What are luxury trains you ask? Luxury trains recreate a bygone era of elegance, romance and decadence, when train traveling was more of leisure, long term activity…more about journey then arriving at destination.
Wondering how it all started?
It started when George Mortimer Pullman who introduced the Pioneer in 1864. It was the first rail coach with attached dining and sleeping cars. Thus dawned the era of luxury trains!
So it isn’t surprising that Venice-Simplon Orient Express with its vintage Pullman Cars is featured on the top. Because, that is how it all started!
1. Venice Simplon Orient Express, Europe
Immortalized by Agatha Christie’s book Murder on the Orient Express, Venice-Simplon is a legend in itself. Started on 5th June 1883, Venice-Simplon offers luxury rail journeys that even now – albeit only 1 nowadays – connect legendary Paris-Istanbul route opened in 1921.
Each carriage of this legendary luxury train has a character and history of their own. The interiors of the carriages have been designed by celebrated interior designers to preserve their original character.
The interiors of the original carriages have also been refurbished to accommodate modern amenities that provide a seamless blend of history, elegance and luxury.
Various itineraries offered by this train include itineraries to Venice, Krakow, Dresden, Prague and Paris. 3 Nights all inclusive London to Venice itinerary along with meals and hotel stay in Venice, starts at US $4,005.
2. Royal Scotsman, Scotland
The Royal Scotsman, a Scottish luxury train service of the Orient Express Collections will take you on a scenic voyage through the verdant Scottish Highlands.
Composed of two dining cars, five state cars, one crew car and one observation car, Royal Scotsman offers one of the most expensive train rides in the world.
Royal Scotsman carries 36 guests at a time for most stylish ride in Europe. With itineraries starting from 2 days to those lasting up to 7 days, guests on board are treated as would a royalty.
Gourmet dining, lavish accommodation fine wines and impeccable hospitality along with the breathtaking scenic ride makes Royal Scotsman one of the top luxury trains in the world.
2 Nights all inclusive itinerary starts from US $3600.
3. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
Running since 19th century, The Rocky Mountaineer train operates on four routes in Canada. Rocky Mountaineer takes the guests on a spectacular ride across scenic valleys, coastal mountain range and the Fraser Canyon with its spectacular raging white water and dramatic landscape.
Recently the fifth route was opened and is named Coastal Route.
GoldLeaf Service is bi-level and puts you right in the center of awe inspiring vistas of rolling hills and lush landscapes. SilverLeaf is single upper level service whereas the RedLeaf is the lower single level service.
Breakfasts and lunches are included onboard the Rocky Mountaineer for all service type. Meal plans for entire journey are could also be pre booked with package.
This luxury train ride includes renditions of folklores, wine appreciation classes and natural workshops. The 2 Days train rides on board Rocky Mountaineer starts from US $999.
4. Maharajas Express, India
Maharajas’ Express is the new benchmark when it comes to luxury train traveling. The latest luxury train to be introduced in India, Maharajas’ Express offer 5 rail journeys that covers the most prominent tourist destinations in India.
As the name suggests, the train has been designed to offer an experience of elegant train traveling reminiscent of the times when the Maharajas, Nizams and Viceroys of India traveled in their own private cars.
Each of the guest cabins of this luxury train is equipped with amenities such as live television, DVD players, closet, electronic safe, individual climate control and attached washrooms. The suites and the Presidential Suite also feature a bath tub.
Two elegant restaurants offer a variety of dining option and there’s a Safari Bar and Rajah Club with fine selection of wine and spirits where guests could socialize or relax.
A butler is present round the clock for assistance and the all inclusive tours starts from US $3850 for 3 Nights itinerary and goes as high as US $22000 for the 7 nights itineraries making it the most expensive rail journey in the world.
Also check out a taste of opulence on board Maharajas’ Express.
5. Rovos Rail, Africa
One of the most luxurious trains in the world, Rovos Rail, a privately owned service offers various rail journeys across African Continent.
There are 15 Pullman Cars offering plush yet elegant accommodation to guests traveling on board. En-suite facilities include writing desk, personal safe, bar fridge, private shower, sink and toilet. Then there are Royal Suite featuring Victorian Bathtub in the attached washroom.
Wining and dining facilities are also available on board. A lounge car with open patio serves well as observation car where you can soak in the mesmerizing vistas of lush mountains, gushing waterfalls and African landscape.
There are various itineraries to choose from and you could choose your preferred disembarkation point along the route as the train chugs along through South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania in 2 weeks.
6. The Ghan, Australia
A legend in itself, the Ghan offers 2979 kilometer rail trip spanning over a period of 2 day through the very heart of the Australian continent.
