How to be an Eco-Friendly Cruiser

Going on a cruise can feel like a more eco-friendly solution to traveling compared to the thousands of air miles flying across the planet. However, that doesn’t mean that a cruise doesn’t come with its own carbon footprint.

If you want to put the planet first for now and future generations, follow these tips to ensure you’re as eco-friendly and ocean loving as possible.

Power Usage

As on land, your use of electricity affects the planet. Wasting electricity is a definite no-no if you want to help conserve the planet’s resources. Turn off or limit the use of lights, air conditioning and other electrical items if it’s not necessary to have them on.

Reusable Bottles

It’s no secret that plastic harming to the planet. While it usually feels that such a massive problem is too big for one person to handle or have an impact on, remember that plastic pollution is avoidable. Did you know that by 2040, the amount of plastic expected to end up in the planet’s oceans is estimated at 29 million metric tons!?

Have a guilt-free and plastic bottle-free cruise by bringing a stainless steel, reusable water bottle. If you can refill your reusable one, there’s no point in buying loads of plastic water bottles along the way. You’ll save yourself money, and you’ll be helping the unnecessary negative impact of plastic pollution.

Your Towels

If it feels like a holiday luxury to use a towel once, have housekeeping wash it, and offer you a new one, that’s because it is! It’s a luxury because, after just one use, a towel isn’t likely to be very dirty at all. And on a cruise full of hundreds of people, that’s a lot of towels and wasted water.

So do your bit for the planet, and instead of a new daily towel, just hang it on the handrails or behind the door so housekeeping knows not to offer you a new one. If for some reason they don’t, simply ask them – the same goes for bedsheets that may be changed daily.


Remember that littering on a cruise is the same as littering anywhere else! Per day, a cruise with approximately 6000 people can generate masses of waste, including 14 tons of dry waste.

So think before you buy: Should you buy the item covered in plastic wrapping? Think before you throw plastic in the rubbish: Can you recycle your wrappings?

And never litter. Any of it, no matter the size might end up into the ocean, and you’ll be responsible for polluting these beautiful places you visit.

And Finally…

Being an eco-friendly cruise passenger requires the same logic as being environmentally friendly on shore. Be considerate, think and take the responsibility seriously. It’s not difficult, even on holidays you’re ultimately sure to lessen your environmental impact – and inspire others to do the same.

Escorted Heritage Rail Tours

The Ins and Outs!

Since 2016, Cruise Express has successfully run a myriad of escorted heritage rail journeys that combine the wonderful experience of heritage train travel with the delights and highlights of touring regional Australia. We join regional festivals, visit farms and wineries, enjoy private tours and performances and dine in terrific and authentic local restaurants

Demand for this style of travelling has increased as our clients experience not only the destination but the joy of travel itself!

Why do our clients love heritage train journeys?

There is a nostalgic romanticism about heritage trains, a step back in time to a bygone era like no other. Many of our clients remember the trains of yesteryear and in many cases have actually travelled on them in the past. Time and time again we also hear that there is a wonderful camaraderie onboard and people make lasting friendships on our tours.

A journey on a heritage train is a step back to a time of glamour, buffets and restaurant cars, first-class lounges, railway restaurants as well as the ‘fastest’ and ‘firsts’ that helped these national treasures be sealed in our psyche.  


Who runs the show? 

The organisations that manage the preservation, restoration and conservation of Australia’s heritage trains are mostly self-funded and run by a small but dedicated group of volunteers. The organisations rely heavily on funding from our charters, private donations and revenue from their own tours. Cruise Express collaborates with these groups, organising all the touring, accommodation, and dining to create a seamless rail holiday experience.

The staff and volunteers are often current or ex-railway workers and possess special skills as boilermakers, drivers, engineers, carpenters/train outfitters and those with knowledge of rail safety operations. Many are usually entirely unpaid for their time.

Some carriages date back to the middle of last century if not further, and are often in much the same condition as when they left service decades ago, showing an amount of wear and tear as part of their long history. Many spare parts are no longer manufactured, so when something goes wrong, this is where the dedicated volunteers’ creative abilities come into play.

