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Christmas Markets on the Rhine

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard MS Amakristina
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Start your winter adventure in Amsterdam, amidst the city’s legendary canals and colorful holiday surroundings. Embark upon an enchanting 7-night Rhine River cruise that takes you through the fabled Black Forest region and the Alsace region. Also visit Heidelberg and Cologne, famous for its majestic Cathedral and bustling Christmas markets. Disembark your journey in Basel, and make your way to two of Switzerland's loveliest cities, Zürich and Lucerne, where you can enjoy a lake excursion, magical Christmas markets, and pristine Alpine vistas.

Day-by-Day Summary

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

Highlights

  • 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

Ship

MS Amakristina

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

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

Day 1 Arrive In Amsterdam, Holland | Embarkation

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

Day 2 Amsterdam

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin your discovery of Amsterdam with a scenic canal cruise, followed by a walking tour to the Begijnhof, known for its historic Middle Ages building and concluding with a panoramic city tour that includes the Royal Palace and Westerkerk. Later in the day, set sail. 

Day 3 Cologne, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy cruising to Cologne, home to one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces, the Cologne Cathedral. Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town. Explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral and then visit one of Europe’s largest and most renowned Christmas Markets located in front of the cathedral. Alternatively, ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten; or visit a local tavern to taste Cologne’s traditional Kölsch beer and Reibekuchen—potato pancakes served with applesauce. 

Day 4 Rhine Gorge | RÜdesheim

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise through the castle-laden Rhine River Gorge before reaching the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Once in Rüdesheim, you can have three choices of morning excursions. Wine connoisseurs will want to go to a wine cellar for a wine tasting. Those who wish to soar high above the vineyards can take a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue. Or, for a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour through the town and along the Rhine River. Later in the day, you have two more options. Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum, home to a remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer coffee. You’ll also have plenty of time to enjoy Christmas traditions from all over the world at Rüdesheim Christmas Market. 

Day 5 Mannheim

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You have the choice to explore two of Germany's historically rich cities, along with their festive Christmas Markets. Visit Heidelberg, a city that captures your heart with its mighty castle and historic university. While here, wander along one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets, the Hauptstrasse, soaking up the Yuletide celebrations at the town’s Christmas Markets. Alternatively, you can explore one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll also have time to visit its Christmas Market in front of the “Old Mint” (Alten Münze) in the famous Maximilianstrasse, with a view of the romantic imperial cathedral (Kaiserdom). 

Day 6 Strasbourg, France

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Strasbourg is even more alluring during the season of Advent. The Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it the oldest Christmas Market in France. Enjoy a panoramic bus tour that takes you past the Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique. Afterwards, walk through the historic town center on the Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through the lovely “La Petite France” district, where you will see the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock and then visit the town’s famous Christmas Market. You can also choose to explore Strasbourg's different districts by bicycle. During the afternoon, visit Gengenbach Christmas Market where every year the locals countdown to Christmas with a 24-day, larger-than-life Advent calendar.

Day 7 Breisach, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr beautifully dressed in her holiday finery with twinkling decorations and a lively Christmas Market. On your walking tour, admire the historical architecture, as well as famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, you may wish to go to two other gems. Visit Freiburg, founded in 1120, and home to Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone, as well as an enchanting Christmas Market. Those wishing a more active excursion will want to cycle through the scenic countryside. 

Day 8 Basel, Switzerland | Disembarkation | Lucerne

Disembark your ship and board a motorcoach to Lucerne. Visit the Lion Monument, built to honor the Swiss Guards who fought for King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Get acquainted with the city on a walking tour along with a visit to the Christmas Market before checking into your hotel.

Day 9 Lucerne

Enjoy a day at leisure soaking up the festive atmosphere of this medieval gem situated on Lake Lucerne. Wander through its Christmas Market located at the Franziskanerplatz and enjoy the festive atmosphere with a mug of holiday cheer, glühwein. 

Day 10 Lucerne | Zurich

Cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, where you board a motorcoach for a scenic drive through the countryside to Zurich, which seamlessly blends its historic past with its progressive future. Experience the magic of Zurich dressed in her holiday best. Join a walking tour followed by a visit to the Christmas Markets, including the largest indoor Christmas Market in Europe located in Zurich's Main Train Station. An absolute highlight is a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals. 

Day 11 Zurich

Spend the day exploring Switzerland’s second largest city at your leisure. 

Day 12 Depart Zurich

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

MS Amakristina

Lucerne

Zurich

Per person starting at
$4,579
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E
160 square feet. 4 cabins on Piano Deck with fixed windows.
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D
160 square feet. 8 cabins on Piano Deck with fixed windows.
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CB
155 square feet. 4 cabins on Violin Deck with French balcony.
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CA
170 square feet. 14 cabins on Violin and Cello Deck with French balcony.
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BB
210 square feet. 15 cabins on Cello Deck with French balcony and outside balcony.
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BA
210 square feet. 12 cabins on Violin Deck with French balcony and outside balcony.
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AB
235 square feet. 10 cabins on Cello Deck with French balcony and outside balcony.
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AA
235 square feet. 8 cabins on Violin Deck with French balcony and outside balcony.
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Suite
350 square feet. 4 cabins on Violin Deck with French balcony and outside balcony.

Notes

Please note:
Cruise fares do not include port fees.

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
- 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
- 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
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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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