Cruise and rail combinations are growing in popularity with river
cruise lines as some begin to expand their itineraries to include the
classic way of traveling.
Uniworld is one of the latest river cruise lines to offer a new
cruise and rail programme to its lineup of cruise offerings but with an
additional caveat: instead of offering a rail journey as only a pre- or
post-river cruise extension, the company includes a rail journey as part
of the entire trip.
The 12-day Venice & the Swiss Alps itineraries is among
Uniworld's first cruise and rail programmes to launch in its partnership
with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. The itinerary includes four nights
traversing through Western Europe aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express
before ending in Venice, where guests embark the S.S. La Venezia to
sail the Venetian Lagoon for seven nights.
This cruise and rail itinerary
begins with an overnight stay in Zurich, Switzerland's largest city
well-known for being a global financial and banking hub. I wasn't
surprised to be reminded of this while in town. Zurich's city centre
outside of Old Town had an austere nature to its urban landscape -- a
real concrete jungle. This as opposed to the cosier, more
medieval-looking Old Town, which donned a more familiar European look
with its aged Gothic church spires, stone bridges stretching over canals
and its cobblestone streets filled with pockets of alleyways, open
squares and a thriving tourist scene.
A view of the historic Zurich city centre. Photo Credit: GettyImages/mikolajn
Guests on the Venice & the Swiss Alps itinerary will see the
fairytale-esque castles and landscapes of Liechtenstein, the alpine
resort towns of Austria and the up-and-coming and tourist destinations
of Slovenia. This is the shorter version of Uniworld's initial 14-day
Milan, Venice & the Swiss Alps itinerary, which includes two
additional nights in Milan plus a day trip to Verona.
But one need not visit the city of Romeo and Juliet to feel the
romance of this rail trip, for its beauty lies in the stretches of the
All aboard for nostalgia
Anyone who loves an old
fashioned train trip, enjoys the nostalgia of a night in a sleeper cabin
rail car or has a penchant for binge-watching good whodunits featuring
Alfred Hitchcock or Margaret Rutherford on Turner Classic Movies would
love Uniworld's cruise and rail offerings. I've been a fan of all three
of the aforementioned pastimes for some time, but I've only had the
chance to do two; I had never been on an overnight sleeper train journey
before my Uniworld trip, let alone a luxury, five-star one.
And the Golden Eagle is truly five-star, with impeccable service
offered by a highly skilled and talented staff, superb cuisine crafted
with such precision that it's hard to believe such a detail-oriented
chef had the stamina (and the patience) to create such beautifully
delectable dishes onboard a moving train three times a day.
Uniworld's cruise and rail programme is growing. The cruise line
launched two additional itineraries earlier this year with expanded
trips into Eastern Europe on the 13-day Castles of Transylvania &
Enchanting Danube itinerary as well as a 12-day departure.