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Traveled on 30 Apr 2021 via Sleeping Car. Our attendant came to our car One Time and that was to tell us that we must Physically go to the dining car to order our food. When we arrive to the dining room our supposedly attendant is there ordering food for who he referred to as His People. He never said another word to us and he never came back to our car. He completely ignored us and our needs. Like we did not exist.
The train sleepers were filthy, the blankets a disgrace (frayed, old, smelly). Surely Amtrak could provide clean, upgraded linens. Shame on them. The lines of communication with Amtrak Vacation were cumbersome, had to wait at least 40 minutes to be told we had to wait another 40 min to talk to customer care... No weekend or emergency phone number provided. We were booked Chicago to Grand Junction, car rental to Moab, Zion, Flagstaff to Grand Canyon and back to Chicago.
There was one major mistake in the car rental at grand Junction. The car rental closes at 6pm on a Sunday. When one uses a vacation rental company it is supposed to take the worry out of plans.. DO NOT TRUST THEM to make the reservations as planned. Amtrak did refund the money we had to pay out of pocket for a rental car within 24 days. Doesn’t matter, it was a major screw up, added untold anxiety. On the positive side, the tour companies at the national parks were the best. Adrift Adventures at Arches and Canyonlands, Pink Jeep at Grand Canyon. The hotels were fine, especially Holiday Inn at Zion.
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The BAD: Southbound 91 train from Richmond to Palatka, FL, terrible customer food service (except for Luis our attendant, he was very good), filthy, urine soaked smelly bathrooms. Woman at dining car was impatient, rude and unfriendly. We sat ourselves in the dining car and no one came and took our order, we had to self serve and clean up afterwards (I'm ok with that, I'm not a snob, but we paid for the first class sleeper service and no one served us, we even had to set up our own beds). I was not allowed to check my very large suitcase so we had to haul it and store it in our tiny roomette which severely limited the space for sleeping and moving around.
Saw most staff just sitting in dining car on their phones, which explains why the bathrooms were dirty. Just ok food, we had a sleeper car so at least the food and wine was free. One hour late arriving at Palatka FL, we did not know it was an unstaffed station, in the middle of nowhere, in a high crime area. No Ubers, no Lyft, no taxi. Had to call on a family member an hour away to come rescue us. AVOID Palatka station, better to get off in Jacksonville or further south near Orlando.
The GOOD: Northbound 92 train from Palatka to Richmond. Excellent customer service from every Amtrak employee on the train. Our attendant Kumar was attentive and courteous, offered to check my gigantic suitcase. He took our food order and delivered it straight to our room at the exact time we asked for it. The dining car staff was courteous, helpful and friendly. Came to our table and took our breakfast order then promptly cleared it when we were done. Always asking us if we needed anything at all. All with a smile on their faces. Kumar had cleaned and put our beds away while we were at breakfast, assisted us in retrieving our bags and getting us off the train in Richmond. Superior customer service from this train 92 staff! Exact opposite of our first leg of the trip.
The UGLY: a 3 hour delay waiting for the 92 northbound in Palatka. In a dark, unstaffed, dangerous, locked down station. Yes, the 10 text alerts telling us the train was further delayed was nice but because of the unsafe location, we had to get a hotel for the family member who dropped us off, we didn't want her to drive an hour home or be by herself alone in the dark after midnight, in Palatka. I understand there are delays, I've traveled with Amtrak before so I get it, I just hated that Palatka station and will never make that my destination again. Overall a good experience, just wish the service on the 91 train was as good as the service on the 92 train, this would have made my review 5 stars.
Amtrak offers to transport passengers from Point A to Point B - nothing more. The train cars are not overly clean. The bathrooms sometimes have wet floors near the toilet. The food is very limited & only includes drinks, snacks & microwaved items. Sometimes these items are available & other times they are not. Bring your own food & drink instead. A small cooler is a good choice or bring foods and drinks that do not require refrigeration. Bring sandwiches, fruit, multiple bottles of water, etc. Do not bring all "junk" foods. These foods are not filling & will just make you feel bad instead. Sometimes your fellow passengers may have loud conversations, play songs and videos on their devices, argue amongst themselves, not remain seated & more.
