Post Reply
Travelsphere Spectacular Rockies and Vancouver Sept 2019
Post: #1
Hi everyone,

I'm just back from the most wonderful, exciting, fun trip to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver and it truly was the holiday of a lifetime!  But why did I do a Travelsphere tour when I could have gone with JY?  Well, first of all I decided I didn't want to do the Rocky Mountaineer and JY hadn't launched their new western non-rail tour when I was booking.  Secondly, the TS tour includes two nights in Victoria, rather than the JY option of a day trip and I really wanted to do a whale watching trip, which was only available on the TS tour.  However, apart from that, the itineraries are virtually identical, so I hope what I write will be of value to those doing either of the two JY western Canada trips.

I won't go into too much detail, as there has recently been an excellent series of reviews on the whole east-to-west Canada experience from another traveller.  In summary we saw wonderfully spectacular scenery - turquoise and blue lakes, forested snow-capped mountains, plunging waterfalls and canyons.  Every day was interesting and of value.  We didn't have the best weather and I was initially concerned that this would affect the views we would see and the quality of photos I'd be able to take - I was completely wrong about this.  The lakes and rivers retain their gorgeous colours due to the effects of glaciation, rather than reflection from the sun - and cloudy skies can add much to the drama of photos!!


We enjoyed a fantastic range of fun activities on this tour - from the previously mentioned whale watching (we saw a family of orcas/killer whales and a humpback), white water rafting (which was more exhilarating than I had expected and so enjoyable), a river trip to spot wildlife, a walk through rainforest via suspension bridges, a fun lumberjack show, the stunning Butchart Gardens (you don't have to be a gardener to appreciate their beauty) and so much more.  We saw black and grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, chipmunks, eagles, osprey and other wildlife.  In Victoria some of us saw a stunning IMAX film about British Columbia including the story of a spirit bear and in Vancouver we went to the unbelievably exciting Fly Over Canada experience - you really do feel like you are flying; the views are spectacular and I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Vancouver does this - it really is not to be missed!

The hotels were all very good, with really comfortable beds.  Food was excellent throughout - when you are in Banff, be sure to check out the Rose and Crown pub.  It serves buffaloaf (meat loaf made with bison) - one of the tastiest meals I've ever had!  Food and drink prices are roughly similar to home.  Canada is a beautiful, friendly country and the people are so genuine and helpful.  A number of us agreed that it is the one country we could easily live in!  

Finally, a word about our tour manager, the legendary Patrick Twomey!  This was my second tour with him and I was delighted when I heard that he would be leading it, having previously had him as TM in Chile.  Patrick is superb in every respect - a born communicator and educator; his breath and depth of knowledge is staggering.  We learned so much, in the easiest way possible and he made the whole trip so incredibly enjoyable with his friendly approach and hilarious sense of humour.  At times I was crying with laughter on the coach and at one point he got a round of applause for one particular skit!  As before, his experience shone through as he was able to amend the itinerary to allow for local conditions, to ensure that we saw the very best that this wonderful region of Canada has to offer.  

This was my 25th escorted tour and my 70th country to visit!  I couldn't have had a better time with a marvellous itinerary, great group of fellow travellers and the best tour manager.  This was my fourth TS tour and I wouldn't hesitate to do another - in fact I have just booked Australia with them for 2021!  I found the couples to be most friendly and we all had a wonderful, magical time.  Whether you visit Alberta and British Columbia with TS or JY, the main thing is to make sure you do visit this wonderful country - you won't be disappointed.  As the saying puts it so well, the world needs more Canada....

Any questions, I'd be delighted to answer them!

Cheers,

Bob
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #2
(23/09/2019, 02:59 PM)BGray Wrote: Hi everyone,

I'm just back from the most wonderful, exciting, fun trip to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver and it truly was the holiday of a lifetime!  But why did I do a Travelsphere tour when I could have gone with JY?  Well, first of all I decided I didn't want to do the Rocky Mountaineer and JY hadn't launched their new western non-rail tour when I was booking.  Secondly, the TS tour includes two nights in Victoria, rather than the JY option of a day trip and I really wanted to do a whale watching trip, which was only available on the TS tour.  However, apart from that, the itineraries are virtually identical, so I hope what I write will be of value to those doing either of the two JY western Canada trips.

I won't go into too much detail, as there has recently been an excellent series of reviews on the whole east-to-west Canada experience from another traveller.  In summary we saw wonderfully spectacular scenery - turquoise and blue lakes, forested snow-capped mountains, plunging waterfalls and canyons.  Every day was interesting and of value.  We didn't have the best weather and I was initially concerned that this would affect the views we would see and the quality of photos I'd be able to take - I was completely wrong about this.  The lakes and rivers retain their gorgeous colours due to the effects of glaciation, rather than reflection from the sun - and cloudy skies can add much to the drama of photos!!


