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Psoque

Amsterdam to Basel vs. Basel to Amsterdam

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Posted (edited)

Hi.  We recently did a 7 night Danube cruise on Crystal Mozart and had a great time.  We are contemplating to do an another Crystal river cruise, perhaps in 2021.  We think we would like to cruise on the Rhine next, probably in the fall (before the Christmas Market prices kick in).   We are thinking about the 7 night Amsterdam to Basel, or the reverse.  It appears the ports of calls are identical whether it is southbound or northbound.  Has any of you done one or both of these cruises on the Rhine?  Is there a not-so-obvious pros/cons of the southbound vs. northbound?  Our initial thought is that we would prefer northbound because then we can spend a few days in Basel (where we have never been) before the cruise, and am hoping that there are more convenient flights out of Amsterdam (where we have done most of the typical sights before) if we want to fly home at the end of the cruise.

Edited by Psoque
typo fixed

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We did this itinerary from Amsterdam to Basel, and if you have enough days I would recommend that direction. Here's why:  Amsterdam has lots of flights, so the chances of a delay impacting your vacation are less.  Also Amsterdam is very easy to get around (e.g. while jet-lagged), so you can make the most out of your time there.  And IME Amsterdam keeps popping up on itineraries, so I expect to be back there again to complete anything I miss on a given trip.  Switzerland, OTOH, is harder to get to so I wanted to make sure I was able to see everything that was planned – doing it at the end of the cruise meant we were fresh and rested [well, more so than after a flight over the pond].  Full disclosure: we actually flew to Amsterdam on the day of our cruise – and thankfully that flight was on time – but that was the last trip where we didn't fly in a day early and we have now upped that comfort zone to 2 days early to make sure our luggage has a chance to find us and our brains have a chance to clear!  That strategy fits with starting in Amsterdam, for the reasons I laid out above. 

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Posted (edited)

Some have said that AMS--BSL (upstream) allows more time cruising on the river, while BSL--AMS (downstream) allows a little more time in port, as ship can go a bit faster downstream.

 

Probably not enough of a difference one way or the other.

 

Like our esteemed moderator Jazzbeau, we are doing AMS--BSL in 6 weeks and will spend a couple of days in Switzerland DIY after the cruise.

Edited by sharkster77

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I would also recommend AMS-BSL for the reasons already given but I was also of the opinion that the ports get more scenic each day from AMS to BSL as it is much more industrial in AMS and Cologne and more fairy tale like as you move towards BSL.  

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We chose AMS to BSL for our October cruise mostly for the same reason as papa B me, with a dash of Jazzbeaus flight scheduling. 

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We're doing the Rhine first week in November, 2020 from BSL to AMS because we want to spend a few days in Lake Como to settle down prior to the cruise.

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Our first river cruise was Basel to Amsterdam; we didn't choose it, our friends did.

 

I think the only way to get a definitive answer would be from someone who done it both ways.

 

However, I recall thinking at the time I would have preferred Amsterdam to Basel because I was very familiar with Amsterdam having worked there many times, where other way would have been a trip to a new place. Also, scenery becomes more countrified nearer Basel.

 

But I think more important than direction of travel will, for you, be the logistics of flights from/to Basel and Amsterdam. The latter is well connected to the rest of the world. Check departure times and connections. I reckon they will make the decision for you. I am sure you can organise a post cruise extension in Basel if you travel that way.

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I have two rules for picking itinerary directions if it's one way.

1) I do the hardest set of flights first. I'd rather have the annoying layovers, and longer flights when I'm excited about a trip, rather than when all I want to do is go home.

2) I do what excites me at the end of the trip.  I find that if I do what I came for at the beginning of the trip, my trip goes downhill from there. So I leave at least some reason that I'm taking this trip for the end.  

 

If the two conflict, I debate about how tough the conflict is.  For me, I would go Basel to Amsterdam because I've always wanted to go to Amsterdam, and flights seem like they would be easier from there.

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I agree with celoplyr.  We flew into AMS with a connection to BSL to start the cruise (flew in a day early just in case).  Get the hard part of the flights over with early.  On the return it was a non stop from AMS back to the US.

And...we were going down stream which gave more time in ports.  

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Thanks for your numerous suggestions.  We are still leaning toward starting the cruise in Basel because:

 

-We would like to fly home as soon as the cruise is over

-We would like to arrive at the city of embarkation at least 2 days in advance

-We would like to spend more time in Basel

-We don't need too much time in Amsterdam, since we have done most of the typical sights there already

-The cruise will overnight in Amsterdam, so we will have time to see Amsterdam

 

I guess we answered our own question.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi, we are from Carmel Indiana, next door neighbors.....We are doing Crystal Rhine this October..Basel to Amsterdam. We are doing 8 days in Switzerland before our cruise. If you have done Amsterdam, fly into Zurich then go to Basel, and then you can fly home from Amsterdam....the ship spends the last night in Amsterdam, so you will get a little more of Amsterdam, but you can spend the day outside of the city. ENJOY

Edited by caripoo
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Psoque, I agree with your assessment regarding getting into your starting point early and refreshed.  We did BSL to AMS several years ago but we flew into Geneva and took the train to BSL, mostly to enjoy the scenery.  We spent several days in BSL before the cruise, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  By the time we arrived in AMS, we were both tired and ready to return home.  This year we are travelling BSL to Nuremburg, and again planning on spending a day or two in BSL although we'll fly into Zurich this time.  BSL is accessible by train from most points in Europe if you want to detour and see some sights prior to your cruise. 

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Now that you've answered your own question, I will add that you have made a good choice!  We have done the same cruise a few years apart and going in both directions. No difference in the sights or timing, really.   The direct flight home from Amsterdam is what made the difference.

RB

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