TravelManagers’ Global Rocky Mountaineer Famil
The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, so when Tourism Vancouver announced a sales incentive in which five personal travel managers (PTMs) would earn a place on an upcoming super famil, there was no shortage of willing participants.
Kerstin Rheinlander was one of the PTMs who qualified for a spot on the famil, and says the trip confirmed her suspicion that Canada should be on everybody’s bucket list, explaining that there is something for everyone, from families to couples; seniors to adventure and thrill seekers.
“For me, it’s definitely worth another visit,” she adds, “as I have yet to discover the food and craft beer scene and I’d love to spend more time in nature and exploring areas further off the beaten track.”
The group began their Canadian journey with a full day to explore the highlights of Vancouver, starting with a virtual flyover experience that gives visitors a bird’s eye view of some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes. The experience with Flyover Canada with its state of the art technology was a highlight for many in the group, including Rheinlander, who says it was the best place to learn more about Canada.
“The simulated flight over plains, mountains, valleys and rivers etc was spectacular, and the added effects of icy mist and water droplets made you feel like you were actually flying – it was just amazing.”
Participants spent the rest of the day enjoying a sightseeing tour that took in the historic districts of Gastown, Yaletown and Chinatown, tranquil Stanley Park and the foodie heaven of Granville Island, before departing from Vancouver on the first leg of the Rocky Mountaineer journey the following morning.
For Nicole Edgar, representative for Narre Warren South, VIC, one of the main benefits of taking part in the famil was the chance to experience both SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf service onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train, which she says has made it much easier to explain the differences to her clients.
“Details like in-seat heating, dome carriage views and an outdoor viewing platform are all highlights of the GoldLeaf service,” she says, “but regardless of which class you choose, the onboard service was outstanding.”
Edgar adds that the train was given an impressive fanfare and farewell when it left Vancouver: “there was a pianist playing a grand piano in the railway station, a bag-piper to provide a formal send-off, a farewell toast aboard the train and the Rocky Mountaineer ground staff lined up to see us off as the train rolled out of the station.”
After spending the first night of the journey in Kamloops, the rail journey continued through the spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery to its final destination: Banff. From here, participants had to choose between visiting either the Columbia Icefield or the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or they were free to spend the day exploring the town of Banff.
Those who opted to explore Banff describe taking a gondola to the top of Sulfur Mountain, despite beginning the ride in fog.
“Once we got above the cloud, we were treated by a winter wonderland, thanks to the ten centimetres of snow that fell overnight,” says Rheinlander. “Combined with a vivid blue sky, the views were just priceless.”
The final leg of the famil’s itinerary saw them travel from Banff to Calgary by coach, with time to visit the famous Calgary Stampede Area, the city’s Chinatown district and enjoy a little shopping in its popular shopping area: Eau Claire Market.
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the famil gave PTMs the chance to join 90 top agents from the USA, the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia in experiencing some of the highlights of a very popular destination for TravelManagers’ clients.
“Being able to experience this journey first-hand is a great opportunity for our PTMs to find out for themselves what all the excitement is about,” he says. “It means that they are able to provide their clients with their personal recommendations, tips and favourite spots: from a fun club in which to try their hand at line dancing in Calgary to which side of the train offers the best views.”
The seven-day, six-night famil concluded with a farewell dinner at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, a historic landmark hotel in downtown Calgary, which the PTMs agreed was a fitting place to mark the end of a grand journey