We enjoyed a fantastic range of fun activities on this tour - from the previously mentioned whale watching (we saw a family of orcas/killer whales and a humpback), white water rafting (which was more exhilarating than I had expected and so enjoyable), a river trip to spot wildlife, a walk through rainforest via suspension bridges, a fun lumberjack show, the stunning Butchart Gardens (you don't have to be a gardener to appreciate their beauty) and so much more.  We saw black and grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, chipmunks, eagles, osprey and other wildlife.  In Victoria some of us saw a stunning IMAX film about British Columbia including the story of a spirit bear and in Vancouver we went to the unbelievably exciting Fly Over Canada experience - you really do feel like you are flying; the views are spectacular and I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Vancouver does this - it really is not to be missed!

The hotels were all very good, with really comfortable beds.  Food was excellent throughout - when you are in Banff, be sure to check out the Rose and Crown pub.  It serves buffaloaf (meat loaf made with bison) - one of the tastiest meals I've ever had!  Food and drink prices are roughly similar to home.  Canada is a beautiful, friendly country and the people are so genuine and helpful.  A number of us agreed that it is the one country we could easily live in!  

Finally, a word about our tour manager, the legendary Patrick Twomey!  This was my second tour with him and I was delighted when I heard that he would be leading it, having previously had him as TM in Chile.  Patrick is superb in every respect - a born communicator and educator; his breath and depth of knowledge is staggering.  We learned so much, in the easiest way possible and he made the whole trip so incredibly enjoyable with his friendly approach and hilarious sense of humour.  At times I was crying with laughter on the coach and at one point he got a round of applause for one particular skit!  As before, his experience shone through as he was able to amend the itinerary to allow for local conditions, to ensure that we saw the very best that this wonderful region of Canada has to offer.  

This was my 25th escorted tour and my 70th country to visit!  I couldn't have had a better time with a marvellous itinerary, great group of fellow travellers and the best tour manager.  This was my fourth TS tour and I wouldn't hesitate to do another - in fact I have just booked Australia with them for 2021!  I found the couples to be most friendly and we all had a wonderful, magical time.  Whether you visit Alberta and British Columbia with TS or JY, the main thing is to make sure you do visit this wonderful country - you won't be disappointed.  As the saying puts it so well, the world needs more Canada....

Any questions, I'd be delighted to answer them!

Cheers,

Bob
Thanks very much for the review Bob.
Patrick is great, he was the Tour Manager on the Travelsphere San Francisco to Vancouver tour in 2015.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #3
(23/09/2019, 02:59 PM)BGray Wrote: Hi everyone,

I'm just back from the most wonderful, exciting, fun trip to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver and it truly was the holiday of a lifetime!  But why did I do a Travelsphere tour when I could have gone with JY?  Well, first of all I decided I didn't want to do the Rocky Mountaineer and JY hadn't launched their new western non-rail tour when I was booking.  Secondly, the TS tour includes two nights in Victoria, rather than the JY option of a day trip and I really wanted to do a whale watching trip, which was only available on the TS tour.  However, apart from that, the itineraries are virtually identical, so I hope what I write will be of value to those doing either of the two JY western Canada trips.

I won't go into too much detail, as there has recently been an excellent series of reviews on the whole east-to-west Canada experience from another traveller.  In summary we saw wonderfully spectacular scenery - turquoise and blue lakes, forested snow-capped mountains, plunging waterfalls and canyons.  Every day was interesting and of value.  We didn't have the best weather and I was initially concerned that this would affect the views we would see and the quality of photos I'd be able to take - I was completely wrong about this.  The lakes and rivers retain their gorgeous colours due to the effects of glaciation, rather than reflection from the sun - and cloudy skies can add much to the drama of photos!!


We enjoyed a fantastic range of fun activities on this tour - from the previously mentioned whale watching (we saw a family of orcas/killer whales and a humpback), white water rafting (which was more exhilarating than I had expected and so enjoyable), a river trip to spot wildlife, a walk through rainforest via suspension bridges, a fun lumberjack show, the stunning Butchart Gardens (you don't have to be a gardener to appreciate their beauty) and so much more.  We saw black and grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, chipmunks, eagles, osprey and other wildlife.  In Victoria some of us saw a stunning IMAX film about British Columbia including the story of a spirit bear and in Vancouver we went to the unbelievably exciting Fly Over Canada experience - you really do feel like you are flying; the views are spectacular and I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Vancouver does this - it really is not to be missed!

The hotels were all very good, with really comfortable beds.  Food was excellent throughout - when you are in Banff, be sure to check out the Rose and Crown pub.  It serves buffaloaf (meat loaf made with bison) - one of the tastiest meals I've ever had!  Food and drink prices are roughly similar to home.  Canada is a beautiful, friendly country and the people are so genuine and helpful.  A number of us agreed that it is the one country we could easily live in!  

