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Old 03-05-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
Aanna
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Amtrak -- Family bedroom or 2 roomettes?

Summary -- For a family of 4 with two small children (ages 7 and 8) would you recommend a Family bedroom or 2 adjacent Roomettes? Will I feel more claustrophobic in one or the other? Which way will we have more room? How is the difference in view? What is the difference in privacy level?

The specifics -- This summer my family is heading out to Disneyland, and we decided to make it an adventure by taking the Southwest Chief from Chicago to LA with an overnight stop in Flagstaff. For the trip from Flagstaff to LA we're definitely going in a family bedroom (same price, the entire trip is at night so there's nothing to see, and we won't feel bored or cramped because we will be sleeping).

But... for the day and a half between Chicago and Flagstaff... I currently have us booked in a Family bedroom because my husband says he prefers the privacy of not having a public aisle right through "our" space. But I've been looking at the pictures and it looks like a really tight squeeze to keep the 4 of us in that room for so long, and I'm concerned that our view from the small windows on the lower level will be nil. I mean, a lot of the reason we're taking the train is to see the scenery across the country!

Thanks in advance for all your insights
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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Going by my experience with sleeping cars on the Coast Starlight train....

During the day, your room will be a sitting area. The employees (I cannot recall what they are called on Amtrak) will make up your room when you're at breakfast, and it will be totally different than when you were sleeping.

Not only that, but you will have the main lounge car that everyone can go to, and IF it's like the west coast trains, there could be a special lounge car for those with rooms as well. (if not, sorry to raise your hopes like that) There will be places to go to do sightseeing other than your own room.

I was in a roomette by myself, and it's *close* quarters in the middle of the night. Made worse by my being 7 months pregnant and big, where I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and while pulling on my pants would have my rear against the bed and my belly touching the door. Small room when made up for sleeping. If the kids ever have trouble sleeping, or if you think they might have trouble or confusion in the middle of the night (I know I did!), it could be hard to help both of them if you're in different rooms, unless both grownups are equally competent in helping both kids with sleep concerns.

I think that I, personally, would do the family room.



IN case this is your first time with Amtrak, know that they are KNOWN for being late, and so do not schedule anything pressing for the day you anticipate getting to town.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice!

While the Southwest Chief has only one diner car and one lounge in a consist with 3 coaches and 2 sleepers (bummer!), I'm starting to think the family room might be a good way to "force" us to be more outgoing and spend some time away from our rooms.

My brain says it's good to explore, my introvert self is not so sure LOL.

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Old 03-06-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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There is enough room in the family bedroom. The seating consists of a "sofa" with room for at least 3 people and two smaller chairs facing each other fine for the kiddos.

You have a view out of both sides of the train and, as your husband said, it's private.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback =)
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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Another option to consider is getting one Roomette and one regular bedroom (the type that has its own toilet/shower). Sometimes the price to do that is the same as getting a family bedroom.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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I need to keep that in mind for when the kids are a little older, thank you!

While my hubby is great with night-time melt-downs, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with the children running back and forth between a roomette at one end of the car and a bedroom at the other. Keeping them more or less in sight is a high priority.

You never know what my 7 year old son will consider to be reasonable behavior.

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Old 03-09-2013, 09:02 AM   #8
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Definitely the family bedroom! There is plenty of room.

Just a word of caution (sorry)---if you have not taken Amtrak before---
DH and I took Amtrak cross country last year from MN to Seattle for a cruise and HATED it. We had the bedroom with it's own "shoilet".
It is very bumpy, semi tight quarters, we had a very very nice, but grossly over worked room steward and the crew in the dining car were a surly lot.

The services you are supposedly provided by steward were met with, I am busy, I am busy. In 36 hours on board, we got two little half cups of ice twice, after begging multiple times!
The seats in the lounge/sightseer car were NEVER available, as the coach passengers would get there 1st thing in am and just tag team each other all day and night.
We are not complainers but were in disbelief of this experience, I wrote Amtrak an email, and we were given a gift certificate equal to the fare portion of our ticket---come be tortured again, no way that will happen.

After our trip we realized that the allure, adventurous spirit and romanticism of train travel is long dead and buried.
With that, I do wish you and yours a wonderful trip on Amtrak!
I hope your experience is much better than ours was!
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:50 AM   #9
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Thank you for your insights, and I'm sorry you had such a disappointing trip

I've taken over-night coach several times as a college student (many, many moons ago), and we took the Autotrain round trip as a family last year. Admittedly, I've heard that the Autotrain has the cream of the crop in both crew and equipment, but we were very happy.

Mostly we just want a private place to be together, watch the scenery, and be left alone.

Your comments about the unavailability of the lounge car (which does not surprise me in the least, unfortunately) makes it even more important that we will feel that we have a reasonable view in the family bedroom... Hmmm.
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Last edited by Aanna; 03-09-2013 at 10:38 AM.
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