Tag Archives: Canadian luxury train

Top Five Reasons to Choose GoldLeaf Service on Rocky Mountaineer, Prestige Class on the Canadian

2 Mar
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Rocky Mountaineer. IRT Photo by Nora B. Elzy.

Considering Canada this year?

Go for the gold. Or, rather, the GoldLeaf.

Once you’ve experienced the Rocky Mountaineer’s double-decked GoldLeaf Dome service — as I did — you won’t settle for anything less.

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Youthful, energetic, and dedicated to their passengers: Rocky Mountaineer hosts serve drinks and snacks as they provide expert info about the passing scene. IRT Photo by Nora Elzy

Here are IRT’s top five reasons to book GoldLeaf on Rocky Mountaineer:

  1. The curved panoramic windows allow for 180-degree viewing and are unbeatable for spotting wildlife like bears & eagles.
  2. The lower-level dining area is like a swanky restaurant on wheels, with food to match. All meals and drinks on the train are included — and the chef bends over backwards to accommodate dietary preferences.
  3. The seats are utterly relaxing. I wish I could have brought mine home! They boast several seat-back positions and heating functions. You can even rotate your seat 180 degrees to make a miniature seating area for four.
  4. The wind-in-the-face, outdoor viewing platform at the end of the train is perfect for drinking in the fresh Canadian air — and maybe even spotting a moose.
  5. The friendly & energetic attendants, who point out landmarks along the way, offer snacks and beverages and are always on the lookout for wildlife. (Staff-to-guest ratio is higher than in the single-level cars.)
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Rocky Mountaineer Gold Class includes wind-in-the-face viewing from an open-air platform. IRT photo by Nora Elzy

(And for those extra-discerning travelers, kick your Rocky Mountaineer adventure up another notch and book our exclusive Ultra-Luxe Canadian Rockies Adventure, with all-private touring, transfers, & upgraded hotels.)

*******

I began my Canadian rail adventure with a totally different, yet no less luxurious, train: VIA Rail’s retro-styled, silver overnight classic, the Canadian.

Again, your most important decision will be to select great accommodations. In this case, that means booking VIA’s Prestige Class.

The list of Prestige Class perks is almost as long as the Canadian itself. Here are my top five:

  1. The large double bed and en-suite bathroom with shower;
  2. Unlimited free drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic);
  3. Reserved seating in the Park Car during peak viewing hours;
  4. 24-hour butler service;
  5. First choice for meal sittings.

For a full list of Prestige Class perks, click here.

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The Canadian’s classic diner sports such touches as charming Canadian birds etched in glass. Photo provided by VIA Rail Canada

The most important Prestige Class amenity for me was the exclusive access I had to the Park Car at the end of the train.

The lower rear half of the car boasts a well-appointed lounge with plenty of windows. The lower front half includes the Prestige bar with dedicated Prestige-only staff and ever-present snacks and beverages.

The upper level is almost entirely glass with — most important of all during high season — reserved seating for Prestige passengers. Watch the stars with an after-dinner drink and revel in the relaxation.

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VIA Rail Canada’s Prestige Class includes reserved seats in the Canadian’s classic dome cars. IRT Photo by Bruce Anderson

Finally, I can’t talk about the Canadian without praising the staff. Many are “lifers,” having worked for VIA for years. From their quirky Canadian humor to their quick assistance, I wanted for nothing during my journey.

My last suggestion might be most important: these trains book up fast, especially in peak months. So don’t delay.

For more info, click here for our journeys on Rocky Mountaineer; click here for our expertly-designed Trans-Canada Adventure that pairs the Canadian with the Rocky Mountaineer.

Email us, or call us at (800) 478-4881 (+1 502-897-1725 if you’re outside of the US/Canada).

Nora Elzy is a Luxury Travel Associate with The Society of International Railway Travelers. She joined our team in December, 2016. She is a graduate of Centre College. Nora most recently traveled with IRT to Italy and the UK for a memorable trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Among her other notable international travels was her study abroad in Japan.

Royal Canadian Pacific, N. America’s Only Luxury Sleeper Train, Returning!

10 Oct
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Enjoying the view from the Royal Canadian Pacific’s new dome car. IRT Photo by Rachel Hardy

The Royal Canadian Pacific is back — complete with a brand-new full dome car!

After a five-year hiatus, the luxury sleeper train plans to offer two departures to the public in June and July next year. A third exclusive IRT departure in September 2020 is also under consideration.

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Service with a smile on the RCP. IRT Photo by Rachel Hardy

I traveled to Calgary two weeks ago to inspect the train and learn more about its plans for the future.

My takeaway?

IRT travelers will delight in the RCP’s opulent 1920s-era carriages, with all en-suite cabins, comfortable reading nooks, and outdoor platforms sprinkled generously throughout.

Its professional, full-time staff and its five-star cuisine also will not disappoint.

And they’ll appreciate its historical bonafides (Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, and JFK & Jackie were all passengers).

Of course, the dramatic Canadian Rockies scenery is as lovely as ever—especially when viewed from the comfort of the brand-new glass dome observation car.

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Meringue with homemade Scottish shortbread and lavender honey — crowned with a Maple leaf. IRT Photo by Rachel Hardy

The novelty of a luxury sleeper train returning to North America will excite rail enthusiasts everywhere. We here at IRT predict high interest from travelers—especially confirmed luxury rail enthusiasts.

Ever since the RCP stopped offering public departures five years ago, the continent has been devoid of anything similar.

Itineraries are still being confirmed but will likely include a 5-day circle tour beginning and ending in Calgary. A 4-day Calgary-Vancouver tour also is being considered.

Both tours are expected to offer off-train activities in Golden, Banff, and Lake Louise. Pricing is also still under consideration.

Interested in joining an RCP 2020 luxury tour next year? Let us know now, and we’ll put you on our “First Notice” list.

Click here to register your interest, and we’ll contact you as soon as we have details.

Click here to read more about the Royal Canadian Pacific itself.

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The author outside the RCP’s new full-length dome car. IRT Photo by Nate Kremer

For more information, or to book any other of our journeys on the World’s Top 25 Trains, call us at (800) 478-4881, or +1 502-897-1725 if outside the US / Canada. You can also e-mail us at [email protected].

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View from the rear platform of the Royal Canadian Pacific. IRT Photo by Rachel Hardy

 

Rachel M. Hardy is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and Virtuoso luxury travel advisor for The Society of International Railway Travelers®. She specializes in luxury rail and adventure in Europe, South America, Africa (rail & safaris) and Canada.  She was the first advisor from the Americas invited to see the new Grand Suites on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Our agency is a proud member of Virtuoso.

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