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Rhine River day cruises


I noticed that with the purchase of a German rail pass card, it stated a bonus of the pass is:
"Free transport on river boats on the Rhine and Moselle
The German Rail Pass is valid for free travel on the river boats operated by the Köln-Düsseldorfer Rheinschiffahrt AG:
Between Cologne and Mainz on the Rhine
OR Between Koblenz and Cochem on the Moselle"

We are in the planning stages of our trip for March, so all opinions welcome on which of these would be a better river trip as far as end destinations and sights along the way. We would ultimately be heading in the Black Forest direction, so we could go either route-- a little diversion is OK. We would be using this river day trip as a slower version of travel --taking the boat vs train-- so we would have a very small amount of luggage --a small 4 wheeled case for me, a backpack for him. Just thought it might be a nice change of pace, gliding along on the river vs. zipping along the tracks to reach a destination.
Ideas? Thoughts? Previous experience on either route?

Thanks in advance!
[[FYI I visited Germany about 3 years ago & visited Burg Rheinfels and Marskburg Castle when I was there]]

Posted by
6749 posts

It takes two days to cruise between Mainz and Cologne. Much of that would be pretty dull. If you have already been to Marksburg and Rheinfels then you have likely been through the most scenic part of the Rhine Valley (the part between Bingen and Braubach (home of Marksburg) but it may still be interesting for you to go through that part more slowly by boat. I suggest boarding in Bingen and disembarking in Boppard, a trip of 2.3 hours; you will probably enjoy Boppard if you haven't been - a cool chairlift ride to a lookout over the river and a short walk to Gedeonseck terrace from there, some Roman ruins, lots of nice half-timbered buildings and outdoor eateries on the main square and along the riverfront.


I happen to think the best Rhine experiences happen once you're OFF the boat. Besides Boppard, Bacharach and Oberwesel are fine towns to visit in between Boppard and Bingen. You can catch a train to both from Boppard easily enough, or try to work the cruise boat schedule to stopover there during your cruise to Boppard. If you visit these towns, then with your luggage you may want to try leaving it with the TI offices in these towns since there are no lockers. I enjoyed the walk around the old town wall:

O'wesel town wall
Walk through the vineyards north of Oberwesel to the Günderodehaus (setting for famous TV series "Heimat") for a fine view and a glass of wine:

K-D cruise schedule

You can check the same K-D site for Mosel cruises. But what you'll find is a very limited schedule - there's not a lot of demand for that Koblenz-Cochem route (around 5 hours) because it's much less spectacular than the Rhine route.

Posted by
19151 posts

I think the KD line runs very a limited schedule on the Rhein and Mosel in March and nothing above (south) Rüdesheim.

Depending on whether you go down (northwest) or up (southeast) the river, on the Rhein, gliding along on the river takes an hour vs 10 minutes zipping along the tracks. It's probably worse on the Mosel, which winds around a lot between towns, although some towns on the Mosel (Beilstein, Zell, Bernkastel-Kues) are on far loops and only accessible from the train stations by bus.

BTW, if you take the train to another river town and come back on the boat, you'll get a 20% discount on the boat ticket when you show them your train ticket.

Posted by
16894 posts

New reports indicate that the K-D line will switch from full coverage with a rail pass to 20% discount with a rail pass for travel in 2015. This change was discussed for 2014 and then re-negotiated at the last minute. But from as much as we've heard now, I would not buy an extra rail pass travel day for the purpose of covering K-D boats in 2015.