Golden Eagle Train FAQs
We understand that you will have many questions about booking this luxury Trans-Siberian experience. The most frequently asked are below but please do not hesitate to contact us about any further questions you have as we are delighted to help.
How Far in Advance Do I Need to Book ?
The Golden Eagle is an exclusive Trans-Siberian trip with very limited departures through the year and high demand. Consequently we strongly advise our clients to book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
Can You Book International Flights for Us ?
Absolutely! Our ATOL license means that we can book international or indeed internal flights. We get particularly good access to the best deals on British Airways as we are an appointed operator. Just let us know which airports you want to fly from or to and we will be more than happy to give a quote.
Is the Trans-Siberian Safe to Travel ?
Many years back it had something of reputation but those times are long gone and the trip is now safe and trouble free for the vast majority of people. Your train is a private train so access is tightly controlled and our guides have your safety foremost in their minds throughout your trip with us.
Are Your Tours Financially Protected ?
Yes! All our trips come with financial protection either through our ATOL – license number 10287 – if the trip includes a flight or insurances which comply with the UK package travel regulations for any trip that does not include a flight. In addition our ABTA membership – number Y1699 – means we must adhere to their strict code of conduct.
Can You Obtain & Advise on the Visas for Us ?
The visas can be quite complex so we recommend using a specialist visa agent and have an arrangement with CIBT VisaCentral who offer a reliable service for all the visas you will need for your trip. Of course, we provide all the necessary documentation which must accompany your application.
Can You Book St Petersburg for Us ?
Yes! As our St Petersburg tour is private it can be tailored to your exact requirements from the number of nights to hotels and day tours. We can also arrange tours of the fabulous Golden Ring cities to the North East of Moscow.
Can You Book Extensions in China for Us ?
Yes! We can book an extensive range of trips throughout China and Tibet designed to compliment and enhance your Golden Eagle tour. Our sister company “The China Travel Company” is a leading China tour operator offering a fantastic range of tours.
What Is the Difference Between the Train Cabin Classes ?
Selecting the right cabin for your trip is essential. Consequently we have put together a detailed section on the different types of train cabins available on the Golden Eagle. Please click here to explore our section on cabin classes.
Is It Better to Start the Trip in Moscow, Vladivostok or Ulaanbaatar ?
For the most part it is down to personal preference whether you decide to start the trip in Vladivostok, Ulaanbaatar or Moscow. The only thing to take note is that Khabarovsk is only visited on departures from Vladivostok.
Are There Porters to Help With Baggage ?
There are porters at each of the hotels and at the station to help us get our luggage on and off the train.
Are There Daily Briefings on the Places We Pass Through & Visit ?
When passengers board the train they will find a brochure specific to their chosen route detailing more about their journey and the places en-route. Passengers will receive daily updates throughout the tour detailing timings, weather forecasts and excursion information.
Are All Off Train Excursions Included in the Price ?
On the majority of our tours all excursions are included. Occasionally we may offer an optional excursion that requires extra payment. If you do not wish to take an off-train excursion you can either stay onboard the train (Golden Eagle only) or make private arrangements. You will then be responsible for ensuring that you are back at the train by the departure time as the train will not be able to wait and must leave as per the schedule.
Where Are the Off-train Tour Guides From ?
We provide local guides who are English speaking.
Are the Guides English Speaking ?
Yes, the local guides speak English as well as the onboard Tour Manager. If you require a foreign language interpreter, please contact our Reservations Department, who will do their best to accommodate all requests (charges may apply).
Are Clients With Limited Mobility Able to Go on All Excursions ?
If passengers require a wheelchair for off-train excursions this must be arranged at the time of booking and we will do our best to accommodate the request (charges will apply if wheelchair assistance is required). However, it may not be possible to go on all of the excursions.
Can Passengers Make Their Own Arrangements for Off Train Excursions ?
Passengers can make their own arrangements, but they need to ensure that they are back at the train by the departure time. The train is unable to wait and must leave as per the schedule. During the off-train excursion the train itself may be moved to another platform or depot so it is vital the Tour Manager is aware if passengers intend to make their own plans for any particular day.
How Many People Travel to the Same Sites at the Same Time ?
The buses carry up to 35 passengers and tours may be divided into groups to visit specific sites/museums etc.
Can Passengers Make a Request to See the Engine or Drive It ?
For safety reasons we cannot allow passengers to drive the train, however when we are stopped in the stations it may be possible to see the engine (Golden Eagle only). Please ask the Tour Manager who will be able to make the request on your behalf.
What Are the Booking and Payment Terms ?
On booking a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the total tour price plus any international flights we are booking for you. Full payment is required 90 days before the trip start date.
International flights, beverages not included, visa fees and any services not mentioned are not included in the price.
Golden Eagle Cancellation conditions: Up to 61 days prior to departure: 20 % of total price 60 days or less prior to departure: 100% of total price
Any part of the program that is missed because of late arrival is non-refundable.
How Do I Make a Booking ?
