Grand Christmastime Cruise - Basel to Vienna

This Christmastime European river cruise sails across Germany and Austria along the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers. Enjoy guided sightseeing along the way and delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of centuries-old Christmas markets.

Take a deep breath of fresh air in Germany’s Black Forest region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with forests of thick pine trees. Then, make your way down the Rhine River to Strasbourg, France, to experience the historic charm of the city. A mix of festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! On an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle and watch the skaters on the ice rink below.

See Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures In Rüdesheim, then cruise along the Main River, passing the festive lights and decorations of charming along the way. In Würzburg, visit the ornate Bishop’s Residenz, then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Continue to Bamberg, with its many beautiful nativity scenes, and take an excursion to the Bavarian capital of Munich. Amid its historical buildings, amazing architecture, and the famous Marienplatz, you’ll also love to see its traditional Christmas market with the festive aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread. Learn about holiday traditions as you cruise to Regensburg, and taste some German beers.

Visit the magnificent Melk Abbey as you cruise through Austria’s winter wonderland of the Wachau Valley. Taste traditional cookies on your way to Vienna, and take a guided tour, culinary walk, and browse the Christmas markets for a taste of traditional Austrian fare. A fitting end to a magical holiday cruise!

What's included

  • VIP private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Services of a cruise director
  • Accommodation
  • Selected meals
  • Wine & beer with lunch and dinner
  • Excursions
  • Gratuities on cruise
  • All airport and port taxes

Your cruise at a glance

  • Strasbourg
    • Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district, the Gothic cathedral and the Christmas market.
  • Miltenberg
    • Walking tour, time to browse the market, on-board culinary demonstration, introduction to the legend of St Nicholas.
  • Melk
    • Guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey, Austrian cookie-baking demonstration.

Christmas markets

Itinerary

Day 1 UK - Basel, Switzerland (Embarkation)

  • Meals included:
  • Dinner

Travel to Basel where you will be met and transferred to your ship.

Welcome to Switzerland! Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding.

Flights into Zürich must arrive by 3 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Stroll through the city centre, enjoy the festive illumination and savour Christmas delicacies like waffles, gingerbread, sweets and Swiss raclette.

EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 2 Breisach, Germany. Excursion To Black Forest

  • Meals included:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

History, artistry, and the beautiful Black Forest

Discovery

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.

Join a full-day 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.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STRASBOURG

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

  • Meals included:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

A gothic Cathedral, heaven’s time, and joyeux noël

Classic

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.

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.

Savour 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/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER

See dates and prices

CHOICE

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:

Classic

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.

Discovery

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.

Active

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.

More cruises like this

Christmastime - Basel to Prague

from £4,983 per person

  • 11 days
  • Price based on 02 Dec 19
  • 1 date available

On this Christmastime river cruise, you’ll start in Switzerland, and cruise through the heart of Germany, with stops in France and the Czech Republic. Explore many unique Christmas markets, where you can shop for locally crafted gifts, smell the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread, and sample tasty holiday treats. Embark your river cruise ship in Basel, Switzerland, and sail to Breisach, Germany. From here, enjoy a visit to Germany’s Black Forest, known for contributing Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks to the world. In Strasbourg, France, visit the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. This time of year, the historic charm of the city is mixed with festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! In Heidelberg, Germany, visit the imposing ruins of Heidelberg Castle. You’ll find an ice rink at the foot of the castle and the Christmas market covers five town squares with an array of seasonal crafts and delicacies. An excursion takes you to charming Rüdesheim on the Rhine River, where you’ll see Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures. In Würzburg, walk through the halls of the ornate Bishop’s Residenz—then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Learn about holiday traditions as you sail to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find nativity scenes built by local citizens throughout the town. On a guided tour of Nuremberg, marvel at the city’s medieval fortifications and gothic churches, and of course visit the Christmas market, one of the oldest in Germany. Your Christmastime river cruise vacation ends in beautiful Prague, Czech Republic, which you visit with a Local Guide. The Christmas market offers rows of brightly decorated wooden huts selling ornaments and Czech handicrafts—be sure to try a traditional hot sausage from one of the stalls.