City Night Line Basel to Amsterdam

It is no secret we love trains and one of the things we love to do when in Europe is explore the many options available in any country. One of them we tried in 2010 and decided to repeat: City Night Line!

City Night Line trains are a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn (the German railway company) and as the name suggests, do night train routes to and from several countries in Europe. In 2010 we took the train from Prague to Zurich and we loved the experience. Now in July we took the train from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam.

 

Boarding the train in Basel

We had already learned this in our 2010 City Night Line experience: make sure you board the right train car. When you get your ticket it will say something like “wagon 123”, so look for the wagon you’re meant to go, otherwise you will not go to your destination!

The train was so long and as we walked along the platform to find our train car, we saw that at some point each wagon would be attached to another locomotive (not sure that’s the way to call it, but you get the idea) that would go to a different destination. Also, please watch for the screen or board informing where the train is going.

The train goes to so many different places! Make sure you're boarding the right wagon.
The train goes to so many different places! Make sure you’re boarding the right wagon.

 

First Class cabin configuration and amenities

Just like 2010, we chose a First Class cabin. The reasons for the First Class choice are:

* You have your private en-suite bathroom: just think it is summer and the comfort of having a bathroom with shower in your cabin is priceless – and especially when you are traveling with kids.

The bathroom
The bathroom
Shower doubles as the faucet for the sink - very tight space, but does the job
Shower doubles as the faucet for the sink – very tight space, but does the job

* You have breakfast included: even though we were slightly disappointed with the breakfast we had this time (2010’s was so much better), it is very convenient to have it delivered to you in the morning – think room service on tracks!

2010 Breakfast: my daughter and husband ready to enjoy our Continental Breakfast! So good!
2010 Breakfast: my daughter and husband ready to enjoy our Continental Breakfast! So good!
2010 Breakfast: ham, cheese, croissants... First Class indeed!
2010 Breakfast: ham, cheese, croissants… First Class indeed!
2013 Breakfast: Latte made to order, cereal, milk, orange juice
2013 Breakfast: Latte made to order, cereal, milk, orange juice
2013 Breakfast: jam and cheese
2013 Breakfast: jam and cheese

* Comfort and safety: long gone are the days where we would go on a Regionale night train from Venice to Naples, with complete strangers in a seat. Now we are parents traveling with our child and we need to make sure she is safe. Also, nothing replaces a good night’s sleep on a bed – and City Night Line beds are not bad in terms of comfort.

The night configuration! This is a double cabin.
The night configuration! This is a double cabin, but we got a triple one – basically a triple bunk bed.

 

City Night Line with kids

I can safely say that the “sleeping train” like my daughter calls it is a family favorite. Her first City Night Line experience was at 5 years old and now at 8 I could still see the excitement and the awe in her face with every single part of the process: from booking, which we did ourselves at the Deutsche Bahn website, to boarding, the triple bunk beds and breakfast. And she wants to do it again… and so do we!

 

Cost-benefit

It will for sure get you from point A to point B and you can choose the comfort classes you find more suitable to your travel style or family situation. It isn’t cheap, but if you factor in the price of a hotel night plus cost with train/plane/car to get where you want to go, it nets out at about the same. Plus, the experience of the journey is priceless. Especially if you’re traveling as a family!

 

Links for more info:

* City Night Line: http://www.citynightline.de/citynightline/view/en/index.shtml

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