RIVER CRUISE on the RHINE was not really an old and long dream, but we had sometimes considered a cruise on a sea. Then we took a quick decision one day, and booked a river cruise on the Rhine, with just 2 nights and including a visit to Strasbourg with its beautiful Christmas market as a highlight before returning to Basel. This could be, and was eventually, an appetizer of what a river cruise could be. At this stage we had already outed the idea of a cruise on the sea.
After embarking in Basel on a Thursday morning we casted off heading north. Information about safety and the general life onboard was shared during general meetings in the Salon. We were also served delicacies. The stateroom was super lovely with own bathroom, a small table with two chairs where we could sit and enjoy the passing view of birds, other cruise ships and vessels. In the restaurant we had a designated table for the whole cruise. Food onboard was absolutely stunning with a selection of meat/fish and vegetarian dishes and various drinks available for lunch and dinner. Sometimes buffet, sometimes menu selections.
Crew in the restaurant, and in all other areas, were super friendly and service minded. During the whole cruise we could also have free coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the Captains Corner where a small library was situated too. On this cruise we passed eight locks on the way to Strasbourg. The whole river cruise was in reality on the Rhine Canal, the river Rhine is not sailable for larger ships on this part. Some of the locks are part of hydroelectric power plants and the canal enables navigation of more than 30.000 ships between Strasbourg and Basel every year. Sailing through the locks was a great experience during the days as well as nights.
Arriving in Strasbourg we could go by a common bus tour or visit on our own. We booked an Uber to and from Strasbourg, it was just 10-14 Euros, Ubers works fine here too. During this time the huge and very beautiful Christmas market in Strasbourg was open and we also had enough time to visit the beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg and the historical part of Strasbourg, Petite France, with narrow channels and 16th to 17th century half-timbered buildings.
Some tips and words about our own experience from this short trip, some of course of varying importance depending on interests and budget:
*book way in advance, these trips are very popular
*wi-fi is often poor, not available or instable. If you depend on a connection, make sure to take advantage of a better connection when being off-shore visiting a city
*getting a stateroom with a higher location gives better views and less noise, big windows are nice too
*size of the ship and number of passengers – more passengers more crowds
*age of the ship and how many stars it has. Perhaps you like a bit of luxury?
*for a first cruise, take a shorter one to figure out if this is for you at all
There are several companies offering tours on the Rhine. Our trip was booked by Thurgau Travel in Switzerland. We have already booked our next and longer Rhine cruise by Thurgau ?