Frequently Asked Questions

Rocky Mountaineer

General Information

1. What is the best time to travel through the Canadian Rockies?

Onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, every season offers unique advantages. For instance, June is 'Springtime in the Rockies' with snow on the mountaintops and flowers beginning to bloom. April, May and October offer savings and July and August give you the warm weather in the mountains.

2. How far do we travel on the Rocky Mountaineer?

About 450 kilometres (280 miles) each day, all in daylight. Look forward to spending two full relaxing days onboard the Rocky Mountaineer.

3. Does the Rocky Mountaineer have sleeper cars?

No. Our daylight rail tours through the Canadian Rockies are scheduled to show you all of the scenery. After a day onboard the train through the Rockies, you overnight in either Kamloops or Quesnel, British Columbia. Accommodation in Vancouver and Whistler is not included unless indicated.

4. What are the advantages to travelling these routes by rail?

There are many unique features to rail travel. You will enjoy an extremely comfortable seat with ample legroom and have the freedom to stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh air while in the vestibules. Combined with attentive service and outstanding storytelling, this type of leisurely paced travel will ensure that you know you are on vacation. One of the greatest advantages, however, is the ability to travel through areas simply not accessible by foot, car or motorcoach. The routes we travel on are described as engineering marvels and as we follow rushing rivers, pass beside towering waterfalls and ride through spectacular river canyons, you will understand why. To truly appreciate the nature and scenery in this part of the world, the Rocky Mountaineer offers the very best vantage point.

5. What speed does the train travel?

The advantage of our train is that we are able to slow down at the most scenic areas to offer you picture perfect moments and the best camera photographic opportunities. While there are areas the train reaches up to 90kph (60mph), our average speed is approximately 50 kph (30mph).

6. Is smoking permitted on the train and in the hotel rooms?

To ensure the preservation of the fragile environment of the areas in which we travel and for the comfort of all guests and employees, there is no smoking onboard the Rocky Mountaineer. This includes the outdoor area between coaches and restroom facilities. This policy is in compliance with provincial regulations and we appreciate your strict adherence. Hotel rooms are also non-smoking and guests are required to smoke outside.

7. Are souvenirs available for purchase?

A full range of souvenirs are available for purchase on the Rocky Mountaineer or at https://merchandise.rockymountaineer.com/. Your Onboard Host will provide you with our merchandise catalogue during the first day on the train. Any specific enquiries may be directed to merchandise@rockymountaineer.com.

8. Why does the Rocky Mountaineer only operate between April and October?

We offer all daylight tours meaning you stay overnight in comfortable accommodation in Kamloops and Quesnel, the halfway points of the rail journeys. Travelling during this time of the year ensures that we take full advantage of the daylight hours and the spectacular scenery during the time of year when the regions show their full colours.

9. What is the “Ice Explorer” described in the tour itineraries?

The Ice Explorer is an ice and snow terrain vehicle specially designed to tour the icy slopes of the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. This 5-kilometre (3-mile) round-trip journey includes storytelling on the formation of glaciers.

10. What is GST?

All prices are subject to Canadian Goods and Services Tax (GST), currently 5%. Guests who are not residents of Canada are eligible for a rebate of the GST paid on short-term accommodation. If they are purchasing their rail tour from outside Canada, Rocky Mountaineer may claim the rebate on their behalf. The result is a 50% reduction in the tax rate. When non-resident guests purchase their rail tour while in Canada, Rocky Mountaineer charges GST at the full rate, and any GST rebate to which a visitor to Canada may be entitled must be claimed from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency by the guest. This short-term accommodation rebate is subject to change without notice and does not apply to cruise or overnight rail trips.

Other sales taxes vary by province in Canada, therefore applicable taxes may vary for travel departures initiating outside of British Columbia.

11. Does the Summit Helicopter fly in inclement weather?

The Summit Helicopter Tour may be cancelled due to poor weather. A price reduction will apply if this activity is cancelled or if a guest chooses not to fly.

12. What is the bag size allowance onboard the Rocky Mountaineer?

Guests travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer or Whistler Sea to Sky Climb are limited to two suitcases per person (total luggage weight not to exceed 30 kg or 66 lbs). No one piece of luggage may weigh more than 23 kg (50 lbs). Oversized items may be subject to a surcharge.

GoldLeaf Service and SilverLeaf Service Guests: Your luggage will be delivered to your overnight accommodation in Kamloops or Quesnel. Checked luggage will not be available onboard the train.

RedLeaf Service Guests: You will need ot pack a small overnight bag for your overnight stay in Kamloops or Quesnel as your main luggage will not be available on this evening.

