All Aboard The Orient Express to Venice-Paris and onto London!
May 13 – 19, 2024 Small group.
Price listed below the daily itinerary
Come join us as we relive a bygone era in the Golden Age of Travel. Luxury travel is synonymous with glamour, sophistication and impeccable service. You’ll get this and more on the world’s most famous train on our new AFS journey between Europe’s most romantic cities. There’s no finer way to indulge yourself then on the Belmond Venice Orient Express (VCOE), and it’s the first time the VCOE allows small groups aboard.
“You’d think that Agatha Christie’s 1934 mystery novel “ Murder on the Orient Express“, would create a bleak reputation for their train. Instead, the success of the book and movie had the opposite affect. Now the VCOE is the most famous sleeper train in the world and most desired ride for train enthusiasts. And it’s all thanks to the queen of mystery novels and the dedication from Belmond, the company that operates the Orient Express to make it as luxurious as possible.” …says Morgane Coissant of Train Travel.
You may have visited Venice, Paris and London before, but not in such a grand style. We begin in glorious Venice that floats dreamlike to explore its hidden wonders. Then arrive in Paris, City of Love, for a guided tour from the Eiffel Tower to the best sites. Later, we embark on the cool Eurostar via the Chunnel Tunnel underwater to regal London to tour all the iconic landmarks. You’ll enjoy these capital cities combined with views of majestic landscapes along the way.
|How it began? Fascinating, but in a nutshell: In 1860, the age of rail travel was born. But most railroads in Europe were dirty and worn. Then George Pullman took a rail trip in America and returned to improve travel by creating the Pullman cars to offer a luxurious hotel-like train. The first run on the elegant rail ran in 1883 from Paris to Istanbul and the VSOE was born!|
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s expensive. (Many guests choose only 2 days with 1 night starting from $4699.) We worked hard to get you the best cities with the best price for 6 days with an overnight on the original Orient Express. Understand that this is all about the experience! Let your Butler help settle you in your historic carriage suite. At dinner, it’s black tie formal. Indulge in the High Tea and gourmet cuisines. Chef Jean Imbert designed the finest menus with the freshest produce. Then enjoy the resident pianist in the bar car with aperitif and the most creative cocktails. At midnight, it’s time for lobster rolls with champagne. Sleep well in your luxury linens and then awake to your breakfast in bed.
You don’t have to be a millionaire, just feel like one. This vacation experience is for discerning travelers who want a taste of refinement with photographic ‘bragging rights’ forever. Space is limited. We hold only 11 cabins on a first come basis. Just once in your lifetime, live it. You deserve to be spoiled with pure indulgence once in your life, because you deserve it!
A work of art in itself and a true Art Deco icon, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is one of the world’s most famous luxury trains. Step aboard and experience truly elegant travel wrapped in timeless romance. Adventure and style are all intimately bound in journeys that crisscross Europe, rolling through sublime scenery to some of the continent’s most alluring cities. Delightful vintage cabins, gastronomic cuisine and lively onboard entertainment make a journey on this luxury train one of the world’s finest travel experiences. Life on board is elegant and indulgent. Dress to impress and head to one of the three restaurant cars for a sophisticated dinner. Mingle with like-minded travelers as a live pianist sets the scene in the Bar Car.
Our Carriage Suite – Sofa during the day, upper & lower beds at night with plush linens, wash basin, towels & designer toiletries included, dressing gown & slippers for each guest in cabin, individually controlled heating, bottled water, stationery set & magazine, continental breakfast & afternoon tea served in cabin 24-hour steward service, call button in cabin
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
Click here for the Trip Tips
Click for a printable PDF itinerary.
May 13 – Fly USA to Venice. (Air details and more in trip tips. We suggest that you go in a day early for more time to explore Venice on your own.)
