European Rail Travel - Amsterdam - Geneva (CNL Reservation Question)
May 25, 11, 2:52 pm
I'll be traveling from Amsterdam to meet a friend in Geneva in two weeks (meeting him Thursday June, 7th). I was looking at trains at it seems like the best option would be a overnight CNL (CNL40419) leaving Amsterdam at 8:30 PM and then transferring to ICN.
My question is this - I have a rail pass (1st class) and I'm worried about the train becoming booked. Since the trip originates outside of Germany, I can't reserve online. Is there any other option then calling? I fly into Brussels on June 3rd - could I make the reservation at the train station there? Or would I need to wait until I arrive at Amsterdam?
May 25, 11, 3:08 pm
There is a quirk in DB's booking system: whereas you can book special offer tickets and full-fare tickets on the CNL from Amsterdam to Basel SBB, you can't book the sleeper supplement only.
The solution is to book online from Amsterdam to Basel Bad, the last stop in Germany. Then miraculously the "extra charge only" option opens up. No-one will have a problem with you going on to Basel SBB (since presumably your pass will be valid in Switzerland).
If you are worried about availability - book now. You don't have to have bought your pass already, and the cancellation charge up to day before departure is only 10% (so about €10). If you are travelling on the train departing on 6th June from Amsterdam, there is availability (at the time of this post - just checked!).
May 26, 11, 6:52 am
That's a clever solution - unfortunately I can't get the reservation only option to show up on DB's website :(. I even tried in German. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong?
It's still just allowing me to purchase the full fare (or the saver fare). Also - I had my dates wrong - I need to take the train on June 8th.
May 27, 11, 4:47 am
On the timetable page (the page after you have input origin/destination/date/time), you should click on either "check availability" grey box next to the CNL train. This then gives you a list of prices, depending on the sleeping accommodation you want.
At the bottom of this page are two options: "Book only extra charge" and "Book selected offer". Don't select anything, and click on "Book only extra charge" and proceed from there (select "pass offer"). You will then get the list of sleeper supplements to select from.
The bad news is that deluxe sleeping compartments (the ones with shower/WC which you can book with a 1st class pass) are sold out on that date (June 8th). You can book an economy single, but the supplement is the same (€105). Otherwise you could book one person in a deluxe double, at €65, but I wouldn't if you value your privacy, because you might have to share.
May 27, 11, 7:51 am
"Book only extra charge"
I completely missed that link. Thanks for pointing that out! ^
Jun 14, 11, 11:19 pm
I have used EurAid to book CNL for $30 plus the standard DB fee. They were very helpful in with advice on busy trains and scenic alternatives. The $30 covers the entire trip and the Fed Ex delivery of your reservations.
Jun 15, 11, 12:10 pm
This may be off-topic, but I live in Amsterdam and my son went to school near Geneva for the last few years. We have only travelled by airplane. Both EasyJet and KLM go between the two cities. The flight is about 1.5 hours and the price can be lower than the train, especially if you book in advance.