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Santa Barbara Travel Aboard Crystal Serenity

Santa Barbara Travel on Crystal Serenity

Santa Barbara Travel Advisors, Sheila, Kathy, and Tina, on Crystal Serenity

Crystal Serenity sailing the Northwest Passage

Crystal Serenity sailing the Northwest Passage

Crystal Serenity often visits our hometown of Santa Barbara on its journeys along the West Coast. This last weekend, three of our advisors—Tina, Kathy, and Sheila—were invited aboard for a special tour. The ocean view was spectacular, but more impressive were the enrichment programs, exclusive Nobu Matushisa Restaurant, and the diversity of themed itineraries that will spark or fulfill your cultural passions.

“Travel is about discovering the world, as well as yourself. Crystal’s renowned roster of complimentary enrichment invites you to pursue individual interests and challenge yourself to try new things…allowing you to write as many new stories about yourself and the world as you wish.”

For those who revel in days-at-sea for the sheer bliss of getting away and changing your typical routine, you will appreciate the vast offerings from Crystal Cruises. Feed your passion and learn something new while on vacation!

Enjoy complimentary progressive courses offered by experts: develop a second language, learn the secrets of floral arrangements, become a wine connoisseur, study Tai Chi, pick up a paint brush, dive into the subjects of health and wellness, or catch up with the digital world with Crystal’s Computer University@Sea.

For the (physically) adventurous, you’ll love the Discovery Channel™ with expert shark divers, underwater photographers, and deep-sea treasure hunters!

Crystal Cruises also offers one of the most diverse groups of themed cruises in the industry. Like the perfect pairing of fine wine and cuisine, themes are connected to the region you sail, presenting you with opportunities to raise a glass of Australian Shiraz en route “Down Under” or to golf the legendary courses of Great Britain, not to mention the unbelievable talent aboard the opera and ballet cruises. You can also expand your passion for jazz, big band, up your golf game with PGA pros, and more.

…And it only gets better! Crystal Cruises just announced they will be redesigning Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, including larger suites, upgrades to the user experience, like open dining versus the current reservation system, and updates the restaurants.  Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma – reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal’s eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. As always, each guest may receive a complimentary experience at each restaurant.

Talk to our experts about the many wonderful options available through Crystal Cruises!

Tina Slimp

Tina Slimp

Email: tnordholm@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1112
Santa Barbara Office

 

Kathy Reimer

Kathy Reimer

Email: kreimer@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1151
Ventura Office

 

Culinary Cruise Pairings to Poach in 2017

These days, culinary themed cruises cater to specific passions, offering not only exceptional and exclusive menus, but also hands on learning and teaching from the finest. If you are a food aficionado, aka “foodie,” then you’ll love these culinary partnerships on the water this 2017.

Chef Thomas Keller Joins Seabourn

Chef Thomas Keller Joins Seabourn

World-renowned American chef and restaurateur, Thomas Keller, has designed the culinary experience aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest. The culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants – The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon – Chef Keller brings his award-winning French and American cuisine to the ultra-luxury cruise line adding new flavors and flair to complement Seabourn’s already celebrated cuisine.

Chef: Tom Keller
Company: Seabourn

Master Chef Jacques Pepin Partners with Oceania Cruises

Enjoy gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin for the Oceania fleet. Accompanied by a master chef, tour a winery in Madeira or a fish market in Rio de Janeiro, taste the authentic flavors of a region, learn techniques in local cooking classes and then hone your skills at The Culinary Center.

Perks: Multiple open-seating dining venues for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at no additional charge & free 24-hour room service. The spectacular port-intensive itineraries feature overnight visits and extended evening port stays.

Chef: Jacques Pépin
Company: Oceania Cruises

 

“The enjoyment of good food is a universal pleasure. We merely try to share what we like, what gives us that pleasure day after day.”