The train crisscrosses through Endless vitas of outback starting from Adelaide to Alice Spring then yet another day travels 1419 kilometers to Darwin. During the journey the train rolls through undulating mountainscape, vast stretches of desert, tropical wonders and wildlife.
The fusion of red land and azure sky conjures almost ethereal experience and you also have the option of getting down for local sightseeing tours at several disembarkation points.
Accommodation on board the train is available in berths as well as reclining seats whereas the dining is offered in a separate dining car. From Adelaide to Darwin the journey will set you back between $700 and $2000.
7. Eastern and Oriental Express
The Eastern and Oriental Express winds you through some of the most spectacular and renowned destinations and awe inspiring landscapes from Bangkok to Singapore.
This train is also known as the sister train to Europe’s Venice Simplon Orient Express. The interior walls of the cabins of Eastern and Oriental Express are cherry wood and elm burr paneled, festooned with attractive parquetry and intricate inlays.
Luxurious amenities offered on board the train include guest cabins with ensuite shower and lavatory, and panoramic windows. A cabin steward looks after you 24 hours a day for the entire duration of your journey.
Designed by none other than Gérard Gallet, the man behind the British Pullman and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, this luxury train also features dining cars serving gourmet meals, a bar car with resident pianist offering dulcet sound to set the mood.
During its 2 to 7 Nights itineraries, Eastern and Oriental Express offers a mesmerizing ride across sweeping paddy fields, golden pagodas, lush rainforest and cosmopolitan cities of South East Asia. 1 Night journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok starts from US $2100.
8. Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express
The Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express takes its guests to the world’s longest train excursion of 5,625 miles (9,000 kilometers) and that’s a whooping 1/3rd of the earth.
This luxury train traverses the course spanning across 2 continents and 8 time zones, connecting East and West from Moscow and European Russia with Mongolia, China and the Sea of Japan.
The most exciting part offered by the train includes Ulaan Baatar, Lake Baikal outdoor train ride and beach picnic and much more. You will find it impossible to beat the romance and magic of this amazing rail journey.
From Siberia to Moscow, Vladivostok, and Beijing, prices for the 19-day ride vary within the $500 – $1000 range.
9. Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan
Palace on wheels is voted as the 4th best luxury train in the world. The train offers first class travel to its guests across majestic destinations of Rajasthan, India.
Palace on Wheels is the first luxury train to be introduced in India way back in 1982. It was originally composed of the authentic private cars used by the erstwhile Maharajas of India. Later, these were replaced with the replica carriage to accommodate the technological advancement.
The train has 14 guest carriages with a capacity of 104 guests. En-suite facilities include Wi-Fi internet, attached washrooms, direct dial phone individual climate control and channel music.
There is a lounge attached with each cabin where you may watch live television, play DVDs or read books and magazine. Two dining cars offer gourmet dining experience whereas the bar is a convivial place to get to know your fellow passengers.
The train offers a heritage rail ride through the princely states of Rajasthan. Sightseeing includes visit to legendary hill forts, sparkling palaces, wildlife sanctuary in Ranthambore and an array of World Heritage Sites making Palace on Wheels a truly heritage ride.
7 Nights all inclusive itinerary of this train starts from US $2780 per person. This luxury train tour starts and concludes in Delhi.
Also check out an experience on board Palace on Wheels.
10. Danube Express, Eastern and Central Europe
A seamless blend of modernity and tradition strikes you as soon as you board Danube Express. Elegance and style is the quintessential element of this luxury train journey across Eastern Europe.
With guest capacity of just 50, Danube Express offers one of the most exclusive ways to traverse Europe in style. The décor is a tasteful combo of lustrous wood panelling, refined navy-and-white livery and duvets to recreate a bygone era of golden train travel.
With minimal furnishings, you will find guest cabins to be surprisingly spacious. En-suite facilities include personal reading lamps, personal safe, power sockets, armchairs, individual climate control and attached washroom with sink, shower and toilet.
Gourmet dishes and regional specialties prepared by Master Chefs are served in graceful dining car. Whereas lunches and dinners are served table d’hôte accompanied by house brand of drinks, you need to pay for the premium wines, champagnes and spirits.
Danube Express offers choice of 4 itineraries that involves visits to some of the most fascinating cities and mesmerizing landscapes of Europe. The major cities included in the itineraries include Budapest, Romania, Prague and Istanbul.
The all-inclusive 9 day Budapest to Istanbul via Transylvania and Bulgaria trip costs $6,300 and offers some breathtaking views.
About the author:
A seeker, learner and explorer, Sanjay Manral loves to travel which could be attributed to the fact that he was born and brought up in Uttarakhand. Sanjay also loves to write on diverse travel topics along with regular features on SEO and Digital Marketing tips and tricks.
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