Those looking for the ultimate journey of a lifetime will find inspiration from Orient-Express, as it reveals new and exciting trips across its trains and cruises for 2013. New fascinating voyages and detailed itineraries are on offer aboard each train and cruise, from cruising along the stunning rivers in France and Myanmar, to travelling through the picturesque and lush scenery of South-East Asia or wending through the Alps to one of Europe’s great cities.
A highlight of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express schedule is a series of new and exciting voyages to Scandinavia where the world’s most famous train will travel from Stockholm via Copenhagen for the very first time. The inaugural journey will depart Venice on 8th April 2013 on a scenic and elegant two-night rail journey before making the return voyage from Stockholm back to Italy via Copenhagen. Various package options are available.
Back by popular demand and reintroduced to The Royal Scotsman’s season is the Country Homes and Gardens journey, departing Edinburgh Waverley on 7th June 2013, which is a scenic wonderland of unrivalled beauty where one will discover some of Scotland’s finest homes and gardens on a guided tour with famous writer, Sue Shivers, and artistic photographer, Patsy Floyd. Travelling along the eastern coast and covering 720 miles, passengers will be seduced by some of the most intoxicating landscapes Scotland has to offer while soaking in the history of ancient castles and famous gardens.
Whisky lovers may be tempted by The Classic Whisky Journey, departing Edinburgh on 21st April, in association with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The trip, which is new for the 2013 season, will include visits to well-known Scottish distilleries and led by an expert Ambassador from the Society. In addition to the many whiskies on board, guests will also be able to sample a variety of the Society’s exclusive malts along the way.
Other extensions available for guests travelling on The Royal Scotsman include Loch Lomond, Gleneagles and Edinburgh. Golf and Whisky focused charters can also be arranged on request.
Also new to The Royal Scotsman’s varied list of itineraries is an extension aboard the luxury cruise-line Hebridean Princess, offering guests the ultimate tour of Scotland. Five and seven-night cruises of the beautiful Scottish Isles and coastline are available to add to a journey aboard the train.
Myanmar is becoming a key destination for many travellers and Orient-Express has a host of journeys to tempt even the most travelled guests.
Orcaella, the latest river cruiser by Orient-Express, will commence cruising in summer 2013. The ship will meander the Ayeyarwady River between Yangon and Bhamo, stopping at key cultural sites and towns as well as dropping anchor at interesting sites off the beaten track. The nimble vessel will also cruise the Chindwin River, passing extensive mountain ranges, winding its way through western Myanmar as far north as Homalin, just 30 miles from the Indian border. Highlights of the schedule include seven and 11-night cruises, providing passengers a rare opportunity to explore this magical country’s rich heritage, natural beauty and friendly people, further adding to Orient-Express’ portfolio offering enriching journeys of discovery.
Cruising along the Ayerwaddy River for over 17 years, the Road To Mandalay, will set sail on its 11-night expedition to Bhamo. The journey will depart three times in 2013 from Mandalay on 14th and 28th August, and 11th September, returning to Bagan. Also available throughout the season are three, four and seven-night cruises as well as several extensions to Inle Lake, Ngapali and Golden Rock.
South-East Asia’s most glamorous train, the Eastern & Oriental Express, regularly embarks on a schedule of unique rail voyages exploring the heart and soul of each country the train passes through. Highlights of the 2013 schedule include the Chronicles of South-East Asia, a trio of insightful adventures. They include two six-night journeys and one three-night journey for up to 60 guests in spacious State and Presidential cabins. Each rail voyage offers a fascinating experience, discovering off the beaten track treasures, as the train wends its way through the jungle-clad hills of the Cameron Highlands, across the Mekong River to Vientiane, Laos or through Thailand’s lush exotic landscape.
Epic Thailand will depart on 3rd February and 23rd November, Fables of the Hills will depart on 2nd March and 26th October, and the Tales of Laos journey will depart on 1st October.
Gently cruising along France’s beautiful rivers and cruises, Afloat in France is a fleet of five luxury péniche-hotels where guests on board are treated to a host of culinary delights, unique activities and excursions. Each barge accommodates between four and twelve passengers and itineraries are offered on a fully inclusive basis. They may all be booked for private hire, giving guests the opportunity to have their own floating house party.
The fleet travels through the heart of France and guests will have exclusive access to private vineyards, gardens, antiques, markets and local beauty spots. The péniche also carry bicycles to enable independent exploration of the local region at leisure. Family itineraries are available to keep all members of the family occupied during their week onboard.
Back by popular demand, the Grand Cru Cruise will depart on 14th July 2013 aboard Amaryllis. Throughout this special wine week, guests will taste 33 Grand Crus of Burgundy and along the way meet esteemed winemakers and have exclusive access to private family run vineyards. Back on board, delicious cuisine will be served to complement the various wines and Amaryllis has a heated swimming pool for guests to enjoy, one of only two barges to have this luxury on the French canals.
In 2013, the British Pullman and Northern Belle will be taking guests in style and comfort on a number of exciting and interesting day trips across Great Britain. Delicious fare is served aboard the train by liveried stewards as the train passes through the scenic countryside.
New to next year’s Northern Belle schedule are some family focused journeys. A visit to Chester Zoo on 10th May, June 8th and November 8th from a number of departure points is the perfect day out for animal lovers who will be taken behind the scenes for a closer look; the zoo has the world’s largest jaguar enclosure and Europe’s largest group of Orangutans so it won’t disappoint.
Budding wizards will be spell bound on the journey to the Warner Brother’s Studio and World of Harry Potter on either 9th and 30th August or 12th October. After an indulgent brunch is served onboard, guests will disembark for a behind-the-scenes walking tour of the studio and opportunity to explore the Harry Potter set and view the props and costumes used and worn by the star cast throughout the many films.
In 2013 and for the first time ever, steam enthusiasts will be given the rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes to view the locomotive being prepared before the signature Golden Age of Travel steam-hauled lunches. On these special trips, the British Pullman is hauled by Clan Line, the Merchant Navy Class locomotive. View it in situ in the depot and watch the crew carry out their duties before joining the train back at London Victoria.
On 17th July, the British Pullman will be whisking guests off from London Victoria on a Royal day out to Sandringham House in Norfolk, home to the last four generations of sovereigns. After brunch, guests will arrive at the estate and spend the day exploring the residence of Her Majesty including a walk through the famous gardens before getting back on board for dinner served with champagne and wine.
For those who love to be by the coast, a journey to Bournemouth by the Sea is just the ticket on either 7th June or September 20th from London Victoria, the pretty coastal town in Dorset offers a perfect day out away from the big city.