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Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

Arlington, Virginia
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Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

We will be staying with family outside Landau Pfalz between April 13 and 19. I know the weather has been cold so far this spring, but if we get a nice day I'd like to take my wife and two kids (4 yrs. and 17 mos.) to do a Rhine cruise from Bingen to Boppard or Braubach. We would park our rental van in Bingen, and then take the train from wherever we get off the boat back to our van. My questions are:

1. I've seen K-D Cruises recommended, but during their off-peak season they have only one morning northbound trip. Are there other cruise lines that offer one-way tickets we should consider?

2. The K-D website suggests we should book in advance, as some cruises sell out. Is that a real risk on a weekday in mid-April? Given that we'd like to catch a good weather day, would it be foolish to plan to buy our tickets on the day we sail?

3. How hard will it be to find parking for a full day in Bingen that is walking distance to both the ship dock and the train station? Can anyone recommend particular addresses?

Thanks for any additional thoughts. I've done one of these cruises before, but it has been about 25 years. I speak German fluently, so an English language cruise isn't particularly important -- sailing times and available tickets matter a lot more.

Paradise, California
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1. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

Bingen-Rüdesheimer line does Bingen-St. Goar. St. Goar might be a good destination - Rheinfels Castle is good for kids as the tour is self-guided they can run around and explore.

bingen-ruedesheimer.com/rhine-cruise/lorelei…

www.st-goar.de/17-1-rheinfels-castle.html

I wouldn't cruise to Braubach unless you plan to see Marksburg Castle. The scenery from St. Goar to Braubach, however, is still very good. If you get off the cruise in St. Goar, you can still take the train up to Boppard afterward for a look around, if you wish, and enjoy the scenery from the train window.

There is parking near the docks but you might consider the train. For 26€, your whole family can travel from Landau to Bingen, from St. Goar to Boppard, from Boppard or Braubach or St. Goar back to Bingen, and from Bingen back to Landau on one Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket: vrminfo.de/en/… If you were to buy a ticket only for the return train from Braubach to Bingen, the cost would be 29.60€ (Boppard-Bingen = 18.80€)

And if you have a train ticket in your hand when you reach Bingen, KD gives you a 20% discount. That's about 11€ off the regular fare for a family like yours. Not sure if B-R cruises does the same. No discount for arriving by car.

Edited: 03 April 2013, 05:49
Germany
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2. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

2. The K-D website suggests we should book in advance, as some cruises sell out.

Some themed (round-trip) cruises can sell out. The scheduled cruises not. They have not even a booking system for them.

If you buy a KD ticket it's not for a date+time but valid the whole season. Stopovers are allowed. KD does thus not know at all when you will use a ticket. Their boats are quite big and they do their capacity management just "by experience".

> hat's about 11€ off the regular fare for a family like yours. Not sure if B-R cruises does the same.

No. KD was once owned by DB (German Rail). The discount, the coverage of KD boats by German and Eurail Passes, the fact that you can buy KD tickets at DB travel centers and also that the KD boats are listed by the DB timetable (one has to de-select anything faster) is a legacy of this time.

Edited: 03 April 2013, 09:35
Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

Thanks very much for the quick, detailed responses. A few follow-up questions:

I had explored the Rheinpfalz ticket based on prior threads, but from looking at the route map it seemed like it would be an endless journey with many local stops and multiple train changes to get from Landau to Bingen, while the drive would take a bit over an hour. I could not get the timetable to return an itinerary at all. Would there be a train that leaves Landau early enough to get us to Bingen by 9:00, in time for the K-D morning northbound sail?

How does Rheinfels castle compare to Marksburg Castle? I did mention Braubach because we'd been considering Marksburg, as they offer guided tours. I know one is a ruin and one is not; how is the experience for kids otherwise?

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4. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

> Would there be a train that leaves Landau early enough to get us to Bingen by 9:00,

Yes. But it is indeed time wise not attractive at all (Landau to Bingen 2,5-3 hours).

The Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket makes still sense for traveling back from Braubach to Bingen. And for the KD fare discount.

