Do members look forward to a train trip as much as people awaiting a cruise?

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denmarks

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I find that much of the excitement of a trip is the planning and anticipation. I have gotten guide books, city maps, and even a train route map. I have my own local web page that shows a countdown. What do you do in advance?
 
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I find that much of the excitement of a trip is the planning and anticipation. I have gotten guide books, city maps, and even a train route map. I have my own local web page that shows a countdown. What do you do in advance?
An old Cunard Line advertising slogan was "Getting There Is Half The Fun". For me, the other "half" is in the planning and anticipation whether my trip is by train, ship, plane, or car.

I do much of what you do in planning. I also use online sources of information. AU is particularly helpful for rail travel. Cruise Critic is very helpful in planning a cruise. As a AAA member, I use their resources a great deal as well. But, only rarely, do I book a trip through them.
 
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When I commuted by train almost every day, the main thing I did in advance was make sure my alarm was properly set to 4:30 AM so I could get out of the house and down to the station in time to catch MARC 407. If I missed it, I'd have to take NER 67 (and pay the full fare) and risk getting into work late. :)
 
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I think it depends on the cruise. I get sea sick without windows, and those cattle packer ships aren’t very appealing to me.

I think I’d prefer to take a train trip to coastal destinations and enjoy some resort there or something (or fly if it’s not reachable by rail).

Id definitely agree with you on the anticipation part. I love planning trips and feeling the anticipation!
 

Qapla

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I have never taken a trip but I have fished off-shore in deep water ... I look forward to train travel more than I did the deep-sea fishing.

If I were to take a cruise, I would probably be satisfied with the one boat/ship while on the cruise. By the same token, a few years back my brother and I had hoped to take a train trip to NJ/NY on one of the Silvers. While up there we had planned to ride the MTA, PATH, all of the different NJT train types and SEPTA. If we could have gotten passports in time we also wanted to ride Amtrak to Toronto and ride the subway and maybe the street cars.

Sadly the trip plans fell through and now, with C-19, our age and finances we probably will not be able to reschedule the trip.

The point is, I get much more excited about rain travel than other means of travel ... and - I don't fly!
 
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I look forward to and get excited planning both train and cruises. Of late, my cruises have involved Amtrak to get to the beginning and from the end of the cruise - Amtrak is essential for me when planning a cruise!
I compile scanner frequencies (not only train) for the trip and program my handheld scanner. My handheld Garmin GPS is loaded with the appropriate maps, Amtrak routes and POI's (point of interest).
 

Eric in East County

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We certainly look forward to our train trips.

To be sure of getting bedrooms for the dates we plan to travel, we always book our reservations well in advance. (Like five months or so in advance.)

To help make the time go by faster until our departure date, we’ll study our old timetables, maps, and route guides, and read up about the great passenger trains of yesteryear whose routes we’ll be traveling over. (If we’ll be traveling on the Southwest Chief, we’ll reread Bill Yenne’s Sante Fe Chiefs, which does a particularly good job of describing the Santa Fe’s premier train Super Chief back when it was the train of choice for the movie stars, celebrities and VIPs traveling between Los Angeles and Chicago.)

Two weeks before our departure is when we pull out our packing lists from previous trips and begin organizing how we plan to pack for our coming trip.

A week before our departure, is when we ensure that our little Uniden SC230 scanner has all the radio frequencies currently being used by the trains we’ll be riding on.

A few days before our departure, we’ll begin following our train’s arrival times to get a better feel for how well it is maintaining its schedule.

We’ve done a few cruises, but they’ve never had the same appeal to us our long-distance train trips.

Eric & Pat
 

Devil's Advocate

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Do members look forward to a train trip as much as people awaiting a cruise?
I've never been on a cruise myself. My coworkers took cruises before the pandemic and it sounded like most of the effort was in choosing add-ons and stacking discounts. To me those kinds of decisions sound more like planning a Disney vacation than a trip on Amtrak. As an adult I only visited theme parks because I was with someone who wanted to go. If I ever go on a cruise it will probably be for similar reasons rather than being drawn to them myself. Unlike some members I do enjoy flying vacations and find those just as exciting as train trips. With airlines you have many routes, destinations, and aircraft to consider while with Amtrak the options are fewer but you still need to plan around older hardware, more severe delays, minimal services, and limited recovery options. Getting lost in a planning session is great and although I struggle with trip reports trip planning documents are my bag.
 
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pennyk

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In the past few years, I cruised to Alaska and the Panama Canal twice. All 3 trips involved train travel (especially the Alaska cruise - trains to and from Vancouver and train from Anchorage to Fairbanks). One Panama Canal cruise involved train to LAX and from FTL.

The Alaska trip involved the most planning (and the most excitement) (and the greatest cost). I am certainly glad I got the cruises out of my system pre-pandemic because I cannot imagine cruising again (unless on a smallish river boat in the US).
I am not wild about cruises. I think the food on the ships (all Princess) got progressively worse with each trip. I decided after my last Panama Canal cruise in December 2018 that I did not want to cruise any more.

I enjoy the planning for train trips, but not as much as I did for my first cross country trip in 2010. I planned that trip over a year in advance. When researching routes, I found Amtrak Unlimited, "and the rest is history." LOL
 

Law638

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My round the country trip is in 6 months & I have already made my transportation arrangements to the station. No I’m not excited 😎😎😎
 

caravanman

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I have never been on a cruise as such, but did take the QM2 to cross from UK to USA once. I enjoyed the experience, but looked upon it as "a crossing" or "a voyage", something to achieve a different goal than the ship experience in itself. I can understand the appeal of a cruise for many folk, but I am not into fine dinning or dressing up, so the places one visits would be the appeal for me. I think the whistle stop quick look around at each port of call would not satisfy my need to explore more in depth. Getting away from home any way one can manage , especially as a lone female, or an older person, having a reliable safe ship to transport one around would be a blessing, each to their own.
Planning ahead is not my strong point, I often book trips at the last minute, even the QM2 thing was booked only a few weeks in advance. Once I get the idea, I do feel very pleased to get it planned and booked. My main constraint these days is lack of cash, but part of the planning enjoyment for me is finding a cheaper way to still achieve my travel objectives.
Gosh, that was a long winded way of avoiding answering the original question! :D
 
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Gary Behling

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I find that much of the excitement of a trip is the planning and anticipation. I have gotten guide books, city maps, and even a train route map. I have my own local web page that shows a countdown. What do you do in advance?
Go to the train station and watch the train pull in to Tucson--a refueling stop. Then I drive about 10 miles north and sit by the track where the train zooms by at about 79mph. I do that every other week or so
 

Everydaymatters

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My first cruise was a high school graduation gift from my sister. It was just a couple of days long. My second cruise was to Alaska and I was over the top excited about that than any ten train trips because it had been my life-long dream. I never thought I would get there. My third cruise, again to Alaska, was the trip that made me decide never to cruise again. The ocean was so rough that I was sliding out of bed feet first! I don't get as excited about train trips as I did for that first Alaska cruise, but I have a lot more fun planning it.
 
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We cruised a few times and had plans for a "bucket list" trip to fly to the UK to visit relatives, then train to the continent where we would pick up a transatlantic voyage back to the US. COVID put an end to that, so this year we had our :train cruise" to the Southwest (see my trip report).

To me cruising is more about the ship itself and to some extent the ports if there is something interesting to do there. Many times at least in the Caribbean you call at ports where there is a sort of "Potemkin village" around the port area with the same old chain stores, to see the real country you have to go inland which sometimes can be unsafe depending where you are. With train trips it is more about seeing the country.
 

denmarks

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What I enjoyed about cruises is that you could go to cruise critic and get together with others on the same cruise. At one time we had close to 100 members that made plans to meet on the cruise. That can not be done on a train trip since you would be lucky to find 1 or 2 that are interested to meet.
 
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What I enjoyed about cruises is that you could go to cruise critic and get together with others on the same cruise. At one time we had close to 100 members that made plans to meet on the cruise
That is one of the advantages of Cruise Critic. I have met many people on a cruise because of their Roll Calls and have become good friends with many of them.

Some Roll Calls turn out better than others, not surprisingly. On one short cruise (4 days), there were only a half dozen who were in that group. At the appointed time/day/place to meet only one person showed up. Me.
 
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Having circled the globe more than once by sea was fun and work at the same time...now on the train its just fun...I try and do a lap around the U.S. twice a year but Covid travel has been a drag...hope to leave the mask behind in a few more months...
 

pennyk

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That is one of the advantages of Cruise Critic. I have met many people on a cruise because of their Roll Calls and have become good friends with many of them.

Some Roll Calls turn out better than others, not surprisingly. On one short cruise (4 days), there were only a half dozen who were in that group. At the appointed time/day/place to meet only one person showed up. Me.
I was not impressed with the Cruise Critic "Roll calls" on the 4 Princess Cruises on which I traveled. I did not socialize with anyone I met on any of them. However, I enjoyed meeting many people that sat near me in the dining room and remain FB friends with one woman (who is about my age and more)
 
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I was not impressed with the Cruise Critic "Roll calls" on the 4 Princess Cruises on which I traveled. I did not socialize with anyone I met on any of them. However, I enjoyed meeting many people that sat near me in the dining room and remain FB friends with one woman (who is about my age and more)
Additional proof that some Roll Calls "work" and some don't. The ones that seem to work the best are the ones that are the most active where many of those enrolled actively participate. The length of the cruise also has some influence, I believe. The longer the cruise, the more willingness participants seem to have to participate when they are aboard the ship. The best ones for me have been on HAL cruises.
 
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