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

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Bembidion

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Meriden, CT
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?
I like train travel so much that I even look forward to the train aspect of a trip to visit my daughter who is about an hour or so away by rail depending on the Amtrak/CT Rail connection with Metro North. It beats battling traffic.
 

Dan O

Conductor
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
1,083
Location
So Calif
Planning is quite a bit of the fun. I don't plan as much for train trips (just going to one city like Chicago, New Orleans or Dallas so far) as I do when we do a cross country car trip. I spend probably about an hour per day of travel planning those. We stop along the way to see things (say like Mt Rushmore, Little House on the Prairie places, etc) and usually a friend of relative. We also will probably visit at least two cities when we get to the opposite coast so there are quite a few things to plan for getting there and then again when we arrive. I used to order books from the library in the old days and still may do that now but rely less on them than I did. Actually, probably make more plans now in regards to motels, etc than when I planned using only books.
 

cocojacoby

OBS Chief
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
599
Location
Boston & Florida
Always combined the two. Boston to Florida on Amtrak and then a cruise out of a Florida port. Did that almost every year for ten years. The best part was that as soon as I got on the train in South Station I felt I was on vacation and the relaxing began.
 

dlagrua

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,294
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
When we go on a train trip there is a degree of excitement but we travel that way because we are really looking for relaxation and comfort both of which you get little of with a cruise line or airline trip. The stress level of driving 90 minutes, parking, taking the van to the terminal, then waiting over 2 hours in an airport security line, only to be let off at your destination to wait an hour for baggage, then take a bus ride to the car rental area to wait another 40 minutes is hard to take. With the cruise its like being at an airport, or mall with 3000 other people on board crawling all over the place with little privacy. We find that repulsive.
The train is an easy going trip for us with as much or as little privacy as we would like. Boarding is easy, luggage service is typically fast, the time between connections at CHI is well spent, can prove interesting and Enterprise car rental picks us up at the station when we arrive. Its most always a fun trip.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
Maybe it was growing up in the Great Lakes region, but I've never had an interest in North American-style open-water cruise ships travel. I love ferries.

European river cruises look to be more to my tastes. Smaller boats that leisurely travels along a river are more similar to train travel.
... And when on that Rhine River Cruise... you can see those German trains meandering in both directions on both sides of the river... a transportation enthusiast's place to be!
Trains on Rhine River.png
 

Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
164
Location
Hudson Valley
I’m also a fan of train-to-cruise vacations, and pre pandemic that was starting to be our preferred method. I so enjoyed not having to make all the necessary preparations for air travel, especially on the return trip where packing is a lot less meticulous on my part. Also we sail a lot of transatlantic itineraries which start or end at Ft Lauderdale, making Amtrak a very convenient option. One thing I’m looking forward to in retirement is not being on a rigorous schedule where I have to fit travel into a two-week box….when time is no longer of the essence I’m hoping to eliminate flying and stick to surface-only travel on trains and ships.

As for looking forward to train travel, always do, and even my morning commutes to NY Penn were enjoyable for me….the ride along the Hudson, and through Sing Sing CF where my husband used to work, plus I took the first train of the day at 5:55 am so I always had the two seater to myself. Now I take the LSL to Syracuse alternate weekends and book a roomette if it’s reasonable even though it’s not an overnight trip. It’s good quiet time where I don’t have to drive, which is always something to look forward to.
 

Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
164
Location
Hudson Valley
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
Agree about Princess… the lowering of food quality and recent watering down of loyalty benefits has me looking more at Celebrity, which we tried for the first time pre pandemic and I found many improvements over Princess. Food quality, cabins, shows…the only downside is the prices are higher, though lower than Cunard which I also enjoy.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,623
They are in some ways so different and in a few ways the same:

For Cruises
  • Does it go to where I want and have we been there before? We avoid repeats.
  • How much and what level (inside, ocean view, balcony) do we want?
  • We skip cruise tours so we look at what we can do and how to do it in each port.
  • We look at whether and where we'd take a train from/to as we almost always do at least partway on train.
For trains:
  • It's always a room for overnight (1BR or 2 roomettes) based on price. We're trying family BR for 1st time this month to see if we want to add those to list if price is better.
  • On shorter trips, we look at BC vs coach price and how far before deciding.
  • We often go to repeat places because we like to go back (NY, DC, New Mexico) or visit family (NY, NM).
  • New places are also high on our list - any overnight train trip to one is.
  • If price is too high, we look at an entirely different trip/destination.
  • We only do stopovers when we have to change trains. May change that in future.
  • We look at what to do, where to stay & how to get around at destination.
 

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