Take your place alongside a rollcall of famous names and look forward to a fully-escorted private rail tour in the company of the world’s leading operator of exclusive, long-distance rail services. Prepare to visit a roster of memorable destinations in comfort and style. Itineraries, including the iconic Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express are designed to take in some of the most culturally diverse destinations in the world while sacrificing nothing of the comfort, elegance and fine dining passengers expect. Golden Eagle now visit a number of Central Asian and Russian cities on a series of great rail journeys.
Alongside the classic Trans-Siberian Express service from Moscow to Vladivostock via the Urals, steppes and Lake Baikal, you can also travel across Mongolia to take in the Naadam Festival, hunt the Northern Lights in the Russian Arctic, uncover the secrets of the Silk Road, travel through the countries of the Caspian Sea and retrace the route of Golden Eagle’s first Russian tour on the Caucasian VI rail journey from Moscow down to the Caucasus and along the warm waters of the Black Seas Coast. For the first time, in 2018, Golden Eagle will also allow you to immerse yourself in the Alps on the Grand Alpine Express, a luxury private train journey through the stunning central region of Europe, taking in the classic capital cities of Budapest and Vienna, Italian Lake District and later Slovenia and beautiful Lake Bled before finishing in Venice. Or, experience the ultimate rail tour of Switzerland, travelling on board the luxurious Orient-Express-style Prestige Continental Express on its Swiss Rail Spectacular, through the vertiginous mountain landscape and lush alpine valleys.
A journey with Golden Eagle begins in suitably grand style. For instance, on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express service, when arriving at the station, you’ll be met for a champagne reception in the Imperial Waiting Room. As the excitement builds, a car attendant will escort you to the platform where a brass band will mark your arrival and play as you step on board the train for the first time. Climbing up the steps you’ll ascend to a rarefied form of rail travel.
Golden Eagle is the flagship locomotive and as such offers matchless luxury on its services. Head to your cabin to settle in. Then stroll to the Peter the Great Lounge and Bar Car to meet the other passengers. Toast your departure with champagne while a pianist plays Tchaikovsky and Chopin on a baby grand. An expert tour manager will then explain the comprehensive off-train excursions available when you pause at a platform, whether that’s in a vibrant city or far from anywhere at all. When you’re feeling hungry file to the beautifully decorated restaurant cars and secure a table, taking note of the white linen, glasses decorated with filigree and opulent touches that hint at the extravagance ahead.
The ‘White’ dining car is decked out in shades of cream and white, with gold highlights, mirrors and intricate carvings, while the ‘Gold’ car shines with well-polished wood and buffed brass reflecting the elaborate lighting. Let the maître d’ talk you through the evening’s culinary journey, sample some caviar and await the delicacies and Russian regional flavours to arrive from the kitchen.
After a gourmet feast, head back to the ornate bar car to swap stories or reminisce about your adventures. There’s no ‘Last Call’ so you can continue talking or playing cards late into the night. When you do retire to your cabin, it will have been discretely converted from a sitting area to a sleeping berth. Climb the ladder to the top bunk or snuggle down under luxury linens on the lower berth, unless you’re travelling in an Imperial Suite, when you’ll have a king size bed to fall asleep in, soothed by the sonorous rattle of the bogies below you as they rumble over the rails.
The cabins on board the Golden Eagle are well-appointed and luxurious, at least as far as great rail bedrooms go. There’s nothing quite like them on any service operating in this part of the world and you’ll find travelling in your room with an ever-changing view a unique experience.
Golden Eagle’s Imperial Suites are the most luxurious and spacious cabins onboard the train and among the largest on any great rail service. As well as a private en suite bathroom with the luxury of underfloor heating, you’ll enjoy a luxurious king size double bed as well as a separate private lounge area. There’s a complimentary, fully-stocked minibar to raid when you’re feeling thirsty or peckish. You’ll also be gifted a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne when you board the train, so can sit back and toast your adventure as you pull away from the platform. Alternatively, take advantage of the complimentary drinks from the Premium list in the bar car. There is a dedicated cabin assistant to anticipate guests every need. As well as the restaurant car, Imperial guests can dine in their cabin. Imperial Suite guests also get a private guide and car service in many of the places the train stops along its route, making exploring and off-train excursions much easier to undertake.
Silver and Gold Suites are more compact, although still good-sized and well-proportioned. Guests in Gold Class benefit from a private bathroom with separate power shower and underfloor heating; the sofa here converts into a standard double lower bed and single upper bed. Gold guests can choose from the Standard drinks list in the bar car. Silver Suites are the most bijou and are restricted to a private en suite wet room with shower. The configuration of these cabins allows for the sofa to switch to a small double lower bed and a single upper berth.
Golden Eagle: Trans-Siberian Express
15 days from £13,895 pp incl. flights
This legendary great rail journey across Russia takes just over two leisurely weeks with a night each in the start and end cities and a dozen nights on board the luxurious Golden Eagle.
Golden Eagle: Trans-Mongolian Express
13 days from £14,070 pp incl. flights
Following the route of the traditional Trans-Siberian Express, the equally epic Trans-Mongolian Express crosses Russia from Moscow in the east, through the Urals and across the steppe, via the sublime Lake Baikal to enter Mongolia.