I'll be taking the night train from Munich to Venice in a six bunk couchette in the middle of June. What kind of good/bad experiences have you had sleeping in couchettes? Was it crowded, uncomfortable, hot, weird neighbors?
I took a couchette from Venice to Rome in the summertime with 5 strangers. The train left Venice at midnight, at which time there were only 2 of us. I fell asleep immediately and only woke briefly when more passengers arrived. The woman closest to the door kept it locked. In the morning the conductor knocked on the door before arriving in Rome and returned my passport to me. I always hear of people being uncomfortable in the 6 person couchettes, but I was not. I believe I was about 33 years old at the time, and I remember sleeping well. Though, I usually always sleep well when I travel because of all the walking I do during the day.
Getting in top bunks is not for the (most) older folks
Our CNL couchette experience was pretty awful. We'd specifically reserved a 4-person couchette to avoid the extremely cramped quarters, but when we got to our compartment, it turned out that they simply booked 4 people into a 6-person couchette. Neither we, our compartment mates, nor the conductor were able to do anything, so we were stuck with the 6-person set-up. Aside from the cramped quarters, it really was not a restful experience in general. The train noise, starts/stops, rocking, fluctuating temperatures and our compartment mates leaving at 5am didn't leave much time to sleep. Taking the night train from Munich to Amsterdam did save us time, but our stay in Amsterdam would've started off on a better foot if we'd traveled during the day. ETA: I should add that I'm 25 and not a light sleeper either.
Carole. Just out of curiosity, why did the conductor have your passport???
Judy - it's common for the porter to collect passports on overnight train in orde for him to record needed information for crossing the border. We took a night train from Paris to Salzburg and they did the same thing. Right before pulling into Salzburg, the porter knocked on the door with breakfast and our passports.
Conductors generally keep passports on overnight trains. They can provide them at border crossings and fill out whatever paperwork they need to without having to disturb you. They are returned in the morning as Carol said.
Thanks for this info. I've never travelled overnight on a train. I can understand why it is done, but, personally, I wouldn't be very comfortable with this arrangement.
Since Switzerland joined the Schengen zone a couple of years ago, Citynight Line has stopped collecting passports.
Since I'm using a Eurail pass they might need my passport. Do you think they'll just check it or hold on to it for the night?
Some trains collect passports all night, others don't. Even inter-EU trains sometimes keep them all night. But there is NO reason to worry in the least if a conductor collects your passport.