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“Lovely train experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Premier Classe Train

Premier Classe Train
111 Cape Town, Cape Town Central, South Africa
086 000 8888
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Type: Scenic Railroads, Landmarks
Attraction details
Vancouver
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Lovely train experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

We took the Premier Class train from Joburg to Cape Town. We felt welcome and pampered from the moment we arrived at the departure lounge. It's a bit pricey (around $325 USD per person), but all your meals are included - the best meals we've ever had on a train. The staff make up your bed for you while you're having dinner, and then take your used sheets away while you're having your breakfast the next day. The bathrooms were always clean, and the showers ... let's just say, having a hot shower on a train while watching the Karoo desert scenery from the window was unforgettable. We booked our tickets through African Sun Travel - we'd highly recommend using their service, it was completely hassle-free.

Only two negatives: our train car was beside the smoking car, which required us to run over and close the smoking car doors anytime anyone entered or left it, otherwise our car smelled like a smoking car. Also, we ordered early morning coffee which never arrived. But these were minor inconveniences that were easily overshadowed by the rest of the trip, which was unforgettable.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Limassol, Limassol, Cyprus
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Premier Classe Train”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Thinking of a romantic train journey between Jo'berg and Cape Town. Don't bother. Started well but never lived up to the hype. The route we took had very bad tracks resulting in a very poor ride throughout the night, hence little sleep. Our couchette was nearest the smoking car and the smell was disgusting. Why not put the smokers nearest the smell they create? Staff did the minimum necessary and without any appearance of enjoying it. Finally we were over 3 hours late, with no apology. Cape Town station is a nightmare; our pre-booked collection had given up and when calling for any information on the actual arrival, the phone was never answered. Took over 30 minutes to get a 'taxi', which then took us to the wrong hotel. Take our advice and fly, drive, anything but the train. It needs a major sorting out before it is worth doing.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Media, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Good experience but never again”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Johannesburg train station is where the train departs. It would be a great location shot for a horror film. Watch your belongings and stare back. You show any weakness they will have your heirloom gold chain before you reach the train lounge. When you arrive at the Premier Classe lounge, it resembles a hospital waiting room in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. There are more people than chairs, the cheese tray looks like a science project. I'm gonna skip ahead to the train.. The start was promising with a little champagne upon boarding. Unfortunately though, our toast was derailed when we witnessed a man defecating on the side of the tracks. Your experience totals five locations: 1. your room 2. The dining car, 3. the bar car. 4. The toilet 5. The Shower. Lets begin with the room. The room is small and clean, but the air conditioning is insufficient. Its nearly impossible to sleep comfortably on the train due to the sound. Its exactly like sleeping on a fast moving train. The dining car was decent, however, much to my anxiety, we were assigned tables for the entirety of the trip and unfortunately, our table was the table of 'all day hangout' for the waitstaff. All day they sat at our table talking over our silverware, cups and glasses and then after five hours of animated conversation and maybe a sneeze here and there, we would arrive like two lambs for the viral slaughter. After numerous attempts to pretend drop my silverware, steal a fork from our absent neighbor, the solution was worse than the problem when I discovered that each attempt to acquire new silverware resulted in the waitress dipping my fork into the sink with unknown liquid and then giving it a 'that'a boy' wipeoff. I resorted to cleaning my silverware off with hand sanitizer. Food was generally good though. The bar car was empty and weird. I felt like I was in a train version of the Shining. There was one toilet for our car of about 20 peeps, it was pretty nasty. I strongly encourage you to strategically use the bathroom when you first board, then pray for no emergencies until you arrive in Capetown. The shower was ok. They gave you these slippers for use in your room, but I had to wear them into the shower to avoid my foot from touching the floor and its unknown chemistry. It was fun, no doubt due to the fact that we've never done this before, but never again. Its a hard night sleep, there is no entertainment, its a bit pricey and its not that clean in the common areas. If they tweaked some things, maybe had an entertainment car, invested in undercarriage sound deadening that many other overnight trains have and paid attention to cleanliness, this train could be a lot of fun. Overall, memorable but next time I'll take the middle seat in coach on the 2 hour flight.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Cape Town to JHB for Easter weekend”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

We were welcomed in the Premier classse lounge with coffee and cake. Our luggage was taken directly to our compartment. We boarded and the train left promptly at 9AM as advertised and we had welcoming snacks and champagne in the lounge. The entire experience was great. From the politeness of the staff, excellent meals and service to the fresh clean bedding robes & slippers. The train arrived in Johannesburg at 11.30AM the following morning(half hour late). I Can recommend to anyone who wants a leisurely trip to or from Cape Town. - Mae & Des Cape Town

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northumberland, England
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Could be so much better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

What a shame. This experience could have been so much better and is probably symptomatic of a state industry where staff are guaranteed a job and only doing the minimum required of them.
On the plus side:-
*The meals and wine were good
*The sleeping compartments are OK with clean bedding, robes and slippers provided and a wash basin disguised as a table - took us a while to discover this!
*Despite only one shower per carriage for a maximum of 12 people I found it good and was never unable to have a shower when I wanted one.
*The train consisted of a 4 sleeping cars, 2 dining cars, a non and smoking lounge/bar, and car transporter. On our trip there were just over 50 passengers on the whole train.
Despite a number of unscheduled stops, we arrived in J' berg on time
On the minus side:-
*Basic maintenance was lacking. Some blinds and curtains were missing, soap dispensers broken, toilets blocked easily etc. The a/c units seemed unable to cope with the Karoo heat. I mentioned this to the train manager - strangely dressed like a cossack - and was advised that I was mistaken and the units were working. Uh... no cold air!
*The staff were friendly but only seemed to do the minimum required. The lounge bar could have been the hub of social activity but there was never anyone behind the bar! and as a consquence was mainly empty. Staff spent a lot of time eating and drinking coffee in the dining car.
*Cleanliness left a lot to be desired. It all needed a good scrub especially in corners. In SA with massive unemployment and very low basic wages this shouldn't be a problem. Unions?
*Health and safety. I discovered one of the doors to the outside swinging open whilst the train was in motion. I shut the door, and advised the train manager but he didn't seem the least bit concerned. I expected him to at least do a head count - as I write this there could be someone lying on the tracks who had leaned against the door.
At Beaufort West we were encouraged to leave the train to stretch our legs during an engine change. My wife and I only got back on by the skin of our teeth! No train whistle or anyone checking that there was no one left on the platform.
*The tracks or wheels are uneven. We were rattled 'til our teeth chattered during the night which made sleep difficult. Take ear plugs!
Despite this - this is an experience which at just over £200 is good value. We met a couple who were on their 65th trip! Its such a pity that for a very little more effort and better marketing this experience could be so much better.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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