The Orient Express, a luxurious train that has become an icon of European travel, will soon return to the rails after a long wait. The train, which has been out of service for over a decade, will begin offering trips in 2024. This article will explore the history of the Orient Express, what travelers can expect from the new service, and why this train has captured the imagination of people around the world.
History of the Orient Express
The Orient Express in 1883
The Orient Express was first launched in 1883 by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL), a Belgian company that specialized in luxury train travel. The train’s original route ran from Paris to Istanbul, passing through cities such as Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest along the way. The train’s name was a nod to the Orient, a term used in the 19th century to describe the lands of the East.
The Orient Express quickly became a symbol of luxury and sophistication, with its plush interiors, fine dining, and attentive service. Wealthy travelers, celebrities, and even royalty flocked to the train, eager to experience the glamour of this new mode of travel. The train’s reputation was enhanced by the many novels, films, and other media that featured it prominently, including Agatha Christie’s famous mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express.” (Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” while she was staying at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul)
However, the train’s fortunes began to decline after World War II, as air travel became more popular and affordable. The Orient Express made its last run in 2009, and the train was put up for sale. In 2017, French luxury hotel company AccorHotels acquired the Orient Express brand from SNCF, the French railway company, and announced plans to revive the train.
What to Expect from the New Service
The new Orient Express service will offer a variety of routes throughout Europe, including the classic Paris-Istanbul route as well as trips to destinations such as Venice, Vienna, and Budapest. The train will feature restored vintage carriages as well as new additions, all of which will be furnished in a style reminiscent of the original Orient Express.
Passengers can expect to enjoy the same high level of luxury and service that made the Orient Express famous. The train will feature fine dining, with meals prepared by top chefs using local ingredients. Passengers will also be able to relax in the train’s lounges, which will offer cocktails, wine, and other refreshments.
In addition to the train itself, the new Orient Express service will offer a variety of packages that include stays in luxury hotels and other experiences. For example, travelers can combine a trip on the Orient Express with a stay at the historic Cipriani hotel in Venice or a private tour of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.
Why the Orient Express Captures the Imagination?
The Orient Express has captured the imagination of people around the world for over a century, and its revival is eagerly anticipated by many. There are several reasons why this train has become such an icon of European travel.
Firstly, the Orient Express represents a bygone era of luxury and elegance that is increasingly hard to find in modern travel. The train’s plush interiors, fine dining, and attentive service hark back to a time when travel was considered an experience to be savored rather than endured.
Secondly, the Orient Express has a rich cultural and historical significance. The train passed through many countries that were part of the Ottoman Empire, and its name and design reflect the fascination that Europeans had with the “exotic” East. The train’s route also played a significant role in the history of Europe, as it connected the great capitals of the continent and facilitated trade and cultural exchange.
Finally, the Orient Express has a certain mystique that has been perpetuated by the many books, films, and other media that have featured it over the years. From Agatha Christie’s famous novel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “The Lady Vanishes,” the Orient Express has been the setting for countless stories of intrigue and adventure. Its name has become synonymous with glamour, romance, and a sense of adventure that is often lacking in modern travel.
The revival of the Orient Express in 2024 is an exciting development for anyone who loves luxury travel, history, and culture. The train’s rich heritage, combined with the modern amenities and experiences that will be offered, make it an enticing option for travelers who want to explore Europe in style. Whether you are a fan of classic literature and film, a history buff, or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, the new Orient Express service is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
- How much will tickets for the new Orient Express service cost? The exact cost of tickets has not been announced yet, but it is expected to be a premium service that will be priced accordingly.
- Will the new Orient Express service have any environmental initiatives? The new Orient Express service is expected to prioritize sustainable travel and will be working on reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible.
- How many people can the train accommodate? The number of passengers that the train can accommodate will depend on the specific route and train configuration, but the restored vintage carriages are expected to have a limited number of cabins and suites to maintain the luxurious experience.
- Will the new Orient Express service offer any special events or themed journeys? The new Orient Express service is expected to offer a variety of packages that include stays in luxury hotels and other experiences, such as private tours and cultural events.
- How long are the journeys on the new Orient Express service expected to be? The length of the journeys will depend on the specific route and itinerary, but passengers can expect to spend several days on board the train, with stops in various cities along the way.