We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Waste of Time and Money”
Review of Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight
Ranked #1,022 of 9,173 things to do in California
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This Amtrak route goes from Seattle, WA., to Los Angeles.
Reviewed 27 October 2017

Took the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles. The roomette was small and I expected that. Room for only one small piece of luggage, and a small closet to hang a few items in. The attendant was very friendly and helpful.

The Parlor car was old and did not exhibit the days of a bygone era. The brass was tarnished, windows not very clean and the swivel chairs did not reflect the original lounge chairs of the past. They were in my opinion very tacky.

Meals could be taken in the dinner or in the parlor car at one of the six tables.

Reservations needed to be made for either the parlor car or diner. Sleeping car passengers had the first choice. If one chooses the parlor car, the dinner menu limited to two entrees. The entree was served with a cold bun and a small salad, and two or three choices for dessert. The entrees were of course microwaved and the entrees certainly nothing to write home about. A pasta or lamb shank were the offerings. The pasta and the lamb shank were bland.

Breakfast offered about three choices. Juice, coffee, tea, and entree. Lunch a couple of selections, plus a beverage.

The last dinner service in the parlor was limited to one item, no cold bun or salad, and one dessert as they seem to have run out of food.

The first reservations for dinner in the diner were given to sleeping car passengers, then business class and finally coach. There was a larger selection of food available from the menu including a child's menu. The last dinner in the diner was filled reservations from sleeping car passengers so others were relegated to the cafe car which served pizza, hot dogs, and other junk food.

Most of the staff just did their job, some never smiled or said hello. The public address system was used by staff to communicate. This was annoying and should not be done. The staff should have cell phones to use instead.

All in all I am glad I tood the trip, but another Amtrak trip is not in my future.

4  Thank yvr1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (523)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

13 - 17 of 523 reviews

Reviewed 22 October 2017 via mobile

My spouse and I are currently stuck on this train. When it’s actually moving, the views are great in coastal California and most of Oregon, but delays plague this train like flies on poop.

For instance, the train left Los Angeles on time yesterday, we’ve been on the train for 29 hours now, and the train hasn’t even made it to Portland. We are on a track currently waiting for a track to be fixed. Who knows when it will be done? The staff on board is not exactly communicative and coy with answers to questions regarding delays. Currently the train is over an hour late as it is, so whatever plans we had for dinner in Seattle are over, which sucks because the food on this train is absolutely horrible. It’s free for a reason.

So far, there have been at least 5 hours of just sitting on tracks. So fun!!!

1  Thank vizmerch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2017

Because I cannot fly, we decided to take the train to Oregon for a leisurely two+ week tour of Oregon (I can't sit for long road trips either.) We'd taken the train for the first time ever in May to Texas and enjoyed it a lot. This trip was just as good, as we once again booked a Sleeper Car. As Native Californians we've driven up and down California so many times we've lost count. This felt special, especially going by rail along the California Coast, as the rails are right at the end of the water several times. We loved it! It was also fun to try to determine exactly where we were when we reached areas all through our wonderful state. Is it a fast train like we've ridden in Europe? No. Is it still a good way to travel? Absolutely! The food was very good, and I love stretching out on the long sofa to read, nap, and watch the scenery. We saw areas we've never seen before and really loved the Klamath area. We disembarked in Eugene, began our slow drive up the beautiful Oregon Coast and back down the I-5. We were soooo fortunate to have Room Attendant Cindy, who should be cloned. She's the best! Hubby had caught a miserable cold in Astoria and we didn't want to give it to others, so Cindy brought all our meals to us, which was fantastic! We brought wine onboard and had it with our dinner, feeling absolutely decadent in our quiet room, eating very good steak dinners. Our train was two hours late getting home, which was the only downside to an otherwise wonderful experience. We'll take the train again for sure.

8  Thank Linda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2017

We took the Amtrak #14 from LA to San Luis Obispo, then from San Luis Obispo to Salinas the next day.

Look, the thing about this route is that it is slow. The first day, from LA to Obispo, was fun. There was an incredible amount of coastal scenery, with the train running just near the beach, or across cliffs, in many places. (I saw a dolphin!) And we had lunch with a very distinguished couple from New York. (I later discovered that the male half of the couple is an accomplished professor in many areas that I decided to opine on as a dilettante intellectual. Go figure!)

But the novelty wore off on the second day. Frankly, this train barely moves faster than a power-walker. It is not a credible way to get where you need to go. Having ridden trains in Japan, France and Italy, this ride became a frustrating slog. (They even board the train half an hour before it starts moving. Seriously, just hop on and hop off!) I am not sure whether this Amtrak exercise is a tourist trap, an employment scheme, or whatever. But you should probably just rent a car and go up the coast via Cali's impressive highways.

The final nail in the coffin was on the second-day Salinas run, where the train arrived 30 minutes late - with no announcement of the delay. Pathetic.

4  Thank Adam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2017 via mobile

You have to be a rail fan to do this trip. We booked a sleeper which comes with complimentary food in the dinning car.
Boarding in Seattle was a breeze compared with the utter kaos in Chicago when we were asked to board the empire builder...
The train and menu is virtually identical to the last train. Marginally cleaner though.
Our sleeper looked inland as opposed to water side view. No biggie considering the viewing car was not full.
Plenty of staff announcements were informative.
Long stop in Portland allowed nearly an hour for smokers and a stretch.
Don't expect to sleep much. This is a train and they are inherently noisy!
Ours rattled but I fixed this by jamming some hand towels into the door adjoining the next cabin. Noise be gone!
Always fascinating looking into americas backyards. Lots of old cars and junk to check out.
Food is virtually the same as the other train so don't have high expectations here. Probably the pick on the dinner menu was the pumpkin risotto enhanced with chicken.
Lack of cold beer at dinner too.
We found the roof in the viewing car was leaking due to the rain. A couple we sat with at dinner said their floor was wet and the window leaking during the heavy down pour. They were allocated another room after they complained for the second time.

This was a good trip let down down by some some minor issues. The food is a big fix which is not easily fixed. The beers and leaks is simple.
We have done similar trips in Australia and they are run by private companies. The cost is a little higher but the quality experience in significantly higher.
Amtrak has some work to do.

4  Thank rod g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Coast Starlight also viewed

California, United States
California, United States
California, United States
Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Been to Coast Starlight? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing