After nearly two years in the making, the Danube Express is now ready to welcome a new golden age of rail across Central Europe with its 2009 programs of fully escorted rail holidays and trips for independent travelers. The destinations will be as diverse as Dresden and Krakow, Transylvania and the Tatra Mountains, while journeys will range from three days to the line’s signature 11-day London to Istanbul holiday.
The Danube Express crosses through rural Germany on its path to Central Europe
“The Istanbul Odyssey” begins in London with a trip on the Eurostar to Brussels’ Midi station, where passengers will embark the Danube Express for a journey through the Ardennes and rural Germany, then stops in Carlsbad, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, where guests will spend three nights at the Hotel Astoria. They will then board the Danube Express for the trip to Istanbul, stopping for a day in Sofia. In Istanbul, they will spend three nights at the four-star Marmara Pera Hotel and tour the city before returning to London via British Airways.
Rates range from $6,700 per person for a Classic Two-Berth with wash basin to $8,800 per person for a Deluxe twin en suite with shower, bathroom, air conditioning and lower beds. The Istanbul Odyssey runs May 19, June 11 and September 6. Agents should call 01462 441400 or contact [email protected] for booking and more information.
Other itineraries include “The Bosphorous Voyager,” “The Transylvanian,” “The Bohemian Short Break,” “The Bohemian,” “The Central Explorer” and “The Polish Explorer.” Agents should visit www.danube-express.com for details and dates on those trips. Booking is now available for the start of official service in April 2009.
A classic compartment aboard the Danube Express
Each of the newly reconstructed Deluxe sleeping cars has just five spacious en suite compartments, where passengers can relax in privacy and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by. The Deluxe cars offer the best of both worlds. Retro-styling with wood-paneled walls and brass fittings evoke a bygone era, while the modern comforts make traveling easy and convenient. There to make passengers feel at home are a private en suite bathroom with shower and constant hot water, a wardrobe with plenty of storage, individual-control air conditioning and power sockets for recharging, along with important little touches such as a hair dryer, full-length mirror and personal safe.
The duo behind the train, Hertfordshire, UK-based rail entrepreneur Howard Trinder and his co-director Peter Hedderly, boast a combined experience of 45 years of operating rail journeys.
Says Trinder: “Having shed some considerable blood, sweat and tears during the creation of these beautiful Deluxe sleeping cars, my lifelong dream is about to become a reality. All the new cars have been tested and approved to speeds significantly above the train’s maximum.” Operating in Central Europe, Trinder adds, it made sense to build the new Deluxe cars in Hungary with partners MAV Nosztalgia, the heritage subsidiary of Hungarian National Railways, who will operate the train.
When not in service, the Danube Express is at the Hungarian Railway Museum, a must for all rail enthusiasts when visiting Budapest. For further details, call 0036 1 238 0558 or visit www.mavnosztalgia.hu.