Venice Simplon Orient Express

Old Jun 18th, 2008, 10:24 PM
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Venice Simplon Orient Express

I've been debating whether to take this train from London to Venice.

Obviously, it is very expensive, (just under USD 3000 for 2 days).

The only review I am able to find is on trip advisor and the review is dismal. The review leads one to believe that there was total chaos crossing the English Channel, carriages are small and the food was mediocre.

I have travelled on Peru Rails luxury trains (these are operated by the same comapny) and I was not impressed.

Could fodorites who have travelled on the train London - Paris - Venice please comment.


SISer is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 12:26 AM
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Please clarify - do you want just to travel from London to Venice by train along the route, or do you wnat to take this special luxury train?
altamiro is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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SlSer - We took the VSOE several years ago (so I don't know how much this will help you, but will give you our experience). We went from Venice - Paris - London.

Thought it was one of the best, most romantic trips we've taken. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Accommodations were first rate, excellent staff (very attentive but not obstrusive), and fabulous food - well prepared, many choices [my breakfast of shirred eggs topped with scottish smoked salmon and cavier was superb]. Ambiance was vintage 1920s. One ex. - We thought having drinks in the lounge car, listening to the music played on the grand piano while traveling through the Alps was hard to beat. Seemed like a time warp to wake up while we stopped in Paris to the smell of the staff loading fresh baked goods and fruits from carts in the station.

As for the Crossing: We were late getting to the English Channel and missed the scheduled ferry. But were put on one within 2 hrs and had a very pleasant crossing - no chaos, no confusion. Very enjoyable.

Don't understand "carriages are small". Our Pullman from Venice to the Channel was classic Voiture Lits from the '20s with two beds folding from the wall (which was incredible with its inlaid wood, and Lalique lamps). The bedrooms are not large; but true to the period. The Pullman from the Channel to London was also vintage English '20s with wing chairs that make 1st Class airline seats look inadequate by comparison. The afternoon tea was impecable.

For us, the experience was one where getting there was more than half the fun - it WAS the highlight.

Obviously, we can't speak for everyone's experience. But overall, we thought it was very classy, thoroughly enjoyable and unique experience - and worth every penny.

Hope this helps.

dfr4848 is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I am thinking of taking the luxury train from London to Venice.

I'm sorry when I wrote the carriages were small, I meant to write the compartments were small.
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Old Jun 19th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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We took it in both directions. We agreed that it was just an expensive train ride, noisy and uncomfortable at night. We would not recommend it unless one wanted to be frivolous and hope that some interesting characters would be on the train. We were the only two that dressed the part. It was a dull ride, both ways.
Thomas is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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The Orient-Express is an ultimate luxury experience in restored vintage cars. People get dressed up for dinner; the saying is, "you can't overdress on the Orient-Express." The compartments are not huge, but you can book a double compartment that gives you a sitting area.

Also, you should know that while there is a sink and bathroom in the compartment, there is no shower. This is in the spirit of restoring the cars as they were originally. You will never spend two consecutive nights on the train for this reason. Every other night (at least) will be spent in a luxury hotel in some city along the way.

Don't know the exact itinerary for London-Venice, but this should be a fabulous experience -- if experience the luxury and glories of yesteryear is what you want.
travelhorizons is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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<every other night ... will be spent in a luxury hotel in some city along the way>

Just a clarification - that's true only if you select some of the multi-city tours they sometimes offer. You can still just travel between Venice and London with 1 night on the train which includes no other plans, hotels, etc. at either end. Train usually leaves Venice around 11:15 and arrives next afternoon in London around 17:30 via Innsbruck and Paris (as I recall) - roughly same schedule the other way.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I know there are no showers on board, I thought your comparment had a sink and there's a shared bathroom in each carriage.

Anyway, I'm still debating. I am not sure if I want to spend a day and a half sitting on the train. I am looking at travelling from London to Venice, I so not have time to stop in Paris or Innsbruck.

It would be nice if the train made stops for passengers to disemabark, and see a few things and then reboard.

I have been on some luxury train journeys where you have a enstop to look forward to, that's not the case with the VSOE.

I will be travelling solo, so it is possible that I'll be bored on the train journey.

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