Banff National Park, AB – Mt. Norquay’s third annual Santa Shreds for Free takes place Christmas Day, 2014 offering a free day pass to those that arrive fully dressed as Jolly St. Nick, Mrs. Claus, an Elf or even a Reindeer.
“It’s less expensive to go buy a cheap Santa Suit than to pay for a lift pass, and you get to keep the suit”
“It’s less expensive to go buy a cheap Santa Suit than to pay for a lift pass, and you get to keep the suit,” said a Norquay guest taking advantage of the offer in 2013.
High Alpine Dining – The newly renovated Cliffhouse Bistro, will be open daily throughout the holiday season starting December 27th to January 4th. Norquay guests are invited to ride the historic North American Chair and take in legendary views of Banff whilst savoring the inspired flavors of new Executive Chef Morne Burger.
Experience winter in Banff from a whole new perspective. No longer exclusive to skiers and snowboarders, winter sightseeing from the North American Chairlift is available all season long, offering foot passengers the option of taking the chairlift up and down the mountain.
It’s going to be a great winter at Mt. Norquay – discover all that Banff’s closest resort has to offer.
2015 Rocky Mountaineer Vacation Packages – itineraries, rates and dates
Rocky Mountain Holidays have just posted all 2015 Rocky Mountaineer vacation packages for 2015. There are significantly more packages available with the welcomed addition of some old favourites such as the “at leisure” packages, which give you more time in the Canadian Rockies. There are now 129 Rocky Mountaineer Canadian vacation package options to choose from.
All vacation packages were always available through customisation, although the addition of these extended packages make it much easier for guests to view itineraries and prices at a glance. Rocky Mountain Holidays also have a useful vacation search tool which assists you in finding the perfect vacation package with Rocky Mountaineer (featured below):
For 2015, at time of press, all new Rocky Mountaineer Vacation packages will be subject to a 20% non-refundable deposit. In the past, guests took advantage of the low deposits to secure their vacations in advance. For now, any guests booking 2015 will have to be a little more committed – we always recommend you take out adequate travel insurance to protect you against unforeseen circumstances.
Changes to 2015 Alaska cruise out of Vancouver
It’s goodbye to NCL in 2015 and the relationship with Holland America continues to grow strong for the 2015 season. Having travelled onboard Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam myself out of Vancouver on their 7 night round-trip Alaska cruise, I have to say it was an excellent cruise ship and perfect for the Alaskan climate with not too much outside deck.
In 2015, the ms Zuiderdam’s route will be replaced by the returning ms Noordam. The itinerary will remain the same. This ship is a Vista-class ship like the Zuiderdam and was the last built of the Vista Class ships (Zuiderdam being the first). As this is a newer ship, Holland America made some improvements. The consensus is that this is a better ship with some slight changes – it is a sister ship to ms Zuiderdam and has mostly identical features. So, this is a really positive change for the rail and cruise packages in 2015. We are already off to a great start!
Here is a nice photo I took from onboard the ms Zuiderdam as we cruised Glacier Bay National Park – just breath taking.
Holland America’s ms Westerdam will be the cruise ship of choice out of Seattle again in 2015 and ties in nicely with the Coastal Passage route which connects Seattle to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies.
Rocky Mountaineer’s research with guests and potential guests indicated that future guests are seeking more days onboard the train. To accommodate this growing demand for circle trips, Rocky Mountaineer introduced the new shorter-duration 6 night “Taste of the Rockies” Circle package.
This rail vacation package includes both the Rocky Mountaineer’s best-selling First Passage to the West and Journey through the Clouds routes, plus a motorcoach tour along the Icefields Parkway connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks. The journey can also be extended to begin and/or end in Seattle instead of Vancouver by adding Coastal Passage, or combined with pre- or post-tour cruise options onboard the ms Noordam out of Vancouver.
Canadian Rockies Adventures
During my years of guiding in Banff National Park, the Icefields Parkway was one of my favourite places to take guests and the scenery never failed to disappoint. This route is only accessible by road and is a favourite of many Rocky Mountaineer guests too. With this in mind, the “Canadian Rockies Adventures” vacation package was introduced for 2015. It extends guests’ stays in Lake Louise and Banff to two nights, to allow for more time to include this spectacular highlight in their itineraries while at the same time, slowing the pace making this holiday more relaxing over 7 nights.
