The staff were polite and friendly but I got the impression it was a bit of a farce much of the... read more
I've been on the Coast Starlight twice, once from Portland to Sacramento and then a few days later from Sacramento to Los Angeles. I didn't try the business class seats, only the lower level Coach for the first leg and then... More
I've been on the Coast Starlight twice, once from Portland to Sacramento and then a few days later from Sacramento to Los Angeles. I didn't try the business class seats, only the lower level Coach for the first leg and then the upper level Coach for the final leg. I like the upper level much better. Also I've also been on the California Zephyr 3 times, the Southwest Chief twice and the Empire Builder once and personally do not have much trouble sleeping in the seats. A lot depends on your fellow passengers and if they have any common decency and are respectful to others. The Starlight is mostly similar to all the long distance Amtrak routes with the exception of the addition of the business class seats and the Parlor car on the Starlight. I have read several reviews that recommends the business class due to the better seats and being less crowded. I will very likely upgrade if I ever find myself traveling on the Starlight again, primarily for a somewhat larger seat (I am a big guy and after a day in the seat, it gets pretty hard to get comfortable). In regards to the Observation Car, yes it is open to everyone on the train from Coach to the Sleepers, with the limited seating on a first come first serve basis. The Parlor Car is only open to the Sleeper car passengers. You may want to verify, but I believe that the business class can visit the parlor car if they purchase tickets to the cheese and wine tasting event, but cannot stay afterwards. Now to the shower question;, the bad news for you is that Coach and Business Class passengers have no shower arrangements at all. Only the sleeper car passengers can use the showers and the access to their car is restricted to them only. It is the major drawback to long distance traveling in Coach on Amtrak, no access to a shower for several days. Also be aware that the coach restrooms can get downright nasty after a while if your fellow passengers have no manners and the staff doesn't bother to try to keep them clean.