Finally, a word about our tour manager, the legendary Patrick Twomey!  This was my second tour with him and I was delighted when I heard that he would be leading it, having previously had him as TM in Chile.  Patrick is superb in every respect - a born communicator and educator; his breath and depth of knowledge is staggering.  We learned so much, in the easiest way possible and he made the whole trip so incredibly enjoyable with his friendly approach and hilarious sense of humour.  At times I was crying with laughter on the coach and at one point he got a round of applause for one particular skit!  As before, his experience shone through as he was able to amend the itinerary to allow for local conditions, to ensure that we saw the very best that this wonderful region of Canada has to offer.  

This was my 25th escorted tour and my 70th country to visit!  I couldn't have had a better time with a marvellous itinerary, great group of fellow travellers and the best tour manager.  This was my fourth TS tour and I wouldn't hesitate to do another - in fact I have just booked Australia with them for 2021!  I found the couples to be most friendly and we all had a wonderful, magical time.  Whether you visit Alberta and British Columbia with TS or JY, the main thing is to make sure you do visit this wonderful country - you won't be disappointed.  As the saying puts it so well, the world needs more Canada....

Any questions, I'd be delighted to answer them!

Cheers,

Bob

I always look forward to your reviews Bib.  Brilliant as always.   Big Grin
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #4
Wow Bob sounds a absolutely fantastic tour, I know how much you love scenery and animals etc, I am so glad you got to do the whale watching trip!...when I saw them I found it very emotional!..you had a better experience than I regarding Canada..I couldn’t wait to leave but that was the weather wrecking that part of the tour..not the country or the people.. what a amazing TM Patrick sounds ..great review from you as per usual..

Cindy
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #5
Hi Bob,

great review Sir !
I couldn’t help but smile as I read about the oh so familiar and memorable moments you experienced.
A shame about the weather (we were very, very lucky), but as you say, the scenery is so stunning it’s just a case of seeing it in another light. And probably often quite dramatic.
I agree a good TM is invaluable and from what I’ve read about Mr. Twomey in other threads it sounds like you struck (Yukon) gold !
Canada without doubt is an awesome place to visit, especially the western side and I too couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
With my November plans now thwarted I might have to consider the Winter Rockies trip instead. Yes, it would be familiar territory, but in the Winter snow and ice wonderland I would be experiencing Canada in a totally different dimension.
... and that moose is still a bugbear !

Thanks again for the review and memory jogger ..

Roger
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #6
Hi Bob

Great review. I did the JY version of this trip in September 2013 with Brian Croft as TM. Unlike you, we had superb weather, cold in the morning but glorious sunshine throughout. This was described as unseasonably warm by our local driver guide.

The holiday had had a JY shake up and the Rocky Mountaineer was withdrawn. I was disappointed, but in the end travelling across Canada by coach was superb. And I've experienced a train across Alaska since, so not missed out!

After the beauty of this area, I was keen to visit again to see it with it's winter coat on so did the Winter Rockies Spectacular in January 2017. Just as beautiful and magical.

Regards
Sylvia
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #7
Hi all,

Many thanks for the replies, I appreciate them!  I'm home six days and the post-holiday glow has yet to dim!  It was a truly memorable and special holiday and one I will never forget.

Best wishes,

Bob
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #8
Hi Bob

Thank you for the great review. I can't wait to do Canada East to West in 2021 (as long as JY do not put it to rest). I too would like to try white water rafting. I never had a chance to do whale watching trip and even though it is pot luck, I would do it given a chance. I am glad you have booked your Australia trip - you will have a truly amazing time. I loved Australia and given a chance would go back at a drop of a coin!

Best wishes

Jaya
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #9
Excellent Review Bob,

I can only reiterate what Bob has said.  This was an amazing trip and I loved every minute of it and there is nothing really I can add except that you should all visit Canada and especially the Rockies.  You won't be disappointed.

The scenery was stunning and even though it rained on a couple of days it didn't spoil any of the views.  
We had a fabulous tour manager, Patrick Twomey and a lovely coach driver called Dave. Nothing was too much trouble for either of them.  They made a great team!!

Although I mainly travel with Just You I was a bit apprehensive about joining a Travelsphere  group.  There were only three singles on this trip but we had an amazing group and we all seemed to bond and had a lot fun.
I would not hesitate in doing another trip with Travelsphere.

Regards Julie
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post: #10
Hi Jaya,

Thanks for your comments - you will love Canada!  There is something magical about it - a wonderful mixture of stunning scenery, attractive towns and cities, genuine and friendly people, great food and an approach to life that I love.  I can't wait to return!  

I am beyond excited about the Australia tour - it is a long way off but I'm sure the time will fly by.  I have wanted to visit since I was a child and the new TS tour is absolutely perfect - my dream itinerary, including lots of wildlife and scenery!  It will warrant an epic review on the forum when I return!!

All the best,

Bob
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)