comes Consumer Protection BC, which by law, BC travel companies must be licensed with in order to offer you, the consumer, financial holiday protection. Our Consumer Protection BC licence number is 58516 or you can simply look us up by business or trade name. For those of you from the U.K. this kind of protection is similar to that of ABTA or ATOL.

rocky-peak Holidays | Rocky Mountain Holidays | BBB | A+

Another place to check out a North American business is the Better Business Bureau. We currently hold their highest rating of A+. Their ratings are based on a number of factors including time in business and consumer complaints.

Finally, the internet is a wonderful thing and you can easily find out a lot about a company by searching their company name online. If guests are not happy, they will likely complain online. If guests are thrilled with the service they receive, they will likely seek out review sites to let the world know about their positive experiences. If you can’t find anything on a company online, you have to ask yourself why.

rocky-peak Holidays | Rocky Mountain Holidays | 5-stars

We are thrilled that we are currently rated 5 stars on www.reviewcentre.com, this is their highest rating.  We are grateful that our satisfied guests have taken the time to review us online through various sites. If you were one of those guests who reviewed us, thank you!

Reviews for Rocky Mountain Holidays (rocky-peak Holidays)

We understand that most guest’s decision on who to book with is price – this is the bottom line for most and we understand this by keeping our rates competitive. We take care of our guests from your initial contact with us through to your feedback when you return and so you can always be rest assured, you will be taken excellent care of when you book through Rocky Mountain Holidays™, a trade mark of rocky-peak Holidays Ltd.

Thank you for choosing us!

Rocky Mountaineer Vacations 2013

Rocky Mountaineer 2013 packages are now available to book with Rocky Mountain Holidays.

For 2013, there are less vacation package options due to the fact that a lot of packages can easily be customised making some of the current 2012 packages redundant.

The new Rocky Mountaineer Coastal Passage Route – 2013:

Rocky Mountaineer Coastal Passage Route - 2013

The most exciting addition is the new Coastal Passage Route from Seattle which connects to Vancouver then onto Banff or Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. There is currently only one departure date set in August 2013 which means that this debut route will likely book up quite early.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Another addition for 2013 is the option to board and disembark the Rocky Mountaineer train in Lake Louise (as well as Banff as before) in Banff National Park. This provides us with more customisation options based on guest preferences.  The station is located just southwest of the Lake Louise Village, and less than 5 km northeast of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The address is: 200 Sentinel Road Lake Louise, Alberta T0L 1E0. View Map

Motorcoach transfers will be available to and from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and are included on all packages except 2 day rail-only. For guests departing from Lake Louise, please note that all check-ins will be at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and NOT on the station platform or at the station itself.

Rocky Mountaineer SilverLeaf Service - 2013

After the successful introduction of the onboard SilverLeaf service in 2012, the Rocky Mountaineer will also be offering this service on the Vancouver to Jasper two (2) day “Journey through the Clouds” route. SilverLeaf service will not be available onboard the Rocky Mountaineer route between Whistler and Jasper in 2013 and could potentially be introduced in 2014.

Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Deluxe Service - 2013

For the most luxurious accommodation option, this has been rebranded as “GoldLeaf Deluxe Service”. This allows us to book more than just Fairmont properties, such as the Four Seasons brand in this deluxe accommodation category, without conflicting with the Fairmont branding.

Cruise terminal transfers will be included with all Rocky Mountaineer rail and cruise packages in 2013.

Other than on packages connecting to Coastal Passage route, Holland America’s Oosterdam cruise from Seattle up to Alaska has been removed in 2013.

The Rocky Mountaineer city stops will not be available in 2013.

Rocky Mountain Holidays now have all of the 2013 Canada rail vacation packages for download along with early-bird pricing and promotions.

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to message us direct with any questions you may have. For reservations, we recommend you book direct with Rocky Mountain Holidays, an A+ rated business with the Better Business Bureau (their highest rating) and licensed with Consumer Protection BC for financial protection.

Safe travels 🙂

 

 

What’s happened to the Kicking Horse Powder Express?

I can’t tell you how many calls and emails we have received over the past few weeks from return and new guests regarding the Kicking Horse Powder Express. There seems to be a lot of confusion over what the Kicking Horse Powder Express is this season. Where has it gone? What has replaced it? How much does it cost? We have already spent a lot of time answering these questions and to make it easier and to save us some time answering individual calls and emails regarding this topic, here are some questions and answers below.

All of our guests seem disappointed and frustrated about these changes. Feel free to comment on this post as we would like to hear your thoughts.

Okay, let’s start with the questions and answers below:

1) Is the Kicking Horse Powder Express operating this season?

The Kicking Horse Powder Express with the dedicated return transportation and lift pass included at a rate of about $100 including all tax is no more.

2) Is there a replacement to this service?

Yes. There is a scheduled service which is about $100 plus tax return for just the transportation and in addition to this, you must purchase the lift pass. There is no discount on the lift pass – you must pay full price making this ski-away day quite pricey compared to the old service.

3) How is this service different?

This service is not a dedicated Powder Express ski shuttle as in previous seasons. It is a scheduled service connecting Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Golden and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The advantage of the scheduled service means that minimum numbers are not required.

The return time of 3:30pm means that you do not get to enjoy a full ski day on the mountain but you do have the convenience of catching a one way shuttle for a reasonable price.

4) What is the schedule for this new service?

This is the new schedule correct as of today:

FROM CANMORE / BANFF / LAKE LOUISE / GOLDEN TO  KICKING HORSE

Depart Canmore 5:30
Arrive in Banff 6:00

Depart Banff 6:15
Arrive in Lake Louise 7:15

Depart Lake Louise 7:30
Arrive Golden (Prestige Inn) 8:50

Depart Golden 9:00
Arrive Kicking Horse (Glacier Mountain Lodge) 9:30

FROM KICKING HORSE TO GOLDEN TO LAKE LOUISE / BANFF / CANMORE

Depart Kicking Horse (Glacier Mountain Lodge) 15:30
Arrive Golden (Prestige Inn) 16:10

Depart Golden 16:10
Arrive Lake Luoise 17:40

Depart Lake Louise 18:00
Arrive Banff 19:15

Depart Banff 19:45
Arrive Canmore 20:00

5) When does the above new service operate?

Daily: December 20th, 2011 through March 31st, 2012.

6) Are there other ski-away options out of Banff?

Yes, the Panorama ski bus is operating again this season with a minimum of 4 required to guarantee a departure. We are finding most guests are booking this ski-away day instead this season to experience another ski resort in the Canadian Rockies at a fraction of the cost.

7) Will the original Kicking Horse Powder Express be offered for the 2012-2013 season?

We have no idea but hope so! If it does, we will be sure to get the word out!

❓ How do I book this new service?

Contact Ski Holidays Canada.


Happy Holidays to you all and thanks for reading. We hope that we have answered your questions okay? Remember to visit www.SkiHolidaysCanada.co.uk for ski package deals and specials.

Looking forward to your comments!

Incredible Spring Skiing in the Canadian Rockies

With more and more bear sightings coming in, it’s hard to think about skiing and snowboarding….but you must!!! 2011 has so far been a record breaking year for snowfall and with the lower temperatures, the powder conditions are that of mid-winter.  Environment Canada predicted a later spring which has so far proven to be true.

Where to head? Sunshine Village in Banff National Park is still rocking with incredible snow conditions and no crowds. Even Easter was quiet this year due to it being a little later in the year than usual. Sunshine Village will wrap things up for the season on May 23 2011 with the 83rd annual Slush Cup. There is lots more going on including the Sunshine Village 3rd annual Bikinis for Breast Cancer fundraiser.

The video footage below was taken in March and April this year in Sunshine Village’s backcountry. These skiers are experienced expert locals and have all the right backcountry gear so please do not imitate!

Enjoy these excellent extended ski conditions and be sure to look out for bears, wolves, deer, elk and big horn sheep (to name a few) on the spring ski bus to Sunshine Village from Banff!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your spring skiing and boarding experiences with everyone below!