Coastal Passage: If you have booked your accommodation through Rocky Mountaineer, motorcoach transfers and luggage delivery between the train station and hotel are included. If you have booked a cruise with Rocky Mountaineer, motorcoach transfers and luggage delivery to the cruise terminal are included. You will be required to handle your own luggage when going through security, and the Customs and Immigration process at the Seattle and Vancouver Stations.

Some holiday packages have other luggage restrictions due to accommodation or transportation inclusions. Please refer to the Terms & Conditions for more details on our luggage policy.

Before You Travel

1. What will the weather be like and what should I pack?

In Alberta, British Columbia, and Washington State, temperatures vary significantly depending on location, time of day, and season. Summer temperatures range from a low of 10°C (50°F) to a high of 40°C (104°F). Kamloops, in particular, may be very warm in the summer, while in the alpine regions, weather can change dramatically in a short time. Plan to bring a sweater, pants, and a light topcoat or raincoat, as well as lightweight summer wear. Due to the natural movement of the train, flat-soled shoes are recommended. For your comfort, our coaches are air conditioned and layers of clothing are suggested as the temperature may fluctuate on the train throughout the day.

2. Can I add an Alaskan Cruise to my rail vacation?

Yes. Thousands of our guests take advantage of the rail and cruise seasons which are very similar. Rocky Mountaineer offers a selection of Rail & Cruise Vacation Packages in partnership with Holland America Cruise Lines.

3. Are you able to handle special group requests?

Absolutely! If you are looking for a customized itinerary for a group of 15 or more, our Group Travel Consultants will provide you with an opportunity to offer your group a unique and memorable experience. In addition, our spectacular meetings and incentives program lets you discover a unique venue for your business or incentive function. For more information, contact us at groups@rockymountaineer.com.

4. Can children travel on the Rocky Mountaineer?

Yes, unless otherwise noted. However, the Rocky Mountaineer trip through the Rockies is a minimum of two eight hour days onboard the train, which may be long for some children.

5. Do your facilities accommodate people with special needs and/or disabilities?

Rocky Mountaineer will make every effort to meet any special needs, including the requirements of our disabled guests. Some of the Rocky Mountaineer coaches are wheelchair accessible. GoldLeaf Dome Coaches have elevators for guests who have problems using the spiral staircase. Please inform us at the time of booking if any assistance is required.

6. Can I arrange for a car rental or hotel?

Absolutely! Please contact our reservations agents on the telephone at 1-877-460-3200 in the USA or Canada or you can email us at reservations@rockymountaineer.com and we would be happy to help you arrange for your car rental needs. As well, we can arrange for extra hotel nights in Canada's West and airfare from your hometown - everything you need to make your Rocky Mountaineer vacation the best ever.

7. What currency should I carry when travelling in Canada and on the train?

The currency used in Canada is Canadian dollars and we only accept credit cards onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train. Gratuities for Hosts can be paid in cash or by credit card.

8. Am I able to bring my pet along?

All pets or animals (excluding qualified service animals for guests with disabilities) are prohibited from travelling onboard the Rocky Mountaineer.

9. Should I plan connecting transportation on the day of the Rocky Mountaineer’s arrival?

Passenger rail travel in Canada is subject to unforeseen delays. While the Rocky Mountaineer is treated as a priority by the railways it uses, occasional delays do occur. For that reason, we ask that you please do NOT arrange connecting transportation on the day of your scheduled arrival in any destination.

10. Passport & Visa Requirements

All visitors to Canada will require appropriate ID, passports, and documentation for all family members. Depending on your citizenship, you may also require a visa to enter Canada.  All guests travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer Coastal Passage route between the USA and Canada will require a valid passport and/or visa (depending on your citizenship).

International travellers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are now subject to enhanced security requirements. If you are from an eligible country that is currently enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program, you can expedite your entry through United States Customs and Immigration by completing your Visa Waiver electronically. Rocky Mountaineer strongly recommends that you apply as soon as travel is planned. To see if you are from an eligible country and to complete your Visa Waiver, please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. It is the responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain the necessary visas before the start of their trip. The following resources may be of assistance to determine Canada and USA visa and entry requirements: Citizenship and Immigration Canada www.cic.gc.ca and United States Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov.

Permission to enter the United States or Canada is granted solely at the discretion of Customs and Immigration officers. Rocky Mountaineer is not responsible for guests who are refused entry into Canada or the United States because of inadequate documentation or for inadmissible reasons.

11. What is the overnight bag size for my stay in Kamloops or Quesnel? (RedLeaf Service guests only)

RedLeaf Service guests will need to pack a small overnight bag for their stay in Kamloops or Quesnel as their main luggage will not be available on this evening. The overnight bag should not exceed 23cm X 92cm X 46cm (9" X 36" X 18"). GoldLeaf Service and SilverLeaf Service guests' luggage will be delivered to their Kamloops or Quesnel accommodation.

