Following in the tradition of grand voyages of discovery, Orient-Express has launched its 2010 schedule of train journeys and cruises. Crossing borders and continents, the trains and cruises open up the heart of destinations from France to Myanmar offering unique experiences outlined in a new brochure and at

The world’s most famous train, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, continues to evoke the style of the Golden Age of Travel with beautifully restored 1920s and 1930s carriages and itineraries that are more exciting than ever. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the legendary train travelers imagine when they hear the evocative words “Orient-Express.”

Today the train still represents timeless elegance as it criss-crosses the frontiers of Europe from Paris and Venice to Prague, Krakow and Istanbul.  Very much alive and well, with all of its history and glamour intact and uninterrupted, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is not to be confused with an unrelated overnight train that ceased operation in December 2009.

In addition to its regular trips from Paris to Venice and back, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers a signature five-night journey to Istanbul (departing on August 27, 2010).  The route includes visits to Budapest and Bucharest before arriving in Istanbul, Europe’s “Capital of Culture for 2010.”  Also, a seven-night journey to Poland (departing from Venice on July 8th and ending in Krakow) will include a new two-night stopover in Dresden.

Another legend, The Royal Scotsman, brings to life the majesty of the Scottish Highlands in an intimate house party environment with just 36 guests on board.  2010 sees the introduction of the Grand Tour of Great Britain (departing on July 9th) when, for the first time, the train will venture out of Scotland through Wales and England on a seven-night exploration of Great Britain. The itinerary includes Inverness, Dundee, Chester, Llandudno, Portmeirion, Bath, Cambridge, York, Oxford and Alnwick.

A new addition to the Eastern & Oriental Express (E&O) schedule is the inaugural trip to Vientiane on February 23rd, when the train makes its first crossing over the newly built Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong River between Thailand and Laos.  The three-night itinerary includes excursions to the World Heritage Site at Phimai with its restored Khmer temples and to the Khao Yai wine region. Also offered aboard the E&O are year-round journeys from Singapore to Bangkok (and visa versa), as well as further north to Chiang Mai.

Following a complete refurbishment and August 2009 re-launch, the Road to Mandalay river cruiser once again reaches into the heart of Myanmar with a capacity of only 82 passengers. A range of itineraries along Myanmar’s main river artery gives passengers an in-depth insight into Burmese life with guided excursions to ancient pagodas and rural villages. Three-, four- and seven-night cruise itineraries between Bagan and Mandalay are a regular feature in the schedule, as well as three special voyages each year to Bhamo, the remote northern area of the country.  All itineraries can be combined with stays in Yangon, Inle Lake or Ngapali on the Indian Ocean.
Back in Europe, the five lavishly appointed Afloat in France barges ply the waterways and canals of France. Ranging in capacity from just four to 12 passengers, the staff-to-guest ratio of two-to-one ensures personalized service.  Delicious cuisine, using ingredients from local markets and wine producers, whets the taste buds for a floating gourmet experience.  Among the itineraries is the third-annual Grand Cru Cruise aboard the Amaryllis barge with a taste of the 33 Grands Crus and exclusive visits to private family-owned vineyards (departing from Dijon on July 18th).
For more information and/or a copy of the 2010 brochure, visit

Source: Geoffrey Weill Associates

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".