Call our office on +44 02088168925 or email [email protected] and speak to one of our consultants. Provisional reservations can be held for up to 7 days without payment. After this time confirmation is required or the cabin will be provisional reservation will be released. Upon receiving confirmation, an invoice will be issued and deposit payment is due upon receipt of this. The deposit payment secures your place on the tour.
Is There a Charge for Using a Credit Card ?
All credit card transactions incur a 2% surcharge. There is no additional charge for debit card transactions.
When Is the Deposit Due ?
Once we have received your confirmation that you wish to travel we will issue your invoice and confirmation letter. The deposit is due upon receipt of the invoice. Deposit payments are non-refundable.
When Is the Final Balance Due ?
The balance is due 60 days prior to departure. We will not issue a final balance so please make a note of the balance due date. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to full loss of payment.
When Will I Receive My Travel Documents ?
Approximately 3 months prior to departure you will receive, by e-mail, an ‘Update Letter’ containing further information on your tour (weather, what to pack etc.) along with all the relevant visa information.
Do You Issue a Train Ticket ?
A train ticket is not required to board our trains. You will not be issued with a train ticket or any travel vouchers.
How Many Tour Managers Are There Onboard ?
There is one senior Tour Manager onboard and also a number of assistants depending on the total number of passengers.
Is There a Doctor on Board at All Times ?
Golden Eagle Luxury Trains provides a doctor, who travels with the train and passengers at all times. Our doctors are available 24-hours a day and are responsible for primary health care. They carry a selection of medicines, but if you are taking prescription medication, please bring sufficient supplies to last for the duration of the trip.
Is the doctor English-Speaking? Under normal circumstances we always provide an English speaking doctor, however there may be exceptional circumstances out of our control where that may not be possible. In this case translation will be provided.
What Happens in the Event Hospital Treatment Is Needed ?
We will escort you to the hospital and make every effort to ensure that you receive the highest possible level of care and if required, will get in touch with relatives at home.
How Many People Do the Cabin Attendants Look After ?
This depends on the actual train, but on average 2 cabin attendants look after 10 passengers.
Can You Cater to Specific Dietary Requirements ?
Most dietary requirements can be catered for. Please contact our office for further details.
Are Beauty Treatments Available Onboard ?
These are not available onboard but may be available in then tour hotels.
What Activities Are Available Onboard ?
Onboard the Golden Eagle passengers can take part in Russian language classes and lectures. There is a selection of DVD’s and books available from the Bar Lounge Car.
Is There Set Seating in the Dining Car ?
There is a free seating policy. All passengers can choose where they sit for all meals. Meals times will be advised in the daily programme.
Is Internet Available on the Train ?
The train does not have Wi-Fi, however we have a number of internet USB adaptors, for use in the Golden Eagle Bar Lounge Car. These can only be used on personal laptops and are available on a first come, first served basis. Internet coverage is limited and is usually available as we pass through larger cities and towns.
What Is the Mobile Phone Coverage Like ?
Mobile phone coverage is limited. It may be limited in low populated areas. We recommend you check with your service provider for more information on coverage.
Is There a Recommended Time of Arrival on the First Day ?
We recommend arriving between 11.00 and 16.00, in time for the Welcome Dinner. Most hotels’ check-in is 12 noon and early check-in is dependent on hotel availability (charges may apply).
Is There a Recommended Time of Departure on the Last Day ?
You can leave anytime on the last day. Most hotels’ check-out is 12 noon, however luggage storage is available. Late check-out is dependent on hotel availability (charges may apply).
When Is the Best Time to Go Weather-wise ?
This is dependent on your personal preference. Russia is famous for its freezing temperatures in winter, however its capital is located in the middle of the continent, thus it has a continental climate. Russia has two seasons, summer and winter, rarely varying in temperature during each season. In the winter months (December to March) you can expect temperatures well into the minus figures. During spring and summer temperatures range from 10c to 20c.
Are There Opportunities to Exercise on the Tour ?
Gym facilities are available in the tour hotels. There are no exercise facilities onboard the train. The tours themselves can involve a moderate degree of walking.
What Happens if I Miss My Flight or Are Delayed ?
Prior to departure, clients will receive a 24-hour Emergency Contact Card with their final documentation. This card displays the telephone numbers of our representatives in both the country of their arrival as well as our office in the UK. Should they have any problems they can call the appropriate person detailed on the card.
Are There Any Luggage Size or Quantity Restrictions on the Train ?
There is limited space inside the cabin for luggage storage. Soft-topped luggage is easier to store. Luggage cannot be stored under the beds. There is a dedicated luggage storage area at the end of each carriage. We recommend passengers unpack and store their empty luggage in this area. Our cabin attendants will assist with this.
What Is the Dress Code on the Train ?
During the day, dress is casual both on and off the train. In the evening we suggest smart casual.
What Type of Footwear Is Required ?
Since every tour requires some walking we recommend that passengers pack some comfortable walking shoes. A rubber sole is recommended to avoid possible slipping.
Do I Need to Take My Own Toiletries ?
L’Occitane toiletries, including shower cream, shampoo and conditioner are provided in each cabin. A hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and towels are also provided.
Do I Need to Make Special Arrangements if Travelling With Medication ?
Clients need to ensure they are travelling with sufficient quantities of prescription medication. It is strongly advised that all clients seek medical clearance prior to travelling. Our onboard doctor must be advised of clients travelling with prescription medication.
Are Any Special Vaccinations Required ?
We cannot offer medical advice. As with all overseas travel, clients will need to contact their GP or local travel clinic to get the most up to date information on what vaccinations, if any are required.
What Is the Average Age of Passengers ?
Although we have no age restrictions on our tours, the majority of our travellers are 55+. The average age is 64. Our tours may not be suitable for young children. Please check with us at the time of booking.
Are There Any Minimum Passenger Requirements ?
This all depends on the individual departure. Our maximum capacity is 120, but some of our departures will leave with less than that. Some tours require a minimum number of passengers. Should this not be reached, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains will offer a modified service of carriages attached to regular service trains to accommodate a smaller group or offer an alternative tour. If no alternative is suitable a full refund will be offered.
What Language Are the Tours Conducted in ?
The tour language will be English. Other language guides are available on selected departures where stated (subject to minimum numbers) or on request at additional cost. Please contact us for more information.
What Is Included in the Price ?
All accommodation as per the itinerary, both onboard the train and in hotels; all meals starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day of the tour (on some tours this may differ slightly, please refer to the specific itinerary); a generous allowance of wine, beer, soft drinks and tea and coffee with all lunches and dinners both on and off the train (except where stated otherwise); all arrival and departure transfers; guided off-train sightseeing excursions; the services of experienced tour leaders; complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water 24 hours a day, all gratuities; the services of a doctor (except where stated otherwise).
What Is Not Included ?
International and domestic airfares, visa, excess baggage charges and insurance. Personal expenses such as drinks in the Bar Lounge Car or laundry are not included for Silver Class passengers. Gold Class passengers receive inclusive drinks from the Standard Bar List; Imperial Suite passengers receive inclusive drinks from the Standard and Premium Bar List and complimentary laundry service. On some tours there may also be an occasional optional activity to be paid for locally.
Is Insurance Included & Do I Need It ?
It is a booking condition that you must be fully insured for any medical expenses that may be incurred whilst travelling. Comprehensive travel insurance policies can be obtained from ABTASure. We recommend taking out cancellation insurance in case you are unable to travel for any reason. Please contact us for more details.
What Standard of Hotels Do You Use as Part of the Tour?
Hotel accommodation as described in the tour itinerary is included in the price of the tour. All hotels are of a 5-star standard or best available. Room upgrades are available on request, subject to availability and an additional cost.
Do I Need to Tip ?
All gratuities are included in the tour price and we encourage passengers to refrain from offering gratuities to crew/hoteliers/drivers etc as we will tip on your behalf. We would prefer passengers to inform our management of any exceptional service received, and Golden Eagle Luxury Trains will reward accordingly.
What Currency Will I Need to Bring ?
Currency on the train is US Dollars and Euros. Onboard the train passengers will not need much currency, but there are charges for laundry and bar bills. It is possible to run a ‘tab’ on board and make one payment at the end of the tour. If the bill is less than US$100, passengers will be required to make their payment in cash. International credit cards (VISA and MasterCard) are accepted for payments over US$100. We recommend passengers travel with small denominations and clean bills as marked or torn US Dollar bills are generally not accepted in Russia. Clients will need money for souvenirs and any shopping they choose to do off the train. This can be paid for in local currency and in some instances in US Dollars. Your Tour Manager and/or guides will advise you on how, and if necessary, where to change money.
Where & How Do I Obtain Visas ?
Most visas need to be applied for well in advance, and may require a visa support letter. It is vital that visa requirements are checked in good time as entry requirements and processing times vary depending on nationality. It is also important to check if a single, double or multiple entry visas are required for specific tours.
We will issue you with all the relevant information required to obtain the necessary visas. Most visas cannot be applied for more than 3 months prior to departure. You will need to be without your passport during the visa application process which can take several weeks.
We use the services of a visa support agency called CIBT VisaCentral. Please contact us for further information.
Can I Use Credit Cards & Travellers Cheques on the Trip ?
ATM machines are now available in all large towns and cities along our routes. All the hotels that we use accept major credit cards. Traveller’s cheques are virtually impossible to exchange.
Are Transfers Included ?
Arrival and departure transfers are included on all of our tours. Please ensure you advise us of your arrival and departure details so we can arrange your transfers.
What Happens When I Arrive at the Airport or Train Station ?
At the point of arrival, you will be met by one of our representatives who will be waiting with a Golden Eagle Luxury Trains sign. If arriving by air, this will be after immigration, once you have collected all your luggage and cleared customs. Our representative will then assist you to your transfer vehicle to the hotel.