Travel Review: City Night Line Train, Munich to Venice Review

9 Oct

Traveling by night train was probably one of the best decisions we made on our trip. Eating up miles while we slept was hugely helpful, and I’d recommend it to anyone who might be traveling some distance during their trips. I will say that we splurged a bit on this and got a private cabin with its own bathroom. I think that the private cabin was a fantastic idea, and though the bathroom was probably not a necessity, we quite enjoyed it.

To start off, after we left Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau we took a train to Munich where we boarded the CNL to Venice. We were a bit confused at first because the train also serviced Budapest and a few other cities which we didn’t think should have been on the route–little did we realize our travels would take us around the Alps rather than over or through them! We went through quite a few different countries while we were asleep and barely registered it.

Anyway–back to Munich. The train was incredibly long, but the platform had some clearly labelled signs that helped to let us know where we needed to be. We were so grateful for that, because by the time the train left around midnight, we were exhausted and didn’t feel like running up and down the train trying to find our cabin.

When the train pulled up, we jumped on, and the attendant unlocked our door for us. The cabin was relatively small–but I mean, it’s a train, you can’t expect to have something the size of a hotel room on there! There was a single set of bunk beds and plenty of storage up top for our bags. Little pockets near each bed to put documents (or in my case, a glasses case), a socket so we could charge things, a main light and individual bed lights, plus an alarm system that the attendant used to wake us up in the morning.

Then there’s the bathroom, which had a toilet like an airplane toilet, a sink, and a shower. That was probably one of the coolest and most convenient things about having the bathroom–we could be totally refreshed and ready to go when we reached our destination. The shower was tiny and slow to drain, and you had to keep pushing a button to make the water come out (not a constant stream), but again–it’s a train, so what more could you ask for?

One thing I will say is that our cabin was hot! There was an air conditioner, supposedly, but it didn’t work. We didn’t end up asking the attendant about it, but I’m sure we could have. We ended up sleeping with the window open most of the night, which wasn’t too bothersome for us (we can barely sleep without white noise and air movement anyway–we had a fan on in our room at home all winter, despite the cold!).

The beds were comfortable enough that we did manage at least 5-6 hours of sleep each. I woke up a few times and noticed that it was mostly when we stopped–lack of movement must have jolted me awake. But we both felt well rested when we arrived in Venice, which is the most important thing.

Breakfast was served in the morning as part of our package–I’m not sure if breakfast is available to people in shared cabins or seats–and was relatively modest, but filling enough. It did come with an individual bottle of champagne each, presumably to make mimosas. We smuggled ours off and kept it for the evening.

All in all, a lovely experience on a CNL service. We arrived in Venice Santa Lucia well rested and ready to tackle the maze of Venetian canals. Taking a night train is a great way to tackle accommodation and ground travel all in one. Go to sleep and arrive in your next destination in the morning–can’t beat that.


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