Your checked luggage will not be accessible while onboard the train. All medications, valuables, travel documents and personal items must be carried with you.

12. Which airport should I fly to?

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is your best choice when your vacation starts or ends in Vancouver or Whistler. Located in Richmond, British Columbia, YVR is the second busiest airport in Canada and provides easy access to Vancouver and its surrounding areas. YVR is located approximately 30 minutes south of Vancouver.

Calgary International Airport (YYC)
If your vacation starts or ends in either Calgary or Banff, the Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the most accessible airport for you. The Calgary International Airport is located in Calgary, Alberta and is the gateway to Banff and Lake Louise. Banff townsite is located 120km (or 75 miles) west of Calgary city limits and is easily accessible from the all-weather, four lane Trans Canada Highway 1. Lake Louise is located 58km (or 35 miles) west of Banff.

Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
The Edmonton International Airport is the closest airport for vacations that start or end in Jasper. The Edmonton International Airport in Edmonton, Alberta is located 362km (or 220 miles) east of Jasper, approximately 3 ½ hours driving time. There are several rental car counters for pick-up and drop off at the Edmonton International Airport if you choose to rent a car for this drive.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
Book your flights to arrive or depart the Toronto Pearson International Airport if you are beginning or ending your journey in Toronto. Located in Toronto, Ontario, Toronto Pearson International Airport is Canada’s largest and busiest airport. It serves Southern Ontario and acts as a major gateway to North Eastern Canada and United States. Shuttle services and taxis are available from the airport to downtown Toronto.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
If your trans Canada adventure begins or ends in Halifax, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport would be the most accessible airport for you. Halifax Stanfield International Airport is located in Enfield, Nova Scotia, approximately 35km or 22mi from downtown Halifax (Approximately 35 minutes driving time). Shuttle and taxi services are available at this airport.

Onboard Experience

1. What wildlife will I see?

There are wonderful opportunities for viewing wildlife from the train and during your stay in Canada's West, including bear, elk, deer, moose, bald eagles, osprey, salmon, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. However, “wildlife are wild” and as such, sightings are never guaranteed. If you do come into contact with animals please act responsibly, maintain a safe distance and never feed any wild animals.

2. Are we able to move within the Rocky Mountaineer?

One of the advantages of train travel is the spacious room afforded to all guests. GoldLeaf Service, SilverLeaf Service and RedLeaf Service guests can enjoy fresh air outside their coaches. Access to the GoldLeaf Dome coach and adjacent vestibule is limited to guests reserving this service. Guests on the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb route have access to an open-air Heritage Observation Car.

3. Are RedLeaf, SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf coaches accessible by wheelchair?

We do have wheelchair facilities for all services. There are areas where a wheelchair can be secured in place and have very easy access to the wheelchair accessible washrooms. Wheelchair lifters are available at all stations and the GoldLeaf dome coaches are equipped with interior ADA-style elevators. All we ask is that we are informed at the time of booking of the extent of the disability so we can ensure that all plans are in place to ensure the vacation experience is a pleasant one.

4. Can I use my laptop computer, iPad or mobile device on the train?

Yes, however electrical outlets are not accessible onboard the train, and there is no Wi-Fi internet access.  Much of the train route is out of cell phone range, however cell phones/mobile service will be available in the major urban areas.  Guests are asked to use the outdoor viewing area for phone calls.  Depending on your battery life, we suggest that you charge your computer at night during your hotel stay.  It goes without saying that you will have a better chance of seeing all the scenery without working on your computer.

5. Can you address my dietary concerns onboard the train?

Absolutely. All we ask is that you provide your booking agent or Rocky Mountaineer with 7 days notice regarding your specific need. We will do everything possible to make your trip on the train memorable.

 

6. What is the protocol concerning gratuities for Onboard Hosts?

In North America, gratuities are often given in recognition of service excellence. Gratuities are not included in prices for Rocky Mountaineer Hosts, driver guides, tour escorts or hotel porters. If you are traveling on an escorted tour we recommend checking with your Tour Director to confirm the amount of gratuity that may have been included in your tour package.

The following is provided to assist you, but we leave the decision to provide a gratuity for Rocky Mountaineer Hosts entirely at your discretion:

GoldLeaf Service: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $70 to $90 per couple ($35 to $45 per guest) for a two day onboard experience, which is shared between the Hosts and Culinary Team in your coach.

SilverLeaf Service: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $60 to $80 per couple ($30 to $40 per guest) for a two day onboard experience, which is shared between the Hosts in your coach.

RedLeaf Service: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $30 to $40 per couple ($15 to $20 per guest) for a two day onboard experience.

Whistler Sea to Sky Climb: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $10 to $20 per couple ($5 to $10 per guest).

