Amtrak’s Roomette vs. Bedroom vs. Family Room: What to Know

Cozy roomette or spacious bedroom? Amtrak offers privacy and comfort for solo travelers, pairs, or families.
Aaron Hurd
By Aaron Hurd 
Edited by Meg Lee

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Amtrak Acela can be a great alternative to flying for travelers on the East Coast, but the nation’s largest passenger train service also offers long-distance service that spans the country.

If you want to travel at a slower pace and savor the journey, you could hop the Coast Starlight between Washington state and Southern California. Or you could enjoy a two-day journey from Chicago to the West Coast.

But if you’re going to spend two days on a train, you probably want more than a seat to sleep in. Amtrak offers a handful of options on its distance trains: roomettes, bedrooms and family rooms.

Whether you’re enjoying the beauty of Glacier National Park on the Empire Builder or the majesty of the Rockies on the California Zephyr, here’s what you need to know about Amtrak roomettes versus bedrooms and family rooms.

What is a roomette on Amtrak?

A roomette is a private compartment on Amtrak long-distance and overnight routes containing two seats that can be converted into a bed at night. Roomettes include a fold-down upper bed, giving you and a companion a set of bunk beds.

In addition to sleeping in comfort, you’ll have a panoramic window to better enjoy the scenery as you roll across the country. Roomettes can accommodate up to two adults and one to two suitcases.

Your roomette comes with items for traveling in comfort. You’ll get bedding and meals included with the service, including dining car meals. If you board at an Amtrak station with a lounge, you’ll have Amtrak lounge access. Your car will also have a shower in your car that you share with other sleeper car passengers.

Here’s what is included in an Amtrak roomette:

  • Reclining seats that convert into bunk beds.

  • Meals in the dining car.

  • Pillows, linens and towels.

  • Turndown service.

  • Personal climate control.

  • Complimentary bottles of water.

If you’re a solo traveler or traveling with a single companion and you want a good compromise between price and comfort, choosing a roomette versus a bedroom on Amtrak is probably the way to go.

What is a bedroom on Amtrak?

If you’re looking for even more space, Amtrak offers bedrooms. Bedrooms offer twice the square footage of roomettes — unlike a roomette, which is only half the width of the train car, a bedroom spans the full width of the car.

Bedrooms feature an in-room toilet, shower and sleeper sofa. All of your bedding and meals are included (similar to the roomette service), but you’ll receive an even higher level of service. A personal room attendant will provide turndown service and coffee. Bedrooms can accommodate up to three adults.

In addition to the amenities you’ll get with a roomette, here’s what you’ll get when you book a bedroom on Amtrak:

  • An armchair.

  • Twice the square footage of a roomette.

  • In-room toilet and shower (versus in-car).

What is a family room?

Families traveling with children might prefer one of Amtrak’s family rooms. A family room offers the square footage of the bedroom but trades the in-room shower and restroom for more communal space.

When you book a family room, you’ll have a private cabin for up to four people. During the day, your cabin will comfortably seat four. At night, the family room offers two upper and two lower bunks. Up to two adults and two children, ages 2-12, can comfortably enjoy an Amtrak family room.

A family room comes with all of the amenities offered with roomette service. You’ll have access to an in-car shower and bathroom. Plus, your family room tickets include all of your dining car meals, so you can travel without worrying about incurring extra expenses for food.

Which you should choose: Roomette vs. bedroom vs. family room

Traveling in an Amtrak roomette is a comfortable experience at a reasonable price. You’ll enjoy a lie-flat bed, an all-inclusive experience, and you’ll have access to a shower and bathroom that is reserved for the occupants of your car.

If you want the most space and privacy, book an Amtrak bedroom. With a bedroom, you’ll have twice as much space as a roomette and more seating options, plus a private toilet and shower in your room.

You’ll enjoy more privacy and a higher level of service in an Amtrak bedroom compared to a family bedroom, but if you are traveling with a family, trading the privacy of an in-room toilet and shower for more seating space is a worthwhile compromise. And an Amtrak family room is the only single Amtrak accommodation that can accommodate a family of four.

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