LANSHU CHEN  –  LE MOÛT RESTAURANT, TAÏWAN

 

Chef David Blisland hosts Silversea's Culinary Trainer Program

Chef David Blisland hosts Silversea’s Culinary Trainer Program

Learn from the “Grands Chefs” of Relais and Châteaux by joining the select Culinary Arts Voyages with Silversea Cruises. On 14 exclusive voyages around the globe, Silversea guests can experience an innovative cooking school at sea concept, L’Ecole des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux. This culinary discovery experience offers a unique and interactive program, hosted by Silversea’s Culinary Trainer, Chef David Bilsland. In addition to cooking, enjoy the thrilling and memorable meals of “La Collection du Monde,” created exclusively for guests of Silversea. It is not just the menu that is extraordinary, it is the “selection of ingredients, honed techniques, perceptive associations of flavors [that] all combine to create an art of true excellence in perfect harmony with an idyllic setting.”

Perk: Silversea Cruises is the only cruise line to partner with the exclusive, globally renowned collection of “Grands Chefs” from Relais and Châteaux

Chef/Teacher: David Blisland
Company: Silversea Cruises

 

Culinary delight on Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Enjoy specialty restaurants and gourmet cuisine.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;

teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

Don’t just eat the best food, learn the secrets of making it yourself. The Culinary Arts Kitchen aboard Seven Seas Explorer will provide guests with all the ingredients to expand their culinary skills in a welcoming environment reminiscent of the most prestigious cooking schools in France in both layout and design. With highly individualized hands on instruction, you’ll learn the advanced techniques of the best, with themed menus for each destination.

Perks: Regent Seven Seas Explorer is the newest ship aboard the all-inclusive luxury cruise line.

Chef: You!
Company: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Santa Barbara Travel customizes the most magnificent culinary experiences on both sea and land. Call your Santa Barbara Travel advisor or visit our advisor page to find the best fit for you.

Enchanting India with Tamara Kinsell

tamara

If you had a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Santa Barbara Travel Associate, Tamara Kinsell chose India when the opportunity was presented. It was 1985, and the unknown destination of India became a two-week journey that would change her life—and perhaps yours. Join Tamara, your escort, on this unforgettable journey to “Enchanting India”.

On this guided trip in the Fall of 2017, step away from the boulevards lined with 5-Star hotels, which will be your home in India, and explore the labyrinth of streets teeming with vibrant colors,  exotic smells and tastes found in local markets and the unfolding panoramic views of the vast countryside. Ride an elephant, overnight in a luxurious tent in the fabled desert kingdom of Jaisalmer, and stay in a palace that was actually built for a king!

Mela GIrls in India. Photo by Tamara Kinsell

Mela GIrls in India. Photo by Tamara Kinsell

Find wonder and delight as you walk amongst the true palaces of India in the state of Rajasthan, the “dazzling land of princes and palaces – ancient traditions and quiet villages.”

Cast your eyes upon the famed Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and see it in the light that makes it float like a pearl.

Photo by Tamara Kinsell

Photo by Tamara Kinsell

When you travel with Tamara, you can dive deeper into the heart of India
This Fall, travel to India with Tamara Kinsell as your guide. Her 30+ years of experience will expose the intimate beauties of this golden country.

Meet Tamara and representatives from the India Tourist Board and Taj Hotels & Resorts by joining our March 9th  Enchanting India Evening. Call Santa Barbara Travel for location and event information. Call 805.869.1140 or ezetter@sbtravel.com

Erin Zetter

Erin Zetter

Travel Advisor, Santa Barbara

Email: ezetter@sbtravel.com

Phone: 805.869.1110
Direct: 805.869.1140

The Rocky Mountaineer Celebrates Canada’s 150 Birthday

Rocky Mountaineer Panorama

Photo by Rocky Mountaineer, Noel Hendrickson

 

If your summer travel plans aren’t yet finalized, there is still time for a memory-making rail journey in the Canadian Rockies on board the unparalleled Rocky Mountaineer…

