Duration: 10 Days
Celebrate this magical time of year with a delightful Christmastime river cruise through the beautiful views of the heart of Germany, on the Main Danube Canal, and the Main and Rhine Rivers. Board your ship in Nuremberg, Germany, host to one of the oldest Christmas markets in the country. Get into the holiday spirit as you stroll through the brightly illuminated and decorated Old Town. 200 stalls sell traditional German Christmas wares and seasonal delicacies. In delightful Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll find nativity scenes built by local citizens throughout the town.
Learn about holiday traditions as you cruise to Würzburg, and here walk through the halls of the ornate Bishop’s Residence—home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Learn how to bake a traditional cookie before arriving at one of the charming small towns with half-timbered houses that are dotted along the Main River. In the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Continue your cruise to Speyer and visit Heidelberg Castle, which towers magnificently over the city, and watch the skaters on the ice rink below.
At this time of year, the historic charm of Strasbourg, France, is mixed with festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! Visit the gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Breisach, Germany—gateway to the famous Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, and the home of Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. There is no better setting at this time of year, when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Your delightful holiday cruise ends in Basel, Switzerland.
Welcome to Nuremberg, where your Suite Ship is Ready for Boarding. Flights into Nuremberg 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.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG (D)
Legends 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 browsing the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare-bratwurst, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other Christkindlmarkt culinary delights. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG (B,L,D)
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)
Old Saint Nick 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
CLASSIC - Tour the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience in Rudesheim, enjoy a local special treat.
Don't miss the tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of sparkling winter wonderlands in the city.
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.
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, and enjoy the warmth and glow of the Christmas season.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL (B,L,D)
Your cruise ends with breakfast this morning. Flights shouldn't leave Zurich airport before 10 am or Basel airport before 8 am. (B)
Notes: Christmas markets generally operate from late Nov until the third week of Dec.