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Author Topic: Amtrak or Cruise?
dmwnc1959
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I was pricing a trip for mid- to late-September from Pittsburgh to San Diego roundtrip. On the reservations request I added Superliner Roomettes in both directions as well as a Business Class upgrade on the Pacific Surfliner. To my surprise the total came to a whopping $1900-$2000. The accomodations costs of the Superliner Roomette was staggering.

Here's my question. You only get one vacation every 5 years. If you had the choice between 5-days roundtrip on a train, not including the additional costs of hotel and other expenditures once in San Diego, and then 3-nights in San Diego, OR for the exact same cost a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise in a balcony cabin to Cozumel, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands on Royal Caribbean, which one would YOU choose?

Just curious... [Wink]

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20th Century
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Personally I would choose the cruise. The cruise ship is your hotel, transportation, and restaurant. Or becaue my time is flexible I would choose other dates to travel for a lower Amtrak fare. I have to admit a nice train ride would be hard for me to resist.
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MDRR
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Well, if it's Royal Caribbean, I'd take the train.
If it is Celebrity, HAL, or Princess, I'd take the cruise. JMHO...

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dmwnc1959
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MDRR, the price range also fits just about any of the Celebrity, Princess, and HAL ships I have been looking at for this Fall.

I have cruised RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, and HAL, as well as Carnival, Cruise West, and Cunard. Am also looking at postponing the Fall trip this year and waiting until Fall 2010, booking the Celebrity ECLIPSE or a rail trip.

For non-cruiseship afficienados, and now that you mentioned it 20th Century, in addition to your 250 sq.ft. stateroom with balcony and 32" LCD TV, the ship does have a multitude of restaurants, all of your meals are included in spacious dining romms and Lido cafes, the ship of course has a large pool, fully equipped gym and sauna with Spa, numerous nightclubs, quite lounges, and bars, casino, basketball court, and a multitude of other things to keep you busy.

Compare these to the multitude of amenities onboard a Superliner cross-country train trip.

--------------------
The best part of life is the journey, not the destination.

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20th Century
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I agree MDRR. I prefer Celebrity to Royal Caribbean (advertising link above this thread). Before RC, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines had their link which I gather is superior to Royal Carribean, but more expensive. Celebrity is worth every penny spent. Besides I couldn't care less if a ship has a rock climbing wall or ice skating rink. It's the service, and dining experience that matters.
Just like rail travel it depends on what we can afford and what we want from the travel experience.

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RRRICH
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If I were traveling alone, I'd definitely choose the train trip! However, if my wife went with me and actually WANTED to take a long cruise, we'd probably choose the cruise.
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Geoff Mayo
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Don't forget to factor in the extravagent "suggested tips" that cruise liners add to your bill.

--------------------
Geoff M.

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smitty195
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Amcrap or a cruise??? Are you kidding??
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train lady
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I personally would choose the train. I can get sea sick in the bath tub so a cruise holds no plus for me. But I think sometimes less is more and you should do what pleases you. I love trains so I would take a shorter trip.
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HopefulRailUser
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Do what I do, combine the two. I take the Coast Starlight to Seattle, then cruise Alaska or take the repositioning trip back to Southern California. Trips out of San Diego are reached via the Surfliner.

Of course one can't compare the amenities. Amtrak LD is still "indoor camping" (thanks GBN) but it is a different type of adventure.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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RR4me
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I've never cruised the Caribbean, so maybe it's different, but...our first and last cruise was from Vancouver to Alaska. We enjoyed it, but unless we go through the Panama Canal, doubt we'd run to do another. Neither my wife or I like to over-eat, so the multitude of edible options isn't that big an enticement. Fresh air is nice, but the scenery on the open sea has to be more boring than even the "one pine tree, all pine trees" I've read people complain about in this forum on the Southern routes. We didn't drink much, but the shopping and drinks we did consume added to a surprisingly large bill at the end. All ports of call led to short jaunts to very touristy areas, geared mostly to more shopping or eaing/drinking, unless you spent (we did) a lot more money to do fun stuff like whale watch or take the White Pass RR.

IMHO, I'd take the train and spend a day or two at interim destinations.

