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“Could have been so much better”

William Tell Express
Ranked #23 of 78 things to do in Lucerne
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Perthshire
Level Contributor
35 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Could have been so much better”
Reviewed 5 June 2013 via mobile

We did this trip with my 91 year old father in law as part of a very special holiday travelling in Switzerland. We had paid for the Premium service and perhaps we were not very on the ball but we had no special treatment to the extent that nobody pointed out to us that we should have had specially reserved seats in the Queen's Saloon so we just sat at a normal table. The food we were offered was OK with a basic salad to start ( no choice although they did agree to give my father in law soup instead) and then the choice of a pasta/potato local speciality or meat partties with veg followed by a "surprise desert" of ice cream and fruit. Having paid a great deal of money we were very disappointed that there was no representative to greet us and point out where we should be or make us feel special. It was really only afterwards when we re-read what we should have had that we were particularly angry.

Having said all that, the boat trip itself from Lucerne to Fluellen was lovely but the commentary was hard to make out at times.

At Fluellen where we were to join the train for Lugano, we were given wrong information as to which carriage we were allocated resulting in us having to shuffle father in law up and down the platform which was very difficult for him. The Premium package actually puts you in Coach 1 which is supposed to be very special with swivel seats so that you can move round to look at the views. We found these no more than a silly gimmick and would much preferred to have been in the glass roofed carriage which would have offered much better visibility. We were given head phones to listen to music and information to accompany film about the building of the St Gotthard Tunnel but this could have been presented very much better.

The train trip itself was OK but as far as the William Tell Express experience is concerned the boat bit is much the better half

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank PerthshireClare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Laconia, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
95 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“See the heart and soul of Switzerland”
Reviewed 25 February 2013

The Willem Tell Express is a combination paddle-steamer voyage and train ride that takes you from the lovely city of Luzern to Bellinzona. Board the vintage 1900 steamer at Luzern and sail the Vierwaldstaettersee (Lake of the Four Forest Cantons) to Fluellen. It's worth paying for the upgrade to first class simply for the luxury of viewing the Viennese style dining room, with its embossed and hand painted ceiling. Enjoy a superb lunch - the menu offers specialties from each area of the country - and enjoy the beauty of the small ports at which the steamer shops. Upon arrival at Fluellen you board the train that will take you through the amazing St Gotthard Pass. Again, the supplement for first class is well worth it, as you will be seated in the panorama car, which is almost all glass and allows for amazing views of the stunning terrain. The trip can be booked in advance before you arrive in Switzerland. If you purchase a Swiss Pass, you can use it for this trip and simply pay a few CHF extra for the upgrade. At Bellinzona, in the Italian part of the country, you can easily connect to other cities including gorgeous Lugano. If you go to Switzerland, don't pass up on this opportunity to see the heart of the country, it's natural beauty, history and soul.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank limeyl8e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westchester, NY
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great way to get from Luzerne to Lugano”
Reviewed 25 August 2012

This journey starts with a paddlewheel boat ride on Lake Luzerne on which a nice meal is served. It seemed that most people were in groups but we did not feel out of place with just the two of us. At the end of the boat ride we boarded a wonderfully modern train car with very comfortable rotating seats that afforded great views of the passing countryside. The hostess was very friendly and we enjoyed good conversation as we traveled. It was a great way to see the beautiful Swiss Alps !!

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank CJV_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
100 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“What a way to see the Lake”
Reviewed 3 August 2012

This was part of an itinerary a travel agent booked for us.

We loved this trip. The boat was oldy worldy and lovely beyond measure. Seeped in history with immaculate working pistons that you can watch. We had lunch on board and this was served promptly and efficiently. The staff were very good but not very engaging. They kept to themselves unless they were serving you. It may be nice for them to interact with the customers a bit more.

The views were lovely and you got to see so much more than you would if you were driving. The first bit by boat, relaxing and pretty - then we went onto the train part. Well worth doing!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank MYSB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Mesmerizing views, great experience”
Reviewed 7 December 2011

I cannot speak for the train part of the journey since we only took the steam boats - from Fluelen to Vitznau (took the funicular to Rigi Kulm) and then again from Vitznau to Lucerne (although our initial plan was to take the train from Rigi Kulm to Arthur Goldau to Lucerne). The scenery was breath taking in our first leg and we chose to go back on the boat for our forward journey as well.
The one advice I would give to any person visiting Switzerland is to not miss its many forms of transportation - each is unique and irreplaceable. The Wilhem/William tell express steam boat was very convenient and gave us an opportunity to enjoy the lake in the midst of the Alps!

Visited May 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank juslyktht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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