Rocky Mountaineer Train

Named “The Best Train Experience in the World” by National Geographic, the RockyMountaineer offers guests amazing scenery aboard the train by day, and a chance to refresh and get a good night’s sleep in some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. On board the train, guests will experience award-winning cuisine and a variety of snacks and beverages, all included! Their GoldLeaf service boasts 5-star dining and panoramic views from their bi-level glass-dome luxury coach. Additionally, tales, stories and educational engagement will be provided throughout your rail journey by one of the Rocky Mountaineer onboard hosts. Rocky Mountaineer has partnered with iconic and historic hotels along their routes and throughout the Canadian Rockies including Four Seasons Resort Whistler, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, The Fairmont Banff Springs, The Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, and many others. Santa Barbara Travel can help arrange all your land accommodations if you decide to extend your stay before or after your rail experience.

Rocky Mountaineer Wildlife

Extraordinary wildlife exists in its natural habitat, and you get to see it!

 

There are many great reasons to consider traveling to Western Canada this year: a vacation close to home; Canada’s 150th year anniversary; plus the value of the US dollar to the Canadian dollar is very advantageous. So, while all meals and drinks are included on the train, your holiday spending off the train will be stretched much further.

rocky-mountaineer-howe-sound

The Rocky Mountaineer winds along Howe Sound

 

As a special added benefit, guests who book a 4-day journey or more by March 3, 2017 through Santa Barbara Travel Bureau will receive a complimentary dinner at their hotel.* Additionally, this special offer is combinable with the current Rocky Mountaineer promotion which offers up to a $450 added value per couple that may be applied toward activities, excursions or pre and post night stays.

Nancy Herrmann, Travel Agent for Santa Barbara Travel, poses on her journey with the Rocky Mountaineer

Nancy Herrmann, Travel Agent for Santa Barbara Travel, poses on her journey with the Rocky Mountaineer

To receive more information or a brochure from Rocky Mountaineer, please contact your Santa Barbara Travel advisor or Nancy Herrmann.

Nancy Herrmann

Nancy Herrmann

Travel Associate, Santa Barbara

Phone: 805.679.3326
Email: nherrmann@sbtravel.com

 

 

Warm Weather Cruising with Paul Gauguin

The luxurious m/s Paul Gauguin chases warm weather and leads small ship cruising in destinations such as Tahiti, the South Pacific, Fiji and hidden ports found in the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. This year,  the ship is taking a “one-time” opportunity to voyage to Bali and Fiji and back. The all-inclusive pricing offers an extraordinary value, and allows you to spend more time enjoying your cruise vacation and less time worrying about every little detail when it’s all been taken care of—from airfare out of LAX to gourmet dining to onboard gratuities, and so much more. Once you’re on the plane, relax.

Relaxing by the pool on the deck in Tahiti

Relaxing by the pool on the deck in Tahiti

The experience is more than just sunshine and open waters. Guests can enjoy world-renowned SCUBA diving that will awe the most experienced divers and set the foundation for those new to the thrill of swimming under the sea. You can even earn your PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification on board instead of training in pools back home.

Scuba Dive in the South Pacific! Earn your PADI certification during vacation.

Scuba Dive in the South Pacific! Earn your PADI certification during vacation.

Built specifically for the shallow waters of the South Pacific, this luxurious cruise ship is able to access small ports (like the port pictured below) that other ships can’t. It is a thrill to look down over white sands in shallow waters, and even more of a pleasure when you arrive at the small ports made possible by Paul Gauguin.

paul gauguin tere mora

Paul Gauguin in Tere Mora

Bali to Fiji

17 Nights
Departure Date: June 7, 2017

Experience many different aspects of the Far East on this one-time, one-of-a-kind itinerary. Embark The Gauguin in the tropical paradise of Bali and continue your exploration of Indonesia. You’ll also call on the tiny new nation of Timor-Leste, as well as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu en route to Lautoka, the heart of Fiji’s sugarcane-growing region. .

