Are You Ready for the Christmas Markets?
Ho ho ho! Don’t look now but the Holiday Season is fast approaching and the countdown is on! It’s time to start planning and fine tuning all those festive details that will make our OUTbound cruise through the Christmas Markets along the Rhine River even more joyful! Below are a few things to help you make the most of your vacation with us. As always, if you have any questions that we haven’t covered, or have a special request, hit us up… either by phone at 916.683.1000 or email us at info@iamOUTbound.com.
Let’s get started!
Since our trip begins in either Zürich (for those of you joining us for our pre-cruise package in Zürich) or in Basel (for those of you heading directly to the ship) and ends in Strasbourg, France, flights can be a little tricky.
Many of our OUTbounders are looking at round trip flights to Paris, & then a one-way flight from Paris (CDG) to either Zürich (ZRH) or Basel (BSL) at the start of our trip. Both Air France & Swiss Air have several daily direct flights to Zürich (ZRH), while Air France has several direct flights to Basel (BSL) from Paris (CDG) each day.
Air France has four daily one-way flights from Paris (CDG) to Zürich (ZRH) that often range from $115 to $175 per person, which includes a checked bag. Air France also has three daily direct flights from Paris (CDG) to Basel (BSL) that often run from $135 to $185. Air France is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. You can click here for the direct link to book Air France.
Swiss Air is based in Zürich and part of the Star Alliance group. Swiss Air has four daily one-way flights from Paris (CDG) to Zürich (ZRH) that often range from $85 to $125, which includes a checked bag. You can click here for the direct link to book Swiss Air.
To book a one-way flight with either airline, select ‘Book a Flight’, then ‘One Way’. Enter your ‘from’ as Paris (CDG) and your ‘to’ as Zürich (ZRH) or Basel (BSL), then enter your ‘when’ date of travel. Our pre-cruise Zürich package starts on Friday, December 9, 2022. Our river cruise begins in Basel on Sunday, December 11, 2022.
Transfers from Zürich to Basel on Sunday, December 11th are included with the Zürich pre-cruise package.
And of course the standard disclaimer, you are always welcome to book any flight or airline you wish and OUTbound does not guarantee or endorse any airline or flight.
Return Travel Ideas
For your return, Strasbourg (SXB) is actually a fairly small airport with limited flight options. We’re suggesting taking the train from Strasbourg back to Paris (CDG). There is a direct non-stop train from Strasbourg Central to CDG. The total travel time is exactly two hours and it’s a really nice ride across the French countryside. Prices often range from $60 to $85 per person, depending of the class of ticket, and there are normally between 10 and 15 departures each day. The train takes you directly to the airport & access to all terminals.
You may also want to extend your time in Europe and spend a day or two in Paris, which is the very next stop on the train after the airport for the same price. Click here for your Strasbourg to Paris train options.
Our river cruise ends in Strasbourg on Sunday, December 11th, 2022.
Our Host Hotel
By Taxi: Rates for taxis can often range from €25 to €35 depending on the time of day, and are readily available as you exit the Zürich airport on the arrivals (ground) level.
By Rideshare: Uber is available all over Switzerland. Uber fares from the Zürich airport to our host hotel will often run anywhere from €20 to €30, depending on the time of day and traffic.
Transfers from the 25hours Hotel Langstrasse to our ship in Basel are included with the Zürich Pre-Package.
Hotel Room Upgrades
The hotel rooms included with our pre-cruise package in Zürich are the Langstrasse Medium room, double occupancy. Upgrades to Large, Extra Large, Plaza Suite or Trainspotting Suite available at an extra cost.
Call us at 916.683.1000 or email us at info@iamOUTbound.com for more information or to reserve your upgrade.
Getting to the Ship
Getting to the ship at the Basel Rhine River Cruise Dock from Basel International Airport (BSL) normally takes about 15 to 20 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
Basel Rhine River Dock Address: Klybeck, Uferstrasse, 4057 Basel, Switzerland
By Taxi: Rates for taxis can often range from €25 to €35 depending on the time of day, and are readily available as you exit the Basel airport on the arrivals (ground) level.
By Rideshare: Uber is available all over Switzerland. Uber fares from the Basel airport to our ship docked at the Basel Rhine River Cruise Dock will often run anywhere from €15 to €20, depending on the time of day and traffic.
Boarding officially begins at 4:00pm local time on December 11th, but you are free to arrive at our ship at any time after 12:00pm noon. In the event your stateroom is not ready prior to 4:00pm, feel free to drop your bags at the reception desk, grab a drink from the bar and relax in the panoramic lounge or head up top to the sun deck to recover from your long travel day.
We get it… it’s your first trip out of the country in almost two years and hey, sometimes delays happen. No worries… we’ve got you. OUTbound has arranged for our ship to stay docked in Basel overnight. In fact, our riverboat doesn’t sail from Basel until after dinner on Monday, December 12th. So there’s absolutely no reason to stress about missing the boat!
Be sure to check in regularly as we begin announcing our onboard entertainment for our Rhine River Christmas Market cruise!
This is also the place where we’ll be posting our party themes, so be sure keep an eye out & start planning!
Tipping Our Hosts
Tipping is the ONLY thing not included with your OUTbound vacation. We never want to dictate anyone’s generosity or decide how much you think YOUR experience with a crew member, waitstaff or tour guide was worth. How much to tip depends on the type of service you receive and your personal experience.
During our trip together, you’ll come into contact with many different servers and hosts. At the end of each day’s guided tour, you’ll have the chance to tip our guide and driver whatever you feel your experience was worth.
Onboard our ship, you’ll receive an envelope in your stateroom on the last night of our cruise before disembarking the next morning for Strasbourg. It’s here where you will have the opportunity to leave a tip that will be split among the crew… waitstaff, bartenders, room stewards and the entertainment staff.
A general rule of thumb for tipping the ship’s staff is €10 per day, per person.
However, if your experience warrants something more, then by all means feel free to be as generous as you would like. If you feel that any individual in particular has gone above and beyond in making your experience something extra special, then we encourage you to reach out to them directly and let them know how much you appreciated their service during our time together.
What Money Should You Bring?
Switzerland’s official currency is the Swiss Franc. While yes, the Euro is accepted at some establishments like stores and restaurants, the exchange rate is likely to be unfavorable. Also, keep in mind that even if a store or restaurant will accept Euros as payment, most will return the change in Francs only and the exchange rate will vary. It’s always best to check with any business first to see if they accept Euros.
France & Germany
Both France and Germany are members of the European Union and one of 23 countries that use the Euro (abbreviated €) as their national currency.
You can also use your credit or debit card as well throughout our trip, as credit cards are widely accepted everywhere in the countries we are visiting. However, remember that there will be additional bank charges upon usage and even a foreign transaction fee in some cases, depending on your bank.
If we’ve learned anything over these last couple of years, it’s that the world can be an uncertain place at times. While you’re never required to buy travel insurance, it’s a good idea and we recommend all OUTbounders consider protecting your hard-earned vacation money. The price of your coverage will depend on a few factors, including the cost of the trip, what state you live in, how long before the trip departs, and if you have any pre-existing or underlying health conditions, to name a few.
Some reasons why you might buy travel insurance include:
- Cancel for Any Reason
- Unexpected Work Requirements
- Personal or Family Illness
OUTbound does not provide travel insurance. However, we always recommend using a third-party insurance carrier to provide your coverage.