Rail line to run New Orleans-Fla. trips next year

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- American Orient Express will expand its vintage rail service into Florida in 2000.

It plans to operate six-night Orange Blossom Explorer tours in each direction between New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale, with eight back-to-back departures between Jan. 3 and Feb. 21 (initially from New Orleans).

Rates will start at $1,990 per person, double, including sightseeing, all meals and Pullman accommodations and taxes. There will be a $300 discount per person for bookings made six months or more in advance. Not included are air fare, transfers at the beginning and end of the tour, tips, insurance and alcoholic drinks.

Agents will earn 10% on all tour sales, which can include luxury accommodations at, for example, $4,390 per person, double, for the presidential suite. The train will make stops at Tampa and Orlando, with excursions to the Salvador Dali Museum, in St. Petersburg; the Kennedy Space Center, near Titusville; St. Augustine; Winter Park and Church Street Station, in downtown Orlando, and Walt Disney World.

Prior to its first New Orleans departure, the train will be on a Washington-New Orleans millennium itinerary, Dec. 27 to 31.

American Orient Express

Phone: (888)759-3944

Groups: (630) 663-4550, Ext. 226

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