Prices starting from $7,895

(Includes airfare from Los Angeles)
*Prices and availability are subject to change. Please contact your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor for more details.
To see where m/s Paul Gauguin will be in 2017-2018, contact your Santa Barbara Travel advisor or call Tina at 805.869.1112
Tina Slimp

Tina Slimp

Travel Advisor, Santa Barbara

Email: tnordholm@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1112

Sailing with Star Clippers Cruises

Experience the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing when you travel with Star Clippers. Step aboard the decks of this incredible fleet of Tall Ships recreated from early 20th century designs that are now paired with modern amenities, top of the line navigation, and relaxing luxuries on water.

Star Clipper and Star Flyer – true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

Star Clipper and Star Flyer – true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

With each destination, experience vastly different cultures from the Caribbean, to Indonesia, to the Mediterranean, to Cuba to epic Ocean crossings. Enjoy adventures on land, underwater (scuba!), and immerse yourself in new cultures. For the days when you just want to relax on board, enjoy evening performances by local musicians and dancers.

Unlike a typical cruise ship your voyage is wind-powered, and your schedule is relaxed and flexible. Enjoy on-board evening entertainment from local musicians and performers at each destination for authentic, local cultural experiences. Enjoy the salty, ocean breeze on your face– the same wind powering the sails above. Find your secret hideaway on one of the hidden balconies on either side of the bow. Or climb the mast (with safety harness provided) to one of the passenger lookout crows-nests, thoughtfully furnished with a comfortable settee, where you’ll have the grandest view of all!

StarClippers - rigging

The fleet of three ships includes Royal Clipper, Star Clipper, and Star Flyer. Royal Clipper, the crown of the fleet, was inspired by the largest, fastest sail boat made in 1902, that has now been redesigned for the 21st Century without losing their tradition or function. Today, the Royal Clipper is the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world, with 5 masts, 56,000 square feet of canvas sails, 3 swimming pools, and a 227 passenger capacity. The twin-sister ships –Star Clipper and Star Flyer– are true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

Leave the hectic pace of land behind, and travel leisurely with the wind. For more information about sailing on small ships, join us at our event on Wednesday, February 22nd at 5:30 hosted in our Downtown Santa Barbara Office at 1028 State Street.

Kathy Reimer

Kathy Reimer

Travel Advisor, Ventura

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
3140 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003

Email: kreimer@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1151

Charles Travels to Paris the 2016 Virtuoso Chairman’s Event

Our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, recently traveled to Paris for the 2016 Virtuoso Chairman’s Event, for what he considers to be “the most remarkable week of travel in my 42 year career in the travel industry.” From a river cruise on the Seine, to lunch and a visit to the Louis Vuitton Foundation, to dinner at Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, to a tour of the Palace of Versailles, to a perfect stay at Le Bristol, our Virtuoso partners have the best recommendations.

Upon exiting the plane, Charles and his wife, Barbara, were met by a representative of “Decouvertes” (“Discoveries” for you non French-speakers), which is one of the premier French destination management companies. They were greeted on the jetway outside of the door of the plane, and 6 minutes later, they were through a special line at Passport Control, at baggage claim, and 10 minutes later were in the back of a Mercedes being whisked in to the center of Paris. Soon enough, they were stepping in to the lobby of Le Bristol Hotel on the Faubourg St. Honore in the First Arrondissement of Paris, 2 blocks from the Presidential Palace.

The attendees of the Virtuoso Chairmen’s Event stayed either at Le Bristol, Plaza Athénée or the Four Seasons Hotel. Other hotels participated, hosting events throughout the week, including The Park Hyatt, The Peninsula, The Intercontinental Grand Hotel, and The Ritz.

Le Bristol, Paris, is the top hotel choice for your Paris stay by our CEO, Charles de L'Arbre

Le Bristol, Paris, is the top hotel choice for your Paris stay by our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre

There is nothing like coming back to a hotel which truly feels like home. For Charles and Barbara, that is the Bristol. “Laure and Louise at the front desk; Olivier who greets us every morning at breakfast at the Epicurean Restaurant; my friend Matthias Obresser in sales and a host of other friends who all greeted us by name as we walked in to the hotel. After a full day of work, a drive to LAX on a Friday evening, and a 12 hour flight, the delight of walking in to an environment which was familiar, warm, and the epitome of French refinement and luxury was one of indescribable joy,” shared Charles. Le Bristol is a Virtuoso property and offers Santa Barbara Travel Bureau highly preferential rates, time of booking upgrades, breakfast (85 euro per person value), as well as a special amenity.

