Munich to Rhine River Cruise

Apr 27th, 2011, 10:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3
Munich to Rhine River Cruise

Travelling in May with my parents and fiance. We have hotel reservations in Munich Saturday night, then were hoping to take a train over to the Rhine River (preferably Mainz) and cruise North to St. Goar, where we have hotel reservations Sunday night.

Unfortunately, it looks like we can't get a train Sunday morning that will get us to the Mainz departure(s) in time. I came up with two options. Any advice or recommendations on which would be better??

Option 1: Take a train from Munich to Rudesheim (leaving Munich at 9:55am, arriving in Rudesheim at 15:06, through Frankfurt. From Rail Europe site), and then get on the last boat of the day at 16:15, arriving in St. Goar at 17:55. This is only 1.5 hours less cruising than from Mainz, but a) it is available and b) it is on the correct side of the river and c) it looks like a smaller town, so may be less difficult to manuever than Mainz would have been. Possible drawback: last boat of the day, so hope we won't miss it. If we did miss it, could probably take a train.

Option 2: Take a train from Munich to Assmannshausen (leaving Munich at 7:23am, arriving in Assmannshausen at 13:11. From Germany DB Bahn site.) Then we could get on the boat at either 14:45 or 16:45 (which is the last boat of the day), arriving in St. Goar at either 15:55 or 17:55. This is 2 hours less cruising than from Mainz. It has the same three advantages (a,b,c) listed above in Option 1.

Thanks for any help!
Carta is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Rail Europe would be the last place I would look for a train as they never give you all your options. Please just use the Deutsche Bahn website.

Getting off the train at Assmanshausen makes much more sense than getting off the train at Mainz.

Kind of wondering why you are even considering option 1, when you have the far better choice in option 2?
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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First of all, leaving on a boat from Mainz is a waste of $ and river time. It's quite dull until you reach Rüdesheim.

Secondly, you should NOT use Rail Europe schedules. They're incomplete. The same trains that leave Munich at 7:23 and get you to A'hausen at 13:11 will get you to Rüdesheim at 13:06. Use this page for schedules instead:

R'heim can be very overtouristed on weekends. It also has no lockers for your bags, and you'll have an hour with them before your 14:15 cruise boat leaves.

One good choice is to head to Bacharach instead. Bacharach gets busy too but it really is a most attractive village with some especially good half-timbered buildings. The 7:23 departure will get you to Bacharach at 12:26. You won't miss the river scenery between R'heim and Bacharach because the train follows the riverbank. And you'll have at least 2.5 hours to enjoy the town and have a nice meal.

Now, what will you do with your luggage before the cruise and around St. Goar? Maybe not a problem if traveling light, but if not, the stations at R'heim, A'hausen, and Bacharach all lack lockers. But if you go to Bacharach as outlined above, you'll have a 12-minute layover at Bingen Hbf to use the lockers. And when you return to Mainz, 12 minutes again at Bingen Hbf to pick the bags up, as long as you're on that direct MRB train to Mainz. Just have your coins handy. The lockers aren't far from the tracks.

It is also possible to start in Munich at 7:23 and get off the train in Bingen at 12:01 and take your cruise from there at 14:30, also giving you enough time to have lunch and see the town. Rüdesheim is only one stop before Bingen - you'll see just as much scenery from the boat this way.

Now, all this boat stuff is a lot of trouble with your time constraints. Personally, I'd forget it. I'd route myself via Rüdesheim (so as to follow the river) to Marksburg Castle in Braubach and take a tour of the best castle in the region: Then I'd train to Bacharach or St. Goar via Koblenz for a look around there before returning to Mainz. You'll be traveling both sides of the river this way and seeing lots of castles and towns from two different perspectives.
Russ is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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About Sunday... The tourist office just uphill from Braubach's station will normally hold luggage for castle visitors but will be closed on Sunday, so Marksburg is really only an option for castle visitors that are able to carry their bags around on their backs or at a larger station like Mainz, Wiesbaden, Koblenz or Bingen that offers locker service.
Russ is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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Posts: 3
Thanks so much for your feedback, Mainhatten Girl and Russ!

I appreciate the Deutsche Bahn website tip, I will avoid Rail Europe in the future.

A little history on why I considered option 1 at all, and why I am avoiding just sticking with the train: My parents have never been to Europe, and my Aunt & Uncle told them their favorite part of their Europe trip was the Rhine River cruising. Because of that, I am trying to do as much cruising as possible.

