Apr 22, 2010 - 9:05 AM
I see your point. It's indeed about the overall experience, which primarily depends on personal preferences. You pretty much covered the most important pros and cons. I looked into the tours you mentioned. They seem to be well organized and comfortable. That would be the biggest advantage from my point of view. An important difference is that the package tours offer bus traveling to the valley stations of the cog train/lift. I personally like train rides better. And I prefer the freedom of picking my own departure time. The morning tends to be more clear/less clouds, which is obviously important for alpine viewing points. Usually, I'm already back down in the valley in the early afternoon, and then decide what else can be done: just head back, spend some time in a town along the way or take a boat trip.
Guides on the conducted tours can be very convenient for the transfers, or if you don't speak a language that the Swiss understand (German, English, French, Italian is all good). For the excursions itself, my personal preference is to explore everything in my own pace. E.g. if it's cloudy after all, you can just wait for another hour for better views. About the provided information along the way: a guide can do a good job here. However, the individual traveler is serviced as well in many cases: The train up the Jungfrau has video and audio information on board for all travelers. I believe the Golden Pass train offers audio info to all travelers as well.
Regarding the Golden Pass route (Lucerne - Interlaken Ost): the price I listed is the quickest route via Bern. Taking the Golden Pass would take longer but it is certainly more attractive and even slightly cheaper as the route is shorter (and slower). If you travel on your own, you could even travel via the Golden Pass when going to Interlaken and take the quicker route back.
I hope this helps a bit. I would be great if you post your final decision and how you liked the excursions. Further questions are welcome too of course!