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California Zephyr
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Chicago, IL39 bidrag
nov. 2022
As a child I have fond memories of travel by train before the days of AMTRAK. Union Pacific Pullman sleeper cars to Idaho, the Rocky Mountain Rocket to Denver, the Broadway Limited to NYC, to name a few. Meals were freshly prepared ON THE TRAIN, tablecloths, silverware, polite and well-trained porters, stewards and sleeping car attendants. In the 1990's, I re-created my memories of the past with my own children with trips to Seattle and Portland on AMTRAK. The experience still seemed to have that "magic." So, this past summer, I made plans with my sister, Mary, to fly to San Francisco in November and return to Chicago via AMTRAK's California Zephyr. San Francisco had great weather, not much of a homeless or sanitation problem, and overall was a wonderful experience. On Thanksgiving morning, we boarded the AMTRAK coach bus service at Chase Plaza in SF for the short trip to Emeryville, the point of departure for the California Zephyr. Without a doubt, boarding the Zephyr, finding your private Roomette (2 seats/2 beds for 1 person) was an event I had REALLY been looking forward to. However, over the next several hours, I realized I had made a mistake. CLEANLINESS: The corridor in my Sleeper Car needed a good cleaning. Where the wall meets the floor, there was a line of brownish/black gunk. the cleaners have no attention to detail. My compartment window was dirty....handprints, noseprints, fingerprints, a coating of grayish film. I cleaned my window - twice - and resolved that problem. UNPLEASANT ODORS: Be aware that Roomettes DO NOT have a washroom...you will be using community washrooms that are located on both levels of the Superliner cars. Hopefully, you will not have a compartment adjacent to these washrooms. DINING CAR: For First Class (Sleeper) passengers, your meals are included. If you like sub-mediocre microwave food you will be happy. If you like eating off of plastic plates with plastic cutlery, you will be happy. If you don't mind listening to the Dining Car Steward's choice of music while attempting to converse with your trainmates, you will be happy. Without a doubt, the daytime portion of your trip will include outstanding mountain scenery, and stops in small towns may include an opportunity to exit the train - don't wander away too far. We arrived about 40 (forty) minutes early at Chicago Union Station...and I could not wait to exit the train.
Skrevet d. 1. januar 2023
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Xiaotian H
1 bidrag
dec. 2022 • Venner
The servers of dining car were extremely rude and unprofessional. During the lunch, one of the server missed our order and keep us sitting there for half an hour without any food and even drink. The same day, during the dinner, they mistakenly gave me another guy’s food that I couldn’t eat, which made me have nothing to eat but my own cup noodles. Then one server refused to give me hot water and another guy directly threatened me to get out the dining car with my noodle just because they didn’t wanna clean the noodle cup.
Skrevet d. 25. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Burke, VA67 bidrag
nov. 2022
Just do it! We took the Zephyr to Emeryville (SF) on our first Amtrak adventure, booking two roomettes. We had beautiful scenery, great food, a marvelous sleeping experience, and a wonderful steward--Janell! It was outstanding!

Details: Flew to Denver from DC, took light rail to the train station (cheap and easy), and then spent three nights in a hotel a block from the train station. Great time touring the central city on foot and by free bus.

The train was on time from Chicago (use the Amtrak app) and we checked our baggage 45 minutes before departure and boarded. Great staff escorted us to a wonderful breakfast which we completed before we left the station--on time! We went to the observation car for the trip up into the Rockies. It had snowed in the early morning, making for spectacular scenery. Recommend the right side of the car for this segment. The observation car ended up being full shortly after departing Denver, with the conductor saying he would clear out the car at Winter Park to give others a chance. It turned out to not be necessary, as the ebb and flow of folks made seats available throughout the entire trip.

Our steward, Janell, was wonderful--personable and available. She showed us the features of the roomettes, kept the bathrooms very clean and refreshed, and provided the bed-making services advertised. The car apparently lacked heat during the previous night and she had taped over the vents in the rooms to keep the cold out, but all was fixed by the time we left Denver. We tipped wonderful Janell part way through the trip and also at termination.

The scenery was spectacular throughout the trip!

The food and service at all meals in the dining car were excellent. We tipped at each meal but noted many did not. Each meal had a window of a couple of hours. Only sleeper car passengers had access to the dining car.

The slight motion of the train made sleeping wonderful in our roomettes and we didn't notice any interruptions due to noise. The lower bunks were very comfortable and the roomette was very cozy, with the door and drapes to the hallway closed and the scenery and stars going past the windows. Wonderful!

We never experienced a wait for a bathroom, except for the upper one in the car, as the narrow stairs to the lower level were problematic for some people. I took a great shower in the clean shower room which had plenty of hot water, towels, and soap/shampoo. The movement of the train was not excessive and didn't hamper the experience. We arrived in Emeryville about an hour behind schedule--not bad!

Other observations: After much research on roomettes, family room, bedroom, etc. I called Amtrak to book the trip as I finally decided that I wanted two roomettes across the hall from each other. Easily done months in advance. After the experience of this trip and being able to look at all of the other accommodations on the train, it was the absolute right call. I wouldn't have wanted to have two people in one roomette when it came to sleeping (confirmed by two one-roomette couples we met in the car) and the other bedrooms held no candle to the two roomettes. Very comfy and we had views out both sides of the train when we weren't in the observation car (which we were 75% of daylight hours) and plenty of space with privacy when wanted.

Based on other reviews, we were fully prepared to have to clean everything in our rooms, but it all appeared spotless. I can see how a lesser-motivated steward could easily ruin the experience by not cleaning rooms, keeping trash cleaned out, keeping bathrooms spotless, etc., but that was not our experience. If I ran the zoo though, I would have a roving cleaner wipe down surfaces and windows in the observation car on an hourly basis as this was a high-use area. Not gross, but some attention required.

We didn't experience any of the temperature issues that others have reported.

Being seated with another couple for meals was generally interesting and OK. The food was excellent!

When I checked at the Amtrak desk at Denver two nights before departure, an abrupt gentleman told me that, "If you're checking baggage, it must be checked at least an hour before departure, as that's when we close it out." As that didn't comport with the Amtrak website, I checked the next day and a different agent told me that I had been told some bad info--the website was correct.

We checked two bags in Denver and picked them up train-side in Emeryville. Easy-peasey! We carried on a backpack, a carry-on suitcase, and a soft-side cooler with snacks and adult refreshments. We had plenty of room given the two roomettes. We brought reading material (little used given the scenery) and didn't forget binoculars.

The two sleeper cars were behind the engine and the baggage car and were separated from the two coach cars at the end of the train by the dining car. Although I didn't feel like the area was susceptible to theft, when we left the rooms, we closed the drapes and the doors and my wife carried our valuables in her purse just as a sensible precaution.

We didn't experience any problems with not hearing announcements or announcements disturbing our sleep as others have reported.

For the most part, the observation car atmosphere was like a library--people talking in respectful low voices. On a couple of occasions some "loud talker" groups and phone-callers marred the experience. I would say that there were a couple of Amtrak employees who didn't know how to modulate their voices as they moved through the sleeper and observation car a few times. Additionally, in the last hour of the trip as the observation car had mostly cleared out, a passenger came in from coach and listened to very loud gangster rap on his phone with a challenging look on his face. That drove some people out and two Amtrak employees who moved through the car acted like they didn't hear it. (One more hour and this trip will be over--don't need a problem.)

Although there was no wifi, we had cellphone service for a surprising portion of time, even often when I thought we were really in the boonies.

I booked this trip about six months in advance for $1570. I checked prices every few days and about two months later found the price to be $1035 for the same trip and accommodations. I rebooked on the phone at the lower rate. That rate was only up for a day or two that I saw and I never saw it below $1570 after that. Keep looking!

The trip was absolutely great fun for we two 65-year olds and I highly recommend you do it! I would do it again!
Skrevet d. 23. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Ruth C
Cape Towns centrum, Sydafrika27 bidrag
nov. 2022 • Alene
This train journey from Chicago to Emeryville was everything and more than I hoped for. The panoramic views which changed hourly were spectacular. The staff in the sleeper car and dining cars were most attentive I would highly recommend this travel experience
Skrevet d. 15. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Kailua-Kona, HI1 bidrag
jan. 2022 • Par
We had a roomette. Our stewart was never around. We had to figure out how to pull down our bed(s) with the antiquated equipment. I ended up sleeping in the seat because the “bed” was too hard to pull open.
We knew we would be sharing the bathroom, but didn’t realize we had to clean it ourselves. It was filthy!
The shower had no shampoo or soap ( the stewart told us they were out of supplies!).
We weren’t able to lock our roomette when we went out, so had to carry our important items ( laptop, iphone, credit cards, etc,) with us wherever we went.
Skrevet d. 11. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Audrey N
Swansea, MA372 bidrag
dec. 2022 • Familierejse
We took the train overnight from Chicago to Denver. The rails were so bad, we could not sleep. The food was fabulous and our porter (Mike from Louisiana) was great. We also took it from Denver to Grand junction. The food was horrible, but the views were awesome. We took it from Grand Junction back to Chicago. The food was lousy, the rails were much better, the views were lovely, and our porter (Tony from Indiana) was a joy. Take the zephyr for the views.
Skrevet d. 10. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

meredith b
Placerville, Californien58 bidrag
nov. 2022 • Par
Three days on a train and I can’t Riding on the City of New Orleans song out of my mind! Super glad we opted for the one bedroom. Felt tight at first but really appreciated the privacy, and personal bathroom. The photos of the roomette do not reveal how tight the space is. 4 Star review is because the train was late. I suggest one check the status before heading to the station. The Amtrak app is not easy to use and provides little information.

