'Orient Express': The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train, Europe -- will depart from Paris to Portofino across two days in June.
All change: The new service is being introduced after last November's end to the classic upscale railway company's British Pullman service which linked the Paris-Venice route to London.
Hot spots: This new route will start in Paris at 3 p.m., wind through France past Dijon, Lyon and Avignon, and then trundle along the Côte d'Azur, before crossing into Italy.
Fine dining: Menus on boared the train will be planned by Michelin-starred chef Jean Imbert, and any imbibing will be accompanied by either the resident pianist or a swing band in the evening.
Big ticket: Prices start from around $8,525 per person for the three nights, but this being Belmond, passengers will get a lot of swank for their buck.
Destination Italy: The end of the tracks will be in Santa Margherita Ligure, the gateway town to Portofino at 1 p.m. the following day.
Riding in comfort: For those wanting to really push the boat (or train) out, there are eight new suites on board that debuted in 2023.
One-way: The tickets for the train only go in one direction. The return journey will have to be made by regular trains if travelers want to stay on track.
Down the line: It'll be the first time that the train has visited the Italian Riviera, but it won't be the last. It's planned to be an annual event, with 2025 dates to be confirmed.

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CNN  — 

In travel news this week, a European airline is weighing passengers before takeoff, the new luxury train trip that costs $8,500 one way, and how Ukraine keeps its railways running, two years into the war.

Life on the rails

In June 2024, the world’s most iconic luxury train route — the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express — will be heading to Italy’s Ligurian coast for the first time in its long and prestigious history. Those illustrious carriages will be rolling from Paris to Portofino on a two-day journey. The price tag, for those whose budgets stretch to it, is $8,500 one way.

Elsewhere in Europe, a direct train route between Italy and Slovenia is being revived after more than 100 years, with the launch of a new high-speed seven-hour service from Milan to Ljubljana on the cards “as soon as possible.”

In South Africa, the buzz is around a train that goes precisely nowhere. Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge is a hotel in Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves. A set of train carriages has been renovated into 24 modern suites with balconies and a pool overlooking the Sabie River, offering the chance of breathtaking sightings of wildlife, including Africa’s “Big Five.”

And in Ukraine, the country’s railways are still running after two years of war. With air travel impossible, here’s how trains have become a lifeline for long-distance journeys.

News from the skies

Taylor Swift’s private jets have been in the news this week almost as much as the star herself. Amid a flight-tracking drama in which the singer’s team threatened legal action against a Florida student who keeps tabs on the private jet usage of celebrities, including Swift, the singer was reported to have sold her Dassault Falcon 900LX.

However, it’s her larger Dassault Falcon 7X she’s expected to use when flying from Tokyo to Las Vegas to catch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the Super Bowl this weekend. One problem she could have is finding a parking space (around 1,000 private jets are reported to be flying into town) and the other will be jet lag. Here are some coping tips for that, whether you’re a Grammy-winner or an average traveler.

European airline Finnair has started weighing passengers before they board the plane, along with their carry-on bags and their heavy coats ready for a Nordic winter. The trial is to help the airline refine weight estimates before takeoff, and they adjust it by season.

Warm coats also played a role in helping save six flamingo eggs on board a flight from Atlanta to Seattle over the summer, after a quick-thinking flight attendant and several passengers came to the rescue when the eggs’ incubator stopped working. The baby flamingos are now thriving at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

Finally, a Canadian was arrested in Thailand on February 7 for allegedly opening a plane door and deploying the evacuation slide. The incident caused delays affecting around 2,300 passengers.

Destination inspiration

There are more than 220,000 miles of coastline in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook — so why is it that someone always puts their beach towel right next to yours?

If you want to escape the crowds, Mexico’s long-overlooked Riviera Nayarit, on the Pacific coast, has blossomed into a low-density luxury travel destination. Some of the biggest names in hospitality are showing up and perhaps you should too.

Just off the coast of East Africa, the 50 islands that make up the archipelago of Zanzibar are diverse and culturally vibrant. UNESCO-protected Stone Town is the jumping-off point for most visits.

If you’re taking to the air so you can hit the coast, then you could do with a travel-friendly beach tote that can double as a carry-on bag. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have gathered up 15 of their favorites.

Lunar New Year

VCG/Getty Images
Aerial view of folk artists performing dragon dance on February 11, in Huaian, China.
Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
People celebrate Lunar New Year in Manila, Philippines, on February 10.
Roberto Tuero/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Dancers pose for a photo during the Lunar New Year celebration in the Chinatown of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on February 10.
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Dallas Mavericks celebrate the Lunar New Year with performers during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on February 10, in Dallas, Texas.
Liu Siwei/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images
Fireworks explode over Tengwang Pavilion to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 10, in Nanchang, China.
Andrei Bok/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
People take selfies as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 10.
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Traditional stilt walkers, or gaoqiao, wait to take part in a performance at a local temple fair in Beijing on February 10.
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People attend Lunar New Year festivities in New York City's Chinatown on February 10.
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Members of a dragon dance team take part in a parade to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 10, in Hongcun Village, China.
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A performer breathes fire during Lunar New Year celebrations at Binondo district, considered the world's oldest Chinatown, on February 10, in Manila, Philippines.
Lam Yik/Reuters
People place offerings on a wishing tree in Hong Kong on February 10.
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3,000 drones form a giant dragon pattern over Tianfu International Convention Centre to ring in the Year of the Dragon on February 10, in Chengdu, China.
Johanes P. Christo/NurPhoto/Getty Images
People attend prayers for Lunar New Year at Satya Dharma Temple in Bali, Indonesia, on February 10.
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People try to catch red envelopes next to a lion figurine during celebrations in Chinatown in Manila, Philippines. on February 10.
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Diners at a restaurant watch a lion dance in the Chinatown area of Yokohama, Japan, on February 10.
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People light candles and pray for good fortune to mark the eve of the Lunar New Year at Leng Noei Yi Temple, or Dragon Lotus Temple, in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 9.
Dicky Bisinglasi/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Barongsai Lion Dance entertains students at Widiatmika School in Jimbaran, Indonesia on February 7.
Liu Xin/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images
A woman walks past dragon-themed lanterns in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China on February 7.
Zhang Yu/China News Service/VCG/AP
A man takes photos of blooming plum blossoms at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China on February 5.
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Performers dance in the Grebeg Sudiro festival as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Solo City, Indonesia on February 4.
Johanes P. Christo/NurPhoto/AP
Lanterns set up for celebrations at Dharmayana Temple in Bali, Indonesia on February 3.
Zhang Cheng/VCG/Getty Images
Crowds flock to the Spring Festival Light Show in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China on February 3.
Wu Wenjun/VCG/Getty Images
A lantern fair illuminates Guangzhou in China's southern Guangdong Province on February 3.
Axel Miranda/SOPA Images/Sipa/Reuters
Dragon dance performers take a quick break during the Lunar New Year Parade in Barcelona, Spain on February 3.
Stringer/VCG/Getty Images
Lanterns and light installations illuminate the City Walls in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China on February 1.
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Workers assemble dragon lanterns at a production workshop in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China on January 24.

The Lunar New Year is upon us this weekend. Check out our Chinese zodiac fortune predictions for the Year of the Dragon and then learn more about China’s spectacular dragon dance.

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