Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:59 PM
Guess what? After all your advice, I had it down to going to D.C. for a couple of days on the Cardinal, then coming back on the Capitol Limited. But.... even though I love traveling alone on Amtrak, this time I was going with a travel companion who bowed out. I just wasn't that excited about this trip anyways, so I decided to cancel. Without a sightseer dome it doesn't sound like much fun. Socializing is the best part of the trip for me. I saved some money, always nice, and a staycation will be fun.
At the risk of being pedantic the sightseer lounge isn't technically a dome car. If you're interested in a real dome car you should look at booking a ride on The Canadian. It's not cheap and I think you have to book a sleeper compartment to access the dome cars these days, but it's honestly pretty cool if you're looking for a fancier bucket list item. To the best of my knowledge there is only one dome car in the entire Amtrak system it's not possible to know where it will be (or if it will be open to passengers) when you're booking.
Thank you DA! It is one of my real pet peeves when people refer to the SSL as a dome car (it's not, no 360 view) or an observation car (those are on the end of the train).
The Canadian, though, has both!
Coach passengers on the Canadian have their own Skyline dome car in the summer high season. During the off season, they share the forward Skyline with whatever sleeper passengers want to use it.
The end of train Park dome-observation is restricted to Prestige class (notch above regular sleeper) during certain hours in the high season, although the regular sleeper (Sleeper Plus) passengers have unrestricted access to the two other Skyline domes that are in the peak-season consist for sleeper passengers. During the off-season all sleeper passengers in both classes have unrestricted access to the Park, although they reserve the forward seats in the dome for Prestige.
As to the Ocean View, when it is in service on regular Amtrak trains, it is treated as non-revenue lounge space, similar to seating in the SSL. First come, first serve and your coach seat is elsewhere. When it is in a charter (like the Leavenworth Snow Train around here in Washington), the operators often sell the seats in the dome as a separate class of service.
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