You eat in your room? Why?

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Kbyrdleroydogg

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When I get a sleeper, I like to eat in my room. Not being anti-social just that I read when I eat or watch a film on my laptop and there are too many distractions in the dining car.
Do any others like eating in their rooms? Why or why not?
 
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Cal

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I don't mind it either way, but I prefer the dining car. You get flowers, table cloth, someone else to talk to (the server or meal partners, or both) and the atmosphere is just better. Nice escape from your room
 

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I used to eat in the dining car for nearly every meal but a few years ago something changed. Older passengers started feeling a lot more comfortable about sharing some pretty toxic views while younger passengers were busy crawling into their mobile devices like digital zombies. The confluence of these two trends was enough to make me think twice about eating with strangers on a regular basis. What I would like to see is a return to bar-style seating so I can chat with other passengers during meals if they look friendly while also having the ability to mind my own business if they look crazy or change gears on me.
 

cirdan

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I used to eat in the dining car for nearly every meal but a few years ago something changed. Older passengers started feeling a lot more comfortable about sharing some pretty toxic views while younger passengers were busy crawling into their mobile devices like digital zombies.
i've never heard any toxic conversations on a train myself. Train people are generally not like that in my experience. There are plenty of oddballs and eccentrics and people doing crazy stuff, but all in a nice way if you see what I mean.

I hope its stays that way.
 

TinCan782

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We've done both and prefer the dining car. Two people in a room/roomette with plates, etc. on the little table doesn't compare to the larger dining car table.
Never had a bad experience in the dining car with other passengers at our table, its an enjoyable experience and an opportunity to mingle with other passengers.
 

PaTrainFan

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I also prefer dining car on a long distance trip. It's almost like going out to eat. ;) While I am not the most social person, I have enjoyed meeting some very interesting people. Everyone has a story. I do believe you gain something from any person you meet in life, no matter how brief or inconsequential. Sure, there are some awkward moments with people who are more introverted than I am, but that passes.
 

anumberone

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When I get a sleeper, I like to eat in my room. Not being anti-social just that I read when I eat or watch a film on my laptop and there are too many distractions in the dining car.
Do any others like eating in their rooms? Why or why not?
What is distracting in the dining car, do you bring your laptop to the dining car?
 

cirdan

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What is distracting in the dining car, do you bring your laptop to the dining car?
i do, along with my phone and credit cards.

I've never actually heard of stuff being stolen from rooms but you can't lock the door from the outside and I wouldn't want to risk it

I would never dream of actually taking my laptop out though. That would be rude towards my fellow pasengers.
 

flitcraft

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One advantage of eating in your room is that you can have the adult beverage of your choice. The current wine selections are okay, but we always bring a special bottle or two, which you aren't (generally) allowed to consume in the dining car.

That said, we almost always eat in the dining car ourselves and have our 'special' wine before or after dinner. I do wish they would let us bring our own to the dining car, though. Especially now that there is no longer an option to purchase a more premium wine than the standard three. Amtrak is missing a revenue possibility there, I think.
 

Dakota 400

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I prefer dining in the dining car. Dining in my sleeping accommodation is not dining. It's just eating.

I also enjoy whatever conversation I can have with tablemates. Those who continuously use their phones, etc. while at the table with others are being rude in my opinion.
 

flitcraft

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I also enjoy whatever conversation I can have with tablemates. Those who continuously use their phones, etc. while at the table with others are being rude in my opinion.
Amen, amen! Some time back in the Before Times, my husband and I were seated with what appeared to be a couple. I say, "appeared to be," since they both stared at their phones continually through the meal and didn't interact with each other at all. (They did leave together, so maybe at some point they shared a word or two together...I dearly hope.) We greeted them as we sat down, the male grunted at us and the female nodded at us. That was the sum total of the 'conversation' we had.

Fortunately, that experience is a real outlier--most of the time our tablemates have been at least pleasant and often a joy to converse with. But if that is a harbinger of the future, then all the tablecloths and china that Amtrak can supply won't bring back dining as we knew it.
 

oregon pioneer

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... some pretty toxic views...
Ha, ha, that reminds me of the one time I had to put up with such! An older gentleman on the LSL was pretty free with his political opinions, as his wife sat silently looking mortified by his side. Luckily, he decamped quickly after the main meal without eating any dessert, and she followed him. The other single woman and I, who found at that point we had a lot in common, lingered over tea and dessert (some kind of absolutely divine multi-layered torte) until we were kicked out by the crew so they could clean up the cafe car on the way into BOS.

On the whole, I prefer the diner, unless there's no communal seating (are they doing that again yet?). But it remains to be seen how I will dine if I even get to do my winter trip back east this year. I may end up in my solo roomette with my book or device. I'd get more reading done, but at the expense of potentially enjoyable socialization.

I even enjoy the people that I disagree with. I am very good at getting along and finding commonality, without actually assenting to objectionable opinions.
 

BoulderCO

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Definitely prefer the dining car, even though I usually travel alone and am an introvert.

I'm not very good with idle chit-chat but do enjoy the people watching and listening and learning opportunities that the dining car provides. And I can certainly politely share a table with others for an hour or two in exchange for that.

It's similar to when I'm traveling by car and staying in a hotel. I never get room service, but rather check out a local restaurant or bar for dinner.
 

crescent-zephyr

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i've never heard any toxic conversations on a train myself. Train people are generally not like that in my experience. There are plenty of oddballs and eccentrics and people doing crazy stuff, but all in a nice way if you see what I mean.

