Is an overnight train a fun experience?

Jul 21st, 2005, 05:42 AM
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I was not there, so I am only repeating the impression of my daughter and her friend, and they may have misunderstood the situation. They said that everybody around them in the dining car was being served, and their waiter just never came back, but they could see him looking at them and ignoring them. They felt strongly that it was a deliberate snug. Again, I wasn't there, so I can't confirm that. I'm sure they did not know the protocol on a European train, but one would think the waiter would explain it to them, to free the table if nothing else.
MaureenGP is offline  
Jul 21st, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Well, I have certainly enjoyed reading everyone's perspectives on overnight train travel. Thank you for all the responses. The verdict....since flights are now pretty pricey on the day we'd like to travel, we will brave the overnight train and I am optimistic that it will be a fun experience. I like adventure and trying new things and, even if it's not the most comfortable experience in the world, it will definitely be an "experience"....and that, to me, is what travel is all about. Thanks to all and I will provide a trip report upon my return!

HMD99 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Be sure to come back & share your experience. Particularly since you are going First Class. Hopefully that will make a difference.
SAnParis is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 06:11 PM
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As a newbie I think I am finally getting the hang of how to get info on Fodors I sent out a message today asking for advice on the subject: "Madrid > Lisbon On Lusitania Trenhotel." I did get two very nice replies (thank you!) but I was still wondering why more people had not responded (paranoia?) I kept digging in the archives and found this lovely 'ol thread and it was exactly the reassurance I was looking, keep digging for gold in those archives newbies. And we will be travelling via train overnight from Madrid to Lisbon...celebrating our 40th (anniversary? birthday? not telling!) and I know it will be fun and ROMANTIC p.s. I will try to do a Trip Report on this as well as the rest of our celebration. Promise :
Encantadora is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 06:34 PM
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I see you've also discovered the "Smilies"...
Travelnut is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 07:04 PM
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Whoops...sorry Travelnut... I think my newbie enthusiasm may have marked me as a Smilienut.
Encantadora is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 07:40 PM
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I loved traveling on a sleeper from Lisbon to Madrid and later from Madrid to Sevilla. (I think it was Sevilla, anyway. Or was it Granada?) My journeys weren't first-class, by any means, and on one of them, I had an unusual experience.

I shared the Lisbon train with a young pregnant woman. She was in the top bunk, and when she awoke in the morning, she got out of her bunk, grabbed the wastebasket, and--ahem--relieved herself in the wastebasket. "Hmm," I thought, "I guess she is a lot closer to nature than I am."

On the other trip, I had a two-bed compartment/couchette/whatever-it-was to myself. It smelled very strongly of smoke, unless I pulled the sheet over my face, which I did.

I always wear earplugs when I travel, so noise doesn't bother me, and I found the whole experience to be enjoyable.

Pegontheroad is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 08:10 PM
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I like train travel, in general. On Amtrak, for instance, every seat is the size of first class on a plane, and for a 6'3" guy, that's great. And you can walk around to your heart's content. I can't say I'd love riding a train 24 hrs as opposed to flying for 3, but 3 hrs on a train against a 45 minute flight that comes with all the transit and other delays ...

So when I need to go to DC from NYC, I much prefer the train.

On the other hand, I have sat in a train seat in through the middle of the night on a couple of occasions and it is a drag - unless you happen to be on some kind of express.

A room ... that's another story, and depending on the line, the quality of the coach etc, it can be great.

To wit: even on Amtrak. A few years I decided to make an unplanned stop in Chicago on my way back to NY from Omaha, tossing away the Chi-NY leg of my ticket. Seemed like a fun opportunity to take the sleeper from Chicago, as even with a roomette (private little room for one) it was cheaper than the one-way air.

A roomette: one seat wide, and that seat turns into your bed. But you do have a nice big window to relieve any claustrophobia.

The staff were great. Felt like first class, with wine and a snack immediately after departure, then a request for dinner order. The dining car was comfortable, nice china and linen, good food, good company.

When I was ready to sleep, the porter turned the bed (literally). It was small but comfortable and I slept. The next morning, nice breakfast in the dining car. Then a great morning watching the country roll by, including that hairpin turn somewhere in KY, I think, where you can see the front of the train and the very back at the same time.

