Advice for Son and me traveling on the Crescent

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by bryher, Apr 7, 2019.

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  1. Apr 7, 2019 #1

    bryher

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    bryher

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks to everyone here you helped me pick a trip to take my son on (https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/help-planning-upcoming-trip.74422/#post-791235). Now that I've booked the trip, and gave it to him as a birthday present a few days ago, we're having fun researching the outing.

    To summarize we're taking the Crescent (19) from PHL to NOL, staying in NOL overnight and hopping back on 20 the very next morning. this is truly all about the trip and not the destination. We're very excited and will have lots of questions to come. To start...

    - Our trip is in June so we have time to build up excitement and plan
    - Our rooms are Car 1911 Room A and Car 2011 Room B
    - Anyone with experience on this trip?
    - One reason we picked it is b/c of the dining experience. I also found a menu online but not sure if its the latest. Looked awesome.
    - We get on in PHL at 3:55. Looks like we wont have lunch but we'll have two dinners possibly as the train arrives in NOL at 7:32 the next day?
    - The videos we've seen the cars look a bit newer/nicer than those on our only other trip (Autotrain)
    - Are these newer/refurbished cars

    Thanks again for everyone's help, anything else you can add is appreciated!
     
  2. Apr 7, 2019 #2

    pennyk

    pennyk

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    The second dinner prior to arriving in NOL will be an early/abbreviated dinner. The last time I traveled on the Crescent (last July), we were running a few hours late. We were given a choice between 5pm and 6pm for dinner reservations. Not all items on the menu were available. I assume the times may be earlier if the train is on time.

    The Crescent (Viewliner) and Auto Train (superliner) use different equipment. Viewliners are single level. I would not say that the sleeping cars on the Crescent are newer/nicer cars than those on the Auto Train. However, the dining cars used on the Crescent are farily new and, in my opinion, very nice.

    I believe that most long distance trains (will full dining cars) have the same menu now. The on-line menu for the Crescent is similar, but not identical to the menu on the Silver Meteor that I had a few weeks ago.
     
  3. Apr 7, 2019 #3

    Rasputin

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    There are a lot of comments that the viewliner sleeping cars are showing their age but the dining cars used on the Crescent are brand new and seem to get very good reviews, except for the placement of the trash receptacles.

    Always good to have a sleep mask and ear plugs.

    Hope you have a great trip.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2019 #4

    SarahZ

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    I like the Viewliner sleepers because their shiny white walls make them look newer than the Superliners. My room felt brighter and less confining, mostly because the Viewliners have two sets of windows. They also have more air vents, so I felt that I had better air circulation. Even though I traveled in July, my room never felt warm. I also liked having a sink in my room so that I could easily freshen up before meals and brush my teeth afterward.

    The Crescent has been my only Viewliner trip so far. I enjoyed it so much that I'm looking forward to experiencing other Viewliner routes.
     
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  5. Apr 7, 2019 #5

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    The crescent’s route across Western SC and northern Georgia is fairly pretty if you ask me. I know for a fact you can see the mountains in the distance from Clemson southwards quite a ways.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2019 #6

    tim49424

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    If the train is running extremely late (mine into NOL arrived almost 6 hours late in December) there is a pretty good possibility of a normal dinner schedule. We had four seatings from 5 PM to 7:30. All food and beverages were available.
     
  7. Apr 7, 2019 #7

    Chey

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    Only been on the Crescent once, from NOL to ALX but I loved it. I live in a dry brown place with not many trees so the whole route was amazingly beautiful to me. The other passengers were friendly and my SCA was awesome. I slept on the top bunk, which I would never do in a Superliner, because the top bunk in a Viewliner has its own window. Which meant I could keep the lower level as my 'desk' - and as someone with limited physical capabilities, not having to climb the stairs with a carryon is the biggest plus of all.

    Have a GREAT trip!
     
  8. Apr 8, 2019 #8

    Sauve850

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    Have traveled on many Viewliners both Crescent and Silvers since they were new. Both bedrooms A and B. All the cars on all trains are aging but so am I. They are usually very clean. The Viewliner issues for me off and on have been non functioning intercoms (cant hear your dinner call) and non functioning SCA call button. Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2019 #9

    dcwldct

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    That should be a blast. I've never ridden the Crescent south of CLT, but the northern half of the route has always been nice. The scenery in Western Virginia on 20 is some of the best in the Southeast. The Charlotte skyline is also nice on the off chance you're still up at 1am and the train isn't multiple hours late getting out of ATL.

    I'll second all of the positive comments about the Viewliner diners. They are really nice cars. I actually prefer the viewliner sleepers to superliners too, but that's due to roomette design so it won't be relevant to you guys. Earplugs though are recommended as always.
     
