Business Insider Edition

What first class looks like on 12 trains from around the world

Darcy Schild , Business Insider US
 Oct 13, 2019, 03:29 PM
The Presidential Suite onboard the Eastern & Oriental Express.
Courtesy of Belmond
  • Many trains around the world offer first-class experiences.
  • Some trains' first-class options include private cabins with en-suite bathrooms.
  • On other trains, first-class travel means getting a cushier seat, more legroom, and free food and drinks.
  • Here's what it looks like to experience first-class travel on 12 different trains.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

There seems something luxurious and old-fashioned about booking a first-class, scenic train trip.

From spacious suites to sparkling dining rooms, train companies around the world offer different first-class experiences to keep you comfortable while you watch the world go by.

Stay in the most deluxe cabin onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for instance, and you'll find yourself surrounded by old-world opulence - as well as access to a private marble bathroom.

First-class travel on one of Japan's bullet trains offers automated reclining seats and complimentary dining service, while on some Amtrak trains, traveling in the highest class simply makes for a more spacious seating arrangement.

Here's what first class looks like on 12 trains, from some of the world's most luxurious locomotives to contemporary, comfortable cabins.

The Eastern & Oriental Express travels through Southeast Asia. Its Presidential Suite comes with a minibar and massive picture window.

Courtesy of Belmond

Passengers who book the Presidential Suite, the most luxurious cabin onboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, can lounge in luxury. The ornate cabins also have an en suite shower and restroom and are fully air-conditioned.

The Presidential Suite appears even more elegant at night. The couches fold out to become beds, and attendants equip the suite with bathrobes and slippers for the ultimate luxury experience.

Courtesy of Belmond

After a good night's rest in the spacious cabin, passengers can enjoy a complimentary breakfast brought right to their door.

Suite cabins onboard the Andean Explorer train are ornately decorated and include a double bed, closet, and elegant en-suite bathroom.

Courtesy of Belmond

On the Andean Explorer, which travels through Peru, a stay in one of the train's suite cabins is a true first-class experience - complete with a robe and slippers, 24/7 assistance buttons, and a spacious, private room.

Travelers in the GoldLeaf class onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, which travels through the Canadian Rockies, can relax in a stunning glass-ceiling coach.

Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer train offers two classes: SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. GoldLeaf is its equivalent to first class - and it includes a car with glass ceilings, which give passengers uninterrupted views of the landscape. GoldLeaf also offers sit-down, gourmet meals, as well as top-notch service from tour guides who point out passing landmarks and wildlife.

First-class cars on Renfe and SNCF's high-speed trains, which travel through France and Spain, have spacious seats and huge windows.

Courtesy of Renfe

Most first-class trains operated by the European rail companies Renfe and SNFC have three seats in a row (instead of four), providing a spacious experience. First-class travelers also have access to free WiFi, power outlets, and an onboard "club space," where passengers can connect their laptops to TV screens.

On Eurostar trains, first class, or "standard premier," offers complimentary food and a larger luggage allowance compared with other classes.

Eurostar passengers who book a standard premier trip get a larger seat, plus a free meal and drinks, and they're allowed to bring more pieces of luggage than travelers in the train's regular class.

The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express offers a luxurious experience in its highest-class cabin, the Imperial Suite. The cabin has a lounge area and includes in-cabin dining and laundry service.

Courtesy of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

Among the Golden Eagle's itineraries is the Trans-Siberian journey, which connects Russia from the east and west. Its Imperial Suite is the most spacious cabin on the train, with a private en-suite bathroom, a stocked minibar, and heated floors.

On the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which travels through Italy and Western Europe, the Grand Suites have 24-hour butler service and marble en-suite bathrooms.

Courtesy of Belmond

The Grand Suites on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express also offer "free-flowing champagne" and private, in-cabin dining.

One of the Grand Suites on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the Istanbul Suite, which has hand-carved wall details.

Courtesy of Belmond

Passengers can dine in their sumptuous suites, or they can venture to one of the train's four restaurant and bar cars for a gourmet meal or cocktail.

First-class cars on Japan's Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train have automated reclining seats with footrests.

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

The highest class onboard the Hokuriku Shinkansen is "gran class," which has automated, reclining leather seats and comes with free meals, snacks, and drinks. Passengers can also get comfortable thanks to blankets, eye masks, and slippers.

On the Italo high-speed train, traveling in "prima" class includes free wine and Prosecco and reclining seats.


The Italian high-speed train, Italo, offers a "prima" car, which has seats with more legroom and elbowroom compared with cars in lower classes. Passengers can also enjoy free WiFi and can pay extra for access to an exclusive lounge at some Italian train stations.

Amtrak's newest Acela train, which will travel from Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, in 2021, offers a modern, first-class experience.

Amtrak offers first-class seating on its Acela trains. Passengers can choose between having a single or double seat or a two- or four-person conference table arrangement. The first-class cars have power outlets, complimentary food and beverage services, and other amenities.

One of China's high-speed trains, Fuxing, offers comfy seats and attendants who serve food and drinks throughout the journey.

Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Passengers on a first-class car onboard China's Fuxing bullet train have spacious seats with charging ports and ample room to relax, compared with the train's second-class cars.

France's TGV train offers first-class cars with more spacious seating plans than its regular class.

Courtesy of Renfe-SNCF

TGV trains' first-class cars also have reclining seats and options to book a solo seat for peace and quiet during a long trip.

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

  • Indicators
  • JSE Indexes

Get the best of our site delivered to your inbox every day.

Sign Up