Thoughts on recent trip in roomette

Old Jul 27, 2022, 9:29 am
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Thoughts on recent trip in roomette

So the purpose of this post is to, possibly, answer questions others may have of the Roomette experience, particularly if you are an infrequent train traveler as I am. I recently did the Crescent from NOL to WAS in a Roomette as a solo traveler. In short, I LOVED it!!! I hope that others will correct me, but I believe this service was in a Viewliner Roomette. Id previously done a roomette from CHI to WAS and that roomette was a tad different, er, not quite as nice. 😊. Hope this helps someone.



Boarding and NOL station: Nothing to see here in the station. No separate waiting area for roomette passengers. Small gift shop which didnt even sell newspapers but I managed. Couple of other food options, I think I saw a Subway. Boarding was a bit disorganized and coach passengers were called first b/c the sleeper rooms [werent] ready yet. We finally boarded and the 9:15 departure turned into 9:33 departure.



Onboard/Room: The attendant stopped by shortly after departure to introduce himself and take breakfast orders. The room is compact but very comfortable, especially for a solo traveler like me. I didnt quite know what to make of the fact that there is a toilet and a sink in the room. I elected to leave the room for personal needs but I did use the sink in the room. I was happy that water was legitimately hot and cold from the in-room sink. The curtains in the room offered great privacy and the window curtains did an excellent job of blocking out the July sun (and helping to keep the room cool.) Speaking of cool, the temp on the train was great for me and I was so thrilled that the two small fans in the room worked very well. The room has plenty of light options: ceiling light, mirror light over the sink, and then a bright(er) light and a separate reading light over each of the seats. Rollerboard type luggage can be stored in the room in a space above the seats. In my previous roomette trip, I slept on the converted seats in a bed formation, on this trip I intentionally slept in the upper berth. It definitely was different. The upper berth is a bit more prone to the sway of the train and its not quite as wide at the lower portion of the berth. I didnt think it would matter, but I appreciated having this safety net attached to the upper berth. It was just nice piece of mind. I enjoyed the different view from the upper berth and I appreciated the small cubby they had attached to the wall near the upper berth, I put my phone and a book in that cubby. Oh, there is only one electrical outlet in the room with two plugs in it. I brought an adapter to give me addl plug spaces so this wasnt an issue but theres only one outlet.



Meals: On the scheduled 27 hour trip, I was offered Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, and Lunch. Meals are served in the room by the sleeping car attendant and I preferred this method and the attendant advised that there was no dining car available. I know many people take the train for the social aspect, I am not one of those people so while this method worked for me, I know some will want to have a dining car social experience. Im gonna be honest, I had low expectations for the food, it was REALLY good. I was not expecting a gourmet restaurant, but the food was very tasty. It is NOT served on china and silverware is replaced with a nice grade plasticware but I didnt mind too much. By the end of the journey, I think Id had most of the meal choices and, again, was impressed. The French Toast, though, was uh. not very French and not very toasty but I survived.



Shower: the shower was very adequate however you might benefit from being a gymnast in another life if you choose to shower. The shower room is tight. Water pressure and water temp were both good. The shower is on a timer to turn off automatically after a short time, but you can then turn it back on.



Overall, I REALLY enjoyed the trip. I was impressed with so much: how quiet the sleeper car was; how comfortable the room was; the cooler temp in the room worked great for me. The food was surprisingly tasty. Amtrak apparently has new bedding with better pillows and blanket. // On the negative side, I wish there was more outlet space in each room, I wish there was a restroom in the sleeper car itself, not in the room (but this is subjective for me and recognize that.) I liked having a sink in the room// I cant wait to book my next trip!!!!!!



Salmon/Shrimp was very good!

Roomette menu
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Old Jul 27, 2022, 11:25 am
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I did this route last month in the other direction and other than being super late, I also enjoyed it. Because I've done other LD trains, not much was surprising except the food because I'd never done Flex dining before and had heard miserable things about it. But I thought it was pretty decent! I had the Short Ribs, the Thai noodles, and the Chicken Ala Rosa and that last one was my favorite although they were all good (the noodles are REALLY spicy, be warned). My attendant was great and everything in the room worked fine, temp was comfortable. I also prefer eating in my room so liked that aspect as well.