I hope its stays that way.
Your experience is not the same as everyone else. I’ve been scolded for salting my food, had unwanted physical advances that made me uncomfortable, and I’ve heard all sorts of political and religious talk.

Now for the most part, I enjoy meeting people on the train and take the good and the bad as part of the adventure. But I really loved eating at my own table in the Pacific Parlour car and the Hoosier State. And the occasional times I’ve been seated alone on other trains (tipping well sometimes helps this to happen!)
 

Eric in East County

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For our last few trips, we’ve opted to have all our meals served to us in our bedroom. This was not so much over concerns about “social distancing” - on earlier trips we ate all our meals in the dining car and enjoyed the conversations we had with the interesting people who were seated with us – but rather because, as we’ve gotten older, we’ve come to value our privacy more and more. (We no longer answer our phone when it rings but let it go to message. After we know who is calling, we may or may not choose to pick up depending on the mood we’re in or what we are doing.) In regard to Amtrak dining, we want the flexibility to be able to request when we want our meals served to us rather than having to wait to be seated. Then too, we want to enjoy our meals at our own pace. (This includes not having to be rushed to accommodate dining car patrons still waiting to be seated.) We do make it a point to tip our SCA’s extra for delivering our meals to us.

Eric & Pat
 
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Cal

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I also prefer dining car on a long distance trip. It's almost like going out to eat. ;) While I am not the most social person, I have enjoyed meeting some very interesting people. Everyone has a story. I do believe you gain something from any person you meet in life, no matter how brief or inconsequential. Sure, there are some awkward moments with people who are more introverted than I am, but that passes.
Definitely prefer the dining car, even though I usually travel alone and am an introvert.

I'm not very good with idle chit-chat but do enjoy the people watching and listening and learning opportunities that the dining car provides. And I can certainly politely share a table with others for an hour or two in exchange for that.

It's similar to when I'm traveling by car and staying in a hotel. I never get room service, but rather check out a local restaurant or bar for dinner.
As an introvert, I agree with both of you.
 

Just me

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On our trip, we had enough people in our party to take up more than one table in the dining car. We were able to engage in conversation with another family traveling and another time, with a father and his 2 sons traveling part way across the country. All of that was great and so enjoyable

BUT...on the other hand, one of our party got trapped with a religious zealot who only saw one way (his) for conversation. And our person tried to have a two-way conversation with him but, unfortunately, it was impossible. He was (putting it nicely) a "gasbag".

Thankfully, no political discussions came up.


But you take the good with the bad.
 

caravanman

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I much prefer to eat in the diner, never had food in my room. For me, as a foreigner, just talking with folk from across the ocean is often very stimulating, and I have met some real characters in the diner!
Not everyone feels happy around strangers, so each to their own.
The older generation will probably feel that phone and tablet use "at the meal table" is uncouth, as I do, but I accept that younger folk view the devices differently. Strangely, now I think about it, I am unsure about "reading a book". It kind of feels okay to me to read quietly, maybe reading a book appeals to something in my nature, maybe a snobby part that I forget is there? :D
 

20th Century Rider

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Community seating can be a toss-up. Sometimes it's a great opportunity to meet interesting and nice people. The downsides include tight seating, grumpy folks who don't want to talk anyway... and the worst two... someone with a bad cold and naughty or mischievous kids. In that case I would tell attendant that I forgot something... then return later. Which has me preferring dining in room at night at my convenience... if one has a good room attendant.

Of course with Covid there's an upside to dining at a single table... you get peace and quiet... can chat with someone sitting across the isle... or just look out the window. Safe to say that dining experiences can vary for any meal or train trip.

I am apposed to being told that as a single I must eat in my room... and like others, feel that's discriminatory.
 

jis

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I had one of the most invigorating technical conversations with an ex-Bell Labbie and his Hungarian wife, who I met on the Silver Meteor on the way back from the OTOL Fest in Roanoke. We were in the Sleeper Lounge/ Diner sitting at separate tables across the aisle. The conversation started over dinner reminiscing about the old Bell Labs days and then moving on to COVID and related science. Finally we went our own ways a little after midnight.

This was actually quite unusual since in the COVID days I generally tend to eat in my room, but of late I seem to have made an exception for a meal here and a meal there, as @pennyk can attest.

In general, if someone does not wish to engage in a conversation I don't really mind nor consider it rude. Afterall their primary mission is to eat and they are placed in a situation due to Amtrak's one size fits all procedures, possibly even for a good logistical reason.

What I find most annoying are loud people who squarely fall among the ones "who know not that they know not" but think that they are the founts of knowledge. But it is still quite entertaining if you are in the right frame of mind. If not, then it is time to make your excuses and depart gracefully.
 
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20th Century Rider

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The best connection I have ever experienced at a 'community seating meal' was when I met a couple from Gary Indiana... we began with conversation at dinner... then they invited me to visit them in their bedroom... and shared some fine after dinner liquor. That was four years ago and we mail goodies to each other at holiday times, lots of texting... and phone calls. We're trying to get together some kind of a reunion but COVID has pushed those plans back. But we're friends for life!

Oh my... and bring tears to your eyes, they sent by UPS a small home baked canister of almond cakes... and spent over $10 in shipping just to get them to me here on the Oregon Coast.
 

RRrich

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Way back when I used to ride Amtrak with or without Wifey just for fun and one of the things I/we enjoyed was interacting with strangers (friends we had not met previously) over meals in the diner. That and the variety of good food were reasons we were there.
 
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