As the end of the season draws near for the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the Chief Steward shares a rare insight into what it’s like to work aboard this iconic train.
“I think there is something incredibly romantic about train travel. Reminiscent of a bygone era, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) captures this wholeheartedly and my role as Chief Steward is to ensure the service and smooth running of the journey allow guests to sit back and enjoy this sense of old-world charm.
“The Chief Steward is always the last one to bed at night and the first one up in the morning. I instinctively know where we are and if we are on time. Although travelling through 12 countries, each with different train timetables, speed limits and border regulations can be complicated, our guests on board VSOE generally glide through the borders.
“We have 43 staff members on hand to see to the guests’ every need. I oversee the 13 stewards, who each look after their own cabin, and the filling of the boilers with coal to provide hot water and heating in typical 1920s style, using 4,000 kilos of coal each season. I can easily cover 20km each journey, just walking between cabins.
“What I love about the VSOE is that it’s a journey of occasion. I am often asked to help people surprise their partners en route, arranging for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered at the next station or setting the scene for a proposal. Every trip is different; different guests, different experiences and a different adventure.”
Voted Best Train in the World in the Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards 2015, there's no better time to experience true indulgence on the rails. Find out more about this year’s journeys, departing until 2 November, or discover our 2016 schedule including a new route to Berlin.