Christmastime - Basel to Prague

  • 12 Days

Get a dose of seasonal spirit on this festive river cruise that’s filled with inspiring Christmas card settings. Soak up the spooky atmosphere of the Black Forest in Breisach, breathe in the magic of the red sandstone Gothic cathedral in Strasbourg and wander the cobbled streets of La Petit France with its half-timbered houses. Follow the smell of gingerbread and glühwein to find the traditional Christmas markets, where you can shop for locally crafted ornaments and souvenirs.

Your journey starts here

Highlights

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
Porterage
All airport and port taxes

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  • Overview

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

  • Day 3

  • Day 4

  • Day 5

  • Day 6

  • Day 7

  • Day 8

  • Day 9

  • Day 10

  • Day 11

  • Day 12

of 12 days

Your detailed itinerary

Meals included: 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

Overview

Note: Christmas markets usually operate from late November until the third week in December, depending on location.

At a glance

Heidelberg – Mannheim Guided visits to the imposing ruins of Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat.
Strasbourg Guided sightseeing to the La Petite France district to visit the gothic cathedral and Christmas market.
Breisach Join a guided excursion to the Black Forest and visit the local Christmas market.

Day 1

Zurich - Basel (Embarkation)

Transfer to Basel (Embarkation). Welcome to Switzerland. NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 2

Breisach

Included today: Excursion to the Black Forest. Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest region, an area of unrivalled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents once described them as black. There’s no better setting for this time of year than when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses with their long sloping roofs, connoting images of warm and festively decorated interiors. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon there’s free time in Breisach to visit one more Christmas market—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3

Strasbourg

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your guided walking tour you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone gothic cathedral with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathédrale and Place Broglie, its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets you'll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine region is available. This evening, enjoy an on-board woodcarving demonstration.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 4

Heidelberg

Included today: Visit to Heidelberg. Today, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386. Visit the imposing ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed Great Vat, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! At this time of year, an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Glühwein, Bratwurst, and other tasty treats. The Christmas market is scattered over five town squares, and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 5

Wiesbaden - Rudesheim

Included today: Visit to Rüdesheim and Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. After breakfast this morning, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rüdesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum is a real surprise! Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Afterward, we’ll offer you a special treat and then there’s free time to explore. The entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialties from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. You’ll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square, you’ll find Europe’s largest nativity scene, with life-size figures. In the afternoon, return to Wiesbaden.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6

Miltenberg

Included today: Guided walk in MiltenbergTucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, the picturesque Bavarian village of Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. This morning’s guided walk will acquaint you with the town’s delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centers around a Renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giant’s house) and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. Later, continue your cruise on the Main River to Würzburg and enjoy a cookie-baking demonstration on board. 

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 7

Würzburg

Included today: Würzburg sightseeing tour. Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your guided sightseeing tour, visit the magnificent baroque Bishop's Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon, you are free to explore the beautifully decorated streets on your own, visit the Christmas markets, or perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg, where you will have the opportunity to visit the Christmas Museum. Here, try a Schneeball (snowball), a local specialty not at all suitable for a diet!

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 8

Bamberg

Included today: Bamberg walking tour. Learn everything about Christmas traditions during an on-board lecture this morning. In the afternoon, focus on medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guided walking tour takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This time of year, the town is decked out for Christmas. Especially interesting are the many nativity scenes built by local citizens and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, you’ll find regional delicacies such as gingerbread and nut bread.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 9

Nuremberg

Included today: Nuremberg sightseeing tour or 'Nuremberg Rally Grounds' tour. Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose a guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “Nuremberg Rally Grounds” tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market is one of the most famous in the world. You’ll find dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, including Nuremberg Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), baked goods and sweets, Christmas decorations, ornaments, and more. Shuttle service to the ship will be at your disposal.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 10

Nuremberg (Disembarkation) - Prague

After breakfast today, bid your crew farewell and travel by coach to Prague, the 'Golden City'. You will be transferred to the InterContinental Hotel Prague (or similar) for a two night stay.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 11

Prague

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time. See its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town's Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; Hradcany Castle grounds; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the Christmas markets, where rows of brightly decorated wooden huts sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage. The beautifully decorated tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 12

Prague - UK

Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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