Category Archives: rocky-mountain

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

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!

Seattle to Canadian Rockies by Rocky Mountaineer train

This is a promotional Rocky Mountaineer video of the new Coastal Passage route, set to debut in August 2013. Please read our last post for more information. The 3-day route connects Seattle (via Vancouver) with Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies as well as Calgary. Any questions, please drop us a line.

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 🙂

 

 

Rocky Mountain Vacations.com

rocky-peak Holidays Ltd. is pleased to announce their recent purchase of RockyMountainVacations.com adding to their portfolio of domain names to protect their brand and to make it easier for guests to find their services.

rocky-peak Holidays has the top rating with the Better Business Bureau and is committed to service excellence.  Thank you for your continued support and please do not hesitate to let us know if we can ever be of assistance.

We look forward to planning your vacation here in Western Canada and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

 

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 Train Holidays 2011

We are not even into August 2010 yet and the rates have been released for all Rocky Mountaineer Train and Cruise Holiday packages for 2011. They have kept most of the packages the same as 2010 but have added an Alaska cruise from Seattle onboard Holland America’s ms Oosterdam to seven of their existing popular 2010 train holiday packages. Alaska cruises from Vancouver for 2011 are still onboard the Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam, which, in our opinion, has to be one of, if not, the best cruise ship sailing up to Alaska from Vancouver, Canada.

Below are the new 2011 Rocky Mountaineer train holiday packages with the Seattle cruise add-on. The links are to PDF documents on RockyMountainHolidays.com.

Rocky Mountaineer with Cruise to Alaska from Seattle

New Rocky Mountaineer Holiday Products for 2011

There have not been any major changes to the 2010 Rocky Mountaineer packages for 2011. Any changes are “tweaks” to already very popular and exciting train holiday packages.

Changes to Existing 2010 Products for 2011

  • All tours that overnight in Vancouver now include admission to the Vancouver Lookout
  • All tours that overnight in Calgary now include admission to the Calgary Tower
  • RedLeaf Service pre- or post-cruise tour packages now utilize Ocean- View Staterooms (Category D).
  • GoldLeaf Service pre- or post-cruise tour packages continue to use Deluxe Verandah Ocean-View Staterooms (Category VC).
  • Classic Rail Circle now has an additional pre-night in Vancouver plus a six hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver’s spectacular North Shore.
  • Grand Rail Circle now has an additional pre-night in Vancouver plus a six hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver’s spectacular North Shore
  • Canadian Rockies Highlights now has an additional pre-night in Vancouver plus a six hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver’s spectacular North Shore.
  • Canadian Rockies Highlights – 5 nights is also available; this is the same as the 2010 Canadian Rockies Highlights.
  • Canadian Rockies Circle is now 9 nights in duration instead of 12 nights.
  • The westbound itineraries of Trans-Canada Rail Adventure, Canada’s Coast to Coast by Rail, and the post-tour cruise options of these packages now include 2 nights in Jasper plus a Jasper highlights motorcoach tour, but only one night in Lake Louise.
  • City Stop add-on products are able to be sold independently, with rail-only, or in conjunction with any Rocky Mountaineer packages. Please note that transportation to/from the station or airport is not included in any City Stop packages.
  • Taxi transfers to/from cruise terminals in Vancouver are no longer included.
  • Travel documentation will advise of estimated taxi transfer rates, and limousine transfers available for purchase.

Discontinued 2010 Rocky Mountaineer Holiday Products

New for 2011 – Child and Youth Rates

New for 2011, Rocky Mountaineer holiday packages now include rates for youths (ages 12-18) and children (ages 2-11) when travelling with at least one single adult guest.

The published child and youth prices will apply for a maximum of 1 child or youth sharing with 1 adult. Parties of 1 adult and 2 or more children/youths will have to be booked with a minimum of 2 adults. It is not possible to book a single room with more than 2 persons sharing.


These are all the changes to the Rocky Mountaineer Holiday packages for 2011. Rocky Mountaineer package information which include cruises up to Alaska from Vancouver or Seattle can be all found at RockyMountainHolidays.com. You can view all the latest Rocky Mountaineer early-bird deals there too.

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.

Rocky Mountain Summer Holiday

Things to remember for a Rocky Mountain Summer Holiday in Canada:

1) Passport: If you are travelling from outside of Canada, even from the U.S., you now require a passport to enter Canada. You don’t need to pre-arrange your visitor visa from some countries. For more information on which countries require you to have a visa, visit Canada Immigration and Citizenship

2) Airport hand luggage: Make sure you don’t pack any sharp objects in your hand luggage if you are travelling to Canada by air. Most airport websites have information on what you should pack. London Heathrow Airport Security Information provides useful details.

3) Sunscreen: You will be at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains which means you will be closer to the sun and it’s harmful rays. Lake Louise is at 1,536 m (5,039 feet); it is the highest permanent settlement in Canada (Banff is the highest town) so make sure you slip, slop, slap! (Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat!). Areas like the tops of your ears and the underside of you chin and nose if you plan to go onto Athabasca glacier as the sun’s rays are reflected off the ice.

4) Moisturiser: The air in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is very dry and you will notice this straight away. Avoid dry ski irritations by using moisturiser in the mornings and evenings. There is now a range of moisturisers such as product lines just for men. Don’t pack these in your carry on luggage as they may be taken of you (see point 2)

5) Clothing: Make sure you bring out a good breathable waterproof just in case. Alberta is the sunniest province in Canada, but west coast locations such as Vancouver are much wetter.
Bring out a breathable fleece too – we have been known to have sleet and snow in the mountains in August. This is rare but does happen. Mountain weather can change suddenly so be prepared. The weather is cooler on the mountain tops.

Swim gear is recommended too as some hotels have pools and there are hot springs to soak in!

6) Water: A light weight water bottle is a must as you need to get in the habit of continually sipping from a water bottle. The higher altitude means you will become dehydrated sooner and if you don’t drink plenty of water, you may find you develop signs of dehydration such as a head ache.

Avoid excessive alcohol and products with caffeine in them as these can cause a ‘diuretic’ (water loss) effect speeding up dehydration. Bringing out a bottle and refilling it each time is a much more friendly to the environment than purchasing plactic bottles as these inevitable end up in landfills. You can drink the tap water here and most water sources come from glaciers so it tastes great too.

7) Footwear: If you intend to hike, make sure you have some sturdy waterproof boots as the trails can be very rocky. If you don’t intend to hike, there are plenty of walking trails which don’t require boots and suitable footwear such as trainers would suffice. High heels are only suitable in the cities so leave those at home!

8) Backpack: Bring out a backpack with a breathable mesh as it is more comfortable in warmer temperatures when hiking.

9) Knowledge: One of the main attractions in the Canadian Rockies is the wildlife. As the name indicates, these animals are “wild” so give them plenty of room. An animal as small as an innocent ground squirrel can give you a nasty bite. In the National and Provincial parks there are large fines if you feed the wildlife as you can do the animal more harm than good.

Know what to do if you have a bear encounter and be prepared for a much rarer cougar (or mountain lion) encounter. These can happen quite close to most Rocky Mountain townsites. Visit the Parks Canada guide to safety and conservation and contact the local information office before you head out into the local area or back country for bear sightings. If there is a bear in an area, avoid that area.

During the summer months in the Canadian Rockies, the bears love to feast on the buffalo berry bush. The berries are bright red (but can also be bright orange). Know what these plants look like and if you are in an area with a lot of these bushes, make plenty of noise or turn around and leave the area altogether.

Buffalo Berry

10) Preparation: Be prepared for everything. Health care is expensive here if you don’t have travel insurance with medical coverage. If you injury yourself in the back country, you may need to helicopter to fly out so insurance a must.

11) Camera: Have plenty of memory if you bring out your digital camera and remember your charger!

12) Phone: If you are bringing your mobile phone from outside of Canada, be sure to contact your telecommunications provider and ask to have the “international roaming” function turned on. Check the rates before your leave as using your phone in Canada can be costly.

13) Travel adapter: If you intend to bring out any electronic equipment remember to bring out a travel adapter. Purchase this in your country of origin as buying one in Canada may be hard to find to fit your plug.

14) Credit card: Credit cards are accepted everywhere and usually there are no minimums. Make sure you contact your credit card provider before you leave so they don’t treat Canadian transactions as suspicious and block your card.

Remember your pin to your credit card so you can withdrawl money although you will be charged for a cash advance by your credit card provider and for a foreign withdrawl. Ask your bank if you can use your card to withdrawl money overseas – this is usually the most economical way to pull out Canadian funds. Travellers cheques are not so common here – cash is king!

15) Itinerary: If you have had your holiday put together by a Rocky Mountain tour operator, keep your itinerary in your carry-on luggage and keep the company’s toll-free or freephone number in your wallet in case you need to call. This also provides peace of mind and support if you need it.

Hopefully these steps should help you plan your Rocky Mountain Summer Holiday.

Safe travels!