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Post Rhine Cruise Travel to Lucerne

We will finish a Viking Rhine River cruise in Basel late September 2018. Currently 4 of us (2 couples) have booked a 2 night, “3 day” stay in Lucerne (really only ONE full day due to travel on each end) through Viking, but are considering traveling/booking the excursion on our own. (The cost for this extension seems very over-priced at $699 pp/ $1398 per couple!) Looking for advice in regard to the cost, transportation, lodging & length of stay (3 nights vs 2). Thanks in advance!

Posted by
8889 posts

$699 pp for 2 nights is definitely OTT. (Not sure what sort of $, Aussie, Canadian etc., but still over the top.)

Basel to Luzern (local spelling) is easy, just over 1 hour and 2 departures per hour.

Accommodation: Go to the official Luzern tourist website: http://www.luzern.com/en
There are many hotels listed in the range CHF 400-500 for a double room (2 persons) for 2 nights. Beware, that site covers the surrounding area. If you select "by price", the cheapest hotels will be outside Luzern (maybe that is what you want, but I recommend in the city, within walking distance of the old town).

Transport: Go to the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) website: https://www.sbb.ch/en
Enter Basel SBB to Luzern, and a date and time. You will see direct trains at 04 and 17 minutes past every hour, taking 1h13. This will cost CHF 34 per person. You buy tickets at the station when you get there (ticket machine or manned counter).
You will need a taxi from your ship to Basel SBB station. This should cost around CHF 34-40 (4 people).

Afterwards: Where are you going next? If the answer is Zürich airport, that is only 70 minutes from Luzern by train. If further afield (for example Italy), you can do that by train from Luzern.

Posted by
16808 posts

Hotels in Luzern can be pricey, especially if they book you into a big fancy place on the lake. For transport, prices at www.sbb.ch/en for train. For lodging, start at www.booking.com. There will also be taxi from Viking dock to train station, and local transport to hotel in Luzern. Pack light, and you can walk and take local trams and buses.

Posted by
1760 posts

Hi tk, I think you can do this on your own following the directions Chris provided above. Lucerne is a nice, walkable city with lots of restaurants and shops.

We stayed at the Hotel des Alpes (https://www.desalpes-luzern.ch/en/) in September 2016 and would recommend it. It is an easy walking distance from the train station (just over the bridge). Great location next to the Chapel Bridge. Nice, clean rooms and a good restaurant.

We did our first Viking River cruise in October 2017 (Basel to Amsterdam) and enjoyed it very much. Hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
6642 posts

I was looking recently at rail fares from Basel SBB to Luzern. Full price fare was 34 CHF pp, so you can take that into account. About the same from Luzern to Zurich airport. Its only about 1.3 hours by rail from Basel to Luzern, so that gives you more time that day than you were expecting, if you get an early start. Hotels we looked at were in the 140-200 CHF range. The Viking package doesn't include anything while you're there besides a walking tour, so you'd be on your own for attraction anyway.