Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian FAQs
China, Mongolia, Russia
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian FAQs
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian FAQs (Frequently asked questions). Correct as at 23 August 2016.
What is included in the price?
All accommodation as per the itinerary, both on 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, 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).
Golden Eagle Train: Imperial Suite passengers receive inclusive drinks from the Standard and Premium Bar List and complimentary laundry service. Gold Class passengers receive inclusive drinks from the Standard Bar List
Golden Eagle Danube Express all Bar Lounge drinks are inclusive at all times.
What is not included in the price?
International and domestic airfares, visas, excess baggage charges and insurance.
On the Golden Eagle train, personal expenses such as drinks in the Bar Lounge Car or laundry are not included for Silver Class passengers. On some tours there may also be an occasional optional activity to be paid for locally. Only cash payments onboard are accepted.
Who is responsible for booking flights?
Recommended that all flights are booked through your travel agent. In cases where this is not possible, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains can advise fares and book flights for UK-based passengers, using a third-party supplier. Advised that passengers do not book flights more than three months prior to tour departure.
Is insurance included and 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 our agent Campbell Irvine (restrictions may apply). We recommend taking out cancellation insurance in case you are unable to travel for any reason. Please contact us for more details.
What is the standard of hotels that I will stay in 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 additional cost.
Do I need to tip when I am on the tour?
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 board the Golden Eagle is US Dollars/Euros and only cash payments can be accepted. Each cabin has a safe in which to store any valuables. There will be little need for currency on board, other than for laundry, additional bar bills and on board souvenirs. It is possible to run a ‘tab’ on board and make one payment at the end of the tour.
For Golden Eagle Danube Express tours, the on board currency is Euros.
We recommend passengers travel with small denominations and clean dollar bills for use off the train, as marked or torn US Dollar bills are generally not accepted in Russia. You will only require money for souvenirs and any shopping you may wish 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.
Can passengers use/pay with credit cards and traveller's cheques?
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.
What happens when I arrive at the airport / 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.
What happens if I miss my flight, or I am 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.
Is there a recommended time of arrival on the first day?
Arriving between 11.00 and 16.00, in time for the Welcome Dinner, which is normally held between 19.00-20.00. Most hotels' check-in is 12 noon and early check-in is dependent on hotel availability (charges may apply). If your trip begins in Moscow, please allow 2-3 hours transfer time from the airport, as traffic can be notorious.
Is there a recommended time of departure on the last day?
You can leave at any time 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).
Do I need to make any special prior arrangements if I am 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. If you will be travelling with prescription medication, you must advise us at the time of booking so that we can inform the on board tour doctor in advance. This is particularly important for sedatives such as sleeping pills or strong pain killers, as these are often regarded as ‘narcotics’ in eastern European and central Asian countries.
For travel in Russia:
In June 2016, legislation was introduced requiring travellers bringing prescribed medicines into Russia to carry a prescription in the traveller’s name, plus the name of the drug and prescribed quantity. If this isn’t in Russian, a notarised translation is also required. Some medicines which you can buy over the counter in the UK or US may require a prescription in Russia. Check with the nearest Russian Embassy if you’re unsure whether you need a prescription to bring your medicines into the country.
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 any vaccinations required.
What is the average age of the passengers?
Although we have no age restrictions on our tours, the majority of our travellers are aged 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?
All our rail tours require a minimum number of passengers to operate. Should this not be reached, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains reserve the right to 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.
Reduced numbers on the Golden Eagle will mean more intimate groups and a shorter train, as we leave unfilled cars behind. Occasionally Russian Railways will be combining our Golden Eagle carriages with regular trains departing at similar times. Your onboard experience and off-train tours will be unaffected and, as there will be no connection between our carriages and the regular trains, the Golden Eagle carriages will remain totally private and you will not notice any difference to the quality, comfort and enjoyment of your holiday.
The maximum capacity for the Golden Eagle in Russia is 100 passengers, but many departures will operate with smaller passenger numbers. The Golden Eagle Danube Express has a maximum capacity of 64 passengers.
If your nationality is not included in this guide, please contact email@example.com for specific information about visa requirements.
Further instructions for all passengers will be provided in the visa update letter, which you will receive approximately 3 months prior to the tour departure.
In order to obtain the invitation letters, you should provide a scanned copy of your passport, in colour, and a passport-style photograph. The copies should be complete with no corners or edges missing and no blurred images.
*German citizens do not need a Mongolian visa.
On board the train
Are there any restrictions on the size and number of pieces of luggage?
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, the dress code on the Golden Eagle and Golden Eagle Danube Express is casual both on and off the train. In the evening we suggest smart casual.
For our winter tours on the Golden Eagle, we recommend Ski-type jackets and trousers and thermal underwear. We can provide hats, gloves and warm boots (so long as passengers advise us of their shoe size). The train itself is always well heated and normal indoor clothing can be worn.
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. along with a hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and towels.
