Recommend May 2016 - (Page 36)

Europe Europe On Track The newest Eurostars parked in London's St. Pancras station. Carla Hunt onsitereview Among those of us who love to travel by train, here's one American who continues suffering from European rail envy. Hence, there were many "greenish" moments during a recent Rail Europe-hosted press trip to introduce the e320: a.k.a. Eurostar's spiffy and comfy newest high-speed train now on track between London and Paris. While it's just ongoing thrilling to be aboard a train that tunnels under the English Channel, equally exciting is experiencing all the new stuff. To start, the e320s are faster, quieter and more energy-efficient than their predecessors. Part of this is due to new fuel meters that help drivers monitor consumption en-route. But practically speaking, these upgrades come simply because of capacity: e320s carry 894 passengers, boosting capacity Hats Off To... by 20 percent, or 150 more passengers than the old trains; maximum speed is 200 mph, or 320 kph, hence the name. You don't need technical know-how to see immediately that the new Eurostar trainset, with its combination of bold design, chic interiors and train-wide WiFi, raises the bar in customer style and comfort. While the trains were built by Siemens in Germany, the super-sleek external livery and interiors are courtesy of the Italian firm Pinifarina, known for its work on luxury cars for Ferrari and Maserati. There are three seating classes: Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier. All seats have UK and Continental power sockets, as well as reading lights, while the Premier classes amenities include seat-backs that recline twice as far as the Rail Europe is the one-stop shop in North America for planning and booking European train travel. Here's their pick for Europe's 10 Top Trains: ➣ Eurostar-City-center to city-center between London and Paris or Brussels; now also on track between London and Marseille, and points in-between. ➣ Thalys-Journeys between Paris/Belgium/the Netherlands/Germany. ➣ TGV-From its Paris hub, zipping along its French network at speeds of up to 201 mph. ➣ Italo-From NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori), the first private operator of Italian high-speed rail service, with trains traveling up to 186 mph on routes from Venice-Rome and Milan-Salerno. ➣ La Frecce-Its Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains are on track connecting Italian cities at speeds of up to 186 mph; for instance Rome-Florence, 1h 18m; and Rome-Naples, 1h 8m. ➣ TGV Lyria-With redesigned interiors and new seating, this train is the FranceSwitzerland connection, with routes such as Geneva-Marseille and Paris-Lausanne. ➣ ICE-The Deutsche Bahn Inter-City Express train connects all major German cities at speeds of up to 200 mph. ➣ AVE-For long-distance trips in Spain, the high-tech AVE is the way to go. ➣ France-Spain High-Speed-SNCF and RENFE have combined their experience to offer the first high-speeds between 17 cities in France and Spain: trains to Paris have double-decker cars and travel at almost 200 mph. ➣ Thello-Trains add sleeping compartments and couchette cars on overnight travel between France and Italy. 36 may 2016 ergonomically designed seats in Standard. Even the bar-buffets are sleekly designed, serving hot/cold meals, and snacks; coffee, too, received an upgrade with a new machine for individual cups of cafe au lait or cappuccino. Our group was fortunate to ride in Business Premier, whose lunch menu (accompanied by lovely wines) included beetroot, pickled apple, goat cheese mousse; duck, chicken, fennel and dill risotto; and orange mousseline tart. This was just one of many menus created by Eurostar's culinary director Raymond Blanc, who won two Michelin stars within a year of opening his ongoing-famous Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire. Certainly one of the most important e320 features is its "interoperability," which, according to Rob Haycocks, Eurostar's communications director in London, means "the trains can operate across the European high-speed network with its different signaling systems, and provide direct services between London and a range of cities throughout the continent. "Over the next three years, we'll be receiving 17 trainsets of the e320 model, and [among the first of future plans] we expect to debut these trains on London-to-Amsterdam service with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport early next year." Eurostar's second line, the Chunnel linking the UK and Brussels, has had its own upgrade: its Class 373 trains, dating from the launch of Eurostar services in 1994, have been totally remodeled and re-designed, including the installation of Nomad Digital WiFi equipment throughout; the trainsets have also been rebranded e300, numbers designating their maximum kph speed. Contact Information Rail Europe:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend May 2016

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk: On the Waterfront
Tour Talk: A Peek at Our Peaks
All-Inclusives: Raising the Bar
Onsite Review: Puerto Vallarta’s Hotel Scene
Onsite Review: Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Onsite Review: Iberostar Playa Mita
Onsite Review: Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Hotel and Experience Pairings
New Properties Beckon
Onsite Review: Cambodia
Southern Africa’s New Enticements
Onsite Review: Rail Europe
New Frontiers in Travel
Innovation on the High Seas
Mountain Resort Vacations
What’s New in Orlando
Onsite Review: Escape to Discovery Cove
Official Florida Travel Industry Education Program–Family Course

Recommend May 2016