Please note that this package is not the same as the one with the same name sold until 2012 as the old itinerary did not include lunch on the Icefields Parkway tour or the helicopter flight at Cline River. A 7 night round-trip Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver onboard ms Noordam can also be added before or after this package.
Canadian Rockies at Leisure and Northern Rockies at Leisure
Due to increased demand of vacation packages in the Canadian Rockies with longer durations, the “Canadian Rockies at Leisure” (9 nights) and “Northern Rockies at Leisure” (10 nights) have been re-introduced. These itineraries are very similar to the best selling Western Explorer package and the Northern Explorer package, but with two night stays in Banff and Lake Louise, as well as in Jasper. A 7-night round-trip Vancouver cruise onboard ms Noordaman can also be added to either of these packages (at the start or the end).
Coastal Passage Packages
We were some of the lucky ones to be invited onboard for the inaugural departure in August 2013 and we were certainly impressed by this new exciting route, connecting Seattle to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies.
Back in February 2014, Rocky Mountaineer vastly expanded the number of Coastal Passage packages available, making a total of 41 package options to choose from which include this route. For 2015, these packages will also be available with cruises from Holland America (ms Westerdam, before or after your rail tour)
As in 2014, the Coastal Passage add-on is available to begin or end any Rocky Mountaineer package in Seattle, it can not be taken as a stand-alone.
Is that all the changes for 2015?
Yes, as far as we can see. Apart for some minor tweaks on some existing packages, such as the Summit Helicopter tour removal from the Canadian Rockies Getaway, Grand Rail Circle, Trans-Canada Rail Adventure, and Coast to Coast by Rail, no other major changes to report.
We are delighted about the changes we have seen for the 2015 season…it will be here before we know it!
Rocky Mountain Holidays posted Rocky Mountaineer’s anticipated rail schedule and rates for 2015 today. We have highlighted the main changes below.
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
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.
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.
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.
For a limited time, book a qualifying Rocky Mountaineer holiday package of four nights or more through Rocky Mountain Holidays and receive a free rail seat upgrade on select dates in 2013. Space is limited and availability changes daily.
RedLeaf Service: Guests receive a free rail seat upgrade to SilverLeaf Service
SilverLeaf Service: Guests receive a free rail seat upgrade to GoldLeaf Service
GoldLeaf Service: Guests receive a $400 credit towards the package price
Offer expected to end sometime next month (June 2013). Remember to mention the discount / promotion / coupon code: FREEUPGRADE when calling 1-888-PH-ROCKY (74-76259)
Rocky Mountain Holidays™ have just posted the schedules and rates on their website for the Rocky Mountaineer train in 2014.
The main (and most exciting) change is the permanent addition of the Coastal Passage Route which connects Seattle to Vancouver by Rocky Mountaineer train. This route is due to debut for the first time for just one departure in August 2013. In 2014, there are the following departures:
4 departures in May 2014
3 departures in June 2014
1 departure in July 2014
2 departures in August 2014
2 departures in September 2014
With the exciting Rocky Mountaineer Coastal Passage route in 2014, you will have the option of connecting with 2-day rail routes (Vancouver to Banff / Calgary or Jasper, via Kamloops) as well as the option of SilverLeaf service onboard. For the first debut departure this August 2013, the Coastal Passage route is only available in GoldLeaf service.
In 2014, you will also have the option of disembarking the Rocky Mountaineer train in Lake Louise (instead of Banff). This option was introduced in 2013.
We are thrilled with the new 2014 Rocky Mountaineer train schedule which will connect Seattle (U.S.A.) to the Canadian Rockies (via Vancouver) for over 5 months in 2014 – a fabulous addition.
Rocky Mountaineer video featuring the new Coastal Passage Route from Seattle to Vancouver:
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:
Follow us on Twitter @HolidaysCanada
RT the tweet below
FOLLOW US, RT THIS & WIN a 2012-13 Tri-Area 3-day Ski Pass – Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine. Winner will be chosen at random on NOV 9 @ 10am PST
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A mudslide 60km west of Golden, British Columbia in Glacier National Park has caused a full closure of of the TransCanada Highway #1 in both directions between Revelstoke and Golden. Road crews are currently working to clean the highway and confirm it is safe for travel.