In any case, I hope you have an adventure and a grand time. And if you SCUBA dive, I'd reverse my opinion [Smile]

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MDRR
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In that case, wait until 2010 and take the Eclipse! Everyone returning from the Solstice (Celebrity) raves about the new design.
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dmwnc1959
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The bars and lounges onboard a ship and even on a Superliner passenger rail car arent a big selling point for me either, but it does give someone the multitude of places to escape to if one so chooses for entertainment and even a light refreshment. Onboard ship the options are signigicantly more appealing and numerous. I eat moderatley on cruises and dont over-endulge, but the options for fine dining are a welcome relief from my normal daily regiment. I was never impressed with Amtrak food, although good, not worth what they 'charge' as part of the roomette service. And the last several people I 'joined' for dinner and conversation at a table on Amtrak left me running back for my roomette. At least on a cruise ship I can order full room service, eat dinner in the Lido, or a table for 1 in a specialty restaurant if I so choose.

I'm not a pool deck junkie but the idea of a balcony cabin for a week in the Caribbean, reading a good book with the sounds of the ocean are indeed applealing. As a single traveller I enjoy the solitude it offers and the opportunity to meet new people if I so choose. Trying to enjoy a good book in the Dome Car of a Superliner train with a rat-pack of kids was never a thrilling prospect for me, and the feeling of being cooped up in my Roomette for days on end are now even less appealing.

Geoff Mayo Last time I took a cross-country rail trip I also remember having to tip the dining car staff and sleeper attendant, not far off from what you'd tip cruise ship staff.

HopefulRailUser I did actually combine the two once, CLT-JAX-LA and picked up the Celebrity GALAXY for a 12-night to Alaska ending in Vancouver with a 2-night post cruise, then railed from there to Seattle and back to CLT.

I try to pick and choose itineraries carefully now, to make sure it is going somewhere I havent been, or somewhere where the side excursions are intellectually stimulating. The thought of hopping on and off a train at multiple towns across the country is less appealing than just staying on a cruise ship for a straight 7-days, even if I never got off the ship while in port. And I hate shopping so that much is out of the question.

Dont get me wrong. I have travelled cross country on Amtrak quite a few times in the last 15 years. It's just that now I enjoy my creature comforts and some elbow room. For the money, Amtrak and rail seems less and less an option, now that I can only go on a real vacation about every 5 years or so.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. RR4Me does a good job of describing the "contrived merriment' of shipboard life.

I've been on six cruises in this life (1979-1988 all with Holland America; now deceased GF enjoyed them) as well as two Trans At sailings during 1960; I found that I gained at least 1lb a day from "overindulgence" (the quantity is there; not sure about the quality). No wonder you have seen my less than flattering reference around here of "Love Tub".

If you enjoy packaged vacations of the escorted tour variety, then I think you would be quite at home with a cruise and consider such as $$$ well spent. If you simply want to experience an ocean voyage with "if you've seen one wave, you've seen 'em all', Carnival's Cunard brand offers sailings through the year on something resembling a schedule. Other lines "position" their ships between Caribbean cruises during the Winter and European cruises during the Summer; they handle passengers on those Trans-At crossings.

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sbalax
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All--

For me this would be a no-brainer but I doubt I'd go to the Caribbean. It's a bit too port intensive and one island starts to look pretty much like the next.

We have two cruises booked for this year (Transatlantic from Barcelona to Miami on Azamara Journey and a "Wine Cruise" from Vancouver to LA on Celebrity Millennium. Like Vicki and Art, we will use Amtrak for part of the trip but, in our case, only from Seattle to Vancouver.

On the last, I'm waiting awhile before cashing in AGR points until we can confirm "real" Business Class will be available.

We just completed two B2B cruises on Royal Caribbean, which were our first with them. We were pleasantly surprised that the food and level of service were comparable to Celebrity.

Geoff--

The "suggested tips" are just that. Suggested. And I've never thought the suggestions were extravagant for the amount of service rendered. We generally tip above and beyond that amount.

Frank in Sunny SBA

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Geoff Mayo
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Frank and dmwnc1959 - I freely admit I have a problem with tipping for average service. A tip is for exceptional service. But that's my opinion for another thread. Perhaps other cruise lines are different because from what I've seen you "need" (read: frowned upon if you dare not to) to tip more on a cruise liner than on Amtrak.

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Geoff M.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Again, I must note that I have not been on a cruise since 1988, and the likelihood I will do so again is somewhere between slim and none (volks, I'm just not a traveler anymore beyond what is needed to "keep friends friends and family family"). However, it would appear that the "Guidelines" set forth at Royal Caribbean's site are very reasonable - and I would dare say below my personal guidelines.

I do respect, Mr. Mayo, that where you come from, the tip, save at some very high end establishments, the Connaught Grill being one I can recall, the tip is included in the restaurant check and hotel bill. However "over there' is not "over here", and even if a cruise ship is a nation state unto itself (they sure know how to pull that one out of the hat when things go wrong), the major brands have a way of following customs and courtesies prevalent in the USA.

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Railroad Bob
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I've only done three water-borne journeys; all in PR China. Back in the 90s they were: the Yangtze River 3 Gorges ( before the water started "coming up" from the Dam), the Lijiang River in Guilin to see the "karsts" and a ride on a Vietnam-era sampan down a lesser Chinese River (Daning) not far from where those bad earthquakes were in Sichuan Province...I liked the rides; quite adventurous. On one of the trips, I saw the crew rinsing the dinner dishes in the cooling water from the engine. Someday I plan to try one of these big traditional ships you guys are talking about. Thanks for the comparative discussion. I've got an LA-SEA trip planned for this July on the Starlight; then maybe the Builder to CHI, if I can swing it...
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dmwnc1959
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The description of LD Amtrak travel as 'indoor camping' is spot on, and the main reason why it would be increasingly difficult for me to justify spending 2G's on it instead of the aforementioned, and comparatively spacious, accomodations on something like the Celebrity ECLIPSE. 'One pine tree, all pine trees' reminds me of just about every rail trip I took south of the Mason-Dixon Line except in Florida where it's 'one palm tree-all palm trees'. To me crusing the Inside Passage of Alaska and Glacier Bay/College Fjord were some of the most scenic and stunning landscapes I have ever seen. Another ranking high up there were the 7-night cruise down the Columbia River from Portand, Oregon to Lewiston, Idaho, and then back to Astoria and Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was like a extended version of cruising the Panama Canal but much better. Amtrak admittedly offers up some wonderful vistas but often the vistas are too short and fleeting to justify 5 days on an LD. I did enjoy the Denver to Reno portion of the California Zephyr, the Portland-Spokane portion of the Empire Builder, as well as spotted portions of the Coast Starlight and the Pacific Surfliner. It is just that sometimes fighting for space in a Sightseer Car or hoping to catch soemthing out my 3x5 window seems to have become more challenging than anything else.

With this possibly being cruise #30 (I have 5 cruises to Alaksa under my belt) the thoughts of having 5 days of the soothing sounds of open ocean off my balcony reclining with a good book in my hand is quite appealing, as opposed to the same number of days in a Sightseer Car or in my jail-cell sized Roomette. And on a cruise ship I have several options for dining, solitude in my room, table for 1 in a specialty restaurant or Lido Cafe, or joinging a fine group of people in the main dining room. I can't begin to tell you the horror story that was my last dining car encounter on Amtrak, making me flee back to, yes, my jail cell sized roomette.

sbalax you have quite a nice lineup of journeys scheduled. I love the Millennium-class ships, and sailing from Seattle or vancouver is always exciting, even passing under the Lions Gate Bridge is cool.

Geoff Mayo I too have a problem with tipping for just 'service', even moderate service, and I really have a problem with them plaing the automatic gratuities on my onboard account. They always get removed and I tip personally, handing them the monies they earned. Not being snobby, but it is their job, and I dont want lax service or no service because they know they are automatically getting their money.

As for the "contrived merriment", from cruise #1 it was not my cup of tea. I hated the art sales and 'Newlywed Game' crap onboard, the sing alongs in a bar of snot-slinging drunk patrons, and the foul humor of the midnight 'Adult" entertainers in the aft lounge. I do however enjoy a 'cold one' once in a while at a quite bar or lounge and the soft sounds of a good jazz group onboard. Picking and choosing your entertainment from the multitude of options is critical. As for Amtrak I did, for the first few cross country excursions, find ways of entertaining myself. But the thoughts of another second rate movie in a Sightseeer Car full of tennagers or other 'merryment' makers is just not appealing, and travelling with a handful of books and my 10" portable DVD player just doesnt cut it anymore. At least cruise ships have pretty extensive libraries onboard now and the offerings keep me from having to pack one in my carry-on.

