Published on :   06/15/2015

A Perfect Start to my Rhine River Cruise to Amsterdam

A train, a shuttle and two flights later, I finally made it to Basel in one piece last night.  

Even though travel days are long, I have to admit, a weird part of me enjoys them a lot. I love spending time in airports, I love the anticipation you feel just before take-off… I love the stunning views you get from up in the air, and I even love the little snacks that you get on the plane. Really, I love it all! So, even after a 12 hour day of commuting, I was still giddy like a school girl on my taxi ride to the MS Lafayette.

At about 10:30pm, I finally got to the boat and was given a warm and friendly welcome from Tatiana, the boat’s purser and Camille, the on board entertainer. As Tatiana led me to my cabin downstairs, I couldn’t help but notice the fresh and modern décor of the boat. So pretty!

But hold on, it gets even better.

Waiting for me in my spacious new cabin was a beautiful tray of cold cuts, cheeses, bread and yogurt! I was starving from a day of travelling around and I swear, my eyes turned into giant hearts at the sight of it. I managed to keep my composure in front of Tatiana, but as soon as I was alone, I have no shame in admitting I did a little happy dance. Without even unpacking my suitcase, I plopped onto my cushy bed and devoured that plate like a monster.

CroisiEurope, you’re making it way too easy for me to love you.  

As I scarfed down my dinner in bed, I took some time to absorb my surroundings. Simply put, the MS Lafayette is beautiful. Joining the CroisiEurope fleet in 2014, this cruise boasts a clean and modern design, with an airy feel and lovely purple and beige colour scheme. With a maximum capacity of 82 passengers, the cabins on this boat are larger than the other ones I’ve been in, and comes with sweet perks like extra closet space, big bed-facing windows and even a mini-fridge. I am so excited for a week of cruising to Amsterdam on this boat!

After a night of much-needed sleep, I began my journey along the Rhine River today with a short tour of Basel.

Basel is a very interesting place. Though technically in Switzerland, its location places it along the borders of France and Germany, which means that, including suburbs, it is a single city spread across three countries. Even exiting the airport, there are directional signs that said “Germany, this way. France, this way.” Crazy!

I was really taken aback by how busy the city was. Disembarking the bus, we saw a massive flea market in a nearby park, and a short walk later, another market in front of the Town Hall, selling a wide array of fresh produce and flowers. Walking around, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of art getting installed around the city. According to our guide Francisco, this is because Art Basel, a world-renowned modern art festival, is in town. Dubbed “the Olympics of Art”, this festival is one of Basel’s biggest attractions, and draws almost 100,000 art lovers to the city each year. But, besides art, there is certainly no shortage of pretty sights in Basel. What I really enjoyed was the use of red sandstone throughout the city, particularly in the Town Hall building and the famous Basler Münster, which both give the cityscape some bright splashes of colour.

After lunch, we were whisked off to Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe. Now, while I love gawking at man-made wonders like churches and castles, there’s a special place in my heart reserved for the incredible creations of Mother Nature.

And wow, let me tell you, Mother Nature really outdid herself with this one:

Located in Northern Switzerland, the Rhine Falls span 150m wide and 23m high. With 700m3 of water gushing out of these falls per second, the sheer force and power of the water crashing down is a real sight to behold. At some of the falls’ viewpoints, you are brought so close to the water that you can even touch it with your fingers! After wandering around the site for a bit, we got to enjoy the falls from various vantage points. My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to hop on one of the tourist boats that took you out on the water, right beneath the falls. I had done a similar boat ride at Niagara Falls once, and it was amazing. Oh well, maybe next time!

Tomorrow will bring me a new adventure to Titisee Lake, located in the middle of Germany’s Black Forest (yes, like the cake!). I’m pretty determined to find myself a slice, but I will definitely keep you posted.

Talk to you soon!

- Christina

LONG European river cruise vacations (9-13 days)