Orient Express Holidays review from our customers

We always ask our travellers to feed back to us on their holidays and love to hear how their trips went.

So we’ve taken a few of our most recent pieces of feedback and think you’ll find them interesting – we think they give a really good picture of what one of our favourite and most popular Orient Express holidays is actually like.

Mrs Booth, travelling on the Orient Express:

My husband and I would like to say a HUGE thank you for arranging a fantastic trip to Venice on the VSOE.

The trip was a surprise retirement gift from me to my husband and I have never seen him so happy! This was the finale of a very emotional week that had seen us inundated with press reporters and literally hundreds of customers What a week!!!

We started our journey in London and travelled on the magnificent Belmond British Pullman to Folkestone. This certainly was the hors d’oeuvres course before the main dish! The band played to greet us and the coach journey under the sea was exciting, even though I admit I had been dreading it!

Upon arrival in France, the magnificent Venice Simplon Orient Express awaited us and we were introduced to Ralph, our steward. He was excellent, and always had a huge smile on his face. The train as like something out of a movie set – opulent in all its glory. The food was first class and the beds were very comfortable indeed.

The people we met along the way made our trip so interesting, even though some people had sad reasons for travelling on the famous train, but it has to be said that it should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The staff who met us in Venice were very good and got us to our hotel (Al Ponte Antico) straight away. The greeting we received at the hotel was so personal that we have decided we MUST go back. What a fantastic, absolutely amazing hotel, so central for everything! Venice is so romantic and the opera and all the sights were just magical. My husband shed a tear quite often as each surprise unfolded.

Venice has so much to offer and we agreed that we didn’t have enough time to see it all. We did however manage to visit Murano Island as well as several museums, and wondered in awe at the works of Titian and Donatello to name a few. We found many fantastic restaurants, (El Remer being our favourite) and we even bumped into people we knew! A film crew was making a ‘Go Compare’ advert (the tenor with the curly moustache) and we watched from the bridge as he cameras rolled – so look out for us on TV!

The return journey via Switzerland was equally good with wonderful views of lakes and snow covered mountains. The hotel on Lake Geneva was excellent and so convenient for the train station. There were plenty of restaurants along the promenade to choose from if you didn’t want to eat at the hotel.

Nearby Château de Chillon is majestic, just like the hotel! The Queen Museum t the Casino is also well worth a visit (if you are a Freddie Mercury fan – which my husband is!). Again, more tears! Montreux is amazing!

All the train/taxi connections were explained easily and we had no problem whatsoever in the various cities. It all went to plan and I can’t thank you enough for your help. The trip was worth every penny and I am so proud I decided to book via Planet Rail. Thank you a million times over!

A vacation to remember forever! With very best wishes and many thanks, Carol (and Michael) Booth.

Mrs Cummings, travelling on the Orient Express:

I just want to thank you for everything you did in making our holiday such a special and wonderful trip. I really don’t know how you do it.

Everything runs so smoothly and just as it is on the itinerary which is invaluable to anxious travellers like ourselves.

It was lovely to be back on the Pullman train again, we met a really super couple in the Perseus carriage swapping stories and sharing laughter. We quaffed (many) Bellinis and a glass of Champagne or two!

We again met up on the Orient Express before dinner and later in the Bar Car, which has provided us with some good memories and funny pictures. Clive had ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to him a couple of times accompanied by the pianist…may have been in the style of a “pub singer” though due to copious amounts of after dinner drinks being consumed!

I really enjoyed talking to the chef – Christian – the following day after lunch and loved having the number of his own restaurant/hotel in Provence. Just have to go! We mused over the reverence of chicken oysters – which we had for the lunch.

The Alpine scenery was superb and it was serene viewing it from the Bar Car. I spent some Euros in the boutique (not on tat you will be pleased to hear!) and had an intriguing conversation with Massimo!

Arriving in Venice went really smoothly and it was great having the luggage transported for us, that was a great addition. I enjoyed sharing the water taxi journey along the Grand Canal which at first I didn’t think I would. It was fantastic arriving at the Al Ponte Antico to see Oliver waiting to greet us (I don’t think he quite expected the greeting I gave him though! In my defence I was very excited! That is such a lovely hotel, I love being there. Our room was the same as before and it felt like being home and very familiar. The uber cool Matteo’s omelettes just get better and the chocolate tart his wife bakes is amazing, truly delicious. We also had a fantastic restaurant recommendation from him, where we had a beautiful meal and met some lovely Americas again sharing conversation and laughs.

We created some new memories in Venice as well as revisiting some places we loved from before. We had a trip out to the islands again as I absolutely adore Torcello it is fast becoming one of my favourite places. I find it really beautiful…even beguiling, it’s oh so quiet compared to all the hustle and bustle of Venice. So peaceful and tranquil – would be amazing to stay here. The area around the Basilica is so serene and the art inside is stunning. I had a walk to the top of the bell tower and was rewarded with some spectacular views. I wanted to eat at the Locanda Cipriani but it was being prepared for a wedding feast, so “no go” there! Maybe next time. However we did take some time out from the sun to sit in a beautiful garden to sip a cool Prosecco – “what’s not to like?” I asked myself!

We were very lucky to be in Venice for the end of the Redentore festival where a fantastic firework display took place which we watched from St Marks, stunning! Then it was back to the hotel to vie all the boats coming back from the lagoon from the terrace, or “all the little ships all lit up” as Thomaz told us! Anyway it was really fun as everybody kept waving up towards the terrace and of course it was all best experienced with a glas o something bubbly in one’s hand!

Speaking of bubbles, it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture to have the bottle delivered to our room. I did take the credit, only for a short while! It made Clive’s birthday extra special so it was a really nice touch – thank you. We also visited Murano and yes some glass was purchased but no “frogs” oh and a really beautiful necklace which had my name on it and it said “buy me” – which Clive dutifully did for me! Murano was prettier than I thought which was a surprise – but not half as pretty or lovely as Burano. We also went to the top of the Campanile which we didn’t before. At least they have a lift in that one! What amazing, fantastic views of Venice, truly awesome and inspiring.

Very sad to leave Venice.

My friend to whom I recommend the journey is very excited about her forthcoming trip and I’m enjoying sharing tips and stories of our own adventure. I love hearing all her enthusiasm for what’s about to happen and I hope it lives up to her expectations. I’m sure it will! Thank you, Sarah Cummings.