We arrived on our own air and stayed three days in Switzerland before the cruise. One day in Zurich where we took city tours and then took the train to the embarkation port of Basel where we stayed two nights.
Basel was a wonderful stop as the hotels provide free Tram and bus tickets for the duration. We then just hoped on and off trams seeing the wonderful city and visiting all the sights. On the day of embarkation we learned that the taxi would be quite expensive (for us Americans) so we elected to take the free tram.
Since the cruise could only be boarded in late afternoon after 4, we scoped out the docking point by taking trams in the am and sighting along the river from the bridges until we saw the ship. Then in the afternoon after a late checkout we took a direct tram to the closest stop and walked our wheelie bags three blocks to the ship (we're senior citizens).
Of course the cruise line would allow you to stow your luggage early so that you could go off touring the city all day before boarding.
We chose the Internet 7 day option at a relatively cheap price (compared to hotels). Since it turned out to be very slow the ship kindly gave it to us for free at the end of the cruise whoopee!!
It was hotter than expected so we did have the ship do some laundry for us.
Like most river cruises the ports were all walkable directly from the ship. Many tours were included and as such the cruise did provide bus transportation for some that would have been a long walk.
As always one port stood out as being the most memorable and that was Rudesheim where the streets were narrow enough in many places to be only suitable for walking. Absolutely the prettiest port of all. The music box museum was the hit of the total tour
. The restaurants were so inevitable that some passengers even forgo eating on the ship and ate at one of the local restaurants (pick the ones with the most diners). Took the cable car to the top of the mountain for the views. Some even walked down through the vineyards
The dining on the ship was average (exquisitely served) but nothing special. The free wine was really appreciated at diner. The entertainment at night was sparse but the local acts and comedy show were tops (2 out of 6 nights) This can certainly be improved on (more nights). I have been on other river cruises and bringing on local entertainment is something to look forward to.
The end port for us was Amsterdam. The ship docked quite locally to the train station and the Movenpick hotel (easy walk even with wheelie baggage). Even the red light district was an easy walk from the ship if you know where the best window viewing is.
If I had it to do over we would have passed up the ship booked travel to the airport in Amsterdam and taken the train which stops directly under the airport terminal.
For a brief look at the cruise here's a link to a HD video I put up on U-tube