Introduction/History:

On May 2, 2015, the Danube Express officially became the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains of UK took over operations and held a renaming ceremony, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent.

Under new operations, the on-board experience has been upgraded (particularly the food and wine) and many new European itineraries are now on offer.

For a report by IRT Society Vice President Angela Walker on the Danube Express’ May, 2015 inaugural trip, plus details of the train, please click here. For additional details on the train’s signature Balkan Odyssey itinerary, please see Ms. Walker’s report here.

Accommodations

There are six sleeping cars. Four contain Deluxe cabins, another car contains Heritage class and the final contains the elegant, new Deluxe Superior cabins.

All cabins are air conditioned. Robes, slippers, towels and luxurious L’Occitane toiletries are provided for all passengers. One attendant manages each car, making up the beds in the evening and providing morning tea/coffee on request.

Deluxe Superior Cabins – NEW in 2017
The Golden Eagle Danube Express has added 3 new cabins, called Deluxe Superior. These spacious cabins (93 square feet including bathroom) will feature a large double bed (5 ft. x 6 ft., 2 in.) which converts to a full-length sofa by day.  Other features include two picture windows, wardrobe, table and two chairs. The en-suite bathroom has a cubicle shower, sink, toilet and towel warmer. The most sought-after feature may be the built-in WiFi — only available to Superior Deluxe passengers.

“These cabins are now available to book on all Golden Eagle Danube Express departures for 2017 [amd beyond],” Golden Eagle says. “And with only four per departure, we do expect them to sell quickly.”

Deluxe Cabins
Deluxe cabins are spacious (83 square feet including the bathroom) and offer the best sleeping accommodations in Europe. Each cabin has two lower beds in an L-shape configuration, which converts to seating during the day. The en suite bathroom contains a cubicle shower, sink and toilet – and towel warmer. Air conditioning and heating are individually controlled in Deluxe cabins. There is also a small wardrobe, safe, cupboard and luggage rack above one bed. But keep in mind: the storage space is limited, especially in the bathroom.

Heritage Cabins
Heritage class cabins (33 square feet) are budget-oriented, at about one-third the size of the Deluxe. They have upper/lower berths, which covert to a couch during the day. There is a pull-down sink in the cabin; toilets and showers are shared and located at the end of each Heritage car. There are hangers and space for a few hanging clothes and a luggage rack overhead. Again, remember that storage space is limited.

 

Dining

Two dining cars seat 42 passengers each (much more than the train’s 56-passenger capacity). The dining cars are attractive and comfortable, offering tables for 4 or 2. One has a green and cream color scheme; the other is crimson and beige. Tables are set with white tablecloths, crystal glassware and china emblazoned with the double-headed eagle logo of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.

Breakfast is taken on board. Choose from the buffet of fruit, breads, cereal, cold meats and cheeses. Hot breakfast (omelette, French toast, bacon, sausage) is available on order.

On-board meals are usually three courses, with meat and vegetarian choices. A cheese and fruit course is added with dinners on board.

Sample starters: asparagus with hollandaise sauce; zucchini rolls with ricotta stuffing, served in a chargrilled pepper sauce with basil olive oil; and foie gras terrine with spicy apricot chutney and toasted challah bread.

Sample main course options: Moroccan baked vegetables with prunes and spicy couscous and beer-braised beef cheek with malted onions and ale sauce, served with carrots, green beans and onion mashed potatoes.

Desserts are equally sumptuous.

Lounge Cars

The lounge car, “Budapest,” is the social center of the train. Unfortunately, the current lounge car only seats 28 – not enough to accommodate the train’s capacity.  But it is rare, if ever, that all passengers visit the lounge for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap (all drinks, with the exception of some premium wines, are included in the tour fare).

A pianist entertains throughout the day.

Other

Service on board is good; the train staff is professional and eager to please.  Some staff still struggle with English, and, on our recent journey, there were a few lapses in dining service.  However, the train’s guest relations manager is excellent and extremely receptive to feedback on how to improve the on-board experience.

Journeys on the Golden Eagle Danube Express are fully inclusive of transfers, food, drinks (all alcohol except premium wines), gratuities and all touring.

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A Hungarian brass band accompanies passengers boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest.  Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
A Hungarian brass band accompanies passengers boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest. Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Deluxe cabin of the Golden Eagle Danube Express during the day.   Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Deluxe cabin of the Golden Eagle Danube Express during the day. Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Table setting on the Golden Eagle Danube Express.   Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Table setting on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Pianist entertains in the lounge car of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.  Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
Pianist entertains in the lounge car of the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
A staff member of the Golden Eagle Danube Express sets tables in the dining car.  Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.
A staff member of the Golden Eagle Danube Express sets tables in the dining car. Photo by IRT / Angela Walker.