Duration: 16 Days
Open a gift wrapped in glowing lights and sights of the inviting beauty of Christmas markets on the Danube and Rhine River. Embark on special departures for the festive season in Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets and festivities. Enjoy the jolly atmosphere on our decorated Suite Ships as you delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of local Christmas traditions along your river cruise. Enjoy stunning winter views on the Danube with the warm glow of Christmas markets, beautifully adorned with ageless traditions.
Savour the special views of the season by embarking in Vienna with a culinary tour in the Christmas markets of the City of Music. Sail through the wonderful Wachau Valley with visits to Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey perched above the Danube. In Passau, browse through the shining Christmas markets in the “City of Three Rivers.” On to Regensburg for Christkindlesmarkt shopping and beer tasting on board, and a visit to Nuremberg with your choice of a city tour or the WWII Rally Grounds. Spend a day exploring the Christmas markets here for traditional keepsakes and delicious specialties. Take an excursion from Nuremberg to Munich for to see the historic home of monarchs at Nymphenburg Palace.
In Bamberg, tour the city of seven hills of the Imperial Dynasties, and enjoy onboard Christmas Traditions lecture as you sail to Würzburg—the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”—with Christmas markets brimming with holiday cheer. Visit a quaint Bavarian Main River village and enjoy a cookie-baking demonstration on board your ship. Take an excursion to Rüdesheim in the Rhine Valley wine region to experience the joyful Mechanical Music Museum. Enjoy Christmas market lights and delights through Heidelberg and Speyer before sailing to Strasbourg for the La Petite France district and shimmering Christmas markets. Continue on to the Black Forest for a traditional Bavarian Christmas atmosphere or visit the largest wine producer in Europe at Badischer Winzerkeller winemakers. Your European Christmas cruise concludes in Basel, Switzerland.
Welcome to Austria. Your Suite Ship is Ready for Boarding. Flights into Vienna must arrive by 3:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm. Indulge in traditional holiday fare and hot libations to warm your heart and soul before boarding. (D)
Royal Collections, and Culinary Confections CLASSIC - Take a Guided Tour of Vienna to see the Imperial Palace complex-the winter residence of the Imperial family, OR: DISCOVERY - Join a Guided Culinary Tour of Vienna's magical Christmas Advent Markets to sample Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel. You may join a Guided Optional Tour of Schonbrunn Palace-summer home of the Habsburg dynasty for 300 years. Spend free time on your own to enjoy the Christkindlesmarkt, or relax by the fire's glow in a Viennese cafe this evening. Alternatively, this evening, you may choose to attend an Optional Excursion to a Royal Waltz Concert for an unforgettable evening of music in an elegant hall. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MELK (B,L,D)
Striking Frescoes and the Breathtaking Wachau Valley CLASSIC - Take a Guided Tour of Melk's magnificent Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings. DISCOVERY - Enjoy an Austrian Cookie Tasting onboard while sailing to Grein. CLASSIC - Take a Guided Walk of Grein, including its historic theater, the oldest in Austria still holding regular performances. Enjoy live entertainment on board. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PASSAU (B,L,D)
Saint Stephen's, Salzburg, and the Story of Silent Night CLASSIC - Join a Guided City Walk to learn more about this beautiful "City of Three Rivers." You may like to join a Guided Optional Excursion to Salzburg, Austria. See the setting of The Sound of Music, and learn the story behind the beloved Christmas hymn, Silent Night. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO REGENSBURG (B,L,D)
Christmas Magic in Bavaria's Medieval Miracle CLASSIC - Join a Guided City Walk and see Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria-entrance to the Castra Regina fortress built in 179 AD. Take time to browse Regensburg's sparkling Christmas markets. Enjoy hot-mulled wine, candied almonds, gingerbread, or bratwurst. DISCOVERY - Later, indulge in an onboard Beer Tasting to sample regional German brews. Enjoy live entertainment on board. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG (B,L,D)
Living Heritage and History Lessons DISCOVERY - Enjoy a Christmas Traditions Lecture on board while sailing this morning. CLASSIC - Choose a Guided Tour of Nuremberg's medieval architecture, gilded fountain, Gothic cathedral, and Kaiserburg Castle, OR: CLASSIC - Join a Guided Tour of the historic Nuremberg Rally Grounds-used by the Third Reich. Spend free time on your own to browse the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare-from dozens of bratwurst varieties, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other culinary delights of the Christkindlmarkt. OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG (B,L,D)
CLASSIC - Enjoy a Guided City Tour which will show you the highlights of fascinating Munich. See Nymphenburg Palace-a former residence of Bavarian monarchs, along with the Old and New Town Halls of Marienplatz. RETURN TO YOUR SHIP IN TO NUREMBERG IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG (B,D)
Living Heritage and History Lessons A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, buy those last-minute Christmas gifts, or ask your Cruise Director for suggestions of things to do. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG (B,L,D)
Cherished Christmas Customs and Cradle Scenes CLASSIC - Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Bamberg-medieval home of Germany's Roman Empire dynasties. Stroll through dozens of Bamberg's nativity scenes-from miniature to life-size. Take free time to enjoy the quaint Christmas markets, and warm up with traditional German dumplings, sausage, and a glass of hearty Bavarian ale. DISCOVERY - Enjoy an onboard Christmas Traditions Lecture while sailing. AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WURZBURG (B,L,D)
Ornaments, Old Saint Nicholas, and Nutcrackers Sweet CLASSIC - Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the "Pearl of the Romantic Road" with its Old Main Bridge, towering fortress, and baroque Bishop's Residence. You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the beautiful Bavarian town of Rothenburg. Visit the Kathe Wohlfahrt German Christmas museum-the world's most extensive collection of traditional German Christmas decorations. Spend free time enjoying the festive, warm glow of Wurzburg's Christmas markets. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MAIN RIVER VILLAGE (B,L,D)
Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights CLASSIC - Take a Guided Tour of a picturesque village along the Main River. DISCOVERY - Join a Cookie-Baking Demonstration on board your ship while sailing. AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO FRANKFURT (B,L,D)
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country DISCOVERY - Tour the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience in Rudesheim, enjoy a local special treat. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER (B,L,D)
Winter Wonders and a Wine Barrel Fit for a King CLASSIC - Take a Guided Tour that includes the magnificent Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat-the world's largest wine barrel. After the tour, visit the local German Christmas markets in Heidelberg. Explore at your own pace to soak up the sights and sounds, tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of Speyer Christmas markets. This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO STRASBOURG (B,L,D)
A Gothic Cathedral, Heaven's Time, and Joyeux Noel CLASSIC - Come along for City Sightseeing, including the city's gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District. You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to beautiful Alsace, for an afternoon in a French wine-country village. Savor the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition by spending your free time this afternoon wandering the French winter markets of Strasbourg. Take in the lights, music, and the pleasures of the season. EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH (B,L,D)
History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest DISCOVERY - Visit to Badischer Winzerkeller, the largest German wine producer in Europe. Discover Germany's southernmost wine country in Baden-ideally situated between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River. Learn about the vintners' process in the vineyards here, and enjoy a wine tasting, OR: DISCOVERY - Join a Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood. You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings. Alternatively, spend your afternoon leisurely browsing Breisach's lovely Christmas market to sample bretzels, mulled wine, and Black Forest cake. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL (B,L,D)
Your cruise ends with breakfast this morning. Flights shouldn't leave Zurich airport before 10 am. (B)