Enough rambling for now. [Wink]

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Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
I do respect, Mr. Mayo, that where you come from, the tip, save at some very high end establishments, the Connaught Grill being one I can recall, the tip is included in the restaurant check and hotel bill. However "over there' is not "over here", and even if a cruise ship is a nation state unto itself (they sure know how to pull that one out of the hat when things go wrong),

I realise you haven't been to the UK for very many years and perhaps your memory is failing you. Restaurants tend to only include a tip if it is a large group, and even then it's usually only 10%, and is always printed on the menu (a legal requirement perhaps). If you don't want to tip then you don't. The only person you might want to tip in a hotel is a porter or perhaps a chambermaid if you happen to see one: if you tipped anybody else then they probably saw you coming and thought "here comes a mug".

I'm not sure where your "over there" comment came from, except perhaps the usual snipe box. Mote that I didn't say where I've been on cruises.

quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
the major brands have a way of following customs and courtesies prevalent in the USA.

Unfortunately so.

quote:
Originally posted by dmwnc1959:
Geoff Mayo I too have a problem with tipping for just 'service', even moderate service, and I really have a problem with them placing the automatic gratuities on my onboard account. They always get removed and I tip personally, handing them the monies they earned. Not being snobby, but it is their job, and I dont want lax service or no service because they know they are automatically getting their money.

Yes - this automatic gratuities is what I was trying to say earlier. At least with Amtrak you can give them the tip - if any - they deserve and it is always under your control.

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Geoff M.

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sbalax
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Geoff--

The same is true on cruise ships -- at least the ones we have been on (Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Princess). The gratuity is only suggested. We've never had them automatically added to the onboard account. While you can prepay them, usually you are asked at some point before the end of the cruise if you want to have them added to your account. You are then given vouchers with envelopes to give to the parties involved. We generally give the vouchers and a bit extra for outstanding service.

Frank in Sunny SBA

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dmwnc1959
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-sbalax- There was a time frame when most cruise lines did automatically add tips to your onboard acct. I found this article with details. Its been 4 years since my last cruise (on the QM2) so I am not sure what the current policies are. This article last updated abt 2 years ago...

http://cruisetalk.org/resources/tipping-policies

On my cross country CLT-JAX-LA I purchased several rolls of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar Coins from the US Mint and personally tipped after every meal. I wanted to let them know that their service was of a Gold Standard. They got a huge kick out of it.

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sbalax
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I checked a couple of websites (Celebrity, RCL, etc.) and the fine print does say that they automatically charge the gratuities but we've found that in actual practice there is plenty of opportunity to opt out. Or to increase or decrease the amount.

Gratuities for drinks ARE automatically added to your bill (15%) but I've seen many people who are either quite generous or don't understand the system add more. The same is usually true in the specialty restaurants.

The average per person/per day gratuity is $12.00. That covers dining room waiters and their assistants, head waiters and their assistants and cabin attendants and their assistants. They, with the possible exception of head waiters, work very hard.

The only time we have given less than the suggested amount was on the 90% American staffed NCLA Pride of Hawai'i (Now Norwegian Jade).

I've only once found an employee on Amtrak who could come close to the standard of service we find on cruise ships.

I like the gold dollar idea. I'd bet that a lot of those folks still have the coin.

Frank in overcast SBA

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royaltrain
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Depending on the cruise line you choose, the value of the ship will almost always be superior to Amtrak. I have many times spent $2000 plus on an Amtrak train trip (I always book a bedroom). A few years ago I boarded Cunard's QE2 from Quebec City to New york. The six days on a luxury ship in the Queen's Grill was not that not much more than the train. Ship clearly wins over train in such circumstances.

I am becoming more like Mr. Norman in that travelling nowadays seems not worth the money or aggravation. After my journey last Christmas spending nearly ten hours in Seattle's King St. Station waiting for #11 that eventualy arrived in L.A. 25 hours late, I will not be repeating that journey even if the fare was cut in half. Much to my horror I shall fly this Christmas to see my elderly mother in Las Vegas. When I booked the most expensive business class ticket on Air Canada I ended up paying less than the train.

