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Christmas Markets on the Rhine

Christmas Markets on the Rhine

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard MS Amaprima
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Begin your winter adventure in Amsterdam, amidst the city’s legendary canals and colorful holiday surroundings. Next, visit Heidelberg and Cologne, famous for its majestic Cathedral and bustling Christmas markets. Weave through the fabled Black Forest region and the Alsace region as you make your way toward Basel, then disembark your ship, MS Amaprima, for a visit to two of Switzerland's loveliest cities, Lucerne and Zürich, where you can enjoy a lake excursion, magical Christmas markets, and pristine Alpine vistas.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive In Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Embarkation
Day 2 : Amsterdam
Day 3 : Cologne, Germany
Day 4 : Rhine Gorge | Rüdesheim
Day 5 : Mannheim | Heidelberg
Day 6 : Strasbourg, France
Day 7 : Breisach, Germany
Day 8 : Basel, Switzerland | Disembark | Lucerne
Day 9 : Lucerne
Day 10 : Lucerne | Zurich
Day 11 : Zurich
Day 12 : Depart Zurich


  • Cruise through the canals of Amsterdam, the "Venice of the North"
  • Tour Cologne, Germany and browse the festive Christmas market
  • Visit the historic Siegfried's Mechanical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim
  • Explore the streets and monuments of Lucerne, Switzerland


MS Amaprima

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Christmas Markets on the Rhine Christmas markets on the Rhine Christmas markets on the Rhine Detailed ornament at a Christmas Market Rooftop image of a Christmas Market

Day 1 Arrive In Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Embarkation

Arrive in charming Amsterdam and board your luxurious river cruise ship, MS Amaprima. Meet your fellow travelers tonight at the Welcome Dinner. 

Day 2 Amsterdam

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The famous canals of Amsterdam await discovery on your city tour. Begin with a scenic canal cruise and see the tall narrow homes lining the water, the Skinny Bridge, and the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding during WWII. Next, walk to Begijnhof, known for its historic buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and have some free time to explore. Later, enjoy a panoramic city tour on which you can see the Royal Palace, Westerkerk and stop for photos at a Dutch windmill before returning to the ship. This afternoon depart for Germany. 

Day 3 Cologne, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The ship arrives in Cologne around lunchtime. Take a guided tour of the city, strolling through the Old Town and Cathedral Square, and visiting the fabled Gothic cathedral. This evening, experience the elaborate Christmas Market in Cathedral Square, one of Europe’s largest and most renowned. The ship cruises overnight. 

Day 4 Rhine Gorge | Rüdesheim

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, cruise through the picturesque Rhine Gorge, admiring its many castles and fortress ruins and the legendary Lorelei Rock. This afternoon, arrive in the winemaking town of Rüdesheim where you have the option to take one of three excursions: wine tasting with a local vintner, a gondola ride above the town to see the Niederwalddenkmal Statue, or a guided bike tour along the Rhine River to one of Germany's best wine regions. Later, shop at the town’s Christmas Market and explore the Drosselgasse, the town’s most famous and charming street, a narrow passage lined with shops and taverns. This evening, visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, home to a remarkable collection of old robotic and self-playing musical instruments, or enjoy some Rüdesheimer Coffee. The ship sails overnight. 

Day 5 Mannheim | Heidelberg

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Speyer, where you have a choice between three excursions this afternoon. Your first option is a half-day excursion to the historic university town of Heidelberg, where you can visit the red-walled castle with its Great Vat (a 49,000-gallon wine cask) and enjoy beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and city below. You can also opt to enjoy Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities, known for its cathedral, numerous churches and the medieval Altpörtel (Old Gate), on either a city tour or biking tour. Later, take some time to visit the local Christmas Markets. This evening, the ship continues onward to Strasbourg, France. 

Day 6 Strasbourg, France

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Capital of the Alsace region in France, Strasbourg is situated on the Ill River, where it flows into the Rhine on the German border. Enjoy a panoramic tour that takes you past the Orangery, the town’s oldest park, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique. Afterwards, take a walking tour of the lovely “La Petite France” neighborhood, where you can see the Gothic cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. Visit Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market – said to be the oldest and best in all of France. The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish. The ship moors overnight in Strasbourg.

