The Coast Starlight has a nice dining car, if your staying in a sleeper car (aka first class) your meals are part of the service. If your in business class, you get a $6.00 off coupon to apply to your food or drinks. In coach your meals are full price, but the dining car is available to everyone.
At breakfast the meals are first come first served, but lunch and dinner are by reservation. The food quality is a little hit or miss. The hamburgers were average and the chicken was dry but the steak was perfect and tender and the turkey was yummy. Our expectations for breakfast were high. After all, how hard is it to make breakfast? Apparently on a train, it is.
The dining staff was efficient at getting people in and out. Don’t go to the dining car with the idea of having a private intimate meal. Even if every table was open, they will find someone else to put at a table with you. It’s 100% community seating.
However, we were very lucky to have some interesting dining companions and great dinner conversations.
If you are booked in a sleeper car on the Coast Starlight check out the Parlor Car. This car is what makes this train unique as there are only 5 of these cars in the entire Amtrak fleet. It has comfortable seating where you can mingle with other train riders. Make sure to look for Oscar while in the Parlor Car, he will mix you up a delicious cocktail for your ride.
They also offer an afternoon wine tasting for $7.50 per person, where you get 3 generous samples of different wines. The wines are for sale on board afterwards, if you want a bottle for later. You can also get snacks and light meals on this car until 10:30 pm. .
We got a deluxe bedroom sleeper car that had seating, a small table and a full bathroom (the shower and toilet were in the same space, and there was a tiny sink on the outside). It also had a small closet that barely fit our 2 coats.
The seats laid down for a bed that was a little larger then a twin, but we both were able to sleep on it (it was very cozy). There was also a top bunk with a ladder to climb up and straps to keep you in. We opted to share the bottom bunk, we like cozy. The room had a large picture window to view the passing sights and electric outlets to keep your electronics juiced up.
Each car has an attendant who will make up your bed if you ask and provide you with fresh towels and interesting train facts.
Sadly we went through the Cascade Mountains after dark and the promised coastal views were all south of our final stop. So needless to say, we missed some beautiful sites but the trip was still amazing.
We knew we must have been on some curvy tracks though. On the hard turns the hallways on the cars in front of us would disappear from site.
One of the train conductors AJ took some time to chat with us and suggested on our next trip we leave Los Angeles in the summer before the time changes. This would be the best chance at seeing the beautiful coastal views and mountain passes.
Don and I were both taking notes and planning our next trip.
That night we were rocked to sleep in our sleeper car with a view of the beautiful Oregon stars and a half harvest moon that was the perfect nightlight as we fell asleep dreaming of our next train adventure.