  10. Apr 8, 2019 #10

    dlagrua

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    Sounds like a nice trip and you should enjoy it. The last hour traveling over Lake Ponchartrain looks like you are riding on water. I would encourage you to stay in New Orleans for a day or two. There is just so much to see and do in the French Quarter and great food to boot. Been there four times and my wife always seems to want to go back. Just some food for thought.
     
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  11. Apr 8, 2019 #11

    Railroad Bill

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    Enjoyed our two trips on the Crescent. I like going through all the small towns along the route, history and architecture are very interesting. And yes, plenty of things to do in NOL without hanging out on Bourbon St. Enjoy your trip.
     
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  12. Apr 8, 2019 #12

    Chatter163

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    You will find that the greatest amount of passengers are on the train between DC and Atlanta. The latter is a service stop, where the train takes on water and changes the engineers and conductors. It's like the stop in DC, but without the engine change.
     
  13. Apr 9, 2019 #13

    JoeBas

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    Keep in mind that this train is often late into NOL. If you're planning to do a hotel/sleep in NOL before quick-turning back the next morning, it may not leave you with ANY time to actually see the town. Even if you're not planning to sleep and spend al night on Bourbon St, that can be a rough turn.
     
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  14. Apr 10, 2019 #14

    crescent2

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    I claim the Crescent as "my" train; my trips on it have overall been very pleasant. Wave at the little station in Anniston, AL. You'll also go past the Army Depot near there if your son likes military things. I hope you and your son have a great trip. (Don't count on being on time, though! Go with the flow.)

    I must second Diagrua's post and the suggestion to spend at least one day in New Orleans. I'm not a Bourbon St. type gal but there is much more in the French Quarter. Imax and Aquarium if you must, but you can do those in other places. Steam boat ride, street car ride (oldest continuous in the U.S.) especially the St. Charles Ave. through the Garden District, pretty wrought iron, Jackson Square, etc., and best of all you don't need a car; just walk everywhere. I've always felt safe even when visiting there with other female friends--keep to the riverside half of the FQ. I've been there many times and have never had a bad meal. I like Gumbo Shop and Acme Oyster but it's hard to go wrong. Oh, a taxi to the D-Day Museum if you are into history at all.

    It would be a shame not to at least get a taste after traveling so far. And, as much as I love traveling on Amtrak, that will be a LOT of train without a break even if it gets into NOL on time, so....? :)

    Have fun!
     
  15. Apr 10, 2019 #15

    niemi24s

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    Give your 10 year old the task of creating a list of all the named places that can be seen along your route using Google Earth and... https://www.mytopo.com ...as resources. There's also an old Route Guide available in pdf form if you do a Google search. These route guides used to be handed out or at least available on each train, but I think those days are long gone.

    This will help figure out the routing... https://fragis.fra.dot.gov/GISFRASafety/ ...and is especially helpful in industrialized urban areas.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  16. Apr 11, 2019 #16

    Maglev

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned that there is a movable wall between the two Bedrooms that may be opened to form a large suite. You may choose to keep this a secret!
     
  17. Apr 11, 2019 #17

    JRR

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    I also recommend staying over at least one day in New Orleans. I always also recommend that you take your son to the WWII museum. It is outstanding and would be an excellent educational experience for him (and you)!
     
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  18. Apr 12, 2019 #18

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    If it interests you I can send you my railroad map of passenger services in 1952. And you can see where all the former stations were. And also what the lines you cross over are.
     
  19. Apr 13, 2019 #19

    anumberone

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    Your missing out not spending some time in Narlins. The place is way too fun, interesting. Viewliner roomettes are nice because You can lie in the top bunk and have a window to look out, take a nap and still have plenty of room below.
     
  20. Apr 13, 2019 #20

    ehbowen

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    I concur with the suggestion to spend (at least!) a full day in New Orleans. There's just so much to do! If I had a ten-year old and only one full day, I'd take the streetcar to the WWII museum in the morning and then the dinner cruise on the steamboat Natchez in the evening. Both attractions are, IMHO, not to be missed.
     
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  21. Apr 13, 2019 #21

    Rasputin

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    I concur with the suggestions of spending time in New Orleans but as I recall in an earlier thread the original poster made it clear that he was taking the Crescent to New Orleans and was leaving immediately the next morning on the Crescent and did not plan to spend anytime in New Orleans except between trains.
     
  22. Apr 13, 2019 #22

    ehbowen

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    I understand that and of course it is his choice, but I'm saying that I believe that both of them will enjoy the trip much more if they could advance the southward trip by one day or slip the return trip by the same amount...or possibly both.

    Amtrak's pretty good about letting you reschedule, as long as space is available.
     
  23. Apr 13, 2019 #23

    Chey

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    The most fun I had in NOL was on one of those Bayou tours; took us past a plantation, through the back county, through the locks - totally loved all of it. I was afraid the bayou people would be resentful about the intrusion. Nope, they smiled and waved at us. Loved them!
     
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