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.
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