Can you provide suggestions for my train travel?

wife and I,senior citizens, are planning on attending the croke bowl in Dublin, aug 30, 2014. we would like to go to London, Brussels, paris, and or marceilles, Monaco and Barcelona before returning to the usa. we also would like to go via first class, and use the chunnel. what is our best option as this will probably be our last time visiting this part of Europe. we plan on spending the entire month of sept 2014 pm . and thx to all that help us make this a trip of a lifetime.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 01, 2013 21:05
    Hi James,

    There is no rail pass that would combine the United Kingdom with any countries on the mainland continent of Europe. Travel from Ireland directly over to Great Britain would be done by taking a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales. To cover this ferry, we issue a ticket called the 'BritRail Irish Sea Crossing'. You can purchase the BritRail Irish Sea Crossing here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/... .

    This ticket is an open voucher that you would use to board any of the ferries between Holyhead and Dublin operated by 'Stena Line'. Actual schedules for the ferry can be found by clicking on the 'FAQ' tab once you have accessed the page for the BritRail Irish Sea Crossing ticket. If you wish, you can call Stena directly at +353 (0) 12 047 777 to make actual reservations to go along with your ticket. The Stena website is www.stenaline.com.

    You would then purchase regular tickets to get you from Holyhead to London. You would purchase tickets and check schedules by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. Trains in the United Kingdom generally can only be booked within 60 to 75 days of an intended date of departure. Since your intended travel falls outside of this time frame, you would just enter a date within the next 60 days to get an idea of cost and view schedules when searching this route on our site.

    Since France is no longer able to be included on the Eurail Select Pass (the pass that enables travelers to be covered in 3, 4, or 5 bordering countries in continental Europe), I would recommend only purchasing a rail pass to cover the portion of your rail travel that's in France and Spain. The dual country passes that include France are still in existence, so you would be able to purchase the Eurail France-Spain Pass to cover you for your travel between Paris, Marseille, Monaco, and Barcelona.

    You can check costs for and purchase the Eurail France-Spain Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket... .

    The pass would also enable you to purchase reservations on the train from Brussels to Paris at a rate called the 'Passholder 2' rate, but you would still need to purchase regular point-to-point tickets for the Eurostar train from London to Brussels.

    You would refer back to 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage to purchase the regular tickets for the Eurostar from London to Brussels. The Eurostar train is unique in that it can generally be booked 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure. The best rates on this train sell out quickly, so it would be recommended to purchase these tickets as soon as it becomes possible.

    On the trains from Brussels to Paris, the Passholder 2 rate is a special rate to allow passengers in possession of a rail pass that only covers one of the countries being traveled through to still take the train at a discounted cost. To ensure you are purchasing the reservations at a Passholder 2 rate for a direct train from Brussels to Paris, you would take the following steps:

    1.) You would do a search for the individual train under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' and indicate the type of pass you are traveling with when prompted (you would just type 'Eurail France-Spain Pass').

    2.) You would then locate a direct train and click on 'View' listed with the costs that are shown for your preferred train.

    3.) After you've clicked on 'View', you would then refer to where it says 'Ticket Flexibility'. Underneath 'Ticket Flexibility', you may see 3 options: 'Non Flexible', 'Semi Flexible' and 'Fully Flexible. You would click 'Read More' next to each of these options until you see the fare titled 'Thalys Passholder 2'. Generally, the Passholder 2 rate would be found under the 'Semi Flexible' option.

    4.) Be sure the option labeled as 'Thalys Passholder 2' is checked, and then click 'Select' to proceed and add it to your shopping cart.

    Since the ticket costs for your remaining trips would be covered with your Eurail France-Spain Pass, you would just purchase regular reservations (Passholder or Passholder 1). You would also do this under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, and you would be quoted the regular reservation costs simply by indicating that you'll be traveling with the Eurail France-Spain Pass when prompted.

    Trains from Paris to Marseille do require reservations in addition to a rail pass, as would the more comfortable and faster trains from Marseille to Nice (as part of your connection from Marseille to Monaco). Connecting trains from Nice to Monaco are regional trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    A connection from Monaco to Barcelona would involve 3 train changes en route; once in Nice, once in Montpellier, and then once in Figueras. Once again, the trains between Monaco and Nice don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. You would then just book reservations for the remaining segments from Nice to Montpellier, Montpellier to Figueras, and Figueras to Barcelona. When you book these reservations under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations', you would just piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment (i.e. one search for trains from Nice to Montpellier, another search for connecting trains from Montpellier to Figueras, and then another search for connecting trains from Figueras to Barcelona).

    Trains operating within France can only be reserved within 90 days of an intended date of departure, including trains from Montpellier to Figueras. Trains from Figueras to Barcelona; however, can only be booked within 60 days of an intended date of departure. Since your intended travel is for September of next year, you can just use a date within the next 60 or 90 days to get an idea of the reservation costs when searching these trains on our website.
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