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The Empire from Portland to Wisconsin need advice


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#21 cpotisch

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:14 PM

Yeah we would be looking into a roomette I think honestly what would be better you think coach or one of those? it would be me and a friend on the trip were both on the "fluffier side" of life..lol so wondering what might be more comfortable also is there internet? im thinking maybe I can just bring my laptop and watch some videos to pass the time maybe. 

Roomettes are better in pretty much every way. You get a private room with two beds, free meals, access to a shower (coach passengers have to deal with some stink), and more! This page pretty much explains everything included with a roomette. Also, here's Amtrak's Superliner Sleeper virtual tour. It should give you a pretty good sense of what all the accommodations look like.

 

As to WiFi, the Coast Starlight won't have it, but the Maple Leaf does. It's free and is usually perfectly satisfactory for checking email or getting some work done, but I wouldn't count on being able to stream anything. I recommend you play it safe and download some movies or videos ahead of time.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#22 SarahZ

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:02 PM

The Empire Builder goes through many areas that have really spotty (or zero) cell service, so even a Wi-Fi hotspot doesn't work well. I remember being hosed when I thought I could work on a midterm the second day of my trip from Chicago to Seattle. I had absolutely zero service all the way across that part of North Dakota and Montana. If you plan to watch movies, put them on a flash drive or download them to your laptop.

 

I definitely suggest a roomette if you two can afford it. CP provided some good links to pictures and whatnot.

 

The one thing I'd caution you about is the top bunk. If both of you are claustrophobic, neither of you will want to sleep up there. It's pretty close to the ceiling, so you can't sit up, and there's no window. I tried it out during a trip and lasted about 20 seconds before scrambling back down to the lower bunk. :) Some people like it, though. My ex-boyfriend slept up there every time we went to Albuquerque. He called it his "cave".

 

Personally, I have trouble sleeping in Coach, and I wouldn't want to take sponge baths on a trip of that length. Some people love it, though, so I guess it depends on how well you sleep around other people. I'm a light sleeper and prefer to sleep on my side/stomach, so Coach doesn't work for me. I don't mind it at all for day trips, of course. There's so much room to spread out, and the large windows make it feel more spacious.

 

Whichever accommodation you choose, you will have access to the Sightseer Lounge. It has floor to ceiling windows that curve toward the center of the roof. There are tables for playing cards and board games along with a bunch of single seats and loveseat-style seats. The seats face the windows, and it's a nice way to meet other people while enjoying the scenery. You'll want to be in there for the most scenic portions of the trip. There is a cafe downstairs if you want to buy a snack or soda.

 

I really hope you like your trip. I promise it doesn't feel anything like riding in a car, particularly on the curves and hills.


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Amtrak Miles: 48,312
 
Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine
 
Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro

#23 spinnaker

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:43 PM

Unless you are both very young I would recommend a bedroom, the family room or two roomettes.   I am 59 and in very good shape but even I would not want to have to climb up and down into an upper bunk at night.

 

Do consider that a bedroom you will be laying perpendicular to your travel.   And there is no way to know which side of the room your bed (in the day your seat) will be on so you might be traveling with your back to the direction of travel.  Unless you want to sit in a very uncomfortable single seat.

 

Two roomettes would allow you both to have fairly comfortable seating during the day and a guarantee that you will be facing forward.  Seating can be put into a a half day / half night mode to make it very comfortable. Bring a couple of personal communicators to talk back and forth. ;)



#24 spinnaker

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:49 PM

 


Roomettes are better in pretty much every way. You get a private room with two beds, free meals, access to a shower (coach passengers have to deal with some stink), and more! This page pretty much explains everything included with a roomette. Also, here's Amtrak's Superliner Sleeper virtual tour. It should give you a pretty good sense of what all the accommodations look like.


 

 

Heed the warning about coach.   I took business class from Eugene to Sacramento  a couple of weeks ago.   I was seated next to a man that stunk from cigarette smoke so badly it nearly made be sick.  I had to move immediately or it would have made me sick.  Fortunately there was an open seat I was able to move to.    



#25 KmH

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:11 PM

Sleepers do not include free meals.

When we book a sleeper we pay for meals, in advance, as part of the sleeper berth charge.


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#26 spinnaker

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:21 PM

Sleepers do not include free meals.

When we book a sleeper we pay for meals, in advance, as part of the sleeper berth charge.

 

 

Huh???   Meals are inclued with the price of the room on the EB sleepers.


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#27 cpotisch

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 03:42 PM

 

Sleepers do not include free meals.

When we book a sleeper we pay for meals, in advance, as part of the sleeper berth charge.

Huh???   Meals are inclued with the price of the room on the EB sleepers.

He's needlessly correcting you by saying that meals aren't free and we're just paying for them as part of the ticket, even though that's obviously how it works and it doesn't make a difference.


Edited by cpotisch, 14 July 2018 - 03:48 PM.

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Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#28 Ryan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 03:49 PM

Yes. A completely meaningless distinction with no difference whatsoever that he needlessly feels compelled to point out any time someone uses the “F-word”.
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