Adventure-tour operator Wilderness Travel is offering the latest spin on luxury cruising and private travel with the launch of its newest product, Cruise by Rail, providing journeys across the less-explored areas of Eastern Europe, Iran, Russia, Asia and Italy.
This week, the company announced five itineraries aboard a private luxury train, the Golden Eagle, with prices ranging from $12,000 to $21,000 per person for the 12- to 16-day journeys. The train is operated by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains .
Much like a luxury cruise, the trips offer benefits such as an ever-changing view and multiple destinations without constant packing and unpacking. Unlike many cruises, however, they take you far off the beaten tourist path.
"These incredibly designed itineraries are a wonderful mix of history and culture and they take you to places where infrastructure is lacking, making them difficult to reach by other means," said Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel. "This is literally a rolling hotel room that opens up the doors to the East in ultimate luxury."
The Silk Road itinerary takes in the "Stans" of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Pictured here, Registan Square in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wilderness Travel
The cabins are small, ranging from 60 to 120 square feet, but include remote-controlled heating and air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, personal attendants and luxe extras such as bathrobes and slippers, DVD players and personal safes.
The public areas include restaurant cars and what is billed as the train's social hub, the Golden Eagle Bar Lounge Car, where different activities and lectures are held. The bar car also has a baby grand and a resident pianist. It stays open each night "until the last guest leaves," according to the train company's website.
The train can accommodate up to 100 guests.
Among the itineraries for 2017, are two 13-day trips in September and October that retrace the ancient Silk Road trading routes from Moscow through the "Stans" Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan exploring ancient and modern sites.
The company is also offering April and November Heart of Persia trips through Iran; an October Caspian Odyssey along the Caspian Sea through Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; May, June, July and August Trans-Siberian Express journeys through Moscow, the Ural Mountains, Mongolia and Lenin Square; and a September Sicilian Odyssey that starts at the top of Italy, passes through the toe of the "boot" and ends on Sicily.