To clarify a little more, we will be in the Rhine River area from Sunday until Tuesday afternoon. We have hotel reservations in St. Goar for Sunday night and Monday night. So regarding the luggage, we will want to take it with us on the cruise, and then deposit in our hotel rooms Sunday afternoon. Will that be a problem? We do not have any need to return to Mainz (or go there at all, for that matter.) It's good to know that the cruise experience won't be lacking by starting at R'heim or A'hausen.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of taking the train all the way to Bacharach, especially if it is along the coast during the scenic part. The only reason I'd lean towards cruising from R'heim or A'hausen is a) my parents looking forward to the cruise and b) we will be taking a train the rest of the trip (Rome to Munich to Rhine area to Amsterdam to Paris) so I was hoping this would change it up a little. Don't get me wrong, I love trains! Just looking for variety.

Knowing that a) we don't need to stow our luggage (I think) and b) that we have all day Monday to get around and see different areas of the Rhine, would you recommend that we take the train to R'heim on Sunday and cruise to St. Goar, and take a day trip on Monday to see the Marksburg Castle (and anything else)? Or would you still recommend taking the train all the way to St. Goar on Sunday, and use Monday to spend some time cruising the Rhine.

I should admit that although I've been to Europe many times, I've only been to Munich and Dusseldorf in Germany, so I am completely at a loss regarding what to do for this portion. Thanks again for any and all help!
Carta is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I guess I wasn't clear about your whole plan before now - when you said you "were hoping to take a train over to the Rhine River (preferably Mainz)" it seemed you were racing to catch a cruise boat on Sunday and needed to end up in Mainz that night. But I guess Mainz really doesn't play into your plans at all. OK. You have Sun-Tue. Good that you allowed yourselves some time to see a few things.

"my Aunt & Uncle told them their favorite part of their Europe trip was the Rhine River cruising. Because of that, I am trying to do as much cruising as possible."

That's fine, but the cruise boats really aren't intended as transportation but as sightseeing outings, and you'll enjoy a cruise more if you don't have to fuss with luggage on board or walk with it between the station and the docks. If it were me and I had bags, I'd head straight to St. Goar to drop them at the hotel front desk. Leave Munich at 7:23, arrive 12:37 in St. Goar. At 1:20, get on the southbound MRB train for Bingen (arr. 1:43), which is just opposite Rüdesheim across the Rhine. Walk to the docks (maybe 15 min.) and get on the 2:30 boat heading north. That way, you'll see the whole section of the Rhine by boat that you first intended to see. You'll reach St. Goar at 3:55, the same time that you would have reached it if you went to Rüdesheim first, only you aren't stuck in R'heim with your bags for an hour waiting for the boat.

If you are using a railpass to get from Munich to St. Goar that same day, then the cruise and the extra train ride from St. Goar to Bingen cost you nothing.

If not, or if you choose to do the cruise on Monday without using a railpass day, then the train ride to Bingen costs 5.30 Euros each, and you'll pay for the cruise, but show your DB rail tickets for a 20% discount.
Russ is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Even if you cruise on Sunday afternoon, you may still want to cruise on Monday as well if you want to maximize the boat experience. I'd suggest cruising the part you haven't seen yet from St. Goar north to Braubach - you'll see a lot of castles here too over 1.5 hours - and in Braubach, paying a visit to Marksburg Castle, the only never-destroyed Middle Rhine castle:

To get back to St. Goar by train, you can use a group VRM ticket from a ticket machine at the St. Goar or Braubach station (20 Euros, a daypass good after 9 am on the regional trains.) You can hop off in Koblenz or Boppard on the way if you like and continue your trip later. Or if you don't want to cruise that day, it will also get all of you on the train from St. Goar to Braubach or other nearby destinations (Boppard, Oberwesel, Cochem, Remagen, Linz.)
Russ is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Posts: 3
Perfect! Thank you, Russ, this is exactly the kind of expert advice I was hoping for. We will take the train directly to St. Goar on Sunday, drop our luggage, train to Bingen, cruise up to St. Goar on Sunday afternoon. Then Monday (weather permitting) we will cruise up to Braubach, enjoying the cruise and Marksburg Castle. I really appreciate your help!
Carta is offline  
Apr 29th, 2011, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 88
Cruising can get a bit boring if overdone. I don't mind a couple of hours of watching stuff go by, but I'd rather get out and actually "be there." I don't know that I would cruise on two separate days. Of course, a short cruise or an air conditioned bus tour can be a great option if someone is mobility impaired, or it's very hot out, or if you're just really tired or sore from a lot of walking.
PaulHahn is offline  

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