2011 Summer Holiday Packages – Canada

What a great start we have had to 2011 with about a metre of snow received by the ski resorts across Western Canada over the past week! Now that we are into 2011, the busy summer season does not seem so far away. With the early-bird deals starting to “fizzle” out or become less attractive for the summer, especially with the Rocky Mountaineer train packages, now is a good time to get a good deal on a 2011 spring, summer or autumn/fall package. Rocky Mountain Holidays have brochure downloads in PDF (Portable Document Format) and as always, we have provided the links below for easy reference. These packages can be easily customised based on your preferences (as long as the changes fit in with the rail or cruise schedule). Be sure to take advantage of specials such as free nights and activities in Vancouver – value added rather than discounts are the way to go.

Self-drive holidays are becoming increasingly popular in the Canadian Rockies as it gives you the independence but you also have full support when you are out here and the peace of mind that you won’t struggle to find accommodation during the peak season months in the Canadian Rockies. When booking a self-drive package, check to see if you have Loss Damage Waiver insurance coverage with your credit card provider as this can save you about $30 per day. Also, check out what the one way drop-off fees are from Vancouver to Calgary for example. When you book independently they can be as much as several hundred dollars whereas through a tour operator, typically the rates are about $75-$100.

Other things to look out for if you are shopping around are hidden fees such as “credit card surcharges”. This is a common technique used by some companies to squeeze some extra cash out of you after you have already agreed to the booking. It is also good to ask the straight question – “what extra costs will I have to pay in additional to the package price?”. Any good tour operator will be able to list these for you immediately so you know where you stand with the total of your holiday cost.

Here are the holiday brochures for 2011 – available for download through RockyMountainHolidays.com.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2011.

Rocky Mountaineer Holidays 2010

The Rocky Mountaineer® Train offers spectacular rail journeys across Western Canada in the spring, summer and autumn months.

The Rocky Mountaineer® train operates through the Canadian Rockies in either direction to Vancouver from Calgary, Banff or Jasper and also to Whistler from Jasper. The train only operates during daylight hours to maximise your viewing experience and pleasure.

Rocky Mountaineer Routes

The Whistler Mountaineer™ train now known as the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb, is a three-hour experience connecting North Vancouver and Whistler which allows you to take a complete rail loop from Vancouver, Whistler and Jasper.

Make sure you make your holiday in Western Canada a Rocky Mountaineer Holiday.

Source: Rocky Mountain Holidays

Rocky Mountaineer Tax Increase 2010

Rocky Mountaineer Logo

With the introduction of the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in British Columbia, Rocky Mountaineer Holiday packages will increase by up to 7%.

For those of you who are planning to book your holiday in Canada, or are about to book your holiday, be sure to read the following as you could save up to 7%. If you book and pay in full by the end of this month (April 2010), then you will only have to pay the standard Federal goods and services tax (GST) of 5%.


IMPORTANT ADVISORY – CHANGE IN CANADIAN SALES TAXES

The Province of British Columbia, Canada, has tabled legislation to introduce a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on goods and services, effective July 1, 2010. This tax will merge federal (GST) and provincial taxes (PST) into one single amount, the HST and will, unfortunately, increase the cost of your Rocky Mountaineer® Holiday by up to 7%.

The HST applies to all Rocky Mountaineer bookings with travel dates beginning in Canada after July 1, 2010.

Below summarises three options for consideration in the implementation of HST:

1. Bookings received prior to May 1, 2010 with a payment due date by April 30, 2010

Transitional rules allow bookings made prior to May 1, 2010 to be taxed under the old GST rules if the payment is due and paid for by April 30, 2010.

2. Bookings made after April 30th, for travel before July 1, 2010

Transitional rules allow bookings made prior as of May 1, 2010, for travel before July 1, 2010 to be taxed under the old GST rules.

3. Tax rate increases for bookings made after April 30th, for travel after July 1, 2010

The changes required to comply with the new HST will result in tax increases to an effective rate of 8% – 11% for Rocky Mountaineer bookings. Please note the following exceptions: Whistler Sea to Sky bookings all have a 12% tax rate, bookings with a cruise or VIA Rail component will have a tax rate determined by the originating province of the trip.


Please visit RockyMountainHolidays.com for more Rocky Mountaineer Tax Information.