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Premium and classy service from Premier Classe
Last weekend I got a chance to experience a long distance trip in PRASA‘s Premier Classe train service once more. When I received an invite a few days before the trip was to take place, my mind went straight back to a similar experience back in 2012 when the premium train service transported us to the Metro FM Awards in Mpumalanga. All the memories from that trip came rushing back. I had to get into that space again. And to entice me even more, this time we would be going to my hometown of Durban.
The invitation mentioned something about the train taking some attendees of the Tourism Indaba Conference that opened on Saturday at the ICC in Durban. But upon further enquiry, it turned out the media that PRASA invited didn’t have to attend the conference. This exercise was solely planned for the experience of the journey from Johannesburg to Durban. Quickly, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see my family, what with Sunday being Mothers Day too.
We were scheduled to depart from Park Station at 18:30, but I got there just after 5pm to make sure checking in was a breeze. While chilling at the check in lounge, scores of people started arriving. One of them was none other than actors Hlomla Dandala and Sipho Masebe (aka C-GA, also a music artist). We chilled in the lounge until we assembled to be briefed by Lawrence Venkile, the Head of Marketing and Communications as well as spokesperson for PRASA. Venkile, who traveled with us, extended a warm welcome to all the guests of Premier Classe and briefly relayed what their intentions and objectives were for embarking on this exercise.
A short while later, we boarded the train, taking residency in our respective cabins/coaches as per check in certificates/tickets. The excitement was in the air as everybody got the first glimpse of the space they’ll be spending the majority of their next 48 hours. The first thing that appealed and felt special to me was seeing my name on the door of my cabin. After settling down, the staff knocked on each door to notify us that dinner was about to be served in the dining coach.
Just as I remembered it, the dining coach was neatly and beautifully set up. Having made acquaintance with a couple of people, I joined them on their dining table. We enjoyed a delicious four-course meal. The starter was Morogo soup that tasted heavenly. This was followed by a second course, made of Kingklip fish with tomato slices and lettuce. For the main coarse, beef sirloin steak, coupled with peas and boiled potatoes, boiled pineapple and baby tomatoes, were prepared. And to finish the meal off, malva pudding and custard served as dessert. Pleasant conversation was the order of the day as we immensely enjoyed our dinner.
For the rest of the evening, we partied on the disco coach. DJ Sir Juice tried his best, despite his lack of hits to spin for us, to get us to dance. Well, a lot of people really got down. But, the atmosphere and the company aboard the train was a catalyst for our enjoyment of our time there. Oh, not to forget that the open bar probably had a lot to do with it too, because drinks were flowing from the time we got to the disco coach until we went to bed well after 02:00.
At about 06:30, we were woken up to be told that breakfast was ready to be served. I quickly dashed into the bathroom on our coach to take a shower. By the time I was done, the majority of fellow passengers were already enjoying their breakfast. I joined in, starting the most important meal of the day with muesli, warm milk and yogurt. This was followed by a big breakfast consisting of mince, fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes, cucumber, served with brown toasted bread.
After breakfast we were informed that we need to be off the train by 09:00 as the train was due to make a stop in Umkomaas. We did not need to be worried though as a whole day’s plan was made. Well, it may not have been as perfectly organised, according to the recollection of the day by those I spoke to afterwards, but there were activities to be down in and around Durban. Like I mentioned above, I had plans of my own for the day. I took this opportunity to do some shopping for Mothers Day. I dashed into the South, in Amanzimtoti, did what I had to do; then headed to the north to see my family and relatives.
We were asked to congregate at Durban Station by 17:00 that same day, so I made sure I was there before the train departed back for Johannesburg. During our trip back, I learnt that the rest of the gang enjoyed their excursion to Ushaka Marine World where they even got a chance to swim. I also believe they got some time to party at Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi.
I made it on time for departure. After settling in again, I rejoined the masses at the lounge where some were enjoying some drinks, ad others a Fourplay concert that was playing the on the flat screen TV mounted on the wall of the lounge coach.
A few moments later, we headed back into the dining coach to have our dinner. Again, we were treated to a 4-course meal, just like the previous night. However, there was a slight difference on the menu this time around.
I was tired from the driving around during the day, so I thought I’d escpae the partying on Sunday evening. It wasn’t meant to be as my newly-found friends persuaded me to join in the festivities. Surprisingly, I ended up having a great time. It helped that DJ Sir Juice was playing some soulful sounds (jazz, R&B and soul) thit time, a playlist perfect for some relaxation on a Sunday evening. We stayed in the disco coach talking about music until the early hours of the morning.
Later that morning, just before we arrived back in Johannesburg, and disembarked from the Premier Classe train, we enjoyed a ful breakfast once more.
It was an absoutely fantastic weekend, thanks to PRASA and their Premier Classe train servince. Actually, that whole week had been a great one. What a way to end it off with a luxurious and classy experience on a luxury and premium train. The fact that I got to see my mother on Mothers Day, even though it was just for a brief moment, made it even more special. Thanks again to Mr Venkile and Xolisa Sokupo for hooking the trip up.
When you think of taking a long distance trip, whether to visit family, or to a holiday, Premier Classe should definitely be given a thought as your mode of transport. The prices are reasonable too, way better than that of an airplane. Like I said, we travelled only at night, so I can only imagine the beauty of our land one can see when travelling during the day. So, your next Shot’ Left experience should be by a Premier Classe train.
Go to Premier Classe for information on available routes and bookings.
Here are more pictures from the trip: