OK, here is my itinerary (revised over the last few weeks). We are a family of 5 (me, DH, 3 boys ages 19, 17, 7) who will be cruising on an NCL 12 night cruise from Barcelona to Venice prior to our land vacation.
Get off ship in Venice. Take train to Muerren, Switzerland (8 hours: Venice to Milan, Milan-Spiez, Spiez-Muerren on Trenitalia, will book 90 days out to get cheapest tickets). With our luggage (1 roller suitcase & 1 carry-on/backpack each) and a day trip train, should I book just regular seats or a compartment, do you think? Stay there 2 nights.
Tram up to Schilthorn, hike around Lauterbraunen Valley area.
Train to Munich (7 hrs.) What is the cheapest way to book this? Obviously, booking 90 days out, but should I use trenitalia or db bahn? Stay in Munich 3 nights.
1.5 hr. train to Salzburg, look around, bus (45 min.) to Berchtesgaden to tour Eagle's Nest, bus back to salzburg, train back to Munich; stay in Munich 2 more nights--use a Lander ticket for the 5 of us (?). Would the train ticket also work for the bus to Berchtesgaden?
Check out of Munich hotel. Early train to Fuessen, shuttle bus to Neuschwanstein Castle area (travel with all luggage, store in lockers @ Fuessen train station) for morning tour (I will buy tickets ahead of time online). Use Schones-Wochenende (Weekender) Ticket for trains for the 5 of us.
Then trains/bus Fuessen to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (~4:30 total travel time) early afternoon, stay in Rothenburg 1 night. Is the Nightwatchman Tour worth it? Not sure if we will do the crime & punishment museum with a 7 year old, but might send the teenagers in on their own.
Explore Rothenburg (will things be closed because it is Sunday?), bus & train to Bingen/Bacharach [on the Rhine River] (~4:30 travel time), stay in Bacharach, another Schones-Wochenende Ticket for the 5 of us. If time permits, cruise the Rhine (from Bingen, or Bacharach to Boppard), or, visit Marksburg Castle this day. OR (probably) do these the next day--I am only putting this in here as a possibility if Rothenburg is shut down on Sunday & we leave really early. Buy boat tickets at kiosk on dock.
boat cruise on the Rhine if we didn't do it the day before, Marksburg Castle or Burg Eltz, explore towns. Lander ticket for train travel, if needed.
stay in Bacharach
Get up super early, take 1.5 hr. train @ 05:30 Bacharach to Frankfurt, flight home to USA at 09:30 a.m. Have to buy point to point tickets at station, since Lander tickets don't work until 09:00.
Any towns seem not worth a visit? Train schedule make sense? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much!