While 21st-century technology is evolving at a rapid pace, raising awareness and educating the public on the importance of preserving our railway history is paramount. Additionally, passing these skills on to younger generations is critical for the survival of the heritage train industry, and it can only be done with continued interest and funding.

What to expect?

Heritage rail journeys are often thought to be part of current Government Railway operations, but being privately owned and operated, the discounts and benefits often offered on public transport regrettably don’t apply.

Another misconception is that heritage trains are able to run and stop almost wherever which is far from the case. Each train journey will have carefully allocated stops, working around all other trains and activities on the network including passenger and freight trains and track work.

One charming aspect many don’t expect is that most rail motors and some rail carriages are from an era before air-conditioning became commonplace. This means the windows can open, providing a unique connection between the traveller and their surroundings.


For those that have mobility issues, it is important to keep in mind that heritage trains were designed and built long before mobility concerns were factored in. Regrettably therefore, doorways and corridors are often not wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs or walking frames. Onboard lavatories and bathrooms are also small.

Australia’s heritage trains truly are rare survivors of a long-lost era, and we are lucky to have access to them.

To find out more about our range of upcoming heritage rail journeys, please visit our rail page or call our Travel Specialists on 1300 766 537.

We look forward to welcoming you onboard!


How to Slow Down Fast

Slow travel is a new trend in travel

Time is a precious commodity today, amidst the breakneck pace of modern life. This is why slow travel has become one of the fastest-growing holiday trends right across the globe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Australia, where our vast landscapes offer a compelling opportunity to stop and take stock of our surroundings. And what better way to do just that than by embarking on a heritage rail journey back in time? In this spirit, Cruise Express has your ticket to slowing down, fast.

Pioneering this nostalgic mode of travel, Cruise Express transports passengers to the golden era of travel. Unique heritage rail and sail experiences are specially designed to help you switch off and slow down. Like the new ‘Southern Aurora’ tour, which takes you on an eight-day adventure by sea and rail – traversing the country from Sydney to Tasmania, Melbourne and back. Daydream out the window from your private compartment aboard the historic ‘Southern Aurora’ train and disconnect from your devices; or laze on deck aboard Australia’s latest cruise ship, Explorer Dream and let the meditative ocean calm you down.

By offering a unique combination of rail and sail adventures, you are able to reconnect with old world pleasures. Travelling by rail is particularly peerless in its grounded potential. You will embark and alight in the centre of town, journeying through gentle, eye-pleasing scenery along the way. In this sense, rail travel proves both comfortable and relaxing. Which makes it the perfect way to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of your journey – without the highly-strung pressures of modern-day life.

If you’re from Melbourne, we also offer a chance to recharge close to home through our ‘Northern Explorer’ rail and sail tour – taking you along the eastern seaboard to Sydney by rail and back by sea.

Or venture further afield with international steam train journeys like their ‘British Isles Rail & Sail’ experience. Once aboard, you will have the chance to travel through gorgeous countryside, visiting some of the remotest corners of England and Wales. Take in the russet and gold tones of the great moors of West Country, for instance, and seek solace in the rolling hills of Snowdonia National Park. Gaze up at the clouds or across vast plains as you relish the relaxing simplicity of travel – just as it used to be.

Nature often acts as our most powerful reminder that time is incredibly precious, and we can bring you closer to nature at every turn. So set your sights on a slower speed and take the time that you deserve to return to some of the simpler things in life.

All aboard!

* For details on the exclusive rail holidays offered by Cruise Express, 
click here.

Environmentally Friendly Steam

Keeping the Steam Dream Green

The Steam Dreams Rail Co. was the first rail charter to be carbon neutral and we are proud of our commitment to ensure our trains do not damage the environment.

Every time Steam Dreams Rail Co. run a steam charter (around 60 times a year) they make a donation to an organisation called Eco-Act, which invests in carbon reduction projects, to offset the carbon emissions that steam engines produce.

