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California, Here I Come!


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#1 Maglev

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 01:23 PM

San Francisco is my wife's and my favorite city.  I planned a trip for us with a full moon for our night on the train to San Jose, and got tickets to the San Francisco Ballet just before the end of the season.

 

We started our adventure by flying from Orcas Island to Boeing Field in Seattle.  In the previous week, one of our local ferries had experienced a bent propellor and another had generator problems, so it was nice to start our trip with no stress from ferries (not to mention no dealing with traffic on I-5).  We stayed at our favorite Edgewater Hotel, in a third floor balcony room with a full view of Elliot Bay.  Dinner at their Six Seven (for the pier number) Restaurant was excellent.  The next morning, a cruise ship docked next door.

 

Our Bedroom on the Coast Starlight was #E in a Superliner II, on the proper side for viewing Mount Shasta under the full moon.  The room was in decent condition, and we had a good SCA who brought us extra pillows and a full bag of ice.  The food and service in the Dining Car was typical, although there were no salads (due to an E. coli recall of Romaine).   But alas, it was cloudy for viewing Mount Shasta...

 

We had a fantastic time in San Francisco, walking through the various neighborhoods.  My wife wanted to see redwood trees, so we rented a car and drove to Muir Woods one day.  I am no fan of city traffic and freeways, but we and everyone else survived without a scratch and it was thrilling to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I did not get to ride the Larkspur Ferry and SMART train.  The Ballet was very good, although I find some contemporary music "challenging."  We stayed in a 22nd-floor Tower room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, and had great food and service.

 

I had booked a hotel room in Emeryville for us to use while waiting for the train, and it was a good thing because my wife had injured her knee getting out of taxis and rested in bed with an ice pack.  The Hyatt House was fine, but we were disappointed in our dinner at the Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant (although we had a beautiful view of sunset and the Golden Gate Bridge).  It was a very easy walk to the Amtrak station.  Our train was on-time leaving Oakland, but was then delayed almost an hour removing three cars.  Right after we boarded, I went to the Cafe to buy drinks but it was just closing at 10:50 PM.  Our Superliner II Bedroom #D had tilted arms on the chair, and tilted table and cup holders, plus the door on one of the cabinets fell off.  Our SCA was okay, but the service in the Dining Car was uninspired (and there were still no salads, no steak, and a poor selection of alcohol). 

 

We spent the night after arrival at the Edgewater again, and had the same cruise ship docked in front the next morning.  The omelette we had in our room for breakfast was excellent, and we had a beautiful flight up to Orcas Island.  

 

I'll post some photos separately...


Edited by Maglev, 10 May 2018 - 10:41 PM.

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#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 01:31 PM

Nice get-a-way😎, it's a shame when a LD Amtrak ride is the weak link in a trip!😥

The Starlight is becoming just another LD Train with Great Scenery.😣
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#3 Maglev

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 01:33 PM

Ship docked outside our room at Edgewater Hotel:

 

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Rainbow south of Eugene:

 

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Views from Fairmont Hotel:

 

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Muir Woods:

 

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Mount Shasta from Northbound train:

 

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Engineer change at Klamath Falls:

 

Attached File  IMG_7253.jpg   100.36KB   7 downloads


Edited by Maglev, 09 May 2018 - 03:28 PM.

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#4 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 01:53 PM

Glad that most of the trip was good, and the photos are lovely. How cool to be that close to a cruise ship right at your hotel! :)


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#5 Maglev

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:37 PM

The train was definitely a high point of the trip for me and my wife, but things such as closing the Cafe ten minutes early right after a major station don't make sense to me from a customer service point of view. 

 

I edited my first post--we took the Starlight to San Jose, obviously not San Francisco. I like doing that (instead of getting off at Emeryville or Oakland) because it gives you more time on the train to wake up and have breakfast.  Also, the commuter train ride up to San Francisco is a treat for me.  We met a friend at the station in San Jose and had lunch together at a Greek restaurant.

 

Here's a view of my excellent omelette at the Edgewater (the omelette I had on the train was awful, we skipped breakfast northbound):

 

Attached File  IMG_7266.jpg   215.87KB   8 downloads


Edited by Maglev, 09 May 2018 - 08:53 PM.

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#6 railiner

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:40 AM

Looked like a great getaway...and great photo's...especially liked your shot of the NCL Pearl...soon that pier will home port NCL's newest ship, the Bliss. :cool:

Thanks for posting!


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metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#7 cpotisch

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 12:55 PM

I second MRD's post. Very cool to have that cruise ship right outside your window. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!


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#8 Maglev

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:34 PM

There was a constant parade of sea traffic to watch from our room at the Fairmont (more than Seattle).  Here's a Princess cruise ship leaving that we had seen docked the day before:

 

Attached File  IMG_7161 (1).jpg   85.44KB   7 downloads

 

 

 

 


Edited by Maglev, 11 May 2018 - 08:37 PM.

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#9 railiner

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 06:54 AM

Great shot!   Looks like the Star Princess...I would need the date you were there to know for sure.... :)


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#10 cpotisch

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 09:25 AM

Wow. What a view!


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#11 Maglev

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:34 PM

I just priced cruises on Norwegian Pearl, and for what we paid for two nights in a Bedroom on Amtrak, we could have taken a week-long cruise to Alaska in an inside cabin.  Or, for what we paid for the whole trip on the train and at the Fairmont, we could have booked a suite on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  In any case, I think the food and service would have been much better on the ship than on the train.

 

My wife has a key ring we bought on the Coast Starlight twelve years ago.  It is inscribed, "Superior Service."  Indeed, this is now just another train with great scenery--there is no pretense of extra service.  But the whole concept of "Superior Service" implies that service is inferior on other trains.  I miss the "Pacific Parlor Car," but maybe it is best if service levels are the same on all trains.    


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#12 SarahZ

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:02 PM

I know it's a matter of perspective, but the cruise ship makes Alcatraz look tiny. :)

 

The Edgewater Hotel has been on my list for years. I'd love to stay there some day.


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#13 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:35 PM

I know it's a matter of perspective, but the cruise ship makes Alcatraz look tiny. :)
 
The Edgewater Hotel has been on my list for years. I'd love to stay there some day.

Save up your Money Sara!😉

Edited by Bob Dylan, 13 May 2018 - 09:36 PM.

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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#14 cpotisch

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 10:39 AM

I just priced cruises on Norwegian Pearl, and for what we paid for two nights in a Bedroom on Amtrak, we could have taken a week-long cruise to Alaska in an inside cabin.  Or, for what we paid for the whole trip on the train and at the Fairmont, we could have booked a suite on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  In any case, I think the food and service would have been much better on the ship than on the train.

 

My wife has a key ring we bought on the Coast Starlight twelve years ago.  It is inscribed, "Superior Service."  Indeed, this is now just another train with great scenery--there is no pretense of extra service.  But the whole concept of "Superior Service" implies that service is inferior on other trains.  I miss the "Pacific Parlor Car," but maybe it is best if service levels are the same on all trains.    

I liked when each train had its own special service and amenities, since it made each train unique. Now they all just feels the same, and I don't like that.


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#15 Maglev

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 11:58 AM

I don't mean to imply that OBS should not provide outstanding service.  Many Amtrak employees are exemplary, such as our SCA on the southbound train.  But my conjecture is that morale suffers and customer service takes a hit when employees feel that management does not support them.  Removing chefs on the Capitol Limited and Lakeshore Limited is an example of a move that shows management does not support all employees.


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