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David
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The same comparison can be made between a cruise and a long distance VIA Rail trip. Last year, for example, my wife and I wanted to bid farewell to our beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 with our fifth and obviously final Atlantic crossing on this fine ship. For a similar cost of three days on the Canadian we got six days in a first class stateroom (technically there's no first and tourist any more, but in reality it exists by dining room assignment based on the fare.) The best thing about "first class" on a ship is a dining room with one sitting, none of this three-sittings business you usually get on trains. Last month we made a crossing on the Queen Mary 2 and paid even less because we would be assigned to the Britannia Restaurant which has two sittings. But a free upgrade to a Princess Grill junior suite gave us the single-sitting dining room, not to mention a 381 sq. ft. room. All of this was for a per day rate way below that of the Canadian.

One other thing no-one has mentioned yet is that modern ships provide lower berths or queen or king-sized beds. I'm afraid railways, due to space constraints, must still banish half of their passengers to upper berths. Yes, I am aware that Amtrak's lower berth in the bedrooms is acceptable to some couples, but really it doesn't compare to what is on offer at sea. VIA does have drawing rooms (now called cabins for three) and these offer two lowers, but these rooms are few and far between. I know Amtrak and VIA offer rooms en suite, but this option almost doubles the cost.

On the subject of tipping, most lines do indeed have a per diem charge added to the account and some passengers do remove it and tip in the traditional way. But many of us who leave the charges on the account do give an additional gratuity personally to those crew members who have provided particularly good service.

I don't want to totally give up on long-distance train trips, but I think we will be travelling more by sea as we did in the 1970s and 80s.

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dmwnc1959
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I am sure there have been a multitude of threads on this board as to why Amtrak accomodations are so expensive. I still dont get it, and never will. There are certain Amtrak trips I would love to take again but only if I was in a full sized bedroom, but at that cost? No thanks.

In the last 3 years I've aged what seems like a century, and the thought of a cross-country trip in Coach makes my skin crawl. Sorry. And I took a LOT of cross-country trips in coach over the last 15 years too. Just cant do it anymore. I fear my days of overnight LD rail travel are over, replaced by day passage or a flight.

I am glad I did it while I still could...

--------------------
The best part of life is the journey, not the destination.

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sbalax
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It's sad to say that I have to agree with you two. As much as I have enjoyed LD trains in the past they just don't make much sense anymore as far as personal comfort and value.

I will continue to ride day trains like the Surfliners and have AGR points for one or two more LD rides but I'm afraid that will be it.

Frank in Sunny SBA where the Summer Solstice Celebrations are just beginning to wind down.

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palmland
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Seems to me the best way to get the best of both worlds is to use a Chase AGR credit card for cruises, then use your points for 'free' Amtrak travel.

I agree with those who find little use for rock climbing walls and all that implies. Give me a small ship where it's all about the voyage and remote ports of call or perhaps a true transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary, as GBN suggests (combined with a railpass for Europe.

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RRRICH
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Railroad Rich's reasons for choosing AMTRAK over a cruise:

1) I don't get seasick on AMTRAK (If I didn't have those "ear patches" on the last cruise we took, I would have gotten seasick, since the ocean was ROUGH!!!!!)

2) All you see from a cruise is miles and miles and miles of empty ocean with a couple hours in an exotic port every day or two, where it costs a fortune to do anything; on AMTRAK, there is always something to see out the window (even if it is just pine trees)!

3) I have no use for rock climbing walls, silly cruise games ("Newlywed Game," etc.), karaoke bars where I've never heard of any of the songs they feature, disco night clubs (at my age?), etc.

4) I enjoy having my meals with different people each time on AMTRAK -- on cruises, you are stuck with the same people every meal!

My wife & I took a cruise a few years ago from Port Canaveral to Nassau (Carnival) -- it was OK, but I would't want to do a vacation like that every year. (however, we are thinking of doing an Alaska Cruise next year, but we would travel to the cruise by TRAIN!)

