The most famous “World’s Top 25 Train®” has much to celebrate .
Booking doors just swung open for rare spots on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express’ annual Istanbul extravaganzas — for 2016. (2015 sold out long ago.)
Space already is dwindling, due to heavy sales to wait-listed clients (some have been in line for 2 years or more). Cabin suites remain for the Paris-Istanbul journey; both classes of service for Istanbul-Venice. Email IRT or call (800) 478-4881 or (502) 897-1725 for more info. To book, click here.
Meanwhile, the VSOE makes its first trip to Berlin next year via Venice, and London / Paris. Dates are June 1-6, 2016. Also in 2016: transfers to/from the VSOE in Venice will be included in the fare.
And this season, guests traveling south from London to Venice can enjoy something brand new: a celebratory champagne breakfast in the train’s “Côte d’Azur’ restaurant car. The diner, with its striking, Art Deco Lalique crystal nudes, features a 20-seat “Champagne Bar” in the corner of the car. Hours are 8-10 a.m.
The breakfast hour is timed to take advantage of the optimum scenery of the Swiss lake region, according to Valerie Ottofaro, Director of Sales, Trains & River Cruises.
Among “Simplon Suite” benefits are private transfers to/from appropriate stations and priority reservations for the aforementioned Champagne Breakfast spots. They’ll also receive a “luxury amenity” and “free-flowing champagne” in their private quarters. Price is £250 (about $370) per person.
Most intriguing to this VSOE fan is the Champagne Breakfast. The menu, designed by VSOE head chef Christian Bodiguel, includes a luxurious and mouth-watering selection of freshly baked breads, smoked salmon, eggs, truffles and caviar. Guests can book the special breakfast with the cabin steward once on board. Cost is 100 Euros (about $110) per person.
In the evening, the Champagne Bar offers many champagne varieties, sold either by the glass or the bottle, with champagne cocktails, some bespoke.
“The brand-new bar will add to the sense of occasion and give guests more of an excuse to celebrate aboard the world’s most famous train,” said Ms. Ottofaro.
Speaking of the 2016 Berlin itinerary, Ms. Ottofaro said: “Timings are subject to railway confirmation. Arrival in Berlin will be be approximately 6:30 p.m. Berlin departure is estimated to be 11 a.m.
“Our tour manager, Simon Wallace, is currently working on inclusive package experiences in support of this new destination,” Ms. Ottofaro added.