Day 7 Breisach, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Choose one of two exciting excursions after lunch today: a visit to Riquewihr, a picturesque town that looks much as it did back in the Middle Ages, or a walking tour of Breisach and Freiburg. Breisach is a beautiful town that houses one of Europe’s largest wine cellars. In Freiburg, visit the historical city center and the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone. This evening, set sail for Basel, Switzerland.

Day 8 Basel, Switzerland | Disembark | Lucerne

Disembark after breakfast and head off on a city tour of cosmopolitan Basel. Long an important university, banking, and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval Town Hall and old, elegant homes. Later, enjoy lunch on your own in Basel. Depart for Lucerne, stopping en route to visit the Lion Monument, built to honor the Swiss Guards who fought for King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. After arriving mid-afternoon and checking in to your hotel, the remainder of the evening is yours to spend at your leisure, perhaps visiting Lucerne’s Christmas Market.

Day 9 Lucerne

Situated on Lake Lucerne, this city is truly a medieval gem. After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour that explores some of the city’s famous cobblestone streets, monuments, fountain-embellished public squares, covered bridges and colorful fresco-covered buildings. Take some free time in the afternoon to shop or you may take an optional tour and cable car ride to the top of a Swiss mountain, which offers incredible views.

Day 10 Lucerne | Zurich

Enjoy a free morning in Lucerne before checking out of your hotel. Afterwards, cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, where you board a motor coach for a scenic drive to Zurich. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the town or visit Zurich’s enchanting indoor Christmas Market (located inside the city’s main train station).

Day 11 Zurich

Begin your morning with a walking tour of picturesque Zurich that includes the Grossmünster and St. Peter, which has the largest church clock face in the world. You can also see the Old Town, the Town Hall and Fraumünster, which offers an exceptional 360° panoramic view of Zurich. The afternoon and evening are free for you to explore on your own or visit Europe’s largest indoor Christmas Market.

Day 12 Depart Zurich

  • 1 Breakfast
Bid farewell to Switzerland and prepare for your return flight home.

MS Amaprima



Per person starting at
Cabins Category D and E
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Category E
Piano Deck. Fixed Windows, 148 sq. ft.
Cabins Category D and E
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Category D
Piano Deck. Fixed Windows, 148 sq. ft.
Cabin Category C
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Category C
Violin & Cello Deck. French Balcony, 170 sq. ft.
Cabin Category BA and BB
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Category BB
Cello Deck. French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 210 sq. ft.
Cabin Category BA and BB
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Category BA
Violin Deck. French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 210 sq. ft.
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Category AB
Cello Deck. French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 235 sq. ft.
Cabin Category AB and AA
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Category AA
Violin Deck. French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 235 sq. ft.
Cabins AB and AA
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Category AA+
French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 290 sq. ft.
Cabin Category Suite
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Violin Deck. French Balcony & Outside Balcony, 350 sq. ft.


Single supplement is 50%, except for Suites which are 100%.

Included Features:
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Lucerne at the Radisson Blu including daily buffet breakfast
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Zürich Hotel Continental including daily buffet breakfast
- Transfer from the hotel in Zurich to ship in Basel
- 7 nights deluxe cruise accommodation in an outside stateroom - 82% of the staterooms with French balconies
- Life enriching tours and excursions daily with personal headset included
- Entertainment on demand in all staterooms featuring free high-speed Internet access, hit Hollywood movies, extensive music library and English language TV stations
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access on board
- Terry bathrobes and white-on-white plush bedding in all staterooms
- Fine dining with all meals included during your cruise
- Free-flowing red & white wines from Europe's great wine regions, beer & soft drinks with every lunch and dinner on board
- Bottled water in every stateroom replenished daily
- Cocktail Reception, Welcome Dinner & Captain's Gala Dinner
- Special highlights including lectures, theme dinners, cooking demonstration, onboard music performances and afternoon/evening piano music
- Bicycles to explore on your own & guided bicycle tours
- Services of professional Cruise Manager
- All English language on board in a non-smoking environment (smoking permitted only on the Sun Deck)
- Transfers between hotel and ship are included with the purchase of cruise and land package; airport transfers are included with the purchase of airfare from AmaWaterways
- All local taxes


  • 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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