May 14 – Welcome to Italia! City Tour
Visiting Venice is like stepping into a fairytale. This enchanting city, floating on a lagoon, is a true masterpiece of art and architecture. As you navigate the beautiful canals on gondolas or stroll along the narrow winding streets, you’ll be captivated by the timeless beauty that surrounds you. Lose yourself in the maze-like alleys, discover hidden gems of quaint cafés and local artisan shops and indulgent delectable Italian cuisine. It’s a dream destination that promises on unforgettable experience for every traveler.
Arrive at Venice Marco Polo airport and transfer to the hotel (one common transfer for group based on flight arrivals times) Or use the hotel shuttle. We chose the Courtyard for location, just 1 km from airport to hotel and convenient access to the Guggenheim Museum or water taxis to the top sites in Venice proper. Spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi, fitness center.
Walking tour 1 PM– Many of you have been to dreamy Venice before, but who wouldn’t want to return! This afternoon, we head out early to maximize our time for tours. We transfer to Cannaregio station to board a boat into Venice proper. Our guided tour begins with Whisper Quiet Headphois a in the legendary St Marks Square. On our guided walking tour, we view the famous Basilica, Doges Palace and Bridge of Sighs. Then we venture into the back alleyways for some authenticity that few tourists have yet to discover – Church of Madonna, Jewish Ghetto, the House of Tintoretto, Venetian Squero or gondola boat yard where gondolas are made and more. At 5 PM, will give you free time – to refuel on cappuccino and explore on your own. You may get a ticket for a gondola ride or entrance into Doges Palace if time permits.
Overnight: Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Venice
May 15 – All Aboard the Orient Express!
After hotel breakfast and check out, feel the thrill of anticipation at Santa Lucia Station as your journey begins. We are transferred to the station at 9:30 AM to the OVSE office for check in, a full briefing with champagne and a booklet on the history of the train. Get plenty of photos outside before your chief steward and butler’s assist you with boarding and helping you get comfortable in your cabin. Departure 11:30 AM!
After you’re settled in, meet the maitre’d who will arrange your meal times. Prepare to eat a lot. Start with a gourmet three-course brunch in the beautifully restored dining car. Through the windows, view the changing scenery enroute from the majestic Alps of Italy’s Dolomite range and later the Alps of Innsbruck Austria along the spectacular Arbery route! After exploring the train and a rest, it’s time for the elegant high tea.
Dinner time is a grand affair! Begin with aperitifs. One can never be overdressed. It’s formal black tie tonight for you to truly relive the Golden Age of Travel. See ladies in long gowns and men in tuxedos. (Now days, cocktail dress/suit and tie is allowed. Please respect the no jeans or sneakers on the train.) The chef will introduce the menus of culinary delights and wine pairings, all with impeccable service.
Unplug. There’s free Wi-Fi on the train but dinner time is a social affair to converse and get to know your fellow travelers. Retire then to the bar car for piano music with champagne. Later this evening, invitation will be sent to your cabin for a midnight buffet with lobster canapes and drinks. Sleep in peace as the train gently rolls along the tracks.
Overnight: Orient Express with meals
May 16 – Orient Express to Paris
Wake up for a full French breakfast in the 1920s dining car or enjoy it in bed as you prefer. Prepare your belongings to disembark at the station for your journey onwards. We arrive Paris at 9 AM.
Visiting Paris is a must for anyone seeking a perfect blend of history, culture and sophistication. Known as the “city of love”, this is home to countless iconic landmarks. The city’s charm lies and its elegant boulevards, picturesque bridges and charming neighborhoods like more Montmartre and Le Marais. As you stroll along the Seine River, you’ll be surrounded by stunning architecture, world-class art galleries, and exquisite French cuisine. From savoring croissants at a cozy café to exploring the bohemian art scene, Parris offers so many experiences. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a fashion lover or a foodie, it will leave you spellbound and longing to return. This capital city will be fully alive for you with events as they prepare to host the Summer Olympics in July 2024 and we’ll be there to beat the masses.
This morning we transfer to our hotel to settle in the Mercure in the 17th Arrondissement is an AFS favorite for its location right near the lively Batignolles District and Pont Cardine train station that can whisk you anywhere in the city. Great bar and restaurant. Many rooms feature a balcony with cool views of the rooftops of Paris.
