Rockies are a moving experience

//Rockies are a moving experience

louise.jpgThere’s a world of difference between a cruise – which I will be embarking on board Diamond Princess on Saturday – and a land tour, which is what I am doing right now in the Canadian Rockies.
On the ship, I will be taken from port to port without the slightest hassle on my part; I’ll leave Ketchikan one day and I’ll wake up in Juneau the next, for example.
On land, getting from Calgary to Banff, and from Banff to Jasper, involves a coach ride, and different hotels, and packing, and labels, and bellmen to deliver and collect the cases; and decisions about what to keep in carry-on bags for the day’s sightseeing on the coach. Just thinking about it is making me break into a sweat.
On the ship, I won’t have to pack my bags each night, and I won’t have to have them ready for collection at 6.30 a.m., as I do for tomorrow’s departure.
Staying in hotels is also reminding me – as if I could ever forget – of the superior standards of service on cruise ships, and the wider selection of food available any time you want to eat.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s been nothing to complain about at the Delta Bow Valley hotel in Calgary or the Rimrock in Banff, and I’m sure the Sawridge in Jasper tomorrow night will be just as good.
And the awesome scenery of the Canadian Rockies is ample reward for any minor privations. Today took us to the man-made marvel of the Spiral Tunnels on the Canadian-Pacific railroad and the natural gem that is Moraine Lake, a vivid blue sheet of water surrounded by mountain peaks and gigantic rockfalls.
An all-too brief chairlift ride at the Lake Louise ski resort was squeezed into a window of clear weather between rain showers and preceded lunch at the Chateau Lake Louise hotel, a piece of Swiss Alpine whimsy transplanted across the Atlantic, and with another view of lake and mountains to die for (above).
There was more talk about bears today, of the grizzly and black variety, including the revelation that some black bears are brown. There were tales of narrow escapes, and advice about what do do when confronted by a bear. Shout and wave your hands in the air is preferred to running and screaming, apparently.
I was not, however, tempted to buy a bell to attach to my backpack in the belief that it will scare the bears away, having been advised some years ago that what bears do in the woods invariably contains bells.
All the stories, pictures and advice have, in any case, been wasted so far. Total number of bear sightings after two days: Zero.
We’ll be in the ice field tomorrow, and on the Rocky Mountaineer train for the next two days. Plenty of time for bear sightings? I’m pinning my hopes on the excursion I’ve booked from the ship, by float plane to a remote site where they should be plucking salmon from the river.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:23+00:00 11 August 2010|Cruise Destinations|4 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Oman 11 August 2010 at 3:16 am - Reply

    John, it will be interesting to have a comparison from you on the differences between your long distance train journey and cruising . I agree that cruising is great, one bed only , but then that’s what you will have in the train. So what are the key differences and pluses / minuses

  2. RAY STANDISH 11 August 2010 at 5:52 am - Reply

    The Canadian Rockies are awe inspiring and the people who live among them are
    unique, kind and friendly, have a settlers attitude to life,make their own
    enjoyment and offer you to join in.I spent 3 months there last year,am going for 7weeks this year and will be there again next year for the Calgary stampede.

  3. John Honeywell 12 August 2010 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Two updates on yesterday’s post:
    First, I feel I ought to redress the balance a little as far as my references to the hotel accommodation. We have just arived at our third hotel on the tour, the Sawridge Inn at Jasper, Alberta, and we have found ourselves in a vast executive suite, with large lounge and dining area, wet bar; bathroom and shower, and a bedroom with a giant oversize double bed. At the Rimrock Hotel in Banff, and the Delta Bow Valley in Calgary, our rooms had two double beds.
    The accommodation is far more spacious than we will have on board Diamoind Princess, or indeed any cruise ship – unless we were fortunate enough to be staying in the highest of high-end suites.
    Score one up for the hotels.
    Second update: We saw our first bear this morning, just after the coach turned off the trans-Canada Highway and onto the Icefield Parkway.
    A black bear was ripping a bush apart on the embankment to feed off the berries, and it was only distracted when camera flashes started popping, sending it off into the deeper undergrowth.
    Further updates later.

  4. Johnn Quest 13 August 2010 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    the Canadian Rockies never seem to disappoint travelers.

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