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Boarding the Avalon Felicity in June in Basel and making our own air reservations and was wondering which would be the more interesting city/town to spend a night or two just to get over our jet lag and see the sights. Zurich is bigger than Basel and I understand quite expensive but would Basel be a more interesting place to walk around and get the feel of the town. Have to get some more info as our flight arrives in Zurich so just wondering whether we get a train to Basel or arrange for a transfer through the cruise line.
This is our 2nd river cruise so really looking forward to seeing the Rhine/'Moselle but just a few arrangements to finalize now and then the countdown starts.
Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015
Last edited by DragonOfTheSeas; February 3rd, 2013 at 09:18 AM.
We're doing a Uniworld Basel-Amsterdam cruise May 16 and decided to stay a night to revisit Zurich (can't remember the name of the church with windows by Chagall), old town. Since we've never stayed in Basel, we decided to spend a night there before boarding the ship -- the train from Zurich takes approx. 1 hr. We're staying at the Best Western along the Rhine in Basel and were told we can take the tram free of charge from the station by simploy showing our hotel reservation! We'll see how we feel lugging the luggage onto the tram and will probably end up just taking a taxi.
So...bottom line, if you have the time and money, stay a night in both places!
I did the the same trip on the Felicity that you are doing last year. You will have a wonderful time. We went in one day early and just stayed at the Avalon meeting hotel in Zurich. It was less hassle in that we didn't have to deal with changing hotels. Avalon used a Movenpick last year and it was a very nice hotel with a wonderful included breakfast buffet. There was a train stop about a 5 min walk from the hotel. We rode if for abt 20 min into Zurich and then we just walked around the old town. Because we were so jet lagged, we had dinner about 4 pm, then walked to the main train station, found our train, and headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we took Avalon's excursion to Mt. Pilatus and Lucern, which was great. Then we were transported to the ship. It was very easy.
With staying at Avalon's hotel, we were able to drop our luggage off in the morning and it made it's way to the ship and was in our cabins when we checked in. One less thing to have to worry about.
The link above is to my trip report. I'll try to answer any questions that you have.
We took this river cruise a couple years ago and loved it. We had lived in Zurich, so knew the area. Both Zurich and Basel are beautiful old towns. They are both wonderful places to visit.
High points of Zurich: Grossmunster Church (Chagall Windows), Art Museum, taking a water taxi on the Limat River, enjoying lunch on one of the restaurants on the Limat River, take a boat on Lake Zurich.
High Points of Basel: art museum, walking on the Rhine, the cathedral on the Rhine, Tingley fountain
The day that you are booked at a Basel hotel, public transport is free. You don't even have to have checked in.
We decided to stay in Basel the night before our cruise. We took the train right from the Zurich airport.
Probably the most "wow" experience you can get in the area is to visit Lucern. It is a beautiful town which is less than an hour from Zurich by train. From Lucern, you can take a train to Mt. Pilatus and then a cog railroad to the top of the mountain. It is a wonderful trip.
Whatever you do, it is a wonderful place to start your cruise.
Thanks for all the info .. we are now flying into Basel and will spend 2 days before the cruise sightseeing and just getting over jet lag. I was wondering where the ship will be docked so we can then find a hotel close to that location which should make our transfer easier. With the great public transport I think we will do well getting around but don't think I would want to try getting to the boat with luggage so a hotel near the dock will be my next search!
We spent 5 days in Switzerland before our Oct Rhine cruise. As the weather was iffy (alps lost in fog), we stuck to the big cities: Zurich, Lucerne/Bern, Geneva, Basel. Zurich is a pleasant place to unwind from the flight over but Lucerne and Bern are prettier even if the Alps are fogged in with Lucerne being a little less busy than Bern and also a good place to see something then relax. I loved Basel too-it has a nice old town and two great museums (remember that many cruises do a tour of the old town before you leave). The Beyeler Museum has one of the most beautiful settings I have ever seen and very nice modern art exhibits but the medieval art museum is excellent as well. It is easy to get to the docks on the tram (just ask at the hotel for the free tram pass if you stay there) if you do not have much luggage. Otherwise, a cab is probably easier.
From the train station or airport, you just get on the bus or tram and if you get asked for a ticket, you present your hotel booking. Once you are at your hotel, they give you a complementary bus/tram pass. They do this to cut car congestion.
We took a bus to the cruise boat from our hotel, which was by the train station.