We missed the climb to Denver as it was dark.

The food in the dining car was okay, but note that if you purchase a coach ticket you cannot order food in the dining car. There is a snack bar/bar for all passengers that has microwaveable food.

We pulled into Naperville about ten hours late. Would we do it again? Not likely. Flying is more economical. Amtrak did give us a $200 per passenger credit due to the delay. We will plan a trip of no more than five hours.

One last comment, Amtrak has a very low tolerance for bad behavior or breaking rules which made it more comfortable. At least two passengers we knew of were “let off” at the next stop or taken away by a sheriff in the middle of no where.
Skrevet d. 4. december 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Simon C
2 bidrag
sep. 2022
Amtrak cannot be relied upon to deliver quality, on time service for anything linger than 1 day. Our trip on the Zepher was nearly 2 weeks in duration and the Amtrak delays made this an aggravating experience. One example - the train was 4 hours late getting into Salt Lake City. They blamed this on track work by a freight company that owns the track. This track work was responsible for making this train late- every day for months. They though it was acceptable to drop us off at the Salt Kaje train station at 4AM with transportation to our hotel. By the way, the Salt Lake train station is in a slum.
This is just one example of their unreliable service. Friends of ours recommended using a reputable tour operator and seeing this area of the country by bus - where every leg of the journey is handled by them - without being abandoned.

Also - stay away from any trips that include bus service from Salt Lake Express (an Amtrak suppled service). They were the final insult. Old, Dirty busses with no air conditioning on a 7 hour trip in the blistering heat.. Check out their reviews. Find another way to see this spectacular area of the country. You'll actually enjoy it if you avoid Amtrack.
Skrevet d. 28. november 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

David O
Toronto, Canada78 bidrag
nov. 2022 • Alene
It’s a good 16 hrs of stunning views from Salt Lake City as you climb the Rockies east to Denver. Amazing highway and track bed engineering as it follows the Colorado river basin then ascending to 9,000 ft as your ears pop like on a plane. Slow and easy with the tight turns make for great photos. A top 10 for RailFans.

The Zephyr has sleeper cars, and a full Zephyr run is 4 nights. But 2 nights max is the most a typical human can endure: The service and amenities are that bad. It’s not really a touring train - it’s a commuter train pretending to be one, so speed is important to them. They make up time over night at full throttle, and in 2nd level room you are a beach volleyball - expect little sleep.

Food is a colossal disappointment. It’s one notch above a hockey arena vending machine, but a few notches still away from hospital cafeteria quality. Nothing is fresh or freshly cooked - it’s microwave reheat land. (But it’s fast! 30s from order and Presto! Angus burger appears). The snack bar in the dome cars sounds appealing to enjoy a cold drink or snack - but it’s closed more than it’s open. The attendant takes frequent breaks all day long - which are 65-90 mins each. If you win the lottery and find it open, be prepared for a big line as other thirsty travellers seek relief. It is really a huge hassle for the attendant to operate this tsp remember, don’t ask questions, look at your shoes, and remember to tip.

Tip: pack your own snacks and drinks to avoid hunger pains. Or ask the dining car staff for cold water or coffee -they seem more empathetic to the human suffering in the dome car.

Tip: Internet is really spotty through Utah and Colorado - so bring a book or cards.

Tip; Set your expectations (based on above experience) mitigate Amtrak disappointment by packing and planning ahead - and this is still a must-do trip.
Skrevet d. 1. november 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

Southend-on-Sea, UK4.549 bidrag
okt. 2022 • Venner
We had originally planned this trip for March 2020, but it was cancelled due to Covid lockdown. So after more than two years of waiting, we were happy to take the adventure; and that’s exactly what it is, an adventure. We were on the California Zephyr for the whole journey, from Chicago to Emeryville. We were in a roomette on the upper level. The highlights of the trip were the views and our sleeping car attendant Jenell; she was super friendly and extremely hard working. She was always on hand to assist throughout the three day two night trip. The roomette is quite tight, but a great private space. The views through the Rockies and the Sierras were great. The meals were equally as impressive; particularly the Flat Iron steak. Jersey was in charge of the dining car and was very friendly. The toilets were again a little tight, but one was always available and keep in good shape. The shower was great; piping hot and with great water pressure. It’s definitely an experience taking a shower on a moving train. We noticed the first night was on very rough tracks. The second night was smoother and meant a better night’s sleep. We arrived just over an hour late, which on such a lengthy journey was not bad at all. We meet some great people as well; so many stories shared. Yes, it’s not the fastest way to get from A to B or the cheapest, but it is a great experience. I would recommend it, and am definitely wanting to do another such trip. Well done to Amtrak staff for making the California Zephyr such a good experience
Skrevet d. 13. oktober 2022
Denne anmeldelse er udtryk for en subjektiv holdning skrevet af et Tripadvisor-medlem og ikke af Tripadvisor LLC. Vi udfører kontrol på anmeldelser.

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