All in all really fun and interesting. Yes, far longer than a flight from Chicago, but that wasn't the point.

After recently spending 3 hrs on the ground in a tiny plane in Philly, waiting for wind conditions at LaGuardia to clear for a 30 minute flight ... well, sometimes it's good not to fly!
tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 08:19 PM
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LOL Pegontheroad! For one split second I thought you were going to tell me something else landed in that wastebasket (resisting a Smilie here ) Trains are still an Adventure, eh, especially when you get into the spirit of it all...or carry spirits?
Encantadora is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 08:28 PM
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I feel a bit deprived ... I checked OPs post history and can't find a report about how their overnight went!
tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Hi tomassocroccante --Like you, I also felt a bit deprived that HMD99, the OP, never came back in 2005 with a report on how it all turned out. When I also checked her post history I discovered that she had posted recently in the US forum so I sent her an off topic reply asking! Any hoo, I sure appreciated and enjoyed reading everyone's replies on overnight trains, both pro and con, in reply to this updated thread and the one I posted re "Madrid > Lisbon On Lusitania Trenhotel." I started out wondering about taking this particular train but I ended up wondering why I had any doubts that we WOULD do it. My DH and I have a lot of memories and stories of every train trip we have ever taken, overnight and daytime, luxury and "adventure" class, short and long, in Canada, Europe and Australia - even when not everything went according to Hoyle. But I can't say I even remember one flight we have ever taken as a "great memory" or worthy of inclusion in our travel stories.
Encantadora is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:34 AM
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Anyone take the new Excelsior "luxury" carriage from Naples-Venice (or vice vera!)??

I took a lot of night trains bank in my younger days and love them just exciting to wake up in a new city, IMHO...but...I'm married to a man who likes 5* hotels and service all the way - he does not want to rough it! (and we also now travel with our 6yr old child) and I was wonderinig if anyone has any experiences with this new service.
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:56 AM
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Just wondering on the Paris to Venice overnight are the T-4s much more comfortable than the t-6.
mike_b12 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:59 AM
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anytime you have 4 rather than 6 folks in the same size compartment it's much better IME - especially with luggage - but 6 person is not all bad though
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:32 PM
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I too have the same question as "Casa Del Cipresso" from 2 posts back. We have the EXACT same situation except throw another 8 year old child in with the 6-year-old one. I would love an overnight train experience, but have been to the Trenitalia website and I can't figure out what the cost is (important to know), and the type of sleeping arrangements. Do we need to book it in advance? We'd be going the opposite direction- from Naples to Venice. I believe it leaves at 0004 and arrives at 10am. Seems perfect to me, but I think I must be missing something...

(Personally, I like the smiley faces. It shows enthusiasm)
travelmom68 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:39 PM
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many Italian night trains have 4-person couchettes i believe - two bunks on each side of an aisle so you could book the whole compartment.

Probably not much problem making these reservations in Italy if you have a few days before at the station if can't do on - can do it at any Italian station.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:54 PM
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well...I acatually can answer some of those questions

firstly...children under 12 are makes it fairly affordable....but...I don't know if you can fit 2 "lettini" or cots in the "matrimoniale" - or what we would call a double room.

The Excelsior Class sleepers on the daily Intercity Night (ICN) train between Venice S. Lucia and Naples, departs Venice at Midnight and arrives in Naples at 10:00 a.m. The return service departs Naples at 19:57 and arrives in Venice at 5:24.

cost: "twin" 125.00 Euros/person
"matrimonial" 140.00 Euros person
lettino for a child under 12 - free

You get a private toilet, washbasin, and shower, and also a welcome drink, complimentary bottle of mineral water, complimentary newspaper, complimentary toiletries, complimentary continental breakfast.

I'll let you know if I find out anything else!
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:15 PM
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This thread reminded me of the last time we took a long distance sleeper in Europe, a story I told (about 6 posts from the top) here:

Moral - listen to the announcements.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:57 PM
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OMG Gardyloo!
Encantadora is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:43 PM
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That's one of the funniest things I've ever read! If I knew how to do the smiley faces, I would!

That's very helpful you all. Thanks!
travelmom68 is offline  

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