The Opera House of Paris, Palais Garnier

The Opera House of Paris, Palais Garnier

The Virtuoso Event included a show at the Paris Opera House, where several ballets by Balanchine were performed. After the event Barbara and Charles walked over to The Ritz for a late dinner at the Hemingway Bar, which Charles tells us “is fabulous and has to be the best bar in Paris.” Before that, they had been at the Picasso Museum and met the grandson of Picasso.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway's honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway’s honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

Louis Vuitton Fondation designed by Frank Gehry. Photo  from http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/

Louis Vuitton Fondation designed by Frank Gehry. Photo from http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/

A new “must” when in Paris is a visit to the new Frank Gehry building located in Greater Paris, at the edge of the  Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, where Paris meets Neuilly-sur-Seine. The building is incredible– a feat of modern architecture composed of 12 “sails” composed of 3,600 panels of curved glass, cut to the nearest millimeter. The futuristic building is a reflection of the unique, creative and innovative project of the Louis Vuitton Fondation.  The Cheval Blanc Hotel Group hosted a lovely lunch for the Virtuoso Event.

Charles at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

Charles at the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by architect Frank Gehry in Paris

“To reflect our constantly changing world, we wanted to create a building that would evolve according to the time and the light in order to give the impression of something ephemeral and continually changing.” -Frank Gehry 

The new Frank Gehry building in Paris. Photo by Charles de L'Arbre

The new Frank Gehry building in Paris. Photo by Charles de L’Arbre

One must visit the Palace of Versailles at least once in their lifetime! The Garden of Versailles is where fruits and vegetables were raised specifically to feed the king and his family. A tour from the head gardener was very informative, and the most interesting part of the garden was was how the fruit trees were espaliered.

Espaliered fruit trees in the Garden of Versailles. Photo by Charles de L'Arbre

Espaliered fruit trees in the Garden of Versailles. Photo by Charles de L’Arbre

The final day of the trip included a reception at City Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Paris and the Minister of Tourism. Dinner was hosted on a Batau Mouch or the “fly boat” which cruised up the Seine. After dinner, the group received a “salute” of flashing lights from the Eiffel Tower as they passed. With Virtuoso, they know who to call.

Charles aboard the

Charles aboard the Batau Mouch as they passed the Eiffel Tower

Santa Barbara Travel is a member of the by-invitation-only, luxury travel network, Virtuoso – an organization of the top travel agencies, travel providers and destinations worldwide.  Our membership in Virtuoso brings a host of unique travel opportunities and exclusive values to our clients as well as access to the world’s best travel companies, hotels, and cruise lines.  For travelers who depend on experts to reduce complexity and ensure smart choices, your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor will design customized travel experiences using the resources and relationships available exclusively through network membership.

A frequent traveler to Paris, Charles would be happy to share his experiences. Please call or email to talk about your trip to Paris.

Charles de L'Arbre posing at the Picasso Museum in Paris in front of the L'Arbre

Charles de L’Arbre posing at the Picasso Museum in Paris in front of the L’Arbre

Charles de L’Arbre

President, Montecito

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
1485 East Valley Road #9
Montecito, CA 93108

Email: charlesd@sbtravel.com
Phone: 800.266.5452  
Direct Dial:
805.869.1128
Cell: 805.698.8751

Advisor Trip: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Two seasoned travel advisors of Santa Barbara Travel, Kathy Reimer and Tina Slimp, recently visited the world’s premier health resort, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona for four glorious days.  A true destination resort, Canyon Ranch is located in the sunny Sonoran desert with close access to canyons and the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains where outside activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and outside dining are possible all year-round.  The all-inclusive resort offers a variety of wellness packages that include accommodations, all you can eat dining, activities and classes, use of all facilities, gratuities and airport transfers between the Tucson airport and the property.