GoldLeaf Service on Coastal Passage: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $20 to $30 per couple ($10 to $15 per guest), which is shared between the Hosts and Culinary Team in your coach.

SilverLeaf Service on Coastal Passage: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $16 to $20 per couple ($8 to $10 per guest), which is shared between the Hosts in your coach.

Gratuities may be paid by cash or credit card.

7. What meals do I receive?

Breakfasts and lunches are included onboard the Rocky Mountaineer. See B (Breakfast), L (Lunch), D (Dinner) on each package page, which indicates the meals included as part of your package. Additional breakfasts and dinner for the entire vacation are available for pre-purchase through a meal plan.

8. Does the Rocky Mountaineer stop for photographs along the route?

No, the train only stops in Whistler, or Kamloops or Quesnel for an overnight stay; however, the train slows to a very slow speed at particularly scenic locations.

9. What transportation is available when arriving at your destination?

In Vancouver, Banff, Jasper and Seattle:  Rocky Mountaineer can arrange transfers by motorcoach from the train station to select hotels if this is not already included in your rail tour package. Taxi service may also be available. Your Host will be pleased to explain all service options to you. Taxis are required for transfers to the Vancouver Airport and the Victoria Ferry Terminal.

In Kamloops and Quesnel:  All motorcoach transfers are included in your rail tour package.

In Lake Louise, for First Passage to the West guests:  We are pleased to offer complimentary motorcoach transfers between the Lake Louise train station and The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

In Jasper, for Rainforest to Gold Rush guests:  We are pleased to offer complimentary motorcoach transfers between the Jasper train station and select hotels for all of our guests.

In Whistler and North Vancouver, for Whistler Sea to Sky Climb guests:  We are pleased to offer complimentary motorcoach transfers between the train stations and select hotels.

Whistler Sea to Sky Climb

General Information

1. How long is the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train trip?

The Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train excursion is approximately three and a half hours and covers a distance of 120 kilometres (74 miles).

2. How will I get to the rail station?

Motorcoach transfers between your Vancouver or Whistler hotel and the rail stations in North Vancouver and Whistler are included on all Whistler Sea to Sky Climb bookings.

3. What time does the train depart and arrive?

Northbound departures from Vancouver:
We offer complimentary motorcoach pick-ups from select hotels in downtown Vancouver for our rail passengers. When you select your pick-up hotel during booking, a specific pick-up time will be assigned and will be indicated on your itinerary. This is generally between 6:45 a.m. and 7:15 am. Train boarding at the North Vancouver station commences at 7:30 am. The train departs from the North Vancouver station at 8:00 am. The train is scheduled to arrive in Whistler at 11:30 am. Motorcoach transfers to Whistler Village are included.

Southbound departures from Whistler:
We offer complimentary motorcoach pick-ups from select locations in Whistler Village including hotels for our rail passengers. When you select your pick-up location during booking, a specific pick-up time will be assigned and will be indicated on your itinerary. This is generally between 2:45 pm and 3:00 pm. Train boarding at the Whistler station commences at 3:00 pm. The train departs from the Whistler station at 3:30 pm. The train is scheduled to arrive in North Vancouver at 7:00 pm. Motorcoach transfers to select downtown Vancouver hotels are included.

Please note: passenger rail travel in Canada is subject to unforeseen delays. While the Rocky Mountaineer is treated as a priority by the railways it uses, occasional delays do occur. For that reason, we ask that you please allow plenty of time between the train arrival and the start of a tour or activity.

4. Is there parking and where is the train leaving from?

There is limited street and valet parking at the North Vancouver station. We recommend that guests take advantage of our complimentary motorcoach transfers.
The Whistler Sea to Sky Climb departs from the North Vancouver Station (northbound), located at Philip Avenue and West 1st Street. The train departs from the Whistler Station (southbound) at Nita Lake Lodge, located at 2131 Lake Placid Road. Click here for more information on station locations.

5. Can specific dietary restrictions be accommodated?

Absolutely. All we ask is that you provide your booking agent or Rocky Mountaineer with 7 days notice regarding your specific need. We will do everything possible to make your trip on the train memorable.

6. How accessible is the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb for guests with wheelchairs?

We have wheelchair facilities. There are areas where a wheelchair can be secured in place and have very easy access to the wheelchair accessible washrooms. Wheelchair lifters are available at all stations. All we ask is that we are informed at the time of booking of the extent of the disability so we can ensure that all plans are in place to ensure the vacation experience is a pleasant one.

7. What meals do I receive?

On the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb route, breakfast is served from Vancouver to Whistler, and an afternoon snack is served from Whistler to Vancouver.

8. Can children travel on the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb?

Yes, the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb is a three and a half hour excursion, which is enjoyable for the whole family.

Consumer Protection BC License number: #2079