With the Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket you can travel Braubach - St. Goarshausen - ferry (covered) - St. Goar - Bingen. And of course also Braubach - Koblenz - Bingen. Also an option is Braubach - Rüdesheim - ferry (not covered) - Bingen.

> considering Marksburg, as they offer guided tours.

If you want a guided tour Marksburg it the better choice.

http://www.marksburg.de/default.htm

If you want to explore a castle on your own with some adventure touch*) for the kids.

*) "Advice: Please bring flashlights for the trenches and tunnels."

Arlington, Virginia
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5. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

This is all terrific advice. Thanks again.

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

Thanks to all the feedback folks provided about this journey. We made the trip yesterday, and had a lovely time. In case anyone in the future may consider this trip, here's what we did:

We drove our rental from the Sud-Pfalz to Bingen, arriving about 10:30 AM. We found a large surface public parking lot just east of Bingen Hbf, and west of the boat piers, right on the Nahe river. The cost was 3 Eur. to park for the entire day. We walked about 10 minutes to Pier 4, where we purchased our tickets for the Bingen-Rüdesheimer line sailing to St. Goar. The sailing left promptly at 11:15, and offered a leisurely trip to St. Goar in about 1:30. A nice feature was that the boat had a sound system that played a description of each major site along the river in German, English, French, Spanish, and I believe Japanese or Chinese.

We arrived in St. Goar at about 12:40, and set out for the Rheinfels Castle. This would have been an easy walk for fit adults without significant baggage. But for my wife and I (she pushing our 17 mo. old in a stroller, and I carrying our tired 4 year old on my shoulders), it appeared daunting when we first left the boat. We started off towards the castle, and at the far end of the pedestrian main street in the town came across a tourist trolley bus. For 5 Eur, it took our family up to the Castle. In our case it was worth every penny.

Having visited many German castles, I must say that Rheinfels Castle is amazing. There are so many original spaces available to walk through that you will not be disappointed. Again we were limited by our young kids (and by the fact that I forgot the flashlight -- you'll want one for the lower passages), but still managed to see a great deal. I highly recommend it. By 2:30 our 4 year old was hitting his limit, and my wife was tiring of carrying our daughter (the castle is *NOT* stroller friendly), so we decided to walk back down the hill to the train station and catch the 3:20 train to Bingen. This downhill walk was very easy, even with me carrying the boy and my wife pushing the stroller.

We had to ask directions to the train station (it is at the far end of town from the castle), but then found it easily with about 20 minutes to spare. We bought one-way 2nd class tickets to Bingen for about 6 Eur. each, as it was cheaper in our case than the Rhein-Pfalz pass. The train arrived to the minute on time, and we were back in Bingen before 4 PM (be sure to sit on the left when facing the front of the train for a great view of the river).

On arrival in Bingen we took the elevator up to the pedestrian walkway over the railroad tracks, in the direction of the river. There we were pleasantly surprised to find an amazing playground for our son with slides, forts, sand, climbing walls, swings, etc. etc. etc., and what looked like extensive water features for the summer months. We also found a small cafe kiosk with ice cream and drinks that were quite welcome. After another hour or so playing and snacking, we walked the 10 minutes back to our car and had an uneventful drive back to where we are staying.

For anyone staying within a two hour drive of Bingen, I highly recommend this as a very easy day trip that will give you a wonderful overview of this charming stretch of the Rhine.

Belfast, United...
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7. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

looks like you had a great day, how much was the boat trip please

Arlington, Virginia
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8. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

The boat trip (one way) was Eur 16.50 per adult and another 5 Eur for our 4 year old. Our 17 month old was free. So 38 Eur total from Bingen to St. Goar.

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9. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

We're planning to do a Rhine Cruise and visit a castle. We only have like 4 -5 hours. We'll be in Bingen at noon, and have to get back to Cologne before dark. We are thinking to do both cruise and train, and see one of the castles. Braubach looks pretty nice.

10. Re: Cruise lines offering one-way day sails / parking

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