Mumbaiites get set for royal beginning to the New Year | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mumbaiites get set for royal beginning to the New Year

mumbai Updated: Dec 28, 2011 01:57 IST
Soubhik Mitra

About 30 high-end travellers from the city will kick-off their New Year's Eve party with a red carpet welcome and a musical salute by a royal band when they board the Maharaja Express from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on Saturday afternoon.

According to the data from the Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd, the company that operates Maharaja Express, a year-old luxury cruise train from Mumbai to Agra, 50% of the bookings on the eight-day train journey are from the city.

Last year, the majority of travellers for the journey during the New Year weekend were foreigners. "The number of bookings from Indians has been significantly high this year. Half the number of travellers are Indian," said Arup Sen, director, RIRTL.

All 73 seats available for the Princely India tour from Mumbai to Agra were sold out well in advance, said RIRTL officials.

The eight-day tour covers cities with rich royal history such as Vadodara, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaipur and Jodhpur. The tour also offers meals at the top-notch five star properties such as the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.

The cost of the journey per person ranges from Rs 3.79 lakh ($7160) for a deluxe cabin to Rs10.60 lakh ($20,000) for a presidential suite.

Tour operators said although the depreciating value of the Indian rupee had an impact on various travel packages over the past two months, the Maharaja Express has been an exception. "We were surprised because the number of enquiries were significantly high compared to the tickets available," said a Delhi-based travel agent requesting anonymity.

Better promotion activities within India were one of the factors responsible for generating local interest for the tour said RIRTL officials.

Post its launch last August; the company's promotion campaigns mainly targeted foreign tourists.

The tour is promoted as 'Luxury travel like no other' and not without reason. The Maharaja Express has 88 passengers living in suites fit for a prince. All food and drinks are complimentary. Every cabin has large panoramic windows to allow tourists to get a feel of the country. All cabins have individual temperature control.