I also took the CONO from Nola after my visit and they did indeed call sleeper passengers first, so I guess I lucked out there.
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Old Jul 27, 2022, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by soxfanndc
[...] I hope that others will correct me, but I believe this service was in a Viewliner Roomette. Id previously done a roomette from CHI to WAS and that roomette was a tad different, er, not quite as nice. [...]
Yes, the Cresent (and most other Eastern long-distance trains) have Viewliners. Western long-distance trains have Superliners, and the Superliner roomettes are not as nice as Viewliner roomettes (in my opinion).
Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Boarding and NOL station: Nothing to see here in the station. No separate waiting area for roomette passengers. [...] Boarding was a bit disorganized and coach passengers were called first b/c the sleeper rooms [werent] ready yet. [...]
Sleeping car passengers are supposed to have access to the Magnolia Room in New Orleans. As Amtrak lounges go, it is below average, and you didn't miss much. Did you check in at the ticket counter or just arrive and wait in the station? If you checked in, the agent should have pointed you toward the Magnolia Room and given you an access code.

It sounds like you were held in the station until the sleeping car rooms were ready. On my last departure from New Orleans, the agent sent us from the air conditioned station to the closed sleeping car, where I (and others) waited on the platform for the attendant to finish preparing the rooms. (At least there was shelter from the sun, if not the heat and humidity.)
Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Onboard/Room: [...] I didnt quite know what to make of the fact that there is a toilet and a sink in the room. [...] In my previous roomette trip, I slept on the converted seats in a bed formation, on this trip I intentionally slept in the upper berth. It definitely was different. [...]
You were in a Viewliner 1, the older style car. The newer Viewliner 2 cars do not have toilets in the rooms.

In a Viewliner, sleeping in the upper bed is an option for a solo traveler. In a Superliner, the upper bed is much more cramped and has no window.
Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Meals: [...] I had low expectations for the food, it was REALLY good. I was not expecting a gourmet restaurant, but the food was very tasty. [...]
I've never had flex food. Some people say it's awful. My understanding, from what I've read, is that it is loaded with salt and fat, and thus tastes better than it might.
Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Shower: [...]
Sometimes the car attendant will store luggage in the shower if passengers have brought excess luggage. One should not be shy about asking the attendant to make the shower available. Having a shower is one of the reasons to pay Amtrak's sleeping car prices.
Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Overall, I REALLY enjoyed the trip. [...]
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Amtrak costs time and money, but if a traveler can afford it, it is way superior to flying. My opinion, of course.
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Old Jul 27, 2022, 3:35 pm
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Sleeping car passengers are supposed to have access to the Magnolia Room in New Orleans. As Amtrak lounges go, it is below average, and you didn't miss much. Did you check in at the ticket counter or just arrive and wait in the station? If you checked in, the agent should have pointed you toward the Magnolia Room and given you an access code,
Hi Serpens,
Thanks for your reply. So I did not ask the agent. The train was scheduled to depart at 915 and I arrived at the station around 850/855. There were always several people in line to speak to an agent (nothing egregious) but I chose not to ask. I knew that the Magnolia Room existed but I thought I'd slip in for 5 mins or so if I could find it but was not soo interested that I sought it out. It wasn't a huge deal at all and I think I'd read that it was nothing great so it wasn't a big deal to me. It is nice to know that it exists though and that it's not just a myth. LOL. thanks.

