On November 9 international travel firm Thomas Cook announced a long-term agreement to charter the new luxury Indian Maharaja-Deccan Odyssey, the nation's first privately operated luxury tourist train, which will commence its maiden voyage November 18.
Thomas Cook will charter the train from November through April for the next five years, an unusual move, according to the company, as they normally act as agents rather than operators.
The travel company will take control of operations beginning November 18, when the train departs Mumbai for the first time, finishing in Delhi. The trip allows passengers to see famed sites such as the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and National Park, Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir Palace and more.
The Luxury Trains Group's new jewel is a throwback to the bygone refinement of the Orient Express, featuring 11 passenger cars, two Presidential Suite cars which replicate a five-star hotel room, a conference car/dance floor, two restaurant cars and a spa car.
Thomas Cook announced the train is already fully booked for January, February and the Easter holiday in April, but seats are still available for the end of this year.
Prices for the seven-day trip begin at $500 (€330) per person and $950 (€630) for the Presidential Suite.
The train's hospitality and food service will be run by the Taj Hotel Group, a global luxury hotel and resort company.
On January 9 a second affiliated luxury train, the Maharaja's Express, will launch its first seven-night, eight-day itinerary that commences in Mumbai and terminates in Delhi. The return trip will offer a different route, running from Delhi to Kolkata.