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

With a plethora of spa services, exercise, health and lifestyle sessions to choose from, you can make your stay what you want it to be.  You will have the opportunity of pre-planning your Canyon Ranch vacation with a program advisor one month prior to your arrival.  Depending on what you enjoy and what you would like to focus on, a program advisor will customize your daily schedule.

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Both Tina and Kathy opted for a private consultation with a doctor to learn about a healthier lifestyle and integrating exercise into their busy schedules.  They also took advantage of the resort’s daily cooking demonstrations offered by entertaining, yet informative chefs.  They learned how to cook with alternative oils and ingredients, in place of butter and fattening marinades.  Healthy entrees such as the Canyon Ranch’s mouth-watering Asian Braised Flank Steak with Bok Choy made low calorie cooking look easy.  Tina felt that portion control was essential for healthy eating, and noticed that all food served throughout the resort was served in measured portions.

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

The largest spa ever!  Kathy was in awe when she first laid eyes on the 80,000 square foot, luxury spa.  Housing state-of-the-art cardio and weight rooms, private sunbathing decks, dance, yoga, and Pilates/GYROTRONICS® studios, polar bear dunk, infra-red sauna…the list goes on…just where does one begin.  Luckily classes begin at 6 a.m. and go into the evening allowing you plenty of time to exercise and relax.

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Taking advantage of the outdoors, Tina and Kathy chose to work out each day on the underwater treadmill in the “L shaped” pool, one of Canyon Ranch’s 4 pools.  Kathy enjoyed the early morning 2 mile desert walks as well as strolling through the calming meditation garden. The desert flowers and cacti are in full bloom in the spring with a spectacular show of colors.

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Canyon Ranch offers something for everyone with a wide selection of engaging wellness programs that can vary from weight loss, health assessment and preventive care, stress management, detox, surgery recovery, spiritual health to continuing education credits for physicians and nurses. Additionally, this desert oasis is equipped to handle small groups (birthdays, family reunions, social getaways) to corporate retreats of up to 80 guests.   Whatever your health-related interest or passion, you are likely to find it at Canyon Ranch.

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Contact Santa Barbara Travel to for valued added amenities at Canyon Ranch Tucson such as a room upgrade, $50 credit to use toward a Health & Healing service, and early check-in/late check-out or special group rates.

Downtown Santa Barbara: Contact Tina by calling 805.966.3116 or email her directly

Ventura Office: Contact Kathy by calling 805.650.6999 or email her directly

Advisor Trip: The Rocky Mountaineer

Santa Barbara Travel Advisor, Nancy Herrmann, took the two day journey aboard Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer this Summer. This comfortable and luxurious train ride is a wonderful way to journey through the Canadian Rockies. Below, Nancy shares her experience, helpful travel tips, and photos of her journey.

Rocky Mountaineer in Exshaw, Alberta

Rocky Mountaineer in Exshaw, Alberta

ROUTE: I took the “Journey Through the Clouds” from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver and down to Seattle. I will start by saying: it was the most beautiful train ride of my life. The observation car allows a comfortable way to see the incredible scenery of Western Canada. The train and views are in the league of the dome cars of Anchorage and Denali, Alaska, with the big-time landscapes. Our itinerary worked with the direction we were traveling, but I would recommend going the opposite way– starting in Vancouver and ending in Jasper. From there you can drive along the scenic highway by motorcoach or self-drive to Lake Louise and Banff.

Four routes of the Rocky Mountaineer. Nancy traveled from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver to Seattle.

Four routes of the Rocky Mountaineer. Nancy traveled from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver to Seattle.

TRAVEL TIP: Travel from Vancouver to Jasper to end with the “wow factor” of mountainous Jasper.

