Back when air travel was still uncommon even for the wealthy, travellers used to go around in style via trains and ships.
Best Lux Trains & Cruises
Back when air travel was still uncommon even for the wealthy, travellers used to go around in style via trains and ships. Now that the vast majority have mastered the art of flight, there comes a certain je ne sais quoi in rails and sea excursions. It could indeed be the definition of ‘leisurely pursuits’; to do away with time constraints and immerse in the means that ruled supreme during simpler times. Experience the world the old-fashioned way as we present to you the best and most luxurious trains and cruise experiences. All aboard!
THE SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
( S O U T H E R N A F R I C A )
A great Safari experience doesn’t necessarily translate to roughing it in a tent. Journey through South Africa in style aboard the Shongololo Express and experience the region’s rich culture in all its glory. The luxury train’s 16 coaches were recently refurbished with splendid interiors and opulent furniture to ensure all its 72 guests’ comfort. Its spacious Gold and Emerald suites offer double beds or twin beds and feature a lounge area and en-suite bathrooms with showers, a luxurious necessity onboard a train. Dinner at the dining car every evening is a social event to look forward to, combined with authentic African cuisine. An observation car allows guests to relax, read a book, or simply soak in the awe-inspiring vistas as the train rolls through the vast countryside. Tours span from 12 to 15 days, passing through Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and the kingdom of Swaziland. Beginning from Cape Town, the Shongololo Express will take you to different wildlife sanctuaries such as the Etosha National Park in Namibia, the Hluhluwe Wildlife reserve, and the Augrabies National Park; diamond mines in Kimberley and Kolmanskop, and other historical sights that you just can’t miss in South Africa. www.shongololo.com
V E N I C E S I M P L O N – ORIENT-EXPRESS
Cellular phones and selfies seem out of place in this train’s old-world glamour, but we’re taking photos nonetheless. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express transports its guests decades back to the golden age of train travel while taking you to the romantic cities of Europe. The original sleeping cars of the 20’s and 30’s are part of the train, along with three dining cars and a lavish bar with a baby grand piano. Polished wood, antique trinkets, and elegant curtains add a ritzy vibe to the carriages. There are single or twin cabins, or a luxury suite for guests to choose from. The combination of design and innovation is impeccable: a washbasin comes out of a wood cabinet and plush sofas are transformed into berth beds. Three Grand Suites – Venice, Paris, and Istanbul – will make their debut in March next year with double beds, ensuite bathrooms, and a living area. Dinner is a dress-up event, so ladies, don’t forget your dinner gowns and gentlemen your tuxedos. The champagne bar carries vintage champagnes served in Lalique glasses, while culinary master Executive Chef Christian Bodiquel conjures the most delectable European and international cuisine. www.belmond.com/trains
Including: Presidential Train (Portugal), Belmond Andean Explorer (Peru), Silver Muse, Crystal Esprit, Crystal Symphony, Seven Sea Explorer, MS Europa II, Eye of the Wind, Sea Cloud, S.S. Joie De Vivre, Golden Eagle Danube Express & Genting Dreams.
© This article was first published in Dec-Jan 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.