If you ride Coach, you will need to bring a small pillow and a small throw or sweater. The lights will dim in the late evening & you will then need to curl up (on two adjoining seats, thankfully). Do not rely on your purse, rolled up jacket nor luggage to serve as a pillow. Bring a little pillow with you - you will be so glad you did. Please bring headphones or earbuds with you because the odds of others wanting to overhear your personal selections are very slim. The seats do recline a bit and also have footrests.
As evening nears (on overnight trips), prepare your seats so you can get as comfortable as possible. This is challenging. Seats are not the best for sleeping. Roomettes are better though exponentially more expensive. Air conditioning and heating are rather hit or miss. Coach passengers have no adjustments. In general, the cars are comfortable though can be cold on a winter's evening. The most customer service you will feel is while boarding and exiting the train car. Once in motion, not so much. Use luggage with wheels - so much easier. Amtrak lets you bring quite a bit on board - which is great.
On the Silver Meteor route, about 10 hours of your Florida to New York journey will be in the dark. Bring things to entertain yourself. Again, food & drinks, comfortable loose clothing, a pillow, slippers/socks, laptop/tablet, phone, books, etc. Should you find a passenger has engaged you in an overly lengthy conversation, pretend to nod off. A 2-1/2 hour trip on an airplane takes 18 hours on a train. Be prepared. Despite everything, rail travel does have a charm or mystique about it. However, do not expect starched tablecloths, wonderful cuisine, a piano/bar car, comfortable overnight accommodations n or turn-down service. Expect to get from Point A to Point B.
I've taken your Empire Service to/from Upstate NY many times. The exception is when the train is actually on time. Pretty terrible service and horrible customer service. You should improve it. Maybe more people would be inclined to use your service.
As I am writing this message we are stuck in Colorado for over 13 hours right now! I’m sitting in Amtrak room with my 1 year old and service dog and husband! I am so disappointed this many hours passed and we didn’t even move! We don’t know when we will get to San Francisco. I’m running out of diaper and dog food if we don’t get to San Francisco by tmr. Our room is so dirty. Looks like they don’t clean this train at all! Service is not good. You can’t even walk in the room. It’s that small! Food is terrible! I am so disappointed. PLEASE DONT USE THIS COMPANY. I spend over $2000 for this! I can’t believe it.
I tried to type this all out but site limits number of characters so here’s the short version. Employees rude. Cafe staff worse than rude. Food not good. Overall horrible experience. Do not travel Amtrak.
My mom is a 77 year old senior. Her bag was 7lbs overweight and they refuse to check her bag or let her pay for overage. There was no manager on site and we were told no one could help us. I called customer service and they were no help. They sat and watched as my mom had to unpack and leave necessities she needs for her 22 hour trip. They are heartless! Take the plane or drive if you have that option...anything but Staples Mill Amtrak!
This is my first time on a train and thought I would have a good experience. I did not. Employees were very rude the whole 2 hour ride to Winter Haven. I will never ride Amtrak again. My mother in law was forced to wear a mask even though there were no other passengers near her. She told employees it made her sick to wear it but all we were told... Company policy????
I usually take Amtrak when going back home from Chicago where I go to school. On many of my trips, we stop for 30min to AN HOUR OR LONGER so maintenance can “check” the train... but they never really completely specify why we are stopped and why we have been stopped for so long. What I don’t understand is why maintenance doesn’t check the train before all passengers arrive. I don’t understand why they’re taking time out of our trip, causing the arrival time to be a lot later than expected. It’s annoying. I don’t want to be sitting on the train 30 min-an hour longer than I have to.
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