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Old 10-30-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
LindaBabe


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Canadians - help needed on taking the train

across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver (to the DCL Alaska cruise next year)

Have any of you ever done this?

Advice?

IF you book on line, how do you pick your 'cabin'?

Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:02 PM   #2
ferris198
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My Mother did, she booked with a travel agent
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:34 PM   #3
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You can book a cabin, or berth, online through Via Rail. Same process as booking a seat online. My experience booking train travel through a regular TA has not been good, so I always book train travel myself. Haven't done this trip yet, but I have been looking at it online for a while.

FYI--a single cabin is pricy (the non-discounted rate is comparable to the cost of air fare, or more), your Mom may want to scope out the seat sales that Via has from time to time. You can also call Via Rail, or book direct at a train station. If I were booking direct, I would pick a quiet time of day, to talk to the Via sales rep. If you book in person, you can use Via Rail gift cards for part of the cost, you can't use gift cards online.

Does your Mom intend to book return train travel, or is she coming home by plane?
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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I've done it booking directly through VIA rail. However, I used to live 10 blocks from one of their offices. I would suggest using a travel agent.

It was a great experience to do once. I booked a berth, which was half the price of a cabin, but still included the 1st class dome car and all the meals. If you can handle just a curtain for privacy, it's a great deal.

Train travel between Toronto and Vancouver is very slow. We left Toronto in the morning, and stared at nothing but rocks, trees and lakes until mid-morning on the third day. I loved the prairies, where you can see for miles and miles, but most of our fellow travelers muttered something about it being boring and left the dome car. The trip through the mountains is spectacular, but much of the journey is at night. The prairies give way to the mountains in late-afternoon of the fourth day, and you arrive in Vancouver on the morning of the fifth day.

To see the most of the mountains (the highlight of the journey), make reservations close to the longest days of the year or around a full moon, and plan to spend most of your time in the dome car.

Another noteworthy caution is that the Vancouver train station is on the fringe of a bad neighborhood. While the SkyTrain is very convenient to get from the train station to downtown and the port, you do have to cross a 200 yard gauntlet of homeless panhandlers. A taxi from the train station to the port is brief and likely $15 or less.
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:25 AM   #5
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Thanks, folks. We're a couple, so we'll book a cabin for two. The westbound train leaves at night now - 10 pm - so I guess we'll be sleeping through the 'rocks, trees and lakes' part.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaBabe
Thanks, folks. We're a couple, so we'll book a cabin for two. The westbound train leaves at night now - 10 pm - so I guess we'll be sleeping through the 'rocks, trees and lakes' part.
You will see less, but traveling through that region still takes ~36 hours. Bring a deck of cards and a crib board. :-)
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:46 AM   #7
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You can save quite a bit of money by booking the berths. We took the trip from Edmonton to Vancouver last summer. The berths make a nice open sitting area with a big window during the day and the cabins to me would have been very claustrophobic. When you book the berths, you have access to everything those in the cabins get. It was a fun trip!
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