Posted November 30th, 2017, 05:00 PM
Thanks JP, I had been doing most of my searching on the German site as it seemed more affordable. Since we are planning on the "milk" run, we won't have much time to hop on/ hop off. I guess that settles it, it's the Bad BF station as that's the one that is the German one.
How do the tickets work.... we will be having printed tickets mailed to us, as I'm not sure if we will be able to connect with wi-fi all the time (no data on our phones, I'm considering getting a SIM card in Holland, but just in case we don't, I want to be prepared). Do we have to go to a special desk to "check in", or do you swipe them on the same thing you would swipe an e-ticket?
Sorry for the dumb questions, but last time I was on a train I think I was about 8, and my husband has never been on one, so we are really flying blind....
Your questions aren't dumb at all, Daisi. As you have never travelled by train in Europe I throughly recommend that you look at the marvellously informative website, The Man in Seat 61. I first took a train in Europe 55 years ago and have often travelled by train there, but I now turn to it every time for useful and up to date information on trains, fares, buying tickets and a host of other really useful information. Here's his page for Germany:
For my last four train trips in Europe over the past couple of years, I have bought my tickets through Trainline as recommended by Seat 61. It shows all the fares available on the railway sites and is easier to use than most of them.
You mentioned that you want see the countryside and particularly the Rhine as you travel back from Basel to Amsterdam. You will discover on your cruise that much of the Rhine is not particularly scenic, but will want to make sure that your train goes along the river between Mainz and Koblenz. So if you take the train from Basel to Frankfurt, for example, you will need to switch to a regional train in Frankfurt rather than a fast one (IC, ICE, EC etc), as the fast trains generally go directly from Frankfurt to Cologne, for example. If the regional train goes to or stops in Koblenz you should be fine, but it might take a bit of searching.
Others have mentioned that in Basel you should opt for the Basel Bad station and that is correct as it is closest to the Dreiländereck where most cruise ships berth. It is also operated by Deutsche Bahn even though it is in Basel. There is actually a customs barrier in the station but it is no longer in use as far as I could see. There is also a berth near central Basel that is also used by some cruise lines and it would be closer to the Basel SBB station. However, you won't know that when buying your ticket, so stick to Basel Bad.
The proposed transfer fee of $48 pp from Avalon is outrageous. Simply have them order a cab to the station for you. I can't recall exactly but a cab from downtown Basel to Dreiländereck last year cost me about €20 or perhaps it was SF25.
The train is a great way to travel in Europe and I'm sure you will enjoy it. Have a great trip.