On May 2, riding the rails through Europe reached a new level of refinement when Golden Eagle Luxury Trains and Prince Michael of Kent renewed operation of the Danube Express. The newly renovated train—powered by steam and an M61 diesel locomotive—is the first European commercial carrier to boast en suite sleeping cabins. Occupying four dedicated cars, the 20 deluxe compartments each feature wood paneling, brass fixtures, and a personal attendant. Two additional classic sleeping cars bring the maximum number of passengers to 65, all of whom have access to two fine-dining cars and a lounge car with bar. The presence of an onboard doctor provides travelers additional peace of mind.
From May through November, the Golden Eagle Danube Express will offer 13 distinct journeys that include the Balkan Explorer, a 12-day trip from Istanbul to Venice, and the Heart of Persia, a round-trip tour from Tehran. The latter stops in Yazd—believed to be one of the oldest cities in the world—and the ancient ruins of Persepolis. A caviar gala is also on the itinerary.
Both tours start at about $11,000 per person, with several upgrades and optional excursions available. Plans to offer 21 trips next year—including one from Budapest to Champagne and Paris—are moving ahead at full steam. (goldeneagleluxurytrains.com)