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.
Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?
Most dietary requirements can be catered for. Please advise us of your requirements at the time of booking.
The Bar Lounge Car on the Golden Eagle and the Golden Eagle Danube Express is the social heart of the train, open to all passengers for as long as they wish.
What activities are available onboard?
On board 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.
On the Golden Eagle Danube Express there will be some afternoon activities on board the train. However most afternoons will be spent off the train exploring each destination.
Is there set seating in the dining car?
We operate a free seating policy. All passengers can choose where they sit for all meals and there will always be enough seats to accommodate all passengers in one sitting. Meals times will be advised in the daily programme supplied in your cabin each evening.
Can I dine in my cabin?
On the Golden Eagle, all guests are able to enjoy a light continental breakfast in their cabin. Imperial Suite guests can also request to eat dinner in the privacy of their cabin.
On the Golden Eagle Danube Express, all meals are enjoyed in the Restaurant Car.
Can I smoke on board the train?
The Golden Eagle and the Golden Eagle Danube Express are non-smoking trains, however there is a designated area at the back of each train where people are permitted to smoke.
Is internet available on the train?
On the Golden Eagle there is a Wi-Fi box on board, powered by a 3G sim. Coverage is limited and will usually be available as we pass through larger cities/towns. However, on all tours we aim to provide internet access in a local hotel or restaurant for passengers at least every other day.
What is the cell / mobile phone coverage like?
Mobile phone coverage may be limited in low populated areas. We recommend you check with your service provider for more information on coverage.
Will I need a plug adaptor?
On the Golden Eagle, each cabin has 110 V (dc) and 220 V (ac) sockets suitable for recharging video batteries and shaving. We also recommend packing spare camera batteries that you may require for your trip.
On the Golden Eagle Danube Express, each Deluxe cabin contains two 220v European two pin sockets. Heritage cabins contain one socket. It would be worthwhile bringing an adaptor if you are likely to need to plug in multiple appliances at once.
Are beauty treatments available onboard?
These are not available on either of our trains, but may be available in the hotels we use off the train.
Are there opportunities to exercise whilst on the tour?
Gym facilities are available in most of the tour hotels we use. There are no exercise facilities on board either of our trains. The tours themselves can involve a moderate degree of walking.
How do I make a booking?
Email us - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provisional reservations can be held for up to 7 days without payment. After this time confirmation is required or the cabin will be released. The deposit payment secures your place on the tour.
Is there a charge for using a credit card?
Yes, but you may find it less expensive to make a bank wire / transfer to the Luxury Train Club. Details on request. There is no additional charge for most debit cards.
When is the deposit due?
The deposit is due when you are ready to confirm your reservation. Deposit payments are non-refundable.
When is the final balance due?
The balance is due 60 days prior to departure. 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 the trains. You will not be issued with a train ticket or any travel vouchers.
Can we extend our holiday?
We have various pre and post tour extensions available for tours on the Golden Eagle or Golden Eagle Danube Express, including St Petersburg, Beijing, Gobi Desert and Shanghai. Please contact our office for further details.
Staff And Service
Is there a Doctor on board at all times?
Golden Eagle Luxury Trains provides a doctor on every tour, unless otherwise stated. The tour doctor travels with the train and passengers at all times and is available 24-hours a day for the duration of the tour. He or she is responsible for illnesses that arise during the trip and carries a medical kit to deal with immediate medical problems. If you are taking prescription medications, please bring sufficient supplies to last for the duration of the trip. Consultations and any treatment provided from the medical kit are free of charge.
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.
How will I know who the Tour Doctor is?
The Tour Doctor will introduce him or herself at the beginning of the tour, and will give a brief medical talk during the introductory meeting.
Do I need to make any special prior arrangements if I am travelling with medications?
If you are on any regular medication you must bring enough to last the duration of the trip. In June 2016, legislation was introduced requiring travellers bringing prescribed medicines into Russia to carry a prescription in the traveller’s name, plus the name of the drug and prescribed quantity. If this isn’t in Russian, a notarised translation is also required. Some medicines which you can buy over the counter in the UK or US may require a prescription in Russia. Check with the nearest Russian Embassy if you’re unsure whether you need a prescription to bring your medicines into the country.
This is particularly important for sedatives such as sleeping pills or strong pain killers, as these are often regarded as ‘narcotics’ in eastern European and central Asian countries. Please inform the Tour Doctor that you are travelling with prescription medication.
Do I need to inform you about my pre-existing medical condition before travelling?
It is not compulsory to inform us about your medical conditions, but we strongly advise you to bring a medical summary from your doctor if you have any ongoing health problems, to give to the tour doctor at the beginning of the tour. A medical summary of this nature can be invaluable in the event of an emergency. If you don’t wish to inform us about your medical condition, please speak to the tour doctor on the tour. We strongly advise you that you seek medical clearance prior to travelling.
Shall I inform you about my special diet requirements?
