This is a really delayed trip report taken by four couples siblings and spouses) to the Grand Canyon in March 2008. We range in age from 54 to 63.
This trip was booked first class (as first class as was possible the entire way). The cost was just under $1200 per person for all major bookings: Amtrak tickets for full bedrooms, Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, Grand Canyon Railroad and riding aboard the deluxe lounge at the rear of the train, and one night at El Tovar.
It is of course possible to reduce this cost by traveling coach and selecting some things a la carte, in addition to booking cheaper seats on the Grand Canyon Railroad and staying at other than El Tovar in a room without a Grand Canyon view. A vacationer might also fall into a deal. But this cost is probably an upwards cost (and for me was worth it).
The trip actually spanned Monday evening (10:00 pm) to Saturday morning (7:30 am.)
The Southwest Chief mainained its schedule both ways to within a half hour of departure and arrival. Actually, the slight delay back into Kansas City at the Argentine refueling yard permitted half of us to have one more breakfast aboard before stepping off on Saturday morning.
The weather for the entire trip (in March) was decent. The temperature at Grand Canyon was clear cold and dry at night (in the 20's) and about 60 degrees during the day.
All appliances on the Southwest Chief worked well. Nothing broken in the bedrooms and service was without fault.
Sights and scenery aboard was excellent. The only (and I mean only) negative thing I can remember during the entire trip back was a woman who sat in the sightseer quilting. She parked herself in the middle three-seat and essentially hogged that premium space for an entire day. A complaint could have probably resulted in her being asked to move, as she was really a coach seat passenger, but nobody did (including our party) and we let it go.
As far as rail trips go, it would be very hard to match this one. In fact the odds are that a future trip might not measure up.
Since I organized this trip, and my siblings are not rail fans, I am very grateful that this one came off perfect. I could personally tolerate a less than perfect trip, but, I couldn't say the same for my family or my wife.
To sum up: If you were to take this trip and spend the roughly $2500 per couple from Kansas City to Grand Canyon and return, the experience CAN BE as wonderful as I describe. There are pictures of this trip on Flickr. I would be happy to share the link for any or all to see.
Posts: 110 | From: Kansas City, Missouri | Registered: Mar 2008
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