The Caledonian Sleeper.
Damn! And I was so looking forward to my overnight ride from London to Fort William in Scotland on this train. But things went—if not wrong, then not right—from the very beginning.
I want to start by saying the on-board people were fine. And I’m sure there are larger accommodations on the train. I, however, was in a pretty small space that was, in fact, designed for two people. So the first issue is the cramped quarters.
The two stacked berths ran the width of the car, less a couple feet for the corridor outside the room. I must say, the bed was very comfortable and the toilet, tucked away in its own little cupboard, functioned well. There was a sink at a normal height, but it was positioned next to the foot of the bed and the only window was above the sink. In other words, there was no place to sit and look out the window.
Another issue: a sign fastened to the wall to the right of the sink said:
NOT DRINKING WATER
Really? Then how is one expected to brush one’s teeth or take the handful of pills required to keep us geezers going? My immediate assumption was that there must be a plastic bottle of drinkable water somewhere in this tiny room.
Nope. (Amtrak has two bottles water in every roomette and more for the as
Then it was my turn for breakfast. I really do enjoy dining on the train. And I was looking forward to this, my only meal aboard, because the choices I had ticked off on a rather elaborate menu the night before appeared by their descriptions to be worthy of a fancy restaurant.
But breakfast was a disaster: the two eggs, supposedly poached, were delivered in a small molded cardboard box stone cold and very hard cooked. Further, the eggs were seated on two small round muffin-like pastries that I was literally unable to bite through. They remembered the coffee, forgot the cream and sugar—I don’t use it anyway—and forgot the orange juice.
It was, without doubt, the worst food I have ever had on a train. The smallest, too.
All that said, and because the scenery is truly magnificent, I would not rule out another ride on the Caledonian Sleeper. HOWEVER my best advice would be to spend the money on one of the larger accommodations—there are several up-grade choices—and I would bring my own food and some bottled water.
NOTE: I am having trouble with Word Press, the program that creates this blog. They have upgraded and I am not up to speed on all the changes. Please bear with me.
Nice to meet Jim on our recent travels in Scotland. He would have found two bottles of potable water in the cabin. Ours were in a small shelf on the upper bunk which he may not have used.Can’t comment on his food experience but our in cabin breakfast was hot and not unreasonably priced.
You’re right! I didn’t find the water in the upper berth. And good for you on the quality of the food. I so wanted this to be a great experience, but you have given me hope. I’m so glad to hear you had a positive experience.