New York to Orlando

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teeClark

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Hi First time travel for a UK family of 4. Our holiday starts in New York for 4 nights and our plan is to take the train around 5/6 August to Orlando with a stop off in DC on the way. Is it possible to do this on one ticket or do I need two separate bookings NYC to DC then DC to Orlando. Would there be room for golf clubs on the train. Which is the best sleeper and food service on this route. Hope thats not too many questions. Many thanks
 
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Ok, a few questions that will make it easer for folks to offer suggestions- when you say family of four, is that 2 adults and 2 children, and if so their ages or size. This affects types of accommodation that are suitable.
 
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Be aware that Orlando will be very hot and humid in Auguat.

With regard to golf clubs you could handle them as checked baggage between WAS and Orlando. Unfortunately the only checked baggage between NY and WAS is the overnight train 67. The Acelas and Regionals do not carry baggage cars otherwise. Have you considered just renting clubs when you get to Orlando?
 

AmtrakBlue

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Be aware that Orlando will be very hot and humid in Auguat.

With regard to golf clubs you could handle them as checked baggage between WAS and Orlando. Unfortunately the only checked baggage between NY and WAS is the overnight train 67. The Acelas and Regionals do not carry baggage cars otherwise. Have you considered just renting clubs when you get to Orlando?
They could book one of the Long Distance trains from NYC to DC. Not sure if they'll handle checked bags for that portion of the trip. There is room in the NERs for large luggage (across from the wheelchair accessible area).
 

joelkfla

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You don't need a sleeper between NY & Wash, it's a 3- to 4-hour day trip, depending on whether you choose the premium Acela service or a regular train. That's called the Northeast Corridor, which is Amtrak's busiest line, and trains running about once an hour during the day. Of course, if you really want private rooms, you could book it on one of the long distance trains, but you'll be paying quite a premium.

Between Wash & FL, Amtrak runs single-level Viewliner sleepers. There are Roomettes and Bedrooms, both of which sleep 2 adults on upper & lower berths.

Roomettes are the economy sleepers. The older cars have toilets in the Roomettes; the newer ones do not. There is no private bathroom; the toilet (when there is one) is right next to the lower berth, with a fold-down shelf-like cover. All Roomettes have sinks. The Roomettes are half the car width, and there is no space to move around in night mode. In day mode, there are 2 opposing seats. (The sleeping car attendant will convert your rooms between day mode and night mode.)

Bedrooms are more spacious. Each bedroom has a private bathroom with a toilet and shower; a sink is in the room. They occupy the full car width, so there is more room to move about in night mode. In day mode, they have a sofa and an armchair. During the day, it might be possible for all 4 of you to squeeze into one bedroom, with 3 on the couch and one in the chair.

All sleeping car passengers get the same food service, which right now is not so great, consisting of pre-prepared reheated meals. All meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in sleeper fare. There is also a cafe car where you can purchase snacks and a few light meal options.

There are only 2 bedrooms per car, so you'll want to book as soon as possible if you want bedrooms. If you want 2 roomettes, you can request 2 that are directly across the hall from each other, but only by phone, not online. Another option is to book one bedroom and one Roomette in the same car; everyone could gather in the bedroom during the day and have access to the bathroom, and then 2 could use the Roomette for sleeping.

Amtrak does not have open berths, or couchettes like European and Asian overnight trains. Passengers who don't want to pay for a private room sleep in coach. Amtrak coach seats have an exceptional amount of legroom. They recline quite a bit, but not to "lie flat". Coach passengers currently do not have access to the diner, so they either purchase all food from the cafe car or bring their own onboard. Amtrak does not have any restrictions on bringing on food, but there are no preparation facilities. Coach seats are not preassigned, and it may not always be possible to find a pair together, let alone 4 together.

During normal times, there are 2 daily trains between NY and FL, stopping in Wash. They have identical equipment. The only difference is that the Silver Star takes a more inland route than the Silver Meteor, so it's a longer trip.
 
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T

Teeclark

Guest
You don't need a sleeper between NY & Wash, it's a 3- to 4-hour day trip, depending on whether you choose the premium Acela service or a regular train. That's called the Northeast Corridor, which is Amtrak's busiest line, and trains running about once an hour during the day. Of course, if you really want private rooms, you could book it on one of the long distance trains, but you'll be paying quite a premium.

Between Wash & FL, Amtrak runs single-level Viewliner sleepers. There are Roomettes and Bedrooms, both of which sleep 2 adults on upper & lower berths.

Roomettes are the economy sleepers. The older cars have toilets in the Roomettes; the newer ones do not. There is no private bathroom; the toilet (when there is one) is right next to the lower berth, with a fold-down shelf-like cover. All Roomettes have sinks. The Roomettes are half the car width, and there is no space to move around in night mode. In day mode, there are 2 opposing seats. (The sleeping car attendant will convert your rooms between day mode and night mode.)

Bedrooms are more spacious. Each bedroom has a private bathroom with a toilet and shower; a sink is in the room. They occupy the full car width, so there is more room to move about in night mode. In day mode, they have a sofa and an armchair. During the day, it might be possible for all 4 of you to squeeze into one bedroom, with 3 on the couch and one in the chair.

All sleeping car passengers get the same food service, which right now is not so great, consisting of pre-prepared reheated meals. All meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in sleeper fare. There is also a cafe car where you can purchase snacks and a few light meal options.

There are only 2 bedrooms per car, so you'll want to book as soon as possible if you want bedrooms. If you want 2 roomettes, you can request 2 that are directly across the hall from each other, but only by phone, not online. Another option is to book one bedroom and one Roomette in the same car; everyone could gather in the bedroom during the day and have access to the bathroom, and then 2 could use the Roomette for sleeping.

Amtrak does not have open berths, or couchettes like European and Asian overnight trains. Passengers who don't want to pay for a private room sleep in coach. Amtrak coach seats have an exceptional amount of legroom. They recline quite a bit, but not to "lie flat". Coach passengers currently do not have access to the diner, so they either purchase all food from the cafe car or bring their own onboard. Amtrak does not have any restrictions on bringing on food, but there are no preparation facilities. Coach seats are not preassigned, and it may not always be possible to find a pair together, let alone 4 together.

During normal times, there are 2 daily trains between NY and FL, stopping in Wash. They have identical equipment. The only difference is that the Silver Star takes a more inland route than the Silver Meteor, so it's a longer trip.
Thank you so much for your very informative response . One last question, is the food offering poor due to COVID or a change in services?
 

joelkfla

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Thank you so much for your very informative response . One last question, is the food offering poor due to COVID or a change in services?
A bit of both. They switched to this "Flex" food a while before the pandemic as a money-saving measure. They finally recognized that everyone hated it, and they've restored what's called traditional dining to most trains west of Chicago. A lot of people say it's even better than it was before the change. But Amtrak says they can't restore it to Eastern trains because they're short of workers due to the pandemic. So, they're saying they will improve the food on the Eastern trains at some time, but they don't know when, and they haven't said whether it will be traditional dining or something in between.

There's a chance you'll be lucky and the food will improve before August. They have been hiring a lot of on-board staff the past couple of months.

They have replaced some of the worst Flex offerings with marginally better selections in the past couple of months, but it's still basically frozen food level.
 
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A bedroom and a roomette or 2 roomettes opposite each other might work well also. No options to stuff the kids into the same room at that age! Bedrooms can be very pricey. I live in NYC, I would probably drive to Washington and take the Auto Train, but the logistics of finding dealing with a rental car that allows a trip like that, would probably make it very impractical and very expensive
.
 

Joe from PA

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Thank you so much for your very informative response . One last question, is the food offering poor due to COVID or a change in services?

First off, the food is not "poor", but it's also not "great". Amtrak started this on the Florida/NYC trains in October 2019...3 months before Covid was announced. Now Covid is an excuse.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I’ve had flex meals and did not consider it “poor”.
As with everything in life we all have different opinions & expectations.
 

jis

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One last question, is the food offering poor due to COVID or a change in services?
On the eastern LD trains Flex menu started before Covid, and it came immediately following something even more bizarre called Contemporary Menu which had no hot items for dinner at all, and was started and stayed localized to the Lake Shore Limited fortunately. All that happened due to the legal requirement then that Amtrak food service break even by 2020 - the so called Mica amendment which has now been repealed.

When Covid came about, the Western LDs were also transitioned into Flex dining. That is why they have now come out of Flex and gone to standard dining as Covid wanes.

We have heard from Amtrak that they have every intention of transitioning the Eastern LDs to traditional dining too since the Mica amendment part of the driver towards Flex is gone.

The other factor that was driving cost cutting on LD trains was the business about "running Amtrak as a money making business" (or some such) as the primary driver of Amtrak. Now even that has been removed, making it easier still for management to spend money on providing service and not have the OIG and certain subset of Congressmen start carping about it.

Now we have the issue of restoring the necessary staffing with necessary skill sets in the Eastern LD routes while facing an overall staffing shortage. But the official position is that this will get fixed. So we will see how things go.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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I’ll also add... I’m sure you won’t be the first person to bring golf clubs on an Acela or Northeast Regional train.

Enjoy your travels.
 
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