Silver Meteor vs Silver Star

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I am thinking about taking Amtrak home to New York, after my cruise ends in Miami, the morning of 11 July.   I am assuming the full service diner on the Meteor will still be running at that time, but...who knows for sure?

Since I will disembark around 8:00 AM, I would not be able to catch the Meteor that same day.   I would more than likely, make it in time for the Star.   

My question is, does anyone think it is "worth it", to spend a night in a hotel, in order to ride the Meteor, rather than catch the Star the same day?

I understand, the added expense of the hotel might make a difference in the decision, but I wouldn't mind enjoying an evening experiencing the Art Deco historic district of South Beach....
 

pennyk

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I got off a cruise ship in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) last Saturday.  I had booked the Silver Star thinking that booking the Meteor might be tight.  My plans were to try to switch to the Meteor if I was able to disembark early, get through customs and get a cab and the Meteor was not sold out 3 days before Christmas.  I lucked out and was able to switch to the Meteor, which I did by phone in the cab.  I was so happy that I did that since I got home about 7 hours earlier.

Your situation is different.  Traveling on the Meteor would be impossible the day your cruise ends.  You have to decide if you want to get home a day earlier and travel on the Star.  After being on a cruise, taking a train without a diner may be wise.  

After being gone for 3 weeks, I wanted to get home the same day even if I had to take the Star.  On my previous cruise, I spent an extra night in Ft. Lauderdale so I could be comfortable booking the Meteor.  
 
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Thanks for your insight, Penny...after being on a cruise for 6 month's, I don't think having meals in the diner is going to make much of a difference,  and while I do need to get home, one more day is not going to matter much in the grand scheme of things.    ;)

I just enjoyed the experience so much coming home from New Orleans on the Crescent after my last cruise, I thought why not do a repeat on the Meteor, as who knows how much longer the full diner's will be around?

And its been about 10 years or so since I took the time to experience South Beach, so the night in a hotel would be enjoyed as well...
 

ehbowen

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Tell you the truth, if it were me I might take the Star as far as Orlando, spend the evening at Sea World or similar, then stay in an inexpensive place and take the Meteor home the next day.
 

pennyk

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And its been about 10 years or so since I took the time to experience South Beach, so the night in a hotel would be enjoyed as well...
If I remember correctly, July may not be high season in South Beach, so hotels may not be as expensive as they are in January and Feburary (but I doubt they would be inexpensive).
 
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Tell you the truth, if it were me I might take the Star as far as Orlando, spend the evening at Sea World or similar, then stay in an inexpensive place and take the Meteor home the next day.
Thanks for your input, but if I were going to do that, I might as well just stay aboard the Star all the way home.....
 

cocojacoby

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Have done this several times.  We booked the Star but tried to get to the station early enough to catch the Meteor.  To our surprise several people were doing the same thing (thought I was being clever).  However every time the Meteor was sold out so we waited for the Star.

Not that big a deal in pleasant Florida anyway.  Made me think of how many places in the country do major long distance trains run this often?

Anyway, the Star gives you an opportunity to ride to Tampa so if mileage or getting a longer train ride is important to you, then I'd take the Star.

Being frequent cruisers, we settled early on getting a room the night before (many hotels offer free rides to the pier from around the Miami Amtrak station) and taking the Star home.  Always desired an earlier arrival and later departure in Florida for the cruise passengers but have to just be thankful that the options are there I guess.

We did the Jacksonville cruise once which is the easiest of all connections.  Also to avoid the connection stress on the East Coast, we sailed out of Tampa a lot.  That was pretty easy southbound but involved a bus northbound if you wanted to ride the Meteor which we did due to better connections in New York, or you can just wait for the Star.  Going out of Tampa eliminated hotels completely.  You can even ride the Trolley right to the cruise ships and experience the long backup move into the station.

