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Old May 5th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Default Taking the train??

I found an old article on here (circa approx 2002) about taking the train to catch your cruise. Having recently experienced travelling via air with kids for the first time in awhile, I am seeking out other options for our next cruise. We are seriously considering driving to Boston and taking Amtrak to Miami. We would reserve a sleeper car for the overnight portion. We will be travelling with two of our three kids (they will be 11 and 15 months at the time). Does anyone have any input on taking the train? BTW, we're not worried about the time, with the kids it takes us 48 hours to get to Florida if we drive so basically it's the same thing with the train minus the lack of sleep. Thoughts????
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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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I have not traveled by train here, but when we lived in Europe, and had little ones, we used the train as much as possible. So much better than flying. Lots of room to walk around, the motion of the train, made them sleep better, and just over all, very comfortable.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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I was going to take the Amtrack from son's home in San Diego to Long Beach this summer for my cruise on the Splendor. The problem was that to get to the pier in Long Beach you have to take an Amtrack shuttle bus. It's schedule does not allow arrival on cruise day, you'd have to arrive the day before and have an overnight in Long Beach.

The return however is perfect. So on the return trip I will take the Amtrack shuttle from L.B. to Union station in LA, then the train to San Diego! I can hardly wait, I've wanted to take a scenic train ride for a ... l o n g ... time I will be able to scratch that off my list of things to do now. When I was a child every summer we'd take the train from New Orleans to Biloxi to visit my mother's family. I loved riding the train, I think kids in general like it better than flying.

Good luck on your decision, Amtrack's website has ton's of information on routes/connections/shuttles etc.

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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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2Little,

I haven't been on a train since, well.........let's just say they weren't all airconditioned.

Anyway I've always wanted to travel by train. I did look up Amtrak (which of course you may have already done but on the off chance..) and didn't know when you're planning on going but just punched in August 1st as an example.

On that date there are two trains, one for approx. $431 and the other $700 and change. Some have complete dining and club cars while others offer more like I guess a sandwich shop type dining.

The difference in price is because one way is shorter than the other (the cheaper fare is longer). I didn't go into the sleeping car arrangements but having looked them up in the past, I know they ain't cheap. Nevertheless, if you can afford it, then go the whole nine yards as I hear it's wonderful and the food is excellent in the dining cars.

Of course you guys in Canada have the best transcontinental rail service. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you still have the Vista or Dome Cars.

Todd
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Old May 6th, 2010, 07:14 AM
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Exclamation Taking the Train

When we do our Jewel OTS repositioning cruise (Boston-Ft. Lauderdale) in October, we will take Amtrak back to Boston rather than flying. A couple of reasons for this decision.

First, flying is such an incredible hassle anymore. Second, we haven't been on a train since Lincoln was in office. Third, it's not all that expensive. We will have a bedroom, which is the largest part of the fee. For the two of us, the total fare is just over $700. Take away the bedroom, and the fare drops to approximately $250.

Our friend, who will be traveling with us on the cruise, always takes the train to and from the cruise port. She wouldn't travel any other way. Of course, it's easier for her, since she lives in the Boston area. We, on the other hand, are out in the wilds of Ohio, and our train service is nothing to shout about.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDH View Post
2Little,

I haven't been on a train since, well.........let's just say they weren't all airconditioned.

Anyway I've always wanted to travel by train. I did look up Amtrak (which of course you may have already done but on the off chance..) and didn't know when you're planning on going but just punched in August 1st as an example.

On that date there are two trains, one for approx. $431 and the other $700 and change. Some have complete dining and club cars while others offer more like I guess a sandwich shop type dining.

The difference in price is because one way is shorter than the other (the cheaper fare is longer). I didn't go into the sleeping car arrangements but having looked them up in the past, I know they ain't cheap. Nevertheless, if you can afford it, then go the whole nine yards as I hear it's wonderful and the food is excellent in the dining cars.

Of course you guys in Canada have the best transcontinental rail service. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you still have the Vista or Dome Cars.

Todd
Hi Todd,

We definitely do have a fabulous rail service in Canada and the dome cars on ViaRail are an awesome experience especially through the Rockies. Unfortunately where I live in Canada we have destroyed our rail system and passenger travel by rail is pretty well extinguished.

I priced the trip and came up with two sleeper cars, round trip from Maine for $1476 for five of us. (we just paid $1388 for roundtrip flights) I'm pretty pleased with the price and I think the experience will be a lot of fun for the kids. My kids were awesome on the recent airplane experience but it was so much hassle and the extra fees for everything and the lack of amenities just reminded me of why I don't like to fly with my family on vacation, it's totally different with a briefcase and carryon all by yourself.

I've been reading some reviews and it seems like Coach train travel may not be much fun but with the rooms we should be okay. I'm so excited now, I may just book it and make the committment, now to choose a cruise : )
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Old May 6th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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Thank you everyone for your input. We are going to give the Amtrak a try!
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Old May 6th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Sorry to be the one to throw a slight damper on the travel by train thing but...I've had 2 different friends and their families do this on two different occassions. One took an overnight trip and the other went all the way across the country. Both were fascinated by the idea of travelling by rail, the great service they thought would be onboard, the sights and all the rest.

Both returned incredibly disappointed. I think most people know the airlines don't provide ANYTHING near the same service that they did years ago...Unfortunately, it's the same for the train. The difference (I think) is that less people travel by train so word really hasn't gotten out...I could write paragraphs about their complaints but the main ones were...The dining is nothing special at all, crew who don't know what they are doing, frequent stops along the way (some for reasons no one could explain), the sleeper car, even the "large" one is not comfortable and extremely tight.

So, I hate to say it, but I've heard nothing but bad from people who wanted a unique vacation and got one onboard...Just not the unique they were looking for lol....Personally, the only way I might take the train would be for a few hour trip, but never for several days or overnight. Amtrack especially has had huge problems financially (and other things) for many years.
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