Considering Options in a Superliner Sleeping Car.
I got an email yesterday from a friend who’s planning his first long-distance train ride. He and his wife will be taking the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle and he had some questions about Superliner sleeping car accommodations.
Specifically, he asked if I would recommend that they go to the expense of booking one of the big bedrooms.
These folks can afford it, but I suggested they consider another option: booking two roomettes, one for each of them because – not always, but sometimes – it’s a less expensive option. I also advised them to ask Amtrak Reservations to assign them roomettes across the corridor from each other.
To compare the fares for these two options, I arbitrarily picked May 7th, the same day I would be on the southbound train. Ah-hah! The cost for the two of them in one of the big bedrooms would be $867; but if they opted to travel in two roomettes their fare would be $666.
There are pluses and minuses, of course. The one big difference is that the bedroom includes an en suite toilet/shower and wash basin. Those facilities are “down the hall” for passengers in roomettes.
But in the bedroom, one of them will still have to climb up and sleep in the upper berth. I tried it once and found it confining and almost claustrophobic. With the two roomettes, however, each of them would have their own bed – a lower berth – and with a window.
There’s another advantage to the two-roomette option: during the day, they will be able to enjoy the scenery on both sides of the train; the big bedrooms offer views from only one side. This is a big plus because the Coast Starlight offers passengers a great variety of scenery, from the Pacific Ocean shoreline north of Los Angeles to the vineyards of Napa Valley to the wilderness of the Cascade Range in Oregon.
For me, the two-roomette option is a no-brainer. And – on this particular day, anyway – it’s two hundred bucks cheaper.