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7 of the best rail and cruise combinations

Cruise Advice

If your perception of travelling by train has been crafted by the 8.05 into Victoria, 'glamorous' may not be your perfect description of rail journeys. If the thought of a great rail journey quickens the heart and sets your pulse racing, there are some wonderful options for you to combine with a very special cruise to create a magical holiday combination.

Here are seven of our favourite rail and sail combinations:

1. The Rocky Mountaineer and Alaska

A bucket-list Alaska cruise can only be enhanced by a magical trip across the Rockies, and with Vancouver such a popular embarkation and disembarkation point, why not extend your voyage with a trip through the glorious scenery of the Canadian Rockies?

Travel from Banff to Vancouver (or vice versa), with an overnight hotel stop in Kamloops; take the Gold Leaf option for the perfect panoramic experience in a bi-level glass-dome coach, with gourmet meals and accommodation at the best luxury hotels. Regent Seven Seas Cruises in particular have an excellent pre-cruise Rocky Mountaineer itinerary which can be easily added on to your cruise when booking...

Rocky Mountaineer train

2. Rovos Rail and Africa

Cruising out of Cape Town to explore West Africa or the exotic Indian Ocean is wonderful, but better still when combined with the Victorian charm of a Rovos Rail journey to Pretoria, or further still, to Victoria Falls. This is one of the most luxurious trains in the world, travelling across the barren Great Karoo through grasslands, mountains, and scenic winelands.

Cape Town is then a popular embarkation port for many of our favourite cruise lines including Regent, Silversea and Seabourn, while some lines such as AmaWaterways' Zambezi Queen river ship offer journeys that end at Victoria Falls, a start or end destination of one of the Rovos Rail routes that also includes a safari game drive.

Rovos Rail, South Africa

3. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Mediterranean

Perhaps the most iconic train of all, this perfectly refurbished piece of history transports you straight to the 1920s, with its polished wood, sumptuous upholstery and antique fixtures. The Orient Express offers the ever-popular airport-free option of hopping on or returning to London (travelling via the Eurostar), as well as itineraries of varying lengths between Europe's most iconic cities including Paris, Rome and, of course, Venice, to name a few.

You're then perfectly placed to embark any number of cruise options, with many of our favourite oceangoing cruise lines departing from ports in central Venice or from ports close by.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train

4. Belmond Andean Explorer and the Galapagos

Why not combine the bucket-list destination of the Galapagos with exploring Peru? Journey through the dramatic Andes for breathtaking scenery, Inca ruins and the elaborate colonial cities of Cusco and Arequipa on the beautiful Andean Explorer.

Flights operate several times a day between Arequipa or Cusco and Ecuador's Quito, giving you time to explore the city before or after you head to Galapagos. We like Silversea's all-inclusive journeys on the luxurious Silver Origin and their five-day Machu Picchu programme, a perfect prelude to the train from Cusco for the ultimate bucket-list journey.

Belmond Andean Explorer, Lake Titicaca

5. Eastern & Oriental Express and South East Asia

Touring in South East Asia is de rigueur, and your plan is sure to include the great city of Singapore. So, why not begin or end a cruise with a round trip from Singapore on the handsome green and gold carriages of the Eastern & Oriental Express?

Then, join the ship of your choice back in Singapore to start your journey to Vietnam, Myanmar, Bali and the Indonesian isles or even Australia, with many of our favourite cruise lines offering a wide array of voyages that begin or end in Singapore such as Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn.

6. Belmond Royal Scotsman and Hebridean Princess

The Belmond Royal Scotsman is the most luxurious way to tour the Scottish Highlands, taking you from Edinburgh to the west coast and back again. On board you can enjoy exquisite cuisine in the mahogany-panelled dining car and sublime treatments at the Bamford Haybarn Spa, while travelling through some of Scotland's most spectacular landscapes.

Then board the inimitable and intimate Hebridean Princess - with transfers included by the cruise line - for a voyage around the beautiful Western Isles, visiting remote castles, glassy lochs and whisky distilleries.

Belmond Royal Scotsman train

7. Belmond Grand Hibernian & Ireland

Cruising out of the UK is much more exciting than you might think, with amazing scenery and wildlife and a rare insight into the regional differences as you travel from place to place.

Of course Ireland is something else again, and occasionally the dates fall just right to combine your cruise with a fabled Irish jaunt from Dublin on the Belmond Grand Hibernian, with live musicians and animated storytelling.

This is just a taster of the rail and sail combinations we can offer - if there's a journey you've always dreamed of making then give us a call, and we will help you put together that trip of a lifetime.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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