by Bobbie Green
Vintage Rail travel is one surefire way for singles to enjoy a great vacation. It is the perfect venue for old friends to get together; small groups are a perfect fit.
Riding the luxury vintage rail cars of the American Orient Express (AOE) is a treat in itself. In my opinion, the first and most important draw is that you are taking part in a journey with other discriminating passengers who want to be there, same as you. Unlike other trains, there are no coach seats with bored, unhappy children running about. The lounges are furnished elegantly, in comfy Old World style. There is even a baby grand piano in the lounge.
When you book your travel with American Orient Express, you will find the trip is pretty much all-inclusive. Sleeping accommodations, meals, and snacks are all included, along with wine at dinner. AOE offers built-in guided tour excursion at stops, on-board lectures and presentations, and live entertainment in the lounge car. There is a passenger service director aboard. There is no need to worry about your safety and security onboard: the crew knows the passengers (approximately eighty-eight per train), and there is always staff on guard while the train is parked. The bartenders are personable—always service with a smile and a joke or two. They serve the hors d’oeuvres before dinner and become everyone’s favorite staff members.
I was very impressed with (and surprised by) the meals that come out of the train’s kitchens. AOE likes to keep the dinner menu a secret until you are in the dinning room. However, there are always choices to accommodate everyone.
Knowing that all your wants and needs are taken care of, you and your friends can sit in the dome car, sipping on your beverage of choice, and hold stimulating conversations while enjoying the marvelous scenery. Everyone on the train will become friends by the end of the week. At planned stops, you will be met by a local tour guide and taken on a group excursion just for passengers of the American Orient Express.
When I was aboard, places that were normally closed during our scheduled stop opened just for us. Did we ever feel special! The cultivated traveler will be enthused about the tour itineraries.
In Vermont, we toured the Shelburne Farm, and had lunch in their dinning room. We saw the Norman Rockwell Museum with our own special guide, and received mementos from the museum. Our tour in Quebec City included afternoon tea, with all the trimmings, at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Each one of the Orient Express’ itineraries includes special outings.
Your most important decision when booking will be what type of accommodation to select. None of the sleeping rooms are large, but some are smaller than others. Ask the advice of your travel agent, or pay heed to my suggestion that no matter what their booking agent at AOE says, do not plan to have two people occupy a vintage Pullman car with upper and lower bunks. AOE offers single sleepers, which are great, but if you are sharing a room I recommend a parlor suite, which is more spacious. In the Pullman, it is one at a time—even for a married couple.
American Orient Express has been in operation since 1995 (No, they are not affiliated with Venice-Simpleon Orient Express!). AOE offers ten regional itineraries throughout the United Stated and Mexico to choose from. You may contact them at target=”_blank” class=”link”>americanorientexpress.com, by phone at 800.320.4206, or through your travel agent. AOE offers early booking and group discounts, and do their best to accommodate special diets.
The train journey offers you time to read and relax—or catch up with old friends—even as you see and visit exciting places. A rail journey on the American Orient Express is the perfect place for a gathering of Divas, mothers and daughters—and even your art class. All aboard!