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Credit: Rovos Rail/Belmond

Step back in time to the golden age of travel with a cruise and rail holiday

Author: Sophie Chichester

Published on:

Cruise and rail holidays bring together two much-loved getaway types. Travellers can sail on the finest ships and ride the world's most celebrated trains all in one package holiday.

ROL Cruise, the UK's No.1 Independent Cruise Specialist, offers a wide array of cruise and rail holidays.

This method of travelling sees jet setters combining memorable cruises with iconic train journeys, ensuring full exploration of your destination via both land and sea.

Globetrotters can savour the romance of rail travel as they admire stunning scenery and fascinating sights from the plush comfort of their train carriage.

You might even feel as though you've travelled back in time as you journey on such railways as the famous Oriental Express and experience the elegance of a bygone era.

ROL Cruise sells exclusive cruise and rail packages handpicked for their customers featuring the very best service and cuisine.

From Rocky Mountaineer to the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, these are some of the best luxury trains you can travel with. Which will you pick?

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Globetrotters can savour the romance of rail travel as they admire stunning scenery. Credit: Belmond

Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury Canadian rail-tour company in Western Canada that travels through British Columbia and Alberta on three different routes.

An all-daylight train, passengers don't sleep onboard, instead staying in beautiful hotels at each destination.

One jaw-dropping feature of Rocky Mountaineer trains is the glass dome coaches. These custom-designed coaches provide travellers with panoramic views. Alternatively, step into the outdoor viewing area to get up close and personal with the great outdoors.

Cuisine on this train is delicious and regionally inspired, featuring local ingredients and flavours.

Hosts dedicated to making the onboard experience memorable travel with passengers, helping out with special requests and sharing stories to make sure you get the most from your travels.

Rocky Mountaineer offers two levels of service: SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. Both come with friendly Hosts, gourmet breakfasts and lunches and endlessly amazing views.

Get on board: 16-night The 2022 Alaska & Calgary Stampede Promotion from £4,999pp

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Rocky Mountaineer travels through British Columbia in Canada. Credit: Shutterstock

Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail offers a series of bespoke train journeys across South Africa lasting from 48 hours to 15 days, linking some of the continent’s greatest destinations with a variety of off-train excursions.

Expect vintage wood-panelled coaches, discreet and friendly service, top cuisine and a selection of South Africa’s finest wines.

The trains carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites and are also available for charter. Each boasts accommodation carriages, dining cars, a lounge car, a small gift shop, a smoking lounge and an observation car with an open-air balcony. Don't except radios or televisions, though - Rovos Rail is keen to maintain the spirit of a bygone era.

There are three types of suites available offering double or twin beds plus en-suites with a shower, toilet, basin and bath (Royal only), tea facilities, safes, air conditioning and linen and amenities serviced daily.

Days onboard are smart casual while evening attire is more formal. As for cuisine, there’s an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes are a speciality.

Get on board: 26-night The 5 Star All-Inclusive Festive South African Adventure from £8,399pp

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Rovos Rail: Expect vintage wood-panelled coaches, discreet and friendly service. Credit: Rovos Rail

Eastern & Oriental Express

Eastern & Oriental Express operates in Singapore, Malaysia & Thailand.

Guests on this luxury train can step into a world of classic glamour, relaxing in handsome green and gold carriages concealing magnificent cherrywood panelling, Thai silks and Malaysian embroidery.

The Observation Car - where panelled walls and teak floors evoke a colonial “veranda” ambience - is the best place to catch the breeze and revel in the ever-changing views.

Alternatively, relax in the saloon car where you can read a good book or magazine from the library or peruse a selection of games.

There are three dining cars onboard, each of which reflects the arts and culture of Asia in their design. Here, internationally renowned chefs create distinctive cuisine with a flawless blend of Eastern and Western flavours.

Head to the piano bar for a nightcap afterwards - the resident pianist is on hand to entertain with nostalgic melodies.

Fully air-conditioned cabins range from the intimate Pullman Single to the Presidential Cabin which comes complete with a complimentary minibar. All feature en suites with a shower and WC, luxury toiletries, a hairdryer, 24-hour onboard service and entertainment.

Get on board: 21-night The 2022 Far East Adventure from £5,999pp

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Eastern & Oriental Express operates in Singapore, Malaysia & Thailand. Credit: Belmond

Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Welcome to the world's most iconic train. A steward in blue and gold livery waves with a white-gloved hand and welcomes you on board, whisking you back to an age of timeless nostalgia and boundless glamour.

The luxury train service operates between London and Venice and other European cities including Paris, Verona and Innsbruck.

Onboard, the 1920s cabins, rich with craftsmanship, have been carefully restored. Every morning, after a leisurely breakfast, a steward will whip away the beds to return the cabin to a sitting area. Then, on plush sofas, you can watch the world pass by in supreme comfort.

The rooms, which boast true art deco elegance, range from single cabins - ideal for total seclusion and relaxation - to grand suites. Here, you’ll encounter a world of decadence where ornate interiors and free-flowing champagne are simply a way of life. Towels, bathrobes and slippers are all included.

As for dining, local and seasonal produce stars on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express as the team take fresh ingredients on board at stops along the route. Set menus that celebrate exceptional artisanal cuisine are an inclusive part of the trip while drinks and à la carte options are also available at an additional charge.

Be sure to sample the special breakfast prepared by the Executive Chef which includes a tempting selection of fresh breads, smoked salmon, eggs, truffles and caviar.

There are three stunning 1920s restaurant cars: Côte d'Azur, which features stunning René Lalique glasswork; Etoile du Nord, showcasing beautiful marquetry; and L'Oriental, once a kitchen car and now refitted with black lacquer panels.

Get on board: 14-night The 2022 6 Star All-Inclusive Mediterranean Discovery from £7,499pp

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Venice-Simplon Orient Express: Onboard, the 1920s cabins, rich with craftsmanship, have been carefully restored. Credit: Belmond

Belmond Hiram Bingham

This enchaining luxury train takes travellers to the heart of the Inca Empire on day trips between Cusco and Machu Picchu. It is named after the American explorer who rediscovered the Inca citadel in 1911.

Hiram Bingham's Pullman-style carriages feature polished wood, sumptuously upholstered armchairs and beautiful antique fittings. The train's blue and gold livery stands out against Peru’s verdant landscapes.

Spending time in the observation car is an absolute must; you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the golden age of travel.

Indulge in long brunches and hearty lunches - all paired perfectly with exceptional Peruvian wine. Look out for local delicacies, such as succulent Sacred Valley corn, prime Peruvian beef and Cloud-Forest coffee. The fresh, organic produce Hiram Bingham features is grown in the Sacred Valley and their meats are cooked with sumptuous Peruvian sauces.

Decadent dinners are also paired with delicious regional wines - enjoy a Pisco Sour cocktail before feasting on a four-course, Andean-inspired menu served on Villeroy & Boch china.

What's more, passengers will be treated to live traditional Peruvian and international music as they journey from Poroy to Agua Calientes.

Get on board: 18-night The 2022 South America ft. Machu Picchu & Easter Island from £8,099pp

To view all ROL Cruise cruise and Rail packages, click here.

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Belmond Hiram Bingham: Spending time in the observation car is an absolute must. Credit: Belmond
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