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train lady
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Amen, Rich!! #s 1 and 2 are the most important to me. Watching miles of water is not what I enjoy. On the train looking out the window and seeing small towns and big ones is far superior. Even with pine trees different groups are different. Ditto corn fields. There are differnt configurations that make them interesting to me.
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sbalax
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Rich--

4) I enjoy having my meals with different people each time on AMTRAK -- on cruises, you are stuck with the same people every meal!

Not necessarily true. Many cruise lines now have the option of "Anytime" of "My Time" dining where you go to eat when you want and with whom you want. It worked very well for us on RCL on our two cruises around South America earlier this year.

Frank in Sunny SBA

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HopefulRailUser
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Both types of travel have their merits. I miss trains when it has been a while since my last trip. That feeling I get while sitting in the train in LA Union Station, waiting to leave, is wonderful. And seeing the ports and the port traffic from the cruise ship is fascinating.

All this talk is making me anxious for my October trip on the CS and then the Zaandam.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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delvyrails
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In the environmental results, Amtrak is better. According to "The Suicidal Planet", page 215, the relative energy use per passenger mile for intercity rail is 0.32, for car is 0.38, for short haul air is 0.36, for long haul air (over 2500 miles) is 0.39, and for ship is 1.60!

The ship may be keener,
But it's Amtrak that's "greener" ;<).

--------------------
John Pawson

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dmwnc1959
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quote:
Originally posted by train lady:
Amen, Rich!! #s 1 and 2 are the most important to me.

A lot of people get motion sick (sea sick), even in cars, planes, and on trains. My first couple cross-country Amtrak trips were preceeded by short jaunts from Salisbury-Charlotte, then SAL-Raleigh. I decided I couldnt do without assistance. So I looked at the options. Behind the ear patches were one, but conspicuous. Dramamine was OK, but BONINE, a chewable cherry flavored pill turned out to be my travelling companion for many years. Taken the night before boarding, and then every morning with breakfast, I never once got sea-sick, and neither did my family whose first cruises were also in some pretty rough waters.

And there are a good number of cruise options available to where days of endless open ocean are not your demon. North- and Southbound-Inside Passage sailings in Alaska where you get maybe one day where land is out of sight. Small ship cruises up the US Intercoastal Waterways, the Columbia River, along the coast of Central America into the Panama Canal, South America and Southern Caribbean cruises that feature a port of call every day. European and Scandanavian cruises that feature a port or inland passage crusing also are quite popular and may have 1 day at sea of 7, or 3 days at sea out of 11. These sea days give you a chance to sleep in late, take breakfast in bed and a book on your balcony, and relax.

sbalax is exactly right when he said the many cruise lines now have the option of "Anytime" of "My Time" dining where you go to eat when you want, and with whom you want. They can seat you at a table for 4, 6, or 8 each night with new folks, or a table for 2 if you are feeling romantic. And most cruise port of call departures are set that when you are getting back on and leaving, you are relaxing from your days adventures and getting ready for dinner or the nights events.

And another big advantage cruising has over rail travel is that I can, right now, reserve and book a cruise as far in advance as Fall or Winter 2010, into 2011. I can hold my exact cabin, put down a small depost, and pay along as I get closer. Amtrak has no such system.

Now, imagine a cross-country Amtrak trip in which you have planned 3 or 4 stops. You get off the train and get a hotel, then do NOTHING? You sit in your room and watch TV? No. The same holds true with a cruise, you stop in a port of call and have to spend money to do stuff. You would do the same on an Amtrak trip. You stop, sightsee, buy a souveneir or two, and get back on the (ship) train and move to your next stop (port of call). Even if you are going cross country with no stops, to a single destination, you spend money once you get there. You just dont turn around within hours and get back on the return train and head back home (at least most of us dont). Same for a cruise. The ship, as well as the ports of call are the destination(s). You spend money, buy souveneirs, and get back on.

