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Crystal River Cruise: Pier/Airport Transfers, Rhine River


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If anyone has sailed Crystal River Cruises on the Rhine River, and you transferred from Basel to Zurich, how did you do this? I am flying from Zurich the day after leaving the ship. Crystal is offering a transfer at $799. I am certain there is an easier way. My thought was to transfer from the ship to the Basel airport, then board a train from there to the Zurich airport.  (Is there a direct connection, or will I need to transfer trains in Zurich?)  I have GOOGLED this, but most of the responses concern renting a private transfer, etc.  Thanks! --Robert

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You can take a train from Basel SBB station direct to Zurich Airport. Depending on your flight time you could do this the day of the flight (spend a night in Basel) or spend the night in Zurich. Trains are more frequent to Zurich HB if you spend the night in Zurich. Check out Rome2Rio.com for transportation options. 
 

I assume that the $799 includes the hotel night, and maybe some touring along the way. 

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If you don't need to be shepherded door to door, take a cab to the train station. The Zurich Airport station is below the terminal.

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just what gnome12 said.  We have very little experience with European trains, so if we can do it, you can too.  Cab to train station.  Trains on time, lots of friendly people willing to help if you look flustered.  (our trip was from Basel to Lucerne)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, njguy_south said:

No. The $799 is just for the vehicle.

 

I ran into that. They then tried to sell me a hotel package for $$$ for Zurich. As a single it was not feasible. 

 

I looked at a few other lines and many of them didn't provide transportation to Zurich. They really want you to fly out of Basel. 

Edited by Coral
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10 minutes ago, Coral said:

I ran into that. They then tried to sell me a hotel package for $$$ for Zurich. As a single it was not feasible. 

 

I looked at a few other lines and many of them didn't provide transportation to Zurich. They really want you to fly out of Basel. 

I flew out of Basel in 2011 and didn't find it particularly convenient. I had a layover in Frankfurt on the way home. If I had thought about it more, I might have traveled to Zurich; the only disadvantage for me is that Swiss doesn't fly non-stop to Toronto, so to have an easy trip home I would have only had the Air Canada option. (From Frankfurt there are 3 flights every day to Toronto.) If you have a good routing through Zurich I would say go for it.

 

Swiss trains are very easy, and absolutely on time. Everyone speaks English, so the trip is really simple.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

I flew out of Basel in 2011 and didn't find it particularly convenient. I had a layover in Frankfurt on the way home. If I had thought about it more, I might have traveled to Zurich; the only disadvantage for me is that Swiss doesn't fly non-stop to Toronto, so to have an easy trip home I would have only had the Air Canada option. (From Frankfurt there are 3 flights every day to Toronto.) If you have a good routing through Zurich I would say go for it.

 

Swiss trains are very easy, and absolutely on time. Everyone speaks English, so the trip is really simple.

For me - it was a last minute trip I was thinking about 2 years ago. I was going to use FF miles from Zurich. I was going to go on my own and don't often travel light (especially in fall when temps can change frequently). I could get air going into Amsterdam but not out of Basel. Only Zurich. I switched to a European cruise on Princess, I got bronchitis and cancelled that trip. If I traveled light - I may have made it work but have never hauled luggage through the train stations. I had visions of tripping.

 

Living where I live (small city airport) - I don't have good routing anywhere but it would have been better out of Zurich. I often have 3 connections when going to Europe. No direct flights for me unless it is Chicago!

Edited by Coral
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1 hour ago, Coral said:

For me - it was a last minute trip I was thinking about 2 years ago. I was going to use FF miles from Zurich. I was going to go on my own and don't often travel light (especially in fall when temps can change frequently). I could get air going into Amsterdam but not out of Basel. Only Zurich. I switched to a European cruise on Princess, I got bronchitis and cancelled that trip. If I traveled light - I may have made it work but have never hauled luggage through the train stations. I had visions of tripping.

 

Living where I live (small city airport) - I don't have good routing anywhere but it would have been better out of Zurich. I often have 3 connections when going to Europe. No direct flights for me unless it is Chicago!

I don’t really travel light, but I travel so that I can do my own luggage. I have a medium sized rolling suitcase 25-26”, a knapsack on my back (my carryon) and usually a purse that goes over my shoulder under the knapsack. I have done this with the need to carry 2 separate wardrobes, one for cycling (including cycling shoes and a helmet) and one for regular touring. I actually managed to maneuver all that from my barge to a hotel and from the hotel to Amsterdam airport with a cast on one wrist and the arm in a sling. (I don’t recommend it, but I managed. The only taxi I took was from the hotel to Amsterdam Central Station to get the train to the airport.)

