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Need help with pre and post trip!


LiseD
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Thanks to help from this forum, we booked an Avalon cruise for next Sept. going from Basel to Amsterdam for our 25th anniversary.

 

Would like to hear suggestions for pre and post trip. Think we want to fly in a few days early to get over the jet lag. Will fly into Zurich. Should we stay there or head over to Basel or somewhere else? We will fly out of Amsterdam but should we take a few days to go somewhere else? I'm sure both the cities have a lot to see but are they super big cities? Would we enjoy something more quaint?

 

Also....do most of you book rooms via your cruise lines for the starting and ending cities or do you do this on your own? Am thinking it might be less expensive to do on our own?

 

Thanks for any and all suggestions! You all are the BEST!!!

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Thanks to help from this forum, we booked an Avalon cruise for next Sept. going from Basel to Amsterdam for our 25th anniversary.

 

Would like to hear suggestions for pre and post trip. Think we want to fly in a few days early to get over the jet lag. Will fly into Zurich. Should we stay there or head over to Basel or somewhere else? We will fly out of Amsterdam but should we take a few days to go somewhere else? I'm sure both the cities have a lot to see but are they super big cities? Would we enjoy something more quaint?

 

Also....do most of you book rooms via your cruise lines for the starting and ending cities or do you do this on your own? Am thinking it might be less expensive to do on our own?

 

Thanks for any and all suggestions! You all are the BEST!!!

 

Only you can say if you prefer large cities or smaller towns. We actually enjoy a mix of both.

 

We are traveling Basel to Amsterdam in 2015. We don't plan to spend more than embarkation day in Basel and have been to Zurich and have no desire to return. We are DIY travelers, not only because we find we get more for our money that way, but we also enjoy independent travel and choosing our own hotels and tour guides. We are well traveled and also are quite comfortable with public transport in Europe.

 

We plan to fly into Berlin (one of our favorite cities in Europe) next year and spend a few days pre cruise. We have done Amsterdam a few times and do not wish to spend more time there; but if you do, it is a very easy city to navigate on your own. I would base your decision on whether you find there is enough there to keep you interested.

 

This year we are making a quick trip to take AMA Waterways New Years Eve Christmas on the Rhine cruise. We had the option of a non stop to London from our home airport and decided to fly in a day early and visit London, as it has been quite a few years since our last trip. Then we jump on EasyJet to Basel to start our cruise and our arrival time gives us the whole day there. On the way home, we have an early departure from Amsterdam.

 

We generally extend pre and post cruise, based on our interest level in the places we are visiting. We are headed on a Rhone cruise in November and are flying into Paris and spending a few days, then hopping a train to meet our boat in Arles.

 

If you have the time, I do suggest you extend your cruise with a pre and post stay in Europe. Amsterdam is very convenient to many destinations as well as being a popular city in its own right. And you can get to Basel from many points in Europe, should you decide you want to spend time elsewhere first.

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We just returned in June Uniworld Castles on The Rhine. Loved the entire experience especially the itinerary. We stayed precruise in Amsterdam planned on our own. Please go to cruise critics Amsterdam forum a wealth of information. I booked the Hotel Schiller through Priceline $100 dollars (3 nights)great deal and we were upgraded to a Jr. Suite. We also stayed post cruise two days Lucerne absolutely beautiful you would love it. Very quaint not a huge big city. We booked this through Uniworld a bit expensive but the transfers and guide for two days were included. I will gladly answer any questions.

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We did this cruise last year, it is very good. Avalon use the Movenpick Hotel in Zurich (need to check they do change hotels some times). The transport to the ship in Basel leaves from the Movenpick even if you are not staying there. We actually flew into Zurich and then picked up rental car and stayed at Lake Lucerne, this is a very nice place to relax and recover from any jet lag. Would suggest 2 or 3 days.

Note: that Avalon do offer one day trips from the Movenpick to Lucerne to do the cog railway up the mountain which is a great trip, but you can easy do it yourself from Lucerne with one option including return to the city across the lake in a steam boat which is very good.

Suggest booking own hotel in Amsterdam after cruise closer to centre of town as cruise hotels are always by docks in Amsterdam (10 - 15mins to centre of city, would rather be closer to the action)

Hope this helps

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I agree with Peter above. Book the AMS hotel on your own - it's cheaper and you can get a city center hotel vs. the one Avalon uses which is farther out from the city center.

