“Traveling by train is an amazing way to see the hinterland of a destination, without having to stay there,” says Diane Hilliard. And more remote areas are now accessible via luxury trains. Coober Pedy, the Australian outback mining town, is reached by Great Southern Rail, which has inaugurated first-class service. Other trips include the Red Arrow from St. Petersburg to Moscow; Kenya’s “Iron Snake of Africa” from Mombasa to Nairobi, through Tsavo National Park; and seeing the Canadian Rockies from one of Royal Canadian Pacific’s beautifully restored 1920’s sleeper cars.
“Grandparents are traveling with their adult children and grandchildren,” super-agent Mary Ann Ramsey says. Pallavi Shah concurs: her clients want to be together in “offbeat, meaningful” destinations such as Africa; villa rentals in southern Europe (Tuscany and Provence) and farther afield (Greece and Turkey) are also popular. Barbara Gallay believes that travelers are willing to make a certain investment in these trips despite the economic downturn: “Families still really want to create these once-in-alifetime experiences.”
The Oberoi’s new ship on the Nile, along with Viking River Cruises’ two Nile itineraries aboard the Royal Lotus and the Prince Abbas, account for a spike in Nile cruising, says Ruth Turpin, who is also seeing increased interest in travel between Moscow and St. Petersburg via a Volga River cruise. Betsy Patton says, “It’s all about the Rhine, the Main, and the Danube, on Tauck’s new river cruise boats.”