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4 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

I don’t really travel light, but I travel so that I can do my own luggage. I have a medium sized rolling suitcase 25-26”, a knapsack on my back (my carryon) and usually a purse that goes over my shoulder under the knapsack. I have done this with the need to carry 2 separate wardrobes, one for cycling (including cycling shoes and a helmet) and one for regular touring. I actually managed to maneuver all that from my barge to a hotel and from the hotel to Amsterdam airport with a cast on one wrist and the arm in a sling. (I don’t recommend it, but I managed. The only taxi I took was from the hotel to Amsterdam Central Station to get the train to the airport.)

Thanks! I appreciate it. It helps a lot - that is similar to how I travel. I was considering several trips and when I saw the cost for the transfer - I switched to another trip that looked equally amazing. I would have had to cancel it in the end as I had lingering bronchitis symptoms. I still want to do that trip and will be shying away from large cruise ships as right now, I think river cruises are safer (staying away from large crowds).

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You mentioned traveling on other lines.  Scenic does the same Rhine trip but it is from Amsterdam to Zurich, so transfers are included.  And the cruise fares are comparable, as it the product.

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1 hour ago, scottjeanne said:

You mentioned traveling on other lines.  Scenic does the same Rhine trip but it is from Amsterdam to Zurich, so transfers are included.  And the cruise fares are comparable, as it the product.

I looked at it in 2019 and I looked and at least 2 lines I looked at also did not include the transfers to Zurich. I didn't look any further as I realized it was not uncommon. There were negative things about Scenic on this board at the time. My friends who have done Scenic and Crystal prefer Crystal. I guess it is a preference.

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15 hours ago, RNCheryl said:

 We have very little experience with European trains, so if we can do it, you can too.  Cab to train station.  Trains on time, lots of friendly people willing to help if you look flustered.  (our trip was from Basel to Lucerne)

 

We had absolutely no train experience at all when we took our cruise.  We had 1st class tickets on a milk run train for a full day trip heading back along the Rhine to Amsterdam from Basel.  Once we figured out how they mark the carriages (1st, 2nd class), and where to line up on the platform, it was a breeze.  

 

Only one warning...on the last part of the journey, 4 girls got on with large trunk like suitcases.  No problem, they stored them at the front, however everyone had to wait for them to unload them in order to get out to change trains. Needless to say, there was a bit of grumbling, even though they were almost organised...two on the platform to grab the bags, two on the train to get them out.  However they did need 2 to maneuver them, so make sure if you are taking the train, you are only off & on, or have luggage you can manage! 🙂

 

We enjoyed our trip along the Rhine, got to see lots that was missed due to the sailing at night.  It was also a great way to just relax after a busy cruise.

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The train from Basel to Zurich central station goes more frequently (about every 15 minutes I think I saw). You can take that and change for Zurich airport, but there are direct trains to Zurich airport every hour, so I would definitely take that if I wanted the airport.

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3 hours ago, gnome12 said:

The train from Basel to Zurich central station goes more frequently (about every 15 minutes I think I saw). You can take that and change for Zurich airport, but there are direct trains to Zurich airport every hour, so I would definitely take that if I wanted the airport.

Thanks for the great tips, everyone. 

 

gnome12, when you mention Basel to Zurich, is that leaving the Basel central train station? I can get ship transport to Basel Airport.  Would I be able to catch the train from there directly to Zurich Airport? 

 

I am booked to stay overnight at the hotel connected to the airport terminals (thinking I can catch the train into central Zurich without luggage for sightseeing -- I have done that in Amsterdam, and it worked really well.) 

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42 minutes ago, njguy_south said:

Thanks for the great tips, everyone. 

 

gnome12, when you mention Basel to Zurich, is that leaving the Basel central train station? I can get ship transport to Basel Airport.  Would I be able to catch the train from there directly to Zurich Airport? 

 

I am booked to stay overnight at the hotel connected to the airport terminals (thinking I can catch the train into central Zurich without luggage for sightseeing -- I have done that in Amsterdam, and it worked really well.) 

Basel airport is not on the rail line. You would have to take a bus from the airport to the Basel SBB station. It isn't worth it. Call a cab to get you to the train station.

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Just a head's up, there are 2 train stations in Basel  Because we were heading back to the Rhine, we went the the Basel Bad.  You will want the Basel SBB, and from there it is about 1 1/2 hr max to the airport.

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24 minutes ago, Daisi said:

Just a head's up, there are 2 train stations in Basel  Because we were heading back to the Rhine, we went the the Basel Bad.  You will want the Basel SBB, and from there it is about 1 1/2 hr max to the airport.

Basel SBB is the one for Swiss railways, which is what you want to Zurich. (I did mention Basel SBB back in post 2, but it is good to reinforce it.)

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