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“Fun Experience”
Review of Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight
Ranked #976 of 8,939 things to do in California
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Owner description: This Amtrak route goes from Seattle, WA., to Los Angeles.
Brightwood, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Fun Experience”
Reviewed January 30, 2012

We planned a long train trip for Jan 2012 from Portland,OR ,Sacramento Ca,Chicago,Ill,Toronto,CA,Vanc BC and back to Portland. It was wonderful. The first leg was Portland to Sacramento via the Coast Starlight Amtrak train. Left PDX as 2:30pm in the sleeper car bedroom for two. Lunch was really good as were all the meals on this trip. By Eugene it was getting dark for the night. We awoke in Sacramento,CA at 5:30am and were in the station by 6am.
Our train the California Zephyre left the station at 11am so we went to the local Denny's for breakfast and to kill some time. It was a Saturday morning and many businesses were closed at this time. I will write about our next train trip on the Zephyer section of this website.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
9 Thank rose in woods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Nanaimo, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
258 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 317 helpful votes
“Our Favorite Way to Travel”
Reviewed January 23, 2012

Amtrak's Coast Starlight train runs between Los Angeles and Seattle and serves multiple stops along the way. We have taken it several times between Lacey Washington and Sacramento before changing trains and heading on to Bakersfield Ca. In a day when travel either by air or by car on the freeway is filled with stress and frustration, train travel provides relaxation, value and peace of mind.

We book a roomette for the overnight trip. The "Parlour Car", unique to the Coast Starlight, is the jewel of the train. It's perfect for taking in the magnificent scenery, meeting fellow travelers, enjoying a glass of wine etc or a nice tasty meal. The Dining Car is another option. The food has never disappointed and on-board service has generally been up to expectation or better.

The luxury of a bygone era lives on in this experience. We have another trip planned for April and can hardly wait.

Visited April 2011
Helpful?
11 Thank Cashman777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland, wa
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A fun way to start a vacation”
Reviewed December 25, 2011

I will first preface these remarks by saying that I like trains and am biased but this trip is truly fun and relaxing. My wife and I started from Seattle on Saturday morning and took the train to LA for the start of a week long vacation to CA. The trip is just under 36 hours and you arrive in LA late the next evening around 8:30pm. Instead of getting a taxi we decided to take the shuttle bus (about $7/person) from the train station to LAX where we then got a free shuttle to our hotel. That worked out well but sure made you aware of the contrast from the calm train station environment to the frantic and traffic jammed LAX airport.

The best and only way to take this trip in my opinion is to get a room. The added cost is easily justified by having your own space with a door to sit and set up camp, all your meals are included, and you have a observation-club car for sleeper passengers only. And there are other sleeper passenger amenities like free wine and cheese tasting events each day, free WiFi in the club car, and each car has free fruit – coffee – and juice self service. Plus our car stewardess gave us free mini-bottles of champagne and water! The food is delicious and if you are on when they are serving their roast lamb shank – get it!! The roomet is a bit cramped but not uncomfortable and the top bunk is an adventure but I slept well. The train was on time and actually a little early, which was because we were traveling on a weekend and the tracks didn't also have freight traffic which takes priority. The scenery is best at the beginning and end of the trip, and if a clear night then consider getting up at around 1am when the train is climbing the switchbacks over the pass, and view the stars and mountain curves.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
18 Thank akg2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Nothing like a train ride”
Reviewed December 17, 2011

On time departure (Seattle) and arrival (Oakland). Service in sleeper and diner was excellent. Food was fine. The one negative was the smallest sleeper--marginal for one and a big squeeze for two (I was alone).

The scenery was great--particularly the Olympics which were snow capped in June. Sitting at meals with strangers was a pleasure for interesting discussions and meeting those whom I would not otherwise have met.

Trains have a marvelous way of taking out of somewhere into a short term adventure and depositing us back.

Good enough that my wife and I have planned a Seattle to Boston trip this summer b

Visited June 2011
Helpful?
6 Thank Stephen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience, will ride again”
Reviewed November 28, 2011

Rode the Coast Starlight from L.A. to Portland during Thanksgiving weekend, accompanied by my 3 kids, ages 5, 7 & 14. We had a "bedroom suite" -- two sleeper bedrooms with the adjoining wall retracted to make one large room.

PROS:
The highlight of the trip was the beautiful scenery along the CA coast until we lost sight of it after dark. And the scenery in N. CA & Oregon after sunrise was equally breathtaking. My 7- & 14-year-olds were glued to the windows for hours. I will ride this route again just to get another look, hopefully during summertime when the days are longer.

The Pacific Parlour Car, which is only available to sleeping car passengers, was a wonderful bonus. Comfy seats, well laid-out, and not crowded at all. I know from past trips on other routes that the regular lounge car can get crowded, so it was nice to stay in the Parlour Car.

We found the sleeping & sitting accommodations quite comfortable. The two private toilets came in handy, as the kids always seem to want to go at the same time. The two in-room sinks were convenient as well. Beds were very comfortable. Plenty of room for the 4 of us.

Food was good and seemed reasonably priced to me, although meals were included with the cost of my sleeper tickets so I didn't actually pay. The menu was not long and would've become repetitive had we stayed aboard for another meal.

The staff on board were friendly & very professional and tried hard to help everyone have a good time.

Electrical power was dependable for charging various cameras, phones, iPods.

CONS:
On-board wi-fi was pretty much useless due to slow speeds and spotty connections. I had a good connection on my cell phone at many times when there was no connection through the wi-fi, although according to the literature the wi-fi is supposed to connect through the same cell-phone towers.

My kids slept well, but I only managed 4-5 hours of actual sleep. Couldn't quite get used to the rocking & bumping.

Rooms only locked from inside, so I didn't feel safe leaving valuables in the room. I carried camera, iPod & iPad with me in a small bag whenever I left the room unoccupied.

I cannot comment on the overall price or value, as I used airline miles to purchase my tickets, so I didn't pay a dime except for tips.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
18 Thank Choudoufu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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