It is in our booking form that you are asked to provide your dietary requirements. We are able to arrange special meals only if we know about it in advance.
Are any special vaccinations required?
As with all overseas travel, you need to contact your GP or local travel clinic to get the most up to date information on what vaccinations are required. In addition to any travel vaccines that are advised, we strongly recommend that you are up to date with influenza vaccination.
How fit should I be in order to join the excursions?
It depends on the actual tour and the places we are visiting but you should be moderately fit in order to participate in excursions. There may be uphill and downhill gradients, uneven surfaces and multiple flights of stairs. On some days the touring and sightseeing may be less strenuous, on others it may be longer and more physically demanding. As the average age of our passengers is over 60 years of age, we try to ensure that the excursions suit all our clients. However if you feel you will have difficulties in finishing any particular trip or simply don’t want to join the group for whatever reason, you are welcome to stay on the train or in a hotel day room. Please speak to either the Tour Manager or a Tour Doctor in advance and they will be able to assist you.
What happens in the event hospital treatment is needed?
If inpatient 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. If required, we will get in touch with your relatives at home therefore it is important to provide us with an emergency contact. The Russian Railways have their own hospitals along the route. Any hospital investigation, treatment or in-patient admission will be at the passenger’s own expense, and the travel insurers should be involved at the earliest possible opportunity.
What happens if I am not able to finish the journey due to my health?
If the tour doctor, or the treating doctor in a hospital to which the passenger has been admitted advises that a passenger is not fit to travel on the tour, then tour management is obliged to make arrangements for repatriation. It is therefore essential that all passengers hold adequate travel insurance, which includes cover for medical treatment and repatriation costs, and that Golden Eagle Luxury Trains hold the details of the policy.
Should I bring any travel first-aid medication with me?
Although we carry a basic supply of medicine on the train you are advised to bring your own preferred brands of drugs to cover minor illnesses such as stomach upsets, colds, flu etc. We highly recommend visiting your GP prior the tour and get the stand-by course of the following:
-Loperamide for diarrhoea
-A broad spectrum antibiotic
-We also advise to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer
I use a wheelchair. Can I go on the tour and join all the excursions?
We welcome passengers with limited mobility, however we need to know in advance. We strongly advise you to contact our office or your travel agent for advice if you are a wheelchair user as there is a maximum size of wheelchair which will fit down the train corridors. If you 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.
Norovirus and common colds – useful information
Outbreaks of Norovirus are extremely common, second only to the Common Cold in the UK. Symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhoea, but some people may also experience headache, fever, tiredness and abdominal cramps (stomach ache) or bloating. These symptoms usually last between 1 to 3 days and generally resolve without treatment or long-term consequences. On average, the incubation period of the virus is 12 - 48 hours.
Clusters are only identifiable where people share facilities day-to-day in close proximity. If the virus were to take hold on a train tour or cruise ship, it would be to the detriment of all aboard.
The virus is primarily spread from person to person, and can easily be caught from fixtures if recently touched by an infected person. In the unlikely event that the virus is introduced to the train, we are committed to minimising all possibility of its spread. The crew of all Golden Eagle trains strive to maintain the highest standards of hygiene. This said, extra vigilance in all aspects of personal hygiene is of vital importance.
Frequent, diligent hand washing with soap and hot water is highly recommended, as this is the single most effective procedure to prevent the spread of any infection. Please also always use the hand gel provided on board, especially before entering the restaurants.
If you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms, please stay in your cabin and contact your cabin attendant without delay. Our doctor will visit you in your cabin and provide immediate treatment, reassurance and containment.
While we seek to reassure all that the possibility of Norovirus becoming an issue on any tour is limited; we feel it important that you are made aware of the facts.
Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others
Symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches and body aches. Most people recover within about 7-10 days, but the cough can last up to 18 days or longer, and most importantly, colds do not get better with antibiotics.
Many different viruses can cause the common cold, but rhinoviruses are the most common.
Transmission is by direct contact with infected nasal secretions, contaminated objects or via airborne droplets (aerosols). Hand-to-hand and hand-to-surface transmission is the most frequent and significant form of spread, and the viruses may survive more than 18 hours on objects in the environment. Colds are most infectious during the first three days of symptoms, much less so afterwards.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
Quarantine or isolation have not been shown to be effective to prevent the spread of colds. If you have a cold, you should follow these tips to prevent viruses from spreading to other people:
Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.
Move away from people before coughing or sneezing.
Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose
Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
To help reduce your risk of getting a cold:
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands - Viruses can enter your body this way and make you sick.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
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 on board 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.
Who is the guide for off-train tours?
We provide local English speaking guides.
Are the guides English-Speaking?
Yes, the local guides speak English as well as the on board 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 the 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.
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. Each touring group is split into a maximum of 25 passengers to one guide.
Can passengers make a request to see the engine and/or drive?
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.
Contact us to make a booking or to ask for more Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian FAQs information
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