Tag Archives: Russia

Golden Eagle Grabs for Gusto: in Russia, Sicily, Athens, USA

28 Oct
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Natasha Baker, Sales and Marketing Director for Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, left, with Eleanor Flagler Hardy, President of the Society of International Railway Travelers.®

It’s a journey of immense proportions: St. Petersburg to Moscow and on to the Pacific Ocean.

In 26 days, you’ll traverse Russia’s river and rail networks on board the luxurious MS Volga Dream and Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

Natasha Baker, Golden Eagle Sales and Marketing Director, broke the news of this exciting trip — and much more — today at our office during a whirlwind U.S. visit.

“It’s the perfect way to see Russia in its entirety,” Ms. Baker said. The Grand Tour of Russia runs July 12 – Aug. 6, 2017.

Beginning in St. Petersburg, the MS Volga Dream takes in some truly incredible scenery as it ventures towards Moscow.

Following three days in the ancient Russian capital, guests board the Golden Eagle for its epic, 5,772-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean.

For details on this landmark tour — it runs just once next year — click here.

Meanwhile, Ms. Baker had more to share for 2017:

  • The Golden Eagle Danube Express, operating from its home base in Budapest — will offer new “superior deluxe cabins” — four to a car — each with a double bed.
  • New GE Danube Express trips next year include Budapest-Athens and Venice-Sicily.

The Sicily trip offers different routes within Italy. Travelers new to Italy should opt for the north-bound tour, she says. Repeat visitors would prefer the south-bound route.

Finally, Ms. Baker honored us with this scoop:

Golden Eagle plans to run two trans-continental luxury rail trips in the U.S. in 2018 — one of which spends two nights in our home town of Louisville, KY! (Those visiting our fair city should be ready for Society of IRT festivities!)

The big 2019 news concerns the 150th anniversary of the Trans-Continental Railway in the U.S. We’ll let Ms. Baker make the announcement in the video below.

(Hint: It has to do with steam.)

(Actually, Ms. Baker said “centenary” in the video. “I really do apologize,” she said later. “I was getting mixed up with 100th year anniversary of the Trans-Siberian this year!”)

No big deal. It’s still great news!

For more information on any of the above, call us at (800) 478-4881 or (502) 897-1725. Email us at tourdesk@irtsociety.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silk Road Snapshot

22 Apr

The oasis of Crescent Lake at Dunhuang, China.

Spanning five countries – China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia – on two trains – the first class Shangri-La Express and the luxury Golden Eagle – the Silk Road is for many of our travelers the most adventurous and best-loved “journey of a lifetime.”ShLaExpr1955

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IRT traveler David Minnerly enjoying the Golden Eagle’s dining car. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy.

We spoke with Society of International Railway Travelers President Eleanor Hardy about her recollections from her 2013 Silk Road adventure.

The Shangri-La Express: “Hands-down the best train in China – but we do not consider this a luxury train! The food, service, and entire experience was considerably upgraded since the last time we’d experienced it. And there is no better way to see these out-of-the-way destinations.”

The Golden Eagle: “The Imperial Suites – two to a train – are worthy of their name. Staff is exceedingly accommodating, friendly, and some are bilingual.”

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One of two Imperial Suites on the Golden Eagle. Bonus: these spacious accommodations also include private English-speaking guide. Photo by Golden Eagle.

 

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Family picnics on the shores of Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy.

  • BEIJING: “The sprawling Summer Palace grounds are populated by friendly picnicking Beijingese families — large clusters of grownups surrounding one or two “Little Emperors” or “Empresses.” This is a major tourist attraction that still maintains a distinctly local flavor.”

    The Mogoa Thousand Buddha Complex. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy.

  • DUNHUANG: “The Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex is a must-see. The wildly colorful frescoes and massive statuary are visually stunning — and are important reminders of the vital role the Silk Road trade route played in spreading culture and religion in addition to fine cloth and spices.”
  • SAMARKAND: “You have to visit Registan Square at least twice – once by day and once again by night. The blues in the architecture here are magnificent, and the way the Square lights up at night is spectacular!”

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    IRT travelers in front of the “Genghis Hole” of Merv. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy.

  • MERV: “Unbelievably well-preserved evidence of 12th century warfare: huge holes in the sides of the castle where Genghis Khan directed his catapults. Close by, the house where the king’s daughters jumped to their deaths to escape the approaching horde.”

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    Textiles in the markets of Khiva. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy.

  • KHIVA: “Stunning madrasas, minarets, and bazaars. The markets here made for excellent shopping: richly embroidered textiles, colorful pottery, and ornate jewelry were plentiful.”
  • MOSCOW: “Tours of the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil’s were thrilling – but we all agreed that our night at the Bolshoi Ballet was THE experience we would always remember from Moscow.”

2016 Dates: Sept. 19-Oct. 10 (Moscow-Beijing), Sept. 23-Oct. 13 (Beijing-Moscow)
2017 Dates: Sept. 22-Oct. 13 (Moscow-Beijing), Sept. 26-Oct. 16 (Beijing-Moscow)

Interested in joining one of our Silk Road departures? Space fills up early and quickly for this twice-a-year journey. Call us: (800) 478-4881 or (502) 897-1725. Email us: tourdesk@irtsociety.com Or vist our web site: http://www.irtsociety.com

Opera & Ballet Deluxe Rail Tours in Russia/Ukraine; Mongolia

17 Dec

We were thrilled to welcome Iain Dacre and Georgina Sprunt of GW Travel in Manchester, England, to the Society of IRT  this week. GW operates deluxe railway journeys in Russia, China and India on four of our World’s Top 25 Trains: Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian, Shangri-La Express, Deccan Odyssey and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. We hosted them at one of our great locally owned restaurants, and learned what’s new for next year and 2012:

Holding IRT's recently presented Magellan Awards are, from left: Angela Walker, VP-Operations, IRT; Owen Hardy, CEO/Publisher, IRT; Eleanor Hardy, President, IRT; Georgina Sprunt, Sales Manager, N. America, GW; Iain Dacre, Managing Director, GW.

Opera & Ballet Deluxe Train Tour: Since Owen and I are big-time opera fans, this “Dr. Zhivago-style” winter-wonderland tour through Russia and the Ukraine really appeals. So many times, we travel to places when the opera is not in season, a huge disappointment. Instead, book now for a deluxe hotel-on-wheels adventure combining opera and ballet tickets (including entrance to the Bolshoi and Mariinksy Theatres) with all meals, all gratuities, all transfers, all hotels needed. Imagine trying to do this on your own; with this program, all you do is show up and enjoy!

Pricing: It had to happen. Prices for most GW tours will going up by as much as 15%, with the first increases coming in the next few months. So book now to guarantee your price for 2011 and 2012.  Does your “bucket list” include the Trans-Siberian Express, the Trans-Mongolian (see below), the Silk Road, Tibet, China or India? If so, you’d be wise to call us now. (800-478-4881 in the U.S.; 502-454-0277 elsewhere). Or email: tourdesk@irtsociety.com.  About pricing: remember all GW trips include all arrival/departure transfers, all gratuities, all meals, all drinks with lunch and dinner. This makes their trips a true vacation: you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Trans-Mongolian: If you enjoyed the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok, consider the new Trans-Mongolian itinerary: Beijing-Ulaan Baatar-Moscow. This one’s going on our bucket list. (Well, OK, in addition to the opera/ballet tour.)

So let us know what you think about these itineraries. Is opera  your thing? What about the Trans-Mongolian?

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