Canadian Rail Trip
Posted on Jun 27, 2013 by
Thanks so much to those who contributed their thoughts to my query about a cross-Canada rail trip. I spent a few days with my sister, Julie, and we have booked our trip. We will be staying in Toronto for a night at each end our our trip and are also planning to spend time in Vancouver as well as on Vancouver Island. I`d really appreciate any suggestions for hotels or B&Bs as well as restaurants and ideas of what to do and see. Moderate prices are good. We had originally decided to take Amtrak from Albany to Seattle to save money and then return from Vancouver on VIA Rail. However, when we called VIA Rail this morning -- we wanted to book that part first because it`s filling up fast -- Mike in their reservations department became our new best friend. He`s knowledgeable, friendly and loves his job. Because Julie is blind, both I and the anticipated guide dog can travel with her absolutely free. Mike told us that, if we wanted to save nearly CAD$200 in taxes, we needed to reserve the Toronto-to-Albany leg with Amtrak and call him back with the reservation number. When we called Amtrak, we spent 10 minutes with an apparently unintelligent, untrained and uncaring woman who cut us off before we could finish the transaction. When we called back, we dealt with a polite and apparently competent man who still took nearly 30 minutes to complete the reservation. When we hung up realized there was no way that we could imagine booking a complicated cross-country trip with Amtrak, since even the polite, competent person had such a hard time booking us from Toronto to Albany. (I`m thinking they must have an unwieldy computer system.) Then, as I was picking up the phone to call Mike, he called with a suggestion for making our trip better and less expensive. The upshot is that we will be going round trip by VIA Rail and be pampered and fed gourmet meals.