On my wish list would be an Amtrak train on the FEC which would allow easy connections to Port Canaveral which offers lots of additional cruises. 
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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I am thinking about taking Amtrak home to New York, after my cruise ends in Miami, the morning of 11 July.  
Just to mention, one can get a discount on Amtrak if you taking it to catch a cruise.   Or at least use do (there are a couple of recent threads here on this subject).     One of the requirements is that you have to arrive the day before your cruise.  Seems even the cruise lines want to play it safe.

As to disembarkation, I have been on many cruses, and like Amtrak itself, it is difficult  to predict with any assurance as to when you will be able to disembark.    One of my cruises, actually docked about 2 hours early so I was planning on catching my trip back home earlier.   Didn't quite work that way.    Apparently, there was a passenger of "interest" to customs, and no one was allowed to leave the ship until he was in custom's custody.   Of course, its a big ship, and he didn't want to be found.    So, they didn't start disembarking anyone until 4 or 5 hours late.  :eek:

I'll add my $0.02 in that they require everyone to "badge out" of the ship with their S&S card (which pulls up a photo on their monitor).   So, I don't understand why they could not simply allow everyone to leave, except for him.   
 
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In my case, I am only needing the train one way...my cruise starts in New York, and ends in Miami.   So I don't think that Amtrak discount would apply for me.  I can get a senior discount, however...
 

VTTrain

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In my case, I am only needing the train one way...my cruise starts in New York, and ends in Miami.   So I don't think that Amtrak discount would apply for me.  I can get a senior discount, however...
Or you could just get off the cruise in New York City when your ship is there a couple of days earlier.   :lol:
 
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Or you could just get off the cruise in New York City when your ship is there a couple of days earlier.   :lol:
What...?   And give up six 'free' additional days, including a stop in St. George, Bermuda?   (Which we miss on the first leg to Miami).... ;) :)
 

cpotisch

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This is what really frustrates me about the loss of the diner on the Star. The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound), is the only train serving Tampa, and is a four hour longer ride (so you need food that much more). On the northbound Meteor, you have to board pretty early in the morning, and even if you’re going all the way to NYP, have to be out and about and ready for disembarkation by 11:00 AM. When both had a diner, I always went with the Star. I just don’t understand the rationale for the Starvation.
 

VTTrain

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It would not surprise me if the Silver Star gets the "improved" contemporary dining that the Lake Shore Limited is supposed to get in a couple of weeks.  Frankly, I think that a lot more long distance trains are going to get this - at least all of the ones that are in the east.
 

cpotisch

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It would not surprise me if the Silver Star gets the "improved" contemporary dining that the Lake Shore Limited is supposed to get in a couple of weeks.  Frankly, I think that a lot more long distance trains are going to get this - at least all of the ones that are in the east.
I’d be thrilled if they do that to the Star(vation), but I swear to god if they do this to the Meteor... :unsure:   :angry:
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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This is what really frustrates me about the loss of the diner on the Star. The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound), is the only train serving Tampa, and is a four hour longer ride (so you need food that much more). On the northbound Meteor, you have to board pretty early in the morning, and even if you’re going all the way to NYP, have to be out and about and ready for disembarkation by 11:00 AM. When both had a diner, I always went with the Star. I just don’t understand the rationale for the Starvation.
The Silver Star may be the longer route, but most passengers are on it for a shorter distance. The SM has heavy ridership between Florida and the Northeast, whereas the SS is more dominated by passengers within Florida or between cities from NC north. Overnight, the train tends to be relatively empty, even though there is significant short distance ridership to middle of the night stops such as Savannah and Columbia. The SM also is typically longer with one or sometimes two extra sleepers. Lastly, the SM serves as the primary connecting train for points beyond WAS, PHL, and NYP, whereas most SS passengers' trips are limited to their time on the SS. I'm not saying the SS shouldn't have a dining car as well, but it is less needed than on the SM. 
 