Another interesting route is the Rainforest to Gold Rush—Vancouver – Whistler – Quesnel – Jasper –-perfect to see the great variety of the Canadian West. Whichever route you go, it is likely to be the best train ride you’ve ever had. The track passes along the coast and through the Canadian Rockies.

rocky-mountaineer-nancy

Nancy smiles for a photo in front of a high mountain lake

DINING: Meals and drinks are included in the price of the journey. However, Gold Leaf service provides a much better dining experience and is recommended. The meals are the same, but Gold Leaf service comes with a downstairs dining room, allowing you to get up and stretch. Silver Leaf members will dine in their seat. It is worth noting that you cannot walk from car to car during the trip.

Travel Tip: Drive or take the motorcoach from Jasper to Lake Louise and Banff for a few night stay, then fly out of Calgary.

Serenity on Lake Louis

Serenity on Lake Louis, accessed by scenic drive from Jasper or by train on the Coastal Passage and First Passage to the West

JASPER: Jasper is a tiny, tiny little town with a few restaurants and souvenir shops to support Jasper National Park. It reminded me of an old west town, with art galleries and gift shops. If you spend a few days here, take the Jasper SkyTram to the summit of Whistlers Mountain for a beautiful view, or drive the scenic route to Banff or Lake Louise.

KAMLOOPS: Nice farm to table restaurants and a fairly big city considering it is in the middle of western Canada. It is a beautiful town sitting at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers, with Kamloops Lake nearby.

VANCOUVER: We started our journey in Jasper, but would have started in Vancouver instead. This beautiful city with mountains and the Pacific would be a wonderful few days spent. Take a bike around Stanley Park, go to the top of the Vancouver Lookout, and visit the market on Granville Island.

Aerial View of Vancouver, Canada

Aerial View of Vancouver, Canada

SERVICE & HOTEL PACKAGE: There are two options– Silver Leaf and Gold Leaf. I chose the Gold Leaf package, which I recommend, as it provides vastly greater comfort and meal options, including meal service downstairs in the dining car and a seat in the observation car with a glass dome roof. There is also an option to upgrade the Gold Leaf Package to the Deluxe, which includes a hotel upgrade to the world famous Banff Springs Hotel. I found the Rimrock Resort Hotel to be comfortable, but it needs an upgrade as it feels quite out dated.

TRAVEL TIP: Choose the Gold Leaf Package, and upgrade your hotel if it is within budget to access the dining car, 2nd-floor seating, and a stay at the World Famous Banff Springs Hotel.

rocky-mountaineer-roof

Picture of our train car and Gold Leaf seating. Photo by Nancy Herrmann

WHAT TO AVOID: The Amtrak stretch of the trip was a rickety, uncomfortable 4 hour ride and a big let down after the comfort of the Rocky Mountaineer. I would recommend taking the ferry from Vancouver to Seattle, or just flying straight to Vancouver and spend a few nights to explore this beautiful city.

All said and done, the Rocky Mountaineer offers a great experience, especially for those who will not be itching to hike or swim in the mountains and lakes the trip introduces. If you are taking a cruise that begins or ends in Vancouver, I would highly recommend spending a few days on the Rocky Mountaineer.

rocky-mountaineer-nancyI would love to chat with you personally about the experience and answer any questions you may have. Please contact me by phone (805.869.1100) or email nherrmann@sbtravel.com. Learn more about Nancy on her Travel Profile

Cruise to the Music of the 80s – February 11-18, 2017

Join Santa Barbara Travel Advisor, Tina Slimp on an “80s” theme cruise in the Caribbean on the stunning Celebrity Summit.

Live 80s Bands and MTV VJs

Cruise Back to the 80s!

Cheap Trick, Belinda Carlisle, Survivor, Debbie Gibson, Morris Day & The Time, Colin Hay of Men At Work, Howard Jones, Berlin, The Romantics, Men Without Hats, Tiffany, MTV VJs and more!

 “Cruise back to the 80s with awesome activities, 80s theme nights, and non-stop music from the decade you love!”

For details or to book this fun-filled cruise, contact Tina Slimp at 805-966-3116 or  tnordholm@sbtravel.com