In the late afternoon/evening, we will proceed to enjoy a tour of the Eiffel Tower! Viewing the “Iron Lady” at night is breathtaking with twinkling lights. Learn about the Tower’s history and enjoy viewing platforms of panoramic Paris by night. (2 nights)
Overnight at Hotel Mercure Paris 17 Batignolles
May 17 – Paris City Tour & Dinner Cruise
This morning enjoy breakfast buffet. Today we embark on a guided city tour of Paris along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, the Latin Quarter and lively opera district. Later stop at Notre Dame Cathedral to view the iconic landmark, and continue to view other top sites. Your afternoon is free to explore more fabulous sites like the popular Montmart area, the famous Louvre museum or world class shopping.
This evening we enjoy a Dinner Cruise on the Seine River through the heart of the city. It is magical to discover Paris by night on an enchanting cruise with lights illuminating the city. Enjoy informative commentary with an à la carte dinner to live music. It’s a delight that will leave you with cherished memories of the City of Lights.
The transfer to hotel.
Overnight at Hotel Mercure Paris 17 Batignolles (2 nights) B,D
May 18 – Eurostar & Tour of Royal London
London is a world-class city with endless things to see. A city that motivates and inspires. There’s unlimited opportunities to play both day and night – whether in the renowned museums, galleries, historic sites, cutting-edge fashion shopping and a thrilling nightlife, London always amazes visitors.
After breakfast we transfer to Victoria Station to board the fabulous Eurostar train for London. It’s a wonderful experience to train the Chunnel Tunnel underwater for 31 miles. Our past groups loved it…Welcome to Regal London in the UK!
Arrive to London and check-in the Park Place Victoria Hotel offers a range of amenities with modern spacious rooms, a restaurant, bar and fitness room. Located in the popular West End, it’s in the heart of everything; near Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park. It’s also next to Victoria Train Station with rail service to all cities in England and Gatwick Airport, which makes it ideal for tourists.
Today we explore London, starting with a visit to the Tower of London Museum – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a powerful symbol of the Monarchy. Here we see St Edward’s Crown, The Imperial State Crown, and Koh-I-Noor Diamond- which adorns the front of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Crown.
Later we see Tower Bridge – Victorian Gothic style two-tower suspension bridge on River Thames, Piccadilly Circus – a busy square in the heart
of London, also known as Times Square of London, Westminster Abbey – a place of worship, celebration, ceremony and a coronation Church since 1066, Big Ben – Iconic clock tower famous for its accuracy and the massive bell, Trafalgar Square – most attractive public square in the city of Westminster, Houses of Parliament and the Guard at Buckingham Palace – a formal precisely choreographed musical ceremony where old guards are relieved by the new guards, and Hyde Park – a huge Royal Park stretching from Kensington palace to Buckingham Palace famous for its speaker corner for free speech and demonstration and more.
Return back to hotel. In the evening, London never sleeps, especially near us in the West End. You can book a theater play or dine in Soho. Some may want to ride the London Eye by night, do a dinner river cruise or the fun Jack the Ripper mystery tour.
Overnight at Hotel Park Plaza Victoria
Bon voyage to our extravagant European adventure. Transfer to Airport for our flights home. Some may choose to augment their trip with pre-and-post extensions to other cities.
Deposit: $1000 (Note $600 non-refundable per VCOE train terms.)
Land price: $6795 per person twin accommodation based on 20 trip participants. Plus $95 gratuities to be added later.
(This VCOE is a high-end experience with prices averaging elsewhere 9k to 11k for a 6-day tour. One night on the train runs starts from £4000. By using four-star hotels, we help you save on cost. Please note that less people in the group raises the price – 15 participants $7795 pp.) A single supplement is an additional $4798. Final payment due Feb 5
Not Included – Air from USA, from USA into Venice and out of Paris, gratuities on the Orient Express train.
Itineraries are prepared up to a year ahead and things can change. Modifications may be made. All rooms are run of house.
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