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DougK

Timing for flight after river cruise?

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I'm starting to think about flights for our river cruise next year, and am wondering what limits I should put on my searching. Unlike ocean cruises, there's no set time when we're supposed to arrive at our final destination. I assume it's going to be morning, since they want to get one set of passengers off and the next set on, but I don't know whether that means 4AM or 10AM, or somewhere in between. How early of a flight can I look at? FWIW, I'm going to be on Scenic's Romantic Rhine & Moselle, ending in Basel.

 

I didn't have to worry about this on our cruise last fall, because the final night was an overnight in Budapest, so the only limit was how early I wanted to get up. But here, it depends on lot when the ship will arrive and we can disembark. As best I can tell, my only nonstop opportunity is leaving Zurich around 10A, and I'm betting that's too early--it would mean I'd have to count on disembarking by 7A, accounting for travel to the airport and international checkin requirements. On the other hand, flying out of Basel at 11A sounds safe to me, with much shorter time to get to the airport, and a shorter checkin requirement at Basel. Does this sound right? What about Zurich at 11A, or Basel at 10A? And is there any chance of doing Zurich at 10A? A nonstop would be nice...

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You don't indicate where you live.  There are many more non-stop flights from Zurich to the US East Coast than from Basel.  Also Lucerne, which is part way between Basel and Zurich, is an incredibly beautiful city that would be quite worth a stop if you can spare a day or two extra at the end of your cruise.  There is a train from Lucerne direct to the Zurich airport.

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I'm on the West Coast, flying to Vancouver, BC. There is only one nonstop from Zurich (an Air Canada flight), and it leaves around 10A. There are multiple opportunities for one-transfer flights from both Basel and Zurich, most leaving between 10A-noon. For obvious reasons, I'd prefer the nonstop, but I don't know whether that's possible. And for this trip, we'd really prefer not to add a day or two at the end, though Switzerland is enticing.

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53 minutes ago, DougK said:

I'm on the West Coast, flying to Vancouver, BC. There is only one nonstop from Zurich (an Air Canada flight), and it leaves around 10A. There are multiple opportunities for one-transfer flights from both Basel and Zurich, most leaving between 10A-noon. For obvious reasons, I'd prefer the nonstop, but I don't know whether that's possible. And for this trip, we'd really prefer not to add a day or two at the end, though Switzerland is enticing.

I would be really surprised if they didn't get in very early in the morning, because most of the (North American) people flying out of Basel (which I don't really recommend) would have early flights to make same day European connections. You can take a train from Basel directly to Zurich airport in about 1 1/2 hours. (Times can be faster if you connect at Zurich HBF, but the connections seem to be quite tight.) On the direct trains, a 5:37 would get you to the airport at 7:04, and a 6:37 at 8:04. 

 

Another suggestion, Frankfurt. The train takes longer, but there is a 7:13 train arriving at Frankfurt airport at 10:06, with a 1:30 Lufthansa non-stop to Vancouver.

 

All of these trains leave from Basel SBB, and take you right into the airport.

 

You might want to check with Scenic as to how early you can book.

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I would not worry. They will let you off the ship.

 

The exact arrival time in Basel even Scenic will not know. Last port of call on that itinerary is Breisach, some 50 km away from Basel, which would be no more than 3 hrs sailing. BUT, there are 4 locks in between, and they make it unpredictable.

 

Still, it is fair to assume, the ship will leave Breisach in the afternoon, after the excursions returned, five/six o'clockish. Then arriving in Basel around midnight is well possible.

 

Just calculate your timing. Three hours (7 to 10) before departure from Basel dock is not realistic. Assume 30 mins from dock to Basel SBB station, getting a trainticket and board the train. 90 min travel time to the airport station. 30 min at the airport to find and get to the check-in to check-in 90 min before departure (check airline information on their minimum times).

 

If you feel uneasy, consider plan b: Leave the ship at Breisach the afternoon before and take a train to Zurich airport and stay in an airport hotel.

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We are booked with Scenic in October this year.  We aren't flying home for a couple of weeks after we get to Basel, but if I look at Manage by Booking on the Scenic site, it tells you the earliest that you can plan flights for.

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Our Scenic Danube in 2016 was to arrive in Nuremberg in the morning.  The night before the door to one of the locks was stuck and we sailed back down river to the last port. Buses were waiting in the morning for the 3 hour trip to Nuremberg. River travel is not very predictable at times and booking a flight schedule that tight is asking for a problem 

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I tracked the Scenic Jasper on that route last month, and it arrived in Basel at 1:30 a.m. Of course as other posters have said, there are a lot of variables. If you have the time and money you could spend a night at a hotel in Basel or Zurich that would give you a bit more control over your timing. You could also consider using Scenic as your travel agent for booking the flights; then they have a degree of responsibility to help you out if things go bad.

 

Sterling

 

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I have done 1 river cruise with my 2nd one coming in October😁 and I know Uniworld told me anything after 6am is acceptable. My flight home leaves Venice at 8am. 

My first river cruise was out of Amsterdam back in 2016 and I know I had a morning flight home but can't remember the exact time.

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Posted (edited)

We just flew back from Basel after Vantage river cruise. (we then connected through AMS)

 

We arrived in Basel the day before, so not apples to apples (assuming you don't get there until the morning you disembark).

 

Passengers started leaving the ship at 3am and we were in the last group off the boat at 1130am.  The trip to the Basel airport took 15 minutes. Check-in was very easy at this "small" airport.

 

We have only taken 2 river cruises (on 2 different lines) and they both arrived at final city the day before disembarkation...I didn't know some arrived the day of disembarkation.

 

Edited by dodger1964

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From the Scenic itinerary : "After a delicious breakfast, prepare to head home. Your Scenic Representative will transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. It may be the end of your cruise, but it’s the beginning of a lifetime of fond memories. Please schedule flights to depart after 10am in Basel and 11.30am in Zurich." 

 

You may want to contact Scenic to see if you could arrange for the 10:00 flight, as that's cutting it tight.

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Thanks, Daisi, I had totally missed that. I was looking at the physical brochure, which only discusses the itinerary in reverse order (Basel->Amsterdam). I should have thought to look online.

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