Rockies Westbound Explorer
Which is almost, but not quite the same as what we had planned with Celebrity. I have swapped out a bit on the hotels, upgraded the rail and we have two days to watch out train windows but sleep in hotels rather than overnight on the train.
The following is lifted from the brochure….
Day 1 Calgary to Banff
Upon landing in Calgary, you’ll be transferred to Banff, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Day 2 Banff
Your Canadian vacation kicks into high gear with a guided three-hour tour. You’ll visit Bow Falls (made famous by Marilyn Monroe in Point of No Return)and Tunnel Mountain Drive, a stretch of road with unobstructed views of Mount Rundle, Cascade Mountain and Banff’s famous hoodoos (finger-like rock formations). The highlight of the tour will be a short gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain, a favorite place of bighorn sheep.
Day 3 Banff to Lake Louise
The ride to Lake Louise will be highlighted by a visit to Banff and Yoho National Parks. Both parks, along with two others in the area, were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. Beginning in Banff, you’ll visit Johnston Canyon, an easily accessible gorge featuring two dramatic waterfalls. Next, you’ll cross the Continental Divide into Yoho for visits to Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls, one of the largest in Canada, and the Kicking Horse River’s natural bridge. You’ll then arrive in Lake Louise and check into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. From the hotel you’ll enjoy out-the-door access to one of the planet’s greatest alpine settings. (please note the Mountain, Lakes & Waterfalls tour from Banff to Lake Louise does not begin until the second week of June when snow melt allows access to the mountain roads. A scenic transfer is substituted for earlier departures.) Use your Lake Louise sightseeing lift pass to get high for wonderful views. Complimentary shuttles to the lift are available from the Chateau.
Day 4 Lake Louise to Jasper
Your tour continues north, following the Canadian Rockies along the Icefields Parkway, rated as one of the most scenic stretches of highway in the world. To maximize the experience, you’ll journey onto the Athabasca Glacier aboard a specially designed Ice Explorer bus. This massive ice flow is part of the Columbia Icefield, the largest nonpolar ice cap on the planet. The backdrop of mountains surrounding the glacier creates an incredibly dramatic setting. From here you’ll continue on to Jasper.
Day 5 Jasper
Today you’ll enjoy a guided tour through Jasper National Park, considered the most rugged of the region’s four parks. A boat cruise across Maligne Lake highlights the day. Maligne is the largest glacier-supplied lake in the Rockies and second largest in the world. Towering, snow-blanketed peaks surround the lake, making it an endless Kodak moment. Your 90-minute cruise will include a stop on Spirit Island, a small dot of land, for photo-taking purposes. Please note that the lake is usually not free of the thick winter ice till the end of May, so another Jasper tour is substituted for earlier departures.
Day 6 Jasper to Kamloops
You’ll travel west through the Canadian Rockies aboard a Rocky Mountaineer train. This memorable ride snakes in and around jagged, snow-powdered peaks and past glacial lakes and streams, highlighted by Mount Robson, the region’s highest mountain at 3,954 meters (12,972 feet). After crossing the Continental Divide you’ll enter British Columbia and begin a slow descent out of the mountains into Kamloops.
Day 7 Kamloops to Vancouver
Your Rocky Mountaineer train travels west out of Kamloops, following the Thompson River before turning south and entering the Fraser River Valley. Along the way you’ll pass Hell’s Gate, a narrow slot of rock that transforms the Fraser River into a rage of whitewater. You’ll reach Vancouver in the late afternoon, giving you time to tour Canada’s third largest city. A two-day “Hop-on Hop-off” bus pass will allow you to tour at your own pace. The bus accesses some of Vancouver’s most popular attractions including Chinatown, Stanley Park, Gastown, the Robson Street Shopping District and English Bay Beach.
Day 8 Vancouver Departure
Your tour ends upon checking out of your hotel.