I have never been to Canada and I have never been on a bus tour so in August I got the chance to remedy this by travelling from Vancouver to Calgary with Globus.
I have come back a convert. I had a wonderful time, there was lots of awesome scenery, fantastic hotels and food, great people and places and I learnt an enormous amount about Canada.
What I liked about Globus:
The tour guide was brilliant –efficient, patient and incredibly knowledgeable (all the feedback I gathered was that this is true of every Globus tour) She was seriously detailed and hard-working and so enthusiastic you couldn’t help but be engaged. She made every story and piece of information sound interesting.
The bus driver was courteous, helpful and cheerful – he helped every single passenger on and off the bus every time we stopped. He cleaned the bus and all the windows every day (they were so shiny you could see yourself in every photo!).
The hotels were all fabulous – centrally located and very comfy (I have never slept on a better bed than in the Fairmont Whistler – as one of my fellow travellers said it was like sleeping on a cloud). The breakfasts were all included and you especially need to be hungry for the Fairmont buffet which was huge and wonderful. The rooms were all very spacious and all the hotels had pools and gyms.
The excursions were all very competitively priced and timed to dovetail in with the day, almost every activity was run especially for the tour. You got a choice on the first day and then paid the following day after they were confirmed. Most people did most activities and everyone agreed that they were all reasonable and worth doing.
There were 3 included dinners and they were all plated 3 course meals (usually with a choice of a couple of options for each course) – the food and service was good at all of them. Most of the choices were a meat or fish dish (lots of salmon yum). It was a great opportunity to talk to everyone and compare photos and experiences.
There was lots and lots of information, both about what was happening and when it was happening and also about the history/culture etc of the places we travelled through and to. I think everyone enjoyed learning so much about the places we went (and definitely a great advantage over travelling independently).
It was all very equitable, there was a seat rotation system which ensured everyone got to the front of the bus and that everybody sat next to someone different every day. This meant everybody got to talk to everyone and your seat was labelled every morning so that you didn’t have to think about it, just go where you were placed. It made it very friendly and nobody was jostling anybody out of the way for prime places.
The timetabling was well done – there were plentiful stops for food and toileting and plenty of time everywhere for doing that. You were always well-informed and it was always really clear what you had to do and when.
Things to think about:
This is a very busy holiday, you are doing something every day. I would highly recommend having a week somewhere at the end of the tour to stop and relax and to take your time to do things. There are some early starts and some long days but they were all worth it. There is not a great deal of free time and you have to be aware of other people and be considerate of them, this again was worth it – it is very social and I got to meet some really interesting people that I would never have otherwise met and they were a nice range of ages and nationalities. The other thing to think about is how much control you like over your day, if you are very independent it might not suit you but then again everybody likes being taken care of!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to people who like to be looked after and who expect a certain level of service and style and to people who don’t want any stress or responsibility on their travels. It was comfortable, well planned and run and you really didn’t have to do anything harder than wake up in the morning and get to breakfast. People really just wanted to look at the gorgeous scenery and appreciate Canada and have someone help them do that and we were all were very satisfied with how that happened………
Highlights of the Majestic Rockies tour:
The Granville Island markets in Vancouver – foodie heaven and with lots of outdoor seating and buskers and a great view back of the city. Also, the super cute little ferries that you use to get there.
Going whale watching in Victoria, Vancouver Island. A fantastic trip out amongst the islands following a pod of orca – a seriously wonderful experience. There are 3 pods of orca who live permanently in this area so you have a very high chance of seeing them.
The Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I was told they were sensational but they still took my breath away. Unmissable if you are in the area even if you aren’t remotely interested in gardening!
Staying at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort. A very luxurious hotel with a heated outdoor swimming pool with gorgeous views up Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler has plenty of activities and lots of beautiful walks and a huge range of restaurants and bars. Ski and mountain bike nirvana.
Canadian canoeing in Sun Peaks. A great evening with a gentle paddle around a lake and then a 4 course feast in a log cabin and lots of interesting information about the history of the area.
Rafting the Athabasca River, a very smooth ride with your guide doing all the work and a very nice way to arrive in Jasper…..
Wildlife spotting – you can’t guarantee you will see anything but everybody is on high alert to help you to do so. We saw salmon spawning in rivers 2500 kilometres from the sea and huge elk locking horns in rutting season. Expect to take 1000’s of photos of everything. Round every corner is another view you want to capture even if there isn’t a bear in the viewfinder.
Two of the greatest drives in the world. The Sea to Sky Highway and the Icefields Parkway. Ridiculously scenic roads with lots of waterfalls, forests, lakes, glaciers and mountains. Expect to use a lot of superlatives.
Click here to get Keryn’s full Globus itinerary