Journeys on this Train
When we first experienced the new Danube Express private train, we knew it would jump to IRT's World’s Top 25 Trains list. The train started service with its gorgeous deluxe carriages in 2008. All itineraries either start or go through Budapest, Hungary, where the train is headquartered. One of the best itineraries is Istanbul to Prague, and one of the great developments for this train: all departures are guaranteed departures. This is great news for our guests.
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The deluxe sleeping carriages offer the best train accommodations in Europe. Private compartments are air conditioned, with private, ensuite facilities and two lower beds that fold up into seating during the day. They are roomy at 83.4 square feet, including the bathroom. This is the accommodation we highly recommend for our travelers. Some tours also include the older and less expensive accommodation, “classic” cabins, which are 33.2 square feet, with bunk-style beds that fold into seating by day; shower and toilet are down the hall. There are windows that open throughout the train, a boon for photographers.
Dining is delicious but not fancy. This year, the train has upped its food quality, and we are eager for reports from our writers and travelers to let us know if this is the case. Dress is smart casual. Gourmet meals and white-glove service are not the aim here; meals are hearty local specialties such as goose, mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage and service is friendly and experienced. Staff members do not speak much English, but they are pleasant and cheerful. As one staff member said to a recent IRT traveler: "We are smiling."
The lounge car is spacious, with room for most of the train’s passengers. The atmosphere is friendly, and the brandy—the local specialty—is tasty. Wine and beer on the train are included with the price of the journey; spirits are not included. The pianist is talented and jolly; the songbook on board seems two inches thick stuffed with every song you ever thought of singing.
The itineraries are designed to take you to the heart of Central and Eastern Europe in comfort and style. The off-train sightseeing calls for plenty of walking, often over cobblestones and uneven pavement. None of the compartments on the train is handicapped accessible. Something to note: the shower door in deluxe is narrow. If you are a large person, the showers in classic might work better for you. Note that no drinks are included off the train except for water on the touring buses. Gratuities are not included in the price of your program.