Hi Phyllis, and welcome to MySwissAlps!
>> We are ending a river cruise in Basel, sending some luggage ahead to Luzern, getting our Swiss Travel Pass and going to Lauterbrunnen via interlaken ost. We are thinking of a first class pass. Are the advantages worth it over second class?
If you are travelling in July or August, there might be some advantage to travelling first class in terms of less crowding. At other times of the year, second class is a perfectly comfortable travel experience.
Typically, the seat configuration in first-class carriages is two seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other, whereas second-class carriages have two seats on either side of the aisle. So you have a bit more room in first-class.
With a second-class pass, you can upgrade to first class for any particular trip by buying an upgrade ticket just for that trip. You pay half the difference between the first- and second-class fares. The term for the upgrade in the major languages of Switzerland is:
- German: Klassenwechsel für eine Strecke
- French: Surclassement pour un trajet
- Italian: Cambio di classe per una tratta
>> Do we need to reserve seats for the golden pass from Interlaken to Luzern?
Reservations are not required, but if travelling in July or August I would reserve. You would almost certainly get seats without reserving, but possibly not window seats, or not together.
If you decide to make reservations, you can do so up to 90 days before your travel date on the following site:
reservations.mob.ch/re servation/reservation/ reservation/reservatio n/reservation/reservat ion/reservation/reserv ation/reservation/rese rvation/f?p=151:1:33875227676708 99::NO:::
>> Which side of train is better for views?
Sit on the right.
From Interlaken, you will first travel along scenic Lake Brienz and on to Meiringen. At Meiringen, the train changes direction, and you will then be sitting on the left, which is the best side to see the views into the valley as you travel over the Brünig Pass, then past the beautiful lakes (Lungernersee and the Sarnersee) with their mountain and meadow backdrops, and pretty lakeside villages.