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I'm thinking of taking my family (5 of us in total) from London to Cologne just before Christmas, travelling by Eurostar to Brussels then DB ICE from Brussels to Cologne. But, I read an account from another traveler who said there were no seats available on the ICE from Cologne to Brussels.

Eurostar do not allow me to reserve seats on the ICE leg of my journey. I could if I used Thalys instead of ICE but that seems a lot more expensive.

Can anybody reassure me that we should be able to find 5 seats close together on the ICE just before Christmas? Or alternatively suggest a booking service that will allow me to reserve ICE seats, but won't cost a lot more than booking the whole trip via Eurostar...?

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    It should be possible to buy a seat reservation separately for a relatively low price, see bahn.de/p/view/angebot/preis/reservierung.shtml But I don't know where you can find information in English or how easy it is to complete the process from the UK. – Relaxed Sep 18 '15 at 16:13
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    Alternatively, you could buy the whole ticket, including the Eurostar leg or perhaps only the ICE leg directly from the German railways, there is lots of additional info about this on seat61.com. – Relaxed Sep 18 '15 at 16:15
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    Thanks for that. I did look at buying the reservation separately but found I couldn't do it for international trips. I will check out seat61.com. – Martin Sep 18 '15 at 16:17
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    Incidentally, note that unlike flights, train journeys can be booked in several bits and pieces with no downside, the railway company will still help you reach your final destination if you miss a connection. – Relaxed Sep 18 '15 at 16:18
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    It might just be that you are too early. The new schedules will start in December. Until those are published it will not be possible to reserve seats on those trains. The trains are likely to run about the same times as they do till December, but the details may differ. And no guaranties are made for the actual trains until the new schedule is published. – Willeke Sep 18 '15 at 18:11
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Assuming "just before" is within a week of Christmas, all trains are likely to be very full. The last few trips I've taken between Belgium and Germany were full even on less peak travel dates, I guess due to aggressive dynamic pricing by the train companies. If you travel extremely early in the morning or late at night you might have better luck. I think the ICE you're referring to does start in Brussels so that' give you a better chance of finding seats, vs. at an intermediary station where the train already is full of through passengers. You might luck out, you might not.

As has been mentioned in the comments you have a couple options for reserving seats: either booking your whole journey (tickets+reservation) right on bahn.de or booking the tickets with Eurostar and the making simple seat reservations only on top of the Eurostar ticket booking with bahn.de.

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