This Christmastime river cruise begins in Austria’s magical capital of Vienna, home to the sounds of Mozart and Strauss, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Spanish Riding School. See the famous sights with a Local Guide, or opt to go on a culinary tour through the Christmas markets to get a taste of all the best flavours Austria offers during this time of year. Cruise through the wintery landscape of the picturesque Wachau Valley to Melk. Here, you’ll tour the magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey—one of Europe’s largest monasteries—where monks still stroll amidst the sacred walls.
Arrive in Passau, Germany, and visit the city’s charming Christmas market set against the breathtaking backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. In Regensburg, after a guided tour of the city, savour traditional sausages at Historiche Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants and enjoy a tasting of German beers. Learn about Christmas traditions as you cruise to Nuremberg, the thousand-year-old city with its medieval fortifications and gothic churches. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market has dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, such as Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread) and unique decorations and ornaments. Then, make your way to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic—one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
In Prague’s Old Town, see the magical Astronomical Clock, built in 1410, and once the envy of all Europe. The Christmas markets offer an array of Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Explore to your heart’s content with a warm cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) among the rows of brightly decorated wooden huts, and be sure to see the beautifully decorated tree in Old Town to end this perfect, seasonal river cruise.
Day 1 Vienna, Austria (Embarkation)
Welcome to Austria! Your Suite Ship is Ready for Boarding.
Flights into Vienna must arrive by 3:30 pm. Guest must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Indulge in traditional holiday fare and hot libations to warm your heart and soul before boarding.
Day 2 Vienna
Royal Collections, Amusing Attractions, and Culinary Confections
Take a Guided Tour of Vienna to see the Imperial Palace complex—the winter residence of the Imperial family, OR:
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 Schönbrunn 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 café this evening.
OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MELK
Day 3 Melk
Striking Frescoes and the Breathtaking Wachau Valley
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
Note: Christmas markets usually operate from late November until the third week in December, depending on location.
Avalon has designed included activities with a choice of experiences. We invite you to select the tours, activities, and events that interest you most, so you can experience your cruise your way. There are three types of included shore excursion on every Europe cruise:
Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.
We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.
Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go - from a guided jogging tour of Amsterdam, to biking, paddling, and hiking your way through scenic locales.
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"Excellent cruise from start to finish, attention to detail, well organised, food and trips were..."
from £2,689 per person
This festive European river cruise vacation begins in Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic. See famous sights like Old Town’s Astronomical Clock and the Charles Bridge, but also get the unique chance to stroll through the Christmas markets. It’s a treat to see the rows of brightly decorated wooden huts that sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Explore to your heart’s content with a warm cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine). Board your river cruise vessel in Nuremberg, Germany, with its medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and palaces. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations and the Christmas market, one of the most famous in the world, has dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, such as Lebkuchen (spiced gingerbread), Glühwein (hot mulled wine), and unique decorations and ornaments. Learn about local Christmas traditions, as you cruise to historical Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. After a guided tour, savor local sausages at Historiche Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants, and enjoy a tasting of German beers. Experience Passau’s charming Christmas market set against the breathtaking backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral—a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Arrive in Melk, Austria, and tour the magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey—one of Europe’s largest monasteries. As you cruise through the wintery landscape of the picturesque Wachau Valley, enjoy a tasting of traditional Austrian cookies. This Christmas river cruise ends in Austria’s magical capital of Vienna, home to the sounds of Mozart and Strauss, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Spanish Riding School. See the famous sights with a Local Guide, or opt to go on a culinary tour through the Christmas markets to get a taste of all the best flavors Austria offers during this time of year.
from £1,715 per person
This Christmastime river cruise is a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season! Board your Avalon Suite Ship® in Wiesbaden, Germany, then sail up the Rhine River to Basel, Switzerland, passing beautiful landscapes and quaint villages festively lit and decorated. This one-of-a-kind Christmas river cruise through France and Germany takes you on an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city. At this time of year, an ice rink can be found at the foot of the castle and the Christmas market is spread over five town squares. Delight in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies. You’ll also find an array of crafts, Christmas decorations, and gifts. Strasbourg, located on the border of France and Germany, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits. Bask in the holiday atmosphere as you visit the Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece made of red sandstone, and containing ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Your Christmas river cruise along the Rhine River takes you to Breisach, considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest—an area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. There is no better setting than this time of year when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Your delightful holiday cruise ends in Basel, Switzerland. Don’t miss this experience to savour the holiday season in traditional and beautiful Christmas traditions of European winter markets and festivities!