And participating in the campy entertainment onboard is not mandatroy. They dont take roll call and deduct points if you dont attend. Many cruise lines have lectures, seminars, educational studies, and classes to further your knowledge and education. Research and find one. Many also have an endless array of in-stateroom entertainment options on your 32" LCD TV. Movies, shows, and lectures or briefings. Amtrak lacks grossly in entertainment options, unless looking at trees and corn fileds for a thousand miles is really your cup of tea. After a while I got a stiff neck. [Wink]

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Railroad Bob
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quote:
Originally posted by dmwnc1959:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by train lady:And participating in the campy entertainment onboard is not mandatroy. They dont take roll call and deduct points if you dont attend. Many cruise lines have lectures, seminars, educational studies, and classes to further your knowledge and education. Research and find one. Many also have an endless array of in-stateroom entertainment options on your 32" LCD TV. Movies, shows, and lectures or briefings. Amtrak lacks grossly in entertainment options, unless looking at trees and corn fileds for a thousand miles is really your cup of tea. After a while I got a stiff neck. [Wink]

On my one "real" cruise the "social managers" tried to get me to do a dance called the Macarena. That wasn't my "thing" so they gave me a mike and I sang "Country Roads" on the ship's karaoke system to a couple hundred Chinese people. They seemed to like my performance. But, I still never tire of rolling through America's heartland by rail-- watching miles and miles of green, undulating corn or gently wafting pine trees. Or reading my Kindle in the room; I guess I'm just not an 'organized entertainment' kind of guy...I did think the ship voyage down the Yangtze was incomparable; not that I had much else to compare it to!
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dmwnc1959
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A few years back my best friend and I took a Labor Day weekend trip to NYC on the Carolinian in Business Class. The trip was not interrupted by any unscheduled delays, the food was good, and we brought a deck of cards and my 10" portable DVD player and several movies. The ride was as smooth as they come and the weather was quite nice. We spent two days in NYC at a 5-star hotel off of Times Square, and returned on the Carolinian in Business Class back to Salisbury. He swore he would never ride Amtrak again. He just didnt like rail travel and wouldnt even consider a SAL-CLT 50 minute trip on the Piedmont. Rail travel was just not interesting to him nor was it his cup of tea. I tried for 2 years after that excursion to get him back on a train but he just wouldnt have it, remembering that 'first real' and only rail trip. He will never get to experience the LD rail travel across open plains, barren landscapes, snow capped mountains and deep canyons, along raging rivers or gaze upon a forest of trees surrounding a dormant volcano.

The same can be said about one time cruisers, who may have had a mediocre experience or got wrapped up in thinking that their only option was the 'contrived merriment' or 'organized entertainment' of shipboard life. That one cruise just wasnt up to there expectations. You couldn't talk them back onto a cruise ship if the other option was 5 days r/t on the California Zephyr, the Southwest Chief, or the Coast Starlight. But they will never experience the endless options that cruises can offer them either. Thats just the way it is.

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RR4me
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Well, you certainly got enough opinions to satisfy your original curiosity!

One last comment from me: I've seen several of these posts come across as very pro-cruise. My bet is that if you were on a sea cruise forum and posted the same query, you would get NO pro-train trip opinions, especially since the AOE/Grand Luxe is out of business [Smile]

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train lady
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Well, to each his own. It would be prety boring if we all liked and disliked the exact same things. This way we can all learn from each other.
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dmwnc1959
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quote:
Originally posted by RR4me:
Well, you certainly got enough opinions to satisfy your original curiosity!

One last comment from me: I've seen several of these posts come across as very pro-cruise. My bet is that if you were on a sea cruise forum and posted the same query, you would get NO pro-train trip opinions, especially since the AOE/Grand Luxe is out of business [Smile]

Actually I hadn't thought of posting it anywhere BUT here, and you would probably be right that most cruise forum members would not go railing in favor of a cruise. And I was VERY surprised at the number of pro-cruise responces I received. I thought everyone here was a diehard Rail Fan. I was also surprised at the number of members who have taken upscale and overseas cruises, and their indepth knowledge of the industry.

After further review of both of my options I actually am finding it hard to justify spending $2000 for either trip. But if either was to come out on top, it would be the cruise, simply because I can book it now and pay along the way. It gives me something to work towards.

--------------------
The best part of life is the journey, not the destination.

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HopefulRailUser
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There are actually a few rail fans on the cruise forums. One of them actually goes by the name Zephyr but our rail forum Zephyr has denied any relationship. The cruise Zephyr seems to live in Washington State.

At any rate, they love to encourage taking the train to your cruise, in particular the Cascades Seattle to Vancouver and the Surfliner San Diego to LA.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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