So for example, if trips produced 100 tonnes of carbon emissions through the use of coal, this can be can offset this by purchasing 100 tonnes of carbon credits to reduce the carbon impact to zero (to become carbon neutral).

Eco-Act’s carbon reduction projects usually take place in developing countries, in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry. Each of their projects removes a measurable amount of greenhouse gasses or prevents the emissions in the first place, to reduce the total concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that contribute to climate change.

Projects are carefully monitored and verified so that each tonne of greenhouse gas reduction can be certified as a carbon offset credit, giving total peace of mind that offsetting is transparent and effective.

In 2019, Steam Dreams are investing in a solar power project in India. This project provides the following positive impacts:

  • Provision of jobs in local communities across India for the construction and operation of solar plants;
  • Improvement to the livelihoods of families employed by the projects;
  • Awareness-raising of the impacts of climate change and how to mitigate them;
  • Reducing the reliance on energy generation from fossil assisting communities across India to gain access fuels to renewable and sustainable sources of electricity.

If you are interested in learning more about Steam Dreams Rail Co. UK journeys, please call Cruise Express today on 1300 766 537 or visit our website today.

A Little Rail with a Big History!

Spectacularly Australian

Although we are relatively young, Australia is full of rich diversity and intriguing history, and our railways are a testimony to that!

Here are some interesting facts about what was happening in Australia in 1907:

  • NSW Rugby Football League was formed in Sydney, introducing League to Australia for the first time
  • The first telephone call was made between Sydney and Melbourne
  • The first Australian exhibition of art by women was held in Melbourne
  • Edward VII was on the throne and Alfred Deakin was Prime Minister
  • The Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club was formed
  • Traveling to London took 5-6 weeks one way
  • And, the Victorian Railways A2 Class steam locomotive was introduced (see photo below)!

A few other key dates for Australian railway history buffs are outlined below:

1907 – ‘Yarra’ Parlor Car

Built in 1907 for the Sydney or Melbourne Express, this is one of two cars built for the service where first class passengers paid extra to be seated in the Parlor Car. The car has an observation balcony at one end, a large lounge and two compartments.

Placed in storage in 1937 until the late 60s this car is a rare and spectacular survivor.


1907 – Locomotive A2 986

Entering service in 1907, A2 986 is the sole operable survivor of 125 locomotives in the class. For over forty years, the A2 class was the main express passenger locomotive on the Victorian Railways, hauling intrastate and interstate services.  

A2 986, was withdrawn on 2 December 1963. Put on display in a park in Warragul it was rescued in the mid-80s and taken to Newport for restoration – a process that took nearly 30 years!

Today, this former express locomotive is back in top form and ready to take Cruise Express passengers travelling on The Rail Spectacular in July 2019, for a full day of steam hauled fun. On this tour, the A2 986 will become the first A2 class in over 56 years to haul by itself between Ballarat and Melbourne via Bacchus Marsh.


1912 – State Car 4

Built in 1912, State Car 4 was based on the then state of the art wooden E type carriage design. It features an observation balcony at one end, Governors and Ladies bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, Gents and Ladies bathrooms and accommodation for Ladies in Waiting and other support staff.

Ride in a car that has literally been used by royalty!

The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), on the balcony of State Car 4 in 1927.

1956 – Locomotive 4204

Based on an American design, the 42 class entered service in NSW in 1956 as the first ‘streamlined’ locomotives in the state. Hauling well-known passenger trains of the time including the ‘Brisbane Limited’ and ‘Intercapital Daylight’, by the late 70s they had been superseded by more modern and powerful locomotives.

The 4204 was withdrawn in 1983 and entered preservation with Lachlan Valley Railway. One of two remaining in service, this locomotive represents a long-gone era when style mattered and everyone travelled by train.

If you are interested in experiencing any and all of these locomotives and carriages, Cruise Express runs steam and diesel Heritage Rail (& Sail) journeys throughout Australia throughout the year. If you are lucky you will have the opportunity to visit heritage rail yards where you can go behind the scenes and meet the volunteers who dedicate countless hours to keep these remarkable trains going – for our pleasure!

Click here for more information about this tour.