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Extra days?

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Question for you - do you prefer to add extra days before your cruise, or at the end of the cruise? We are planning to do the Rhine Getaway on Viking 10/2016. Our decision here will determine whether we do Amsterdam to Basel, or Basel to Amsterdam since we want the extra days to be in Amsterdam.

 

My apologies if there's already a thread on this - did a quick search and didn't find one.

 

TIA!!

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You should always plan to arrive at least one and preferably two days before a cruise, in case your travel gets delayed. But with the itinerary you are planning I would strongly suggest spending some time exploring more of Switzerland -- especially Lucerne. So many cruises (river and ocean) include Amsterdam that you have a much better chance of getting back there than of going back to Basel.

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We generally stay in Europe 3-4 days prior to embarking.

 

This year we are spending time in Berlin prior to our Basel to Amsterdam cruise. It is one of our favorite cities in Europe and Easyjet makes it easy to hop around the continent when not using the trains.

 

If you do choose Switzerland, be aware that is a very expensive destination to visit.

Edited by caviargal

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We generally stay in Europe 3-4 days prior to embarking.

 

This year we are spending time in Berlin prior to our Basel to Amsterdam cruise. It is one of our favorite cities in Europe and Easyjet makes it easy to hop around the continent when not using the trains.

 

If you do choose Switzerland, be aware that is a very expensive destination to visit.

 

We did do Switzerland before our Rhine Cruise a couple of years ago (We had already been to Amsterdam but I think you could add the extra days at the beginning or end unless you must be there early at the beginning). As said above Switzerland is very expensive (but there are many threads that offer ways around that) and the museums and natural sights are wonderful. The year we went, we were there at the end of October and the weather was a factor in enjoying the views as the Alps were obscured in a lot of places during our week there. For both that and the Rhine, early in October may be better.

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We did our first river cruise last summer Amsterdam to Basel. We did extra days on both ends. We are probably unusual but we found that at the end of the River Cruise as we were packing up and many of the friends we made were preparing to head home that mentally we felt our vacation was over and wished we were headed home as well. We thought it strange that we felt that way but it has caused us on our next two river cruises we have booked to do our extra days just on the front end. We also liked the time on the front end for our bodies to adjust to the time change before getting on the ship. We chose the cruise lines pre trip package on the front end and did Switzerland at the end on our own. I know many prefer the do it yourself approach but we found it hard to transition from everything being taken care of and first class attention to the rigors of doing it ourselves. So part of our feelings that we enjoyed the pre cruise more then the post cruise was that. Also we too found Switzerland to incredibly expensive that it added to our lack of enjoyment.

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I like doing both, especially in Europe. A few days before, a few days after. I've not done a river cruise yet, but I love the feeling that I get when I'm disembarking that I don't have to go home, that my adventures are continuing!

 

Next year we'll do our first European river cruise, AMS-BUD and we fully intend to spend a few days in one of London, Berlin or Amsterdam itself (we know this city well already), and then a couple of days in Budapest at the end. Our cruise buddies will do Prague post-cruise.

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You should always plan to arrive at least one and preferably two days before a cruise, in case your travel gets delayed.

 

The big-box travel agent we used included two nights' stay pre-cruise with our trip so it was a moot point, but regarding arriving early, you might want to check to see when your cruise actually departs. Our cruise starts in Amsterdam on a Saturday, but does not actually depart until later Sunday afternoon. Because of that, we would have been okay with arriving just a day early.

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We did our first river cruise last summer Amsterdam to Basel. We did extra days on both ends. We are probably unusual but we found that at the end of the River Cruise as we were packing up and many of the friends we made were preparing to head home that mentally we felt our vacation was over and wished we were headed home as well. We thought it strange that we felt that way but it has caused us on our next two river cruises we have booked to do our extra days just on the front end. We also liked the time on the front end for our bodies to adjust to the time change before getting on the ship. We chose the cruise lines pre trip package on the front end and did Switzerland at the end on our own. I know many prefer the do it yourself approach but we found it hard to transition from everything being taken care of and first class attention to the rigors of doing it ourselves. So part of our feelings that we enjoyed the pre cruise more then the post cruise was that. Also we too found Switzerland to incredibly expensive that it added to our lack of enjoyment.

 

We took AMA's post-cruise option to Lucerne and Zurich, and almost the entire boat stayed on -- so we had the opposite of your DIY experience. The CD from the cruise also stayed on with us for the post-cruise extension, which made it a seamless part of the vacation. Since it was pre-paid, we were insulated from the high Swiss prices [at least, we were unaware of them!]

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We took AMA's post-cruise option to Lucerne and Zurich, and almost the entire boat stayed on -- so we had the opposite of your DIY experience. The CD from the cruise also stayed on with us for the post-cruise extension, which made it a seamless part of the vacation. Since it was pre-paid, we were insulated from the high Swiss prices [at least, we were unaware of them!]

 

In retrospect, definitely what we should have done for our first Switzerland experience. Live and learn!!

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Thank you all for the input. Unfortunately, we are still working stiffs so extra time on both ends is not an option this trip. Sounds like we will have a great time no matter which option we choose.

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I like to go home at the end of the cruise and would choose to add days at the start of the trip. It is nice to recover from flight and jet lag and settle into a new routine at the beginning of the trip. JMO.

 

Plus, it is generally easy to get home from Amsterdam and not as easy from Basel.

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We are going on Avalon Amsterdam to Basel. We are flying inthe day of since we will have our first day of the cruise in Amsterdam. Then we go independently from Basel to Lucerne for two nights and then overnight in Zurich. We are pushing out on our own .... Hoping to have it go well. In retrospect, I would have ended with the cruise I think! We did this before once after a Princess cruise ending with a stay in London. It can be a little daunting doing it on your own. I am reading everything I can about Switzerland! I am tryouts no to decide now if I want to get a Swiss pass that would cover trains, boats and cable cards.

Edited by sueajp

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All of the advice you've received is, as usual, excellent! Here's just something else to add to your list of thoughts.

 

On Viking's Rhine Getaway, the itinerary is just slightly different going NtoS and StoN - mainly because the castles in the Middle Rhine are "not to be missed" so scheduling that part of the cruise is important. So read the itineraries very carefully and even look into the on-line cruise booklets - use the link below and go to the Rhine Getaway for the on-line version of the booklet Viking sends as part of your Cruise Package - check detail for each way and maybe might also help with your decision.

 

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/my-trip/about-my-cruise/itinerary-travel-information.html

 

We did this cruise in December 2012 - Basel to Ams - mainly for the Christmas Markets but I'd recommend it any time of year! As a matte of fact, in October you'll have later sunsets which would be great! We docked in Rudesheim very late afternoon - great to see lit up for the CM but I'd love to see it in the daylight!

 

We usually try to add a few days on each end of a trip - especially when different cities are involved - but can completely understand your working situation! With that in mind - I'd suggest some days before the cruise both in case of a transportation "problem" and also to get adjusted to the time difference. We spent 2 days pre-cruise in Basel - lovely city - but now wish we'd seen more of the area! We flew home directly from Ams since we had been there before - three times - and the approaching holidays made time precious!

 

Whatever you decide - have a great trip!

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We just returned from a Tauck Rhine River cruise, Basel to Amsterdam. We added at day at both ends and were very glad we did. Basel is a great city to see and easy to get around and Amsterdam has so much to offer. Tauck has a new Rhine cruise next year that includes several days in Switzerland prior to boarding the ship in Basel! I wish they had offered this cruise this year, it's a fantastic itinerary and Tauck is FULLY all-inclusive. Just because their price seems high it is not when you add all the perks that Viking just does not offer.

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