Last edited by Long Train Runnin; Jul 27, 2022 at 5:48 pm Reason: fixed quote
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Old Jul 27, 2022, 7:16 pm
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Interesting report, thanks for sharing! Were you able to sleep through the overnight stops? Those would definitely wake me up at each stop, which is why I haven't done night trains since my college days.
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Old Jul 28, 2022, 4:23 pm
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Hi Andy,
thanks! So yes I was DEF able to sleep all night. Since I elected to sleep in the upper berth, it DID take some getting used to: where to lay, proximity to fan, etc. Probably took me about 15 mins of tossing then I feel asleep. I fell asleep around 10'ish lets say and did not wake up for any reason until 530. I was both impressed and grateful for two things in this regard: the speaker volume button in the room actually worked effectively AND (I might be wrong) but it seems that the train staff have the opportunity to block out announcements in the Sleeper car. For instance. there were very few announcements about "next stop" etc until WELL into the next morning (around 9AM or so). Also, our attendant made announcements in our car but they were relevant to us "I'm gonna start collecting dinner orders, " "Let me know if you need luggage help" "I'll come around to turn down your bed." etc. So for those combinations, it was VERY quiet in the sleeper car, especially on the overnight portion. I too thought I'd wake up when we hit ATL but nope... Hope that helps......
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Old Jul 28, 2022, 8:35 pm
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Originally Posted by soxfanndc
Hi Serpens,
Thanks for your reply. So I did not ask the agent. The train was scheduled to depart at 915 and I arrived at the station around 850/855. There were always several people in line to speak to an agent (nothing egregious) but I chose not to ask. I knew that the Magnolia Room existed but I thought I'd slip in for 5 mins or so if I could find it but was not soo interested that I sought it out. It wasn't a huge deal at all and I think I'd read that it was nothing great so it wasn't a big deal to me. It is nice to know that it exists though and that it's not just a myth. LOL. thanks.
It is in the back wall opposite the ticket counter. It isn't staffed, you need to get an entry code from the ticket agent to get in.

You didn't miss much. It is fairly small, windowless, and is furnished and decorated in a way reminiscent of a day room in a convalescent home.
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Old Aug 1, 2022, 10:51 pm
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Very interesting journey! When you buy a roomette ticket, you buy the whole private room? not just a bed? What if you have a companion? He/She can share the roomette with just a coach ticket?
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by V9
Very interesting journey! When you buy a roomette ticket, you buy the whole private room? not just a bed? What if you have a companion? He/She can share the roomette with just a coach ticket?
You buy the whole room, not a berth.

The fares are structured as rail fares for travel and an accommodation charge for the room.

Two people traveling in a roomette pay two rail fares and one accommodation charge.

A single person traveling alone pays one rail fare and an accommodation charge.

The accommodation charge is the same whether one or two people occupy the room.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 3:39 am
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Thanks for the trip report. Didn't know that the the roomettes in the Crescent had a toilet. Good to know because I was considering bidding for an upgrade to a bedroom.
Can you post a picture of the roomette?
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by jeroen100
Thanks for the trip report. Didn't know that the the roomettes in the Crescent had a toilet. Good to know because I was considering bidding for an upgrade to a bedroom.
Can you post a picture of the roomette?
F/Y/I - The Viewliner I roomettes have toilets in the room; the Viewliner II roomettes do not.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by SCEflyer
F/Y/I - The Viewliner I roomettes have toilets in the room; the Viewliner II roomettes do not.
Is there a way to see which viewliner is used on a specific route / date?
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by V9
[...] He/She can share the roomette with just a coach ticket?
I agree with everything zephyr17 said, but I would add that the answer to your question is emphatically No. The price paid for a second occupant (or third, or fourth, in some cases) is that of a (second-low-bucket, not counting Saver fare) coach ticket, but it must be booked as a sleeper ticket.

You didn't ask, but if one sleeper passenger will board at a later station, that passenger can buy an "open sleeper" ticket. If anyone needs more information, search or ask.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by jeroen100
Is there a way to see which viewliner is used on a specific route / date?
I don't believe there is a way to know beforehand, but I have have had limited experience, with the single level east coast overnight trains.

One possible way to find out might be to call Amtrak once you have booked your reservation, and ask the rep to check, based on your car and room numbers.

P.S. Be careful what you wish for, I have been told that the Viewliner I's are showing a lot of wear and tear (they are 20 + years old), and the toilets can malfunction, adding a not so pleasant aroma to your room.
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Last edited by SCEflyer; Aug 2, 2022 at 11:16 am Reason: Additional wording.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by jeroen100
Is there a way to see which viewliner is used on a specific route / date?
According to a post from May on another web site, the Crescent is using only the old Viewliners.

Originally Posted by SCEflyer
[...]One possible way to find out might be to call Amtrak once you have booked your reservation, and ask the rep to check, based on your car and room numbers.[...]
I believe that would be futile and a frustrating waste of time. (I could be wrong, and would be delighted to learn that I am.)
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