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If you read the line's documentation, they suggest flying into Zurich (at least ours does) and if you buy their air, they'll fly you into Zurich. The good news is that if you book their air, they'll provide you transportation to the pier.
Now, while we have yet to sail AND knowing that we depart rather than board from Basel, this is what I've discovered.....
There are two docks, but both are about the same distance to the airport ....about 20 minutes away. A taxi is expensive (ok, *I* thought it was expensive) - about $50, but there IS public transportation which is much cheaper - if you don't mind taking the bus.
There is a direct train from the Basel airport to the Zurich airport. Avalon (the line we're taking) provides transfers from the port to the airport for $38 each ($76 for the both of us) - which is more than the $50 taxi ride. If your line doesn't provide transfers, you'll take the train into Basel and STILL have to pay to get to the dock!
SO it comes down to availablity of flights for us. If we fly out of Zurich, we'll need to fly to Frankfurt, then on to the US, so we'll have two stops. If we fly out of Basel, it'll only be one.
Basel - cheaper transport, fewer stops
Zurich - more expensive, more stops
for us.....the choice was clear.
Last edited by CaroleSS; April 10th, 2013 at 08:32 AM.
We are doing our own air but are purchasing Avalon's pre cruise hotel pkg. in Zurich. There are day trips to Lucerne from Zurich which sound like fun. The hotel they use is the Movenpick which is near the Zurich airport & has a free shuttle to/from airport. We'll get a transfer to the boat from Avalon with the hotel pkg. Will purchase the x fer to Amsterdam airport from them as it is easier than doing it on our own.
My wife and I cruised on the Avalon Felicity from Basel to Amsterdam last fall. We had already been to Zurich and Lucerne and handled our own air schedule. We decided to visit Basel and arrived Friday afternoon for a Sunday departure. Tram and bus service is free for tourists staying in a Basel hotel, and that includes from the airport into the city. We enjoyed our stay in Basel and had no problems finding things to do. It is not on the same levels as Zurich and Lucerne, however. We called the Felicity from the hotel on Sunday morning and learned where she was docked. It was easy to get there.
JOhnCH ~ we'll be in Basel 2 days pre-cruise in December. Would love to hear more about the city ~ what to see and where to eat!! We're planing on seeing the Christmas Markets but I'm sure we'll have time for more! Any information, suggestions, etc. would be much appreciated!!!!
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
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Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
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Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
That's a lovely city. You're very lucky to start the cruise from Basel.
Not to be missed:
1. Kunstmuseum Basel St. Alban-Graben 16 Opening Hours Tue - Sun 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
St. Alban-Rheinweg 60 (10 minute walk from the main facility) is the Museum für Gegenwartskunst which focuses - as the German name says - on contemporary art
2. Pharmacy Museum Basel - http://www.pharmaziemuseum.ch/The "Pharmacy museum" contains collections of old pharmaceuticals, pharmacy furniture, laboratory utensils, ceramics, instruments, books, art- and craftwork. The museum is situated in the old house "Zum Vorderen Sessel", where the famous humanist Erasmus and the alchemist Paracelsus once dwelled. Well worth a visit not only for specialists but also for interested laymen.
3. Walk up cobbled streets and alleys from Marktplatz or Mittlere Brücke to Münsterplatz (Cathedral square) to see Basel's Münster (cathedral), built 1019-1500 in Romanesque and Gothic style, and the medieval buildings lining the square. The Münster is open to the public.
By the way if you do Viking Air you'll arrive in Basel not Zurich.
__________________ AT SEA: 13 cruises
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
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2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
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I apologize for my delay in replying. I've been out of town and remiss in looking at the river cruise board. Adding to id est's suggestions, I'll list a bit of what we did in September. However, some won't be for cold weather! A hotel clerk recommended a free outdoor jazz music festival in the old city centre marketplace on Friday evening when we checked in. There were lots of food booths and a carnival atmosphere. Well marked walking tours originate there. On Saturday, we took some. One fortunately brought us to a free organ concert in the Munster. We were surprised to see swimmers in the Rhine, and many floated considerable distances. A guidebook told us the Manor department store in the "newer" part of the city has a famous cafe with reasonable prices. It is very popular with the locals, and we found it to be excellent for lunch. I know not all tourists are zoo fans. However, the zoo in Basel is highly regarded, and we decided to spend Sunday morning there. We enjoyed it before going back to our hotel and then heading on out to the Felicity.
For river cruise departures from Basel, do many people use the Basel airport or is Zurich the primary arrival point?
We used the airport in Basel - however, our cruise ended there.
As far as transfers go, it depends on the line you are travelling with. Although all lines will offer transfers if you book through them, there are a number who will provide transfers even if you book air on your own (ie: Scenic and Uniworld).