Additionally, heavy rains have resulted in weakened rail tracks resulting in the cancellation of Rocky Mountaineer rail service between Banff and Kamloops and have been replaced by coach transfers. Meals are being provided by a lunch stop at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and at several rest stops along the route to Kamloops or Banff. Coaches are arriving in Kamloops and Banff at approximately the same time as the scheduled train service normally does. Rocky Mountaineer will advise us when they expect the rail service will resume after inspection of the tracks.
*** UPDATE – 13:55 Pacific Standard Time ***
The tracks between Banff and Kamloops that had been blocked due to heavy rains in the area have now been cleared and Rocky Mountaineer’s full rail service has been restored in both directions.
TransCanada Highway #1 has also been cleared of debris and has been reopened for travel in both directions between Revelstoke and Golden, British Columbia.
The footage below of the Bow Falls in Banff was taken yesterday (June 06 2012)
The award winning Rocky Mountaineer train tour across the Canadian Rockies is on most of your bucket lists. If you are flexible on dates and are able to travel later this month or in May 2012, you must check out the following exclusive GoldLeaf offers on select dates from Rocky Mountain Holidays. The savings are significant.
For your convenience, I have posted the eligible dates below. These offers are strictly capacity controlled and so will not be around for long.
Eastbound Departures (3 night packages)
Vancouver to Banff: May 21, 28
Vancouver to Banff/Calgary: May 3
Vancouver to Jasper: May 7, 10, 14, 17, 28
Westbound Departures (3 night packages)
Banff to Vancouver: Apr 25; May 2, 8, 22
Calgary/Banff to Vancouver: May 12, 19
Jasper to Vancouver: Apr 25; May 2, 5, 26
For more information call freephone North America on 1-888-PH-ROCKY (74-76259) and press option 1. Outside of North America you can call freephone from the U.K. on 0800-567-7542 or long distance from all other countries +1 403-609-0286 and press option 1.
Rocky Mountain Holidays™ have just announced their latest deal offerings on Rocky Mountaineer Train® packages; applicable on select 3 night packages on select travel dates in April 2012 and May 2012. These savings amount to almost the equivalent of 20% and are subject to availability. These are exclusive Rocky Mountaineer deals.
In addition to these deals, which were just announced a few hours ago, they will also continue to offer the Rocky Mountaineer ® Stay and Play promotion through March and April 2012 which includes a FREE night in Vancouver as well as a FREE dinner in the Canadian Rockies or a Vancouver sightseeing tour. I have also listed more information below:
2012 Deals on 6+ night 2012 packages*
Book any qualifying six (6) or more night 2012 Rocky Mountaineer holiday through us and receive a FREE additional night in Vancouver, a FREE Vancouver sightseeing tour OR a dinner in the Canadian Rockies at your Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise hotel.
2012 Deal – FREE night in Vancouver*
Book any six (6) or more night 2012 Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf, SilverLeaf or RedLeaf package and receive a FREE additional night in Vancouver. Must be taken at the start or end of the package. Accommodation matches the accommodation grade of the package.
2012 Deal – FREE dinner or sightseeing tour*
Book any six (6) or more night 2012 Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf, SilverLeaf or RedLeaf package and receive a FREE dinner in the Canadian Rockies at your Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise hotel OR a Vancouver sightseeing city tour. Guests travelling in GoldLeaf service will have additional tour options. The dinner or sightseeing tour must be taken at the start, the end or during your package.
FREE Rail and Cruise Fuel Surcharge Protection*
This early-bird promotion offers peace of mind. Your holiday price will not increase after you book even if oil prices do. Any rail and cruise surcharges imposed between now and packages booked up to October 2013 will be absorbed by us.
FREE Calgary Airport YYC to Calgary Hotel Transfer*
Get off to the right start when you arrive at Calgary Airport YYC. You will be met by a representative and transported to your Calgary hotel.