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Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

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Life On Board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Author: Lauren Curd

Delightful vintage cabins, silver service fine dining with exceptional cuisine and tasteful on board entertainment make a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express one of the world’s finest travel experiences - a sequence of unforgettable moments aboard an iconic train.

You can choose to travel from London to Venice, from Venice to London or in both directions to and from Italy on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - just let us know what you would prefer and we will tailor your trip around your wishes. There are also several one-off departures to various other destinations throughout the year, transporting a fortunate few to some of Europe’s most fascinating cities, including Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Budapest.

A work of art in itself and a true Art Deco icon, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient Express train offers a luxury rail journey unlike any other. Step aboard and you enter a more gracious, elegant age of travel.  Romance, adventure and style are all intimately bound up in journeys and tours that criss-cross Europe, rolling through sublime scenery to some of the continent’s most alluring cities.

The History

A landmark moment in railway history, October 1883 saw the launch of the original Orient Express. Leaving from Paris, it steamed through the Alps, Budapest and Bucharest to Constantinople. Packed with grandees and unheard of luxuries such as soap by the washbasins, reports swiftly came back of its exquisite food, excellent wine and impeccable service. This legendary train continued to carry kings, celebrities and shady characters between great European cities up until its 1920s heyday. Many of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express's current carriages date from this era. After World War II other forms of transport nudged it into decline. Its last service as a regular passenger train was in May 1977.

Waiter walking down a corridor on the Venice Simplon Orient Express

On Board Experience

Travelling in private luxury cabins impeccably restored to their former glory, you are assured of a truly unique travel experience complemented by the very best personal service from your personal cabin steward. Room service is available 24/7. Each of the fourteen single cabins and eighty seven double cabins has an original washbasin cabinet with hot and cold water, and at night-time becomes a comfortable bedroom, complete with soft towels and crisp linen. Cabins convert in moments from daytime seating with a banquette sofa to a luxurious bedroom, all performed by cabin stewards whilst passengers enjoy a gourmet dinner in the restaurant car. Double Cabins feature an upper and lower bed configuration by night, whilst Cabin Suites feature the ultimate luxury of two inter-connecting cabins, with a private lounge area and separate sleeping cabin with upper and lower beds. Mosaic-tiled lavatories are available at the end of each carriage, luxuriously appointed and maintained to the highest standards by the on board stewards.

Cabin interior on the Venice Simplon Orient Express


Dining on board the Venice Simplon-Orient Express is an unforgettable delight. All dishes are freshly prepared on the train by skilled French chefs, with the finest supplies taken on board during the train's journey. Lunch, dinner and brunch are served by waiters in one of the three individually styled Restaurant Cars: Cote d’Azur, Etoile du Nord or L' Oriental. Breakfast and afternoon tea are served to passengers in the comfort of the train's luxury cabins. Table d'hôte meals are included in the fare, while an à la carte menu and 24-hour compartment service is available additionally. The Maitre D' will come to your cabin to take your lunch and dinner choices in advance of your meal.

Restaurant car on the Venice Simplon Orient Express

The Bar Car

Famous for its delicious cocktails and welcoming atmosphere the Bar Car is the heart of the train. It is truly a unique, intimate and stylish experience that resounds to the voices of royalty, heads of state and celebrities. Transformed and designed by Gerard Gallet from a dining car, the Bar Car is the ideal rendezvous to enjoy relaxed conversation before or after dinner, and to warm to the skills of the resident pianist. Dressing for the occasion is all part of the experience. The guide is that you can never be overdressed aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. But whilst you relax in the Bar Car ponder this question – which came first, the baby grand piano, or the carriage that surrounds it?

People having a drink in the bar on the Venice Simplon Orient Express

Sample Menu

The on board chefs will be delighted to cater for any specific dietary requirements, provided a detailed request is made at the time of booking. Take a look at the sample menu below for a taste of the culinary delights that passengers can experience during their journey (please note that menus are subject to change without notice)...

Steamed fresh salmon and spinach roulade, salmon tartar and eggplant pancake


Fillet of beef pickled with coarse salt, dill, juniper and coriander berries served raw, thinly sliced and roasted with a tangy red wine sauce

Buttered baby vegetables

Potato cake


Choice of fine cheeses


Cocoa wafers layered with white chocolate light custard

Summer fruit and spicy wine

Colombian coffee


The intimate on board boutique is located at the rear of the Lalique car. What better way to remember this memorable journey, than to enjoy a gift from the Collection Venice Simplon-Orient Express. These train-inspired home accessories include their original art nouveau brass table lamp and hand blown French crystal. Plus, classically fashioned ladies' and gentlemen’s accessories in luxury pure silk, cashmere and velvet are available for purchase on board. So whether you are choosing something for yourself, or selecting a gift for a friend, it will forever remain a beautiful memento of your journey.

Couple in their cabin on the Venice Simplon Orient Express

Dress Code

The recommended attire when travelling aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is smart/casual clothing during the day (jeans are not accepted) then formal wear in the evening. Most guests opt for black tie and evening dresses for dinner. You can never be overdressed when travelling on this train.

Venice Simplon Orient Express cabin converted at night with bed

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**

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