 

For Zurich, book Avalon's Movenpick Airport Hotel through them - it's cheaper than booking on your own and you can take the train into Zurich or into Lucerne. I weighed all the pros and cons of a hotel in ZRH city center vs. the Movenpick and the price difference, fact that we wouldn't be at the hotel for 2 of the 3 days all day long and the convenience for the end transfer to Basel, made it a win-win deal for us. Also, many of Viator's tours will pick you up right at the Movenpick Hotel, making day tours even easier. JMHO. ;)

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Just a heads up for those visiting Amsterdam in September. The IBC convention is held there every Sept, early to mid month. Hotel rates are very high and difficult to book. I do not know the dates for 2015 however here is the link for this year.

 

 

 

http://www.amsterdam.info/events/ibc/

 

 

I have already tried booking my hotel for Amsterdam for next Sept but reservations are not open until late October at hotels I have checked with.

 

This convention starts Sept 11, 2015 and attracts over 70,000 attendees.

So don't delay getting your bookings.

 

We arrive Sept 9 next year and expect this to be an issue ;)

 

Our Avalon sailing is on the 11th!

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Edited by nana541
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Whew....got busy the last few days and just had a chance to check this post. Thanks for all the great advice! We are on the Sept 13th sailing out of Basil!!! Would love to exchange info Sharden!!

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Whew....got busy the last few days and just had a chance to check this post. Thanks for all the great advice! We are on the Sept 13th sailing out of Basil!!! Would love to exchange info Sharden!!

 

Fortunately your itinerary dates mean you will arrive in Amsterdam after the IBC conference ends. However, September seems to be a popular month to visit Amsterdam so planning well ahead might help you save some $ on a well located hotel. Happy travels!

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How far out can you book air?

 

Generally, 330 days prior to date of travel. For some airlines, their booking windows are only opened 6 months prior.

 

What's the likelihood of schedule changes when you book international well in advance? I've experienced some nasty changes on domestic US travel.

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What's the likelihood of schedule changes when you book international well in advance? I've experienced some nasty changes on domestic US travel.

 

We have been hit very badly by changes on Delta. Every time we book Delta internationally they have changed our flight times and numbers, sometimes several times. They dropped our non-stop JFK to Istanbul and the connection meant we would have lost a whole day of sightseeing. Thankfully they were willing to rebook a day earlier, but that still cost us an extra hotel night in Istanbul. They also don't seem to be very well integrated with their partner KLM, so if you have a code-share flight it is very difficult to upgrade to Economy Plus (must do so direct with KLM and after you do the new seats still won't show on Delta's website).

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What's the likelihood of schedule changes when you book international well in advance? I've experienced some nasty changes on domestic US travel.

 

It is likely as airlines adjust their schedules for a variety of reasons. Our Lufthansa flights have been changed both to and from. One resulted in a much longer layover and although the same aircraft and flight, our seats were changed. The other meant a different airport, change of aircraft and loss of chosen seats. Fortunately I was able to fix the seat situation but can't do anything about the other changes except suck it up! We are now 2 months away and I'm frequently checking for changes and hoping that, if there are any, they won't significantly impact our plans.

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We have been hit very badly by changes on Delta. Every time we book Delta internationally they have changed our flight times and numbers, sometimes several times. They dropped our non-stop JFK to Istanbul and the connection meant we would have lost a whole day of sightseeing. Thankfully they were willing to rebook a day earlier, but that still cost us an extra hotel night in Istanbul. They also don't seem to be very well integrated with their partner KLM, so if you have a code-share flight it is very difficult to upgrade to Economy Plus (must do so direct with KLM and after you do the new seats still won't show on Delta's website).

 

Three years in a row, DELTA completely cancelled our flights to the airport overseas we were booked into/out of as they suspended service into those cities from JFK and Atlanta, which are the cities we have to connect in.

 

When they cancelled flights out of Vienna, they offered us no alternate routing and we ended up having to train at our own expense to Munich to fly home. Then they cancelled Prague the following year and made us take three flights with awful connections to get home. Last was Budapest.

 

We used to fly on DL often as they are the main carrier here but now we avoid them whenever possible. This year we are on AirFrance for our fall trip and Virgin and EasyJet for our holiday trip. Hopefully, they will not put us in the position Delta did.

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So the deal seems to be - book early, get a good fare and hope that the flight remains as booked, or wait until the schedule is likely set, pay more, and hope...

 

 

And apparently Delta (may) for sure really mess stuff up so stay clear of them ;)

 

 

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