Duration: 12 Days
This holiday river cruise takes you to many beautiful and historical cities of Germany and Austria. And the views along the way can’t be outdone—towns and villages decorated for the holidays as you cruise along the Danube and Main Rivers, and the Main Danube Canal.
Your Christmastime river cruise begins in Vienna, the capital and treasure of Austria, and ends in Wiesbaden, Germany. In Vienna, see the sights with a Local Guide, or opt for a culinary walk through the Christmas markets to taste some of the traditional fare. Cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley to Melk, and visit the Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s most architecturally-breathtaking monasteries—sure to be truly magnificent during the holiday season. In Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities, see the sights with a Local Guide and savor local sausages and beer at one of Germany’s oldest restaurants, Historiche Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen). On to Nuremberg where, after your guided tour, you are free to visit the Christmas market, one of the most famous in the world. A full-day excursion to Munich shows you the Bavarian capital. The traditional Christmas market is located on the Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air! Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the many nativity scenes exhibited throughout the town are sure to delight. In Würzburg, on the River Main, visit the ornate Bishop’s Residenz—home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted, then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine).
Your last stop is at one of the charming small towns dotted along the river—sure to be even more appealing illuminated with Christmas lights and decorations. Your delightful festive cruise ends in Wiesbaden.
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, Amusing Attractions, 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. 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.
This afternoon cruise to Grein, where this evening you will enjoy live entertainment on board OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PASSAU (B,L,D)
Saint Stephens, 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 179AD.
Take time to browse Regensburg's sparkling Christmas markets. Enjoy hot-mulled wine, candied almonds, gingerbread, or bratwurst.
DISCOVERY - Enjoy a Christmas Traditions Lecture on board while sailing this morning.
DISCOVERY - Later, indulge in an onboard Beer Tasting to sample regional German brews.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG (B,L,D)
Living Heritage and History Lessons.
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 favourite 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)
This morning disembark the vessel which has brought you to Nuremberg and drive to Munich.
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. Take some free time today to stroll this pedestrian and bike-friendly city to see the famous Glockenspiel, outdoor cafes, or a Bavarian Biergarten for authentic brews. Return to Nuremberg in the late afternoon and embark on the ship which will take you to Mainz (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. 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. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MAIN RIVER VILLAGE (B,L,D)
Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights in Beautiful Bavaria.
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 MAINZ (B,L,D)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)