Posted February 14th, 2013, 12:00 PM
We did the Amsterdam to Basal river cruise last fall on the AmaCello and had a wonderful trip. When we priced the land portion add-on, we also looked at doing it on our own. Our TA recommended we do the land portoin on our own - it was significant cost difference. We booked the air that best fit our schedule.
When the boat arrived in Basal, we joined another couple and split the cab fare to the Basal train station. We had pre-purchased tickets on the rail system and boarded the train to Lucerne. The hotel in Lucerne was within a couple of blocks to the train station, so it was an easy walk, though we could have hopped a tram. It was fun to explore the city on our own and the hotel staff was great with providing sight-seeing recommendations and coupon books. Two days later, we took a train to Zurich. From there we took the tram to our hotel - it was located about 20 minutes outside of the city - closer to the airport. Again, the hotel staff gave us lots of tour info, even booked a full-day tour for us. It was fun to use the tram system and we had a great time in Zurich. The hotel provided an inexpensive transfer to the airport on the day of our return flight.
We used the Renaissance hotels for both cities.