pennyk

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This is what really frustrates me about the loss of the diner on the Star. The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound), is the only train serving Tampa, and is a four hour longer ride (so you need food that much more). On the northbound Meteor, you have to board pretty early in the morning, and even if you’re going all the way to NYP, have to be out and about and ready for disembarkation by 11:00 AM. When both had a diner, I always went with the Star. I just don’t understand the rationale for the Starvation.
The Meteor historically was a more popular train that the Star.  Even before the removal of the dining car, the Star generally ran with 2 sleepers and the Meteor with 3 sleepers.  I like the timing on the northbound Star when traveling to WAS, but not to NYP.
 

ehbowen

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I'd really like to see dining cars with around-the-clock service on BOTH the Silver Star and Silver Meteor. The full-service dining car is an amenity which no other form of transportation other than an ocean liner/cruise ship can match. Amtrak ought to regard and promote it as a showpiece instead of treating it as a millstone.
 

cpotisch

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The SM also is typically longer with one or sometimes two extra sleepers
Actually before the Star lost its diner, the two Silvers had the exact same consists (they actually shared consists, such that the southbound Meteor turned into the northbound Star and vice versa).
 
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cpotisch

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This is what really frustrates me about the loss of the diner on the Star. The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound), is the only train serving Tampa, and is a four hour longer ride (so you need food that much more). On the northbound Meteor, you have to board pretty early in the morning, and even if you’re going all the way to NYP, have to be out and about and ready for disembarkation by 11:00 AM. When both had a diner, I always went with the Star. I just don’t understand the rationale for the Starvation.
The Meteor historically was a more popular train that the Star.  Even before the removal of the dining car, the Star generally ran with 2 sleepers and the Meteor with 3 sleepers.  I like the timing on the northbound Star when traveling to WAS, but not to NYP.
Because before the Star lost the diner, multiple crew members had told me at different times that they shared consists. So did they add or remove cars at each end or were those crew members incorrect?
 

pennyk

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Because before the Star lost the diner, multiple crew members had told me at different times that they shared consists. So did they add or remove cars at each end or were those crew members incorrect?
Before the Star lost the dining car, generally SCAs would travel on the Star one way and on the Meteor the other way.  That changed when the Star lost the diner and the Sleepers had dedicated crews.  Recently that was changed again, now the SCAs in the 10 and 11 cars switch between the Star and Meteor (northbound and southbound or vice versa).  I do not know whether the consists were shared previously, and if they were, the logistics of adding/removing a sleeper.
 

the_traveler

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The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound)
So you’re saying that because I live 180 miles of NYC, I do not deserve a Dining Car? :huh:

The trains from my home station arrive and depart NYP connecting with the SM ONLY! I have no other choice. And with the short connecting time in WAS, you’re saying anyone coming off the CL doesn’t deserve a Dining Car either!
 

cpotisch

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The Star needs, and in my opinion deserves, the diner much more than the Meteor. It has a better schedule than the Meteor (especially on northbound)
So you’re saying that because I live 180 miles of NYC, I do not deserve a Dining Car? :huh:

The trains from my home station arrive and depart NYP connecting with the SM ONLY! I have no other choice. And with the short connecting time in WAS, you’re saying anyone coming off the CL doesn’t deserve a Dining Car either!
What on earth are you talking about? I simply said that in my opinion, the Star needs/deserves the diner *more* than the Meteor. Did I say anything about anybody not deserving a dining car? I didn’t. I didn’t even say that the Meteor doesn’t deserve a dining car; just that I think the Star deserves it a bit more.
 

TEREB

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If I remember correctly, July may not be high season in South Beach, so hotels may not be as expensive as they are in January and Feburary (but I doubt they would be inexpensive).
When my son and his girlfriend spent 2 days in South Beach summer of 2017, the hotel on Washington St (2 blocks from the ocean) was inexpensive (but not cheap) and very welcoming, as were the restaurants.  Lots of freebies/discounts being offered.  They did have a great time, loved the hotel and it's amenities. 
 
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I was looking at staying here...http://nationalhotel.com/hotel/

It is an art deco gem, right on the beach, on Collins Avenue near Lincoln Road, and close to Ocean Drive.

And it would be nostalgic for me personally, as that was where I stayed with my parents, on our first motor trip to Florida back in December of 1963. :)
 
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