First of all, Arno, I am impressed with your knowledge and more importantly, patience on all these rail questions. Perhaps this isn't as complicated as it all appears, but seems like this should be an easier process.
Regardless, after an hour or so or websites, timetables, no restrictions, pass options, reviewing forums, here's what I've got so far.
Party of 3, the end of September, From Lake Como region, train I assume thru Lugano, to Grindelwald for two nights. There will likely be some trains around Grindelwald to visit nearby cities in the mountains, and up to Jungfraujoch. Grindelwald to Lucern, for two nights. Presumably, boat ride, perhaps other mountain trip. Finally, train from Lucerne to Zurich for one night.
If I add up the prices for individual tickets, it seems to make sense to by a Swiss Travel Pass. So with that in mind, here are my questions:
- Is there a significant difference between a First Class and Second Class Seat? I am happy with second class and my luggage, but my family is eyeing that First Class. I note also, that you can upgrade your regular Second Class Seat from your Swiss Travel Pass for 1/2 the upcharge cost. $1449 for three 4 day Swiss Travel Passes seems a bit much, but as you've stated many times, Switzerland is expensive.
- The big discount pricing seems to be on the 3 day Swiss Travel Pass, not the 4 day, but since we are going to be in Switzerland for five functional days, this poses a problem. Can buy a discounted 3 day pass and pay full fare on day 4 and 5...or buy what appears to be a significantly increased non-discounted price for 4 day pass, and probably pay full fare for our train ride from Lucerne to Zurich on day 5.
- And finally, it appears as if the discounted Pass is best done on the Internet with shipping to the US. True?
Sorry for all the questions, but this is the one of the most confusing travel issues I've encountered in a long time. Unfortunately, everyone says not to bother with rental cars, as there I only have to worry about getting lost, parking, collision insurance, and the exorbitant fees of picking up a car in one country and dropping it off in another location