NEW for 2018: For the first time ever, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has added fully en-suite cabins.

Beginning in 2020, there will be six Grand Suites available on board. See below for full description.

Breaking News — Grand Suites Revealed: IRT luxury travel advisor Rachel Hardy was the only agent from the Western Hemisphere to be invited to the grand unveiling of the Grand Suites in March 2018. Read Rachel’s article on the Grand Suites on the IRT blog, Track 25!

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express (VSOE) is the world’s most authentic luxury train.  Its 1920s-vintage Art Deco cars, sparkling in their navy and gold livery and snowy white roof, take your breath away.  The annual journeys between Paris and Istanbul are legendary — and perfect for special occasion celebrations.

The train’s mystique is such that its image is constantly in demand to portray elegance, beauty, sophistication and romance. Click here to see its stylized image, as seen through the eyes of French perfume and beauty product icon Chanel.

The VSOE can accommodate up to 174 passengers, but on special journeys the train’s capacity is reduced to roughly 100 guests.

Special Report: Click here for travel notes by Society owners Owen & Eleanor Hardy, who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express journey from Venice-Paris-London.

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Double (also called Twin) Cabins have Pullman-style beds (one up, one down) that fold into a comfortable sofa during the day. A sink in a lovely, closing vanity is fitted into the corner. All amenities are supplied, and then some.

A Cabin Suite is two adjoining Double Cabins connected by an interior, private door. Booking a Cabin Suite allows each person to have a lower bed, his/her own vanity as well as a window of one’s own.

Grand Suites have been added to the train consist.  Six Grand Suites have a double bed (can also be made into two twins), living area with table, chair and sofa, and an en-suite bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. The Grand Suites are named “Paris”, “Venice”, “Istanbul”, “Prague”, “Vienna”, and “Budapest”.  Each has a unique decor, to emphasize the distinctive aspects of each destination.

Additional Grand Suite amenities include preferential seating and guaranteed dining time for meals, caviar upon arrival, free-flowing Champagne, private transfers to/from train stations, private guided excursions, and complimentary designer art deco bathrobes. A complimentary alternative “à la carte” menu also is available during lunch or dinner for Grand Suite guests.

Single Travelers: The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has 5 single cabins. These cars are located at the end of the train. In most cases, no single supplement is payable for these cabins. However, we advise single travelers with mobility issues to book sole occupancy of a Double Cabin, which would put you closer to the dining and lounge cars. Note: Istanbul tours do not carry single cabins; thus, a single supplement applies on these journeys.

Important: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express cabins have one major benefit not often mentioned: the windows can be opened, providing fresh air and unobstructed views. Plus, one can literally smell the countryside – a significant advantage over hermetically sealed vehicles.

There are no showers in the cabins, with the exception of the Grand Suites. Longer itineraries are designed to dodge this reality — train overnights are interspersed with stays at fabulous hotels — just like Agatha Christie used to do.

All cabins now have discreet individually-controlled A/C units. Air conditioning has also been added in the public cars. This is a huge improvement for those traveling in the hotter months of July & August!


There are three gorgeous dining cars: one, “Étoile du Nord,” mainly with marquetry; another, “L’Oriental,” with Chinese lacquered walls with bright animals; and a third, “Côte d’Azur,” with Lalique crystal insets.

The management of the dining cars is superb. For starters, a maitre d’ visits you during the day before meals to reserve your table. He rotates travelers among the three diners; you can request dining for two or four at your preferred seating time.

The dining experience is five-star both in food quality/variety and service. One of the reasons is that people are not all seated at the exact same time. Instead, seatings are staggered. This allows the staff to properly welcome and serve each diner.

Lounge Cars

The lounge car is decorated in the Art Nouveau style. Fresh flowers adorn the tables, and a pianist entertains in the evening. It’s a perfect place to read Le Monde by day, enjoy cocktails before dinner and a nightcap after dinner; perhaps you’ll decide, like one traveler did on our trip to Istanbul, to dance the Charleston in her period dress. The lounge car can get very crowded, too, but the staggered dining helps with this issue.


For discriminating travelers, we recommend booking either the Grand Suite or the Cabin Suite. This gives travelers much more room for spreading out. Dressing up is part of this experience, and tuxedos (at the least, dark suits and ties) and cocktail dresses are the norm for dinner.

There’s something about traveling on such historic cars. One of our favorites: Sleeping Car 3309 was part of the 1929 service which was stuck in a snow drift 60 miles outside Istanbul for 10 days. Passengers and staff survived only with the assistance of nearby Turkish villagers.

Booking at the last minute? Ask us about special offers on selected dates.

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A steward welcomes guests aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express at Venice Santa Lucia Station. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy
A steward welcomes guests aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express at Venice Santa Lucia Station. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy
Grand Suite Istanbul. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.
Grand Suite Istanbul. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.
Double cabin layout.
Double cabin layout.
Waiter in the Etoile du Nord dining car. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.
Waiter in the Etoile du Nord dining car. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.
Bar Car 3674 . IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.
Bar Car 3674 . IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.