THE NEW ‘GOLDEN EAGLE DANUBE EXPRESS’ LUXURY TRAIN
TO RECEIVE A BRITISH ROYAL SEND-OFF IN BUDAPEST
· HRH Prince Michael of Kent launches new luxury train in Budapest
· Speaks of passion for rail travel at historic Rail Museum in Budapest
· The Venice-Simplon Orient Express and Golden Eagle Danube Express scheduled to be arriving and departing in Venice simultaneously
HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who once described driving the steam-hauled Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express launch train in Moscow as one of the most exciting moments in his life, is to launch a gleaming new Anglo-Hungarian-owned and British-operated train in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, on Saturday 2 May.
The Royal launch will take place before a brief run between Budapest ’s Nyugati station and the Hungarian Railway Museum and Park and will depart the following day (May 3) on its official inaugural journey to Venice operated by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. [Photographers are invited to picture His Royal Highness at the Railway Museum as he leans out of the window of the steam locomotive that will haul the new train for the first or last hour of most journeys.] Other celebrations include an evening reception in honour of the Royal couple at the British Ambassador’s residence on Saturday and, on Sunday morning at Budapest ’s Nyugati Station, a short reception in the Royal Waiting Room and an official naming ceremony. Joining the celebrations will be Tim Littler, President of Cheshire-based Golden Eagle Luxury Trains - the world's leading operator of exclusive long-distance rail journeys, who for almost 20 years has successfully been operating Russia ’s premier train (the Golden Eagle) on Russia ’s Trans-Siberian Railway.
Their Royal Highnesses will join the train with invited guests for its inaugural overnight run to Venice, lunching and dining on board with a harpist in the restaurant, enjoying pre-dinner drinks in the bar car to musical accompaniment by the train’s resident pianist and stopping en route to visit Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.
On Monday morning (4 May) a reception party will be held at Venice ’s Santa Lucia station to welcome the arrival of the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Subject to timings on the day, two British operated luxury trains will pass one another, one arriving, the other departing. The iconic Belmond Venice-Simplon Orient Express arrives at 1800 just as the new Golden Eagle Danube Express departs for its 9-day Balkan Odyssey tour.
The new Golden Eagle Danube Express will offer a range of pioneering new itineraries between May and November annually. Among them are The Balkan Explorer grand tour between Istanbul and Venice which takes the train into a raft of new territories through Greece , Macedonia , Bosnia & Herzegovina , Croatia and Slovenia . Additionally Budapest arrivals and departures will experience steam haulage. While the first Jewels of Persiatour departed on a pre-train-launch run from Budapest to Tehran in the autumn of last year, among the most exciting new routes for this train in 2015 is the Heart of Persia tour which goes to places that have been off the tourist map for many years.
THE NEW TRAIN
Combining first-class facilities with a romantic exploration of some of Europe and Asia ’s most remarkable sites and cinematic landscapes, theGolden Eagle Danube Express hotel-on-wheels offers the ultimate in exclusive rail experiences. From the moment guests step aboard they can expect everything to be taken care of, from fine dining, both on the train and in local restaurants, to a personal cabin attendant and a diverse range of touring options in some of Europe’s lesser-explored destinations – and Iran ’s too. With some 65 guests onboard, passengers will also benefit from the signature touches of a Golden Eagle rail adventure such as the option of a Deluxe en suite cabin, a champagne reception, a special Gala Caviar dinner (Persian trips), 5-star hotel accommodation before and after each journey, live musical performances and an onboard doctor. The train is usually headed by steam, at other times by a gleaming red 1960s M61 diesel locomotive, or the arrivals and departures from Budapest . There are eight newly refurbished cars in total: four deluxe en suite cars (with shower / wc) – something no other European main-line cruise train boasts - two classic sleeping cars, a restaurant car, a lounge car, and a staff car, plus heritage presidential cars which can be added to the train formation where required.
SAMPLE GRAND TOUR
The Balkan Explorer: Journeying from Istanbul to Venice , discover the fascinating history, verdant landscapes and coastlines of the Balkan nations and their neighbours – destinations never previously explored by a luxury private train. Taking in nine countries over 12 days, venture through the intriguing countries of the former Yugoslavia to witness the lasting influences of recent and ancient conflicts in the cities of Sarajevo , Belgrade and Dubrovnik , among others. Price: from $9,995pp based on two sharing all-inclusive, including 2 nights in Istanbul, 7 nights on the Golden Eagle Danube Express and 2 nights in Venice. Upgrade to Deluxe from $15,995pp. A few places remain on 11 July 2015 departure. Departures in 2016 include 9 June and 4 July.
MORE GRAND TOURS FOR 2015
Heart of Persia: Starting and finishing in Tehran , the 12-day luxury rail adventure offers a whole host of sites that have been rarely experienced by the Western traveller, from the deserted citadel at Rayen to one of the oldest cities in the world, Yazd . Other special experiences are: the ruins of Persepolis and Necropolis; Iran ’s oldest garden, dating back to 1590, in Kashan; and a spectacular journey through the Zagros Mountains . Price: from $9,995pp all-inclusive. Depart 19 October 2015.
Jewels of Persia: A 15-day trip from the banks of the Danube in Budapest to the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul and through Iran to trace the legacies of the Persian Empires. Explore historic cities and World Heritage sites, medieval fortresses and towns off the beaten track, among them Brasov , Kazanlak, Cappadocia, Van, Akdamar Island , Zanjan, Yazd , Isfahan , Shiraz and Tehran . Price: from $13,595pp all-inclusive. Depart Sept 4 & 17, Oct 6 & 29 2015.
Central Europe & Transylvania: For an unforgettable rail adventure through the dramatic landscapes of Central and Southern Europe, opt for this epic 14-day, 3,000kms passage between Istanbul and Prague which discovers an incredible eight countries. Price: from $10,195pp all-inclusive. Depart 18 July 2015.
PRICES are per person, based on 2 sharing a Heritage cabin on the Golden Eagle Danube Express, and include all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks, fully guided off-train excursions programme, porterage, arrival and departure transfers, the services of a Tour Manager, on-board Doctor and all gratuities. Deluxe en suite cabins are also available at a supplement. Hotel accommodation is 5-star. Flights are extra.
NEW ROUTES FOR 2016
- *NEW* Champagne Express – Budapest to Champagne and Paris
- *NEW* Treasures of Eastern Europe – Venice to Gdansk , Kaliningrad and Budapest