Christmas River Cruises - 8 Day Basel to Amsterdam Cruise

Festive Time on the Romantic Rhine – Northbound 2017

8 Day River Cruise from Zürich to Amsterdam

2017 Information

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits on this mesmerizing journey along the Rhine. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Koblenz, and Cologne, as well as an excursion to the Black Forest and to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with castles. Visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture the romance and splendor of this magical journey. Your ship will be decorated and dressed up in Christmas colors. You will have free time to explore some of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets where you will find all sort of gifts to bring home.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM

Day 1 Zürich–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 2 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a woodcarver’s workshop; Christmas market

Day 3 Strasbourg:
guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral, Christmas Market

Day 4 Excursion to Heidelberg–Mainz:
guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat in Heidelberg; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Christmas Market

Day 5 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz:
visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum and enjoy a special treat in Rüdesheim; cruise through the Rhine Gorge; guided walk in Koblenz

Day 6 Cologne:
choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk, Christmas Market

Day 7 Amsterdam: canal cruise and Illumination Cruise during Lights Festival.

Day 8 Amsterdam (Disembarkation):
your vacation ends this morning

Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Enjoy a special treat in Rüdesheim.

Meals

  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Farewell dinner
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

NOTES:

  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation)

Welcome to Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn and the majestic Alps! Transfer by motorcoach to Basel, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)

NOTE:
Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2Breisach, Germany. 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 unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents 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, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon there’s free time in Breisach to visit the Christmas market—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3Strasbourg, France

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, yet it manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany–Mainz

This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university, which was 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 itself is scattered over five town squares, and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. In the afternoon, arrive in Mainz. Strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers is Mainz, with “civilized” origins dating back to around 38 BC. Today, this is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. The Altstadt (Old Town) has many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz, a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here and during a GUIDED WALK you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz

This morning dock in pretty Rüdesheim, a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT. 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. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. Then, arrive at the place where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet—the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with its impressive equestrian statue of German Emperor William I. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the 2,000-year-old city of Koblenz, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Cologne

One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, perhaps look in on the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! Enjoy a walk in the fabulous and magical Christmas markets before leaving Cologne and sailing to Amsterdam. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Amsterdam, Holland

Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion. Say Goodbye to Amsterdam during a special ILLUMINATION CRUISE and experience the Lights Festival hosted by Amsterdam during the winter season. A glass of Glühwein will warm you up as you enjoy the Christmas lights. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Amsterdam (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

Imagery II

Imagery II

One of 2016's two new additions to the youngest fleet on Europe's waterways, the Imagery II continues all of Avalon's outstanding Suite Ship traditions. Passengers can choose from two full decks of Panorama Suites, featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air Balcony. At a spacious 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, affording the incomparable opportunity to awaken each morning facing the splendid passing scenery. Onboard amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi access, an expanded Fitness Center, hair salon, an elevator, alternative light dining options in the Panorama Bistro or al fresco grill lunch at the Sky Bistro, and an expansive Sky Deck with whirlpool, premium lounge chairs, a shade system, and deck games.

Included Amenities

  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • Fitness Center
  • Elevator
  • Outside viewing deck
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew and Cruise Director
  • Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Hair salon
  • Additional biking excursions available in Amsterdam, Breisach and Bernkastel
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
  • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
  • Fresh fruit available throughout the day
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs and shade awnings
  • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
  • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Complimentary computer use in public areas
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Bicycles available onboard for complimentary check-out
  • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
  • Local FavoritesSM onboard experiences to bring the customs, cultures and tastes of your destinations to life, including local entertainers, artisans & experts
  • Well-stocked library
  • Full-size closet mirror

Staterooms & Suites

Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. E) - 172 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Two windows
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
Panorama Suite (Cat. A, B, P) - 200 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
Royal Suite - 300 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Double sinks
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Glattbrugg
Amsterdam

Glattbrugg

Moevenpick Zurich Airport

Moevenpick Zurich Airport Mittelholzerstrasse 8, Glattbrugg,   Switzerland Mittelholzerstrasse 8
Glattbrugg, Switzerland

Hotel as shown or similar
Superior First-Class

Hotel with contemporary design features throughout, 2 kms from Zurich Airport and 10 kms from Zurich city center.

Hotel Amenities

Bar/Lounge
Dry Cleaning
Fitness Room
Restaurant On-Site
Luggage Storage
Elevator
Parking/Valet
Ice Machine
Currency Exchange
Concierge desk
Business Center
Room Amenities

Alarm Clock
In-Room Safe
Hair Dryer
Non-smoking Rooms
Mini-bar
Air Conditioning
Smoking Rooms
Voicemail
Iron/Ironing Board
Cable/Satellite
Room Service
Television
Phone
Coffee Maker
Desk
Internet Access

Amsterdam

Moevenpick Amsterdam City

Moevenpick Amsterdam City Piet Heinkade 11, Amsterdam,  Netherlands Piet Heinkade 11
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Superior First-Class

A stylish 408-room hotel in the perfect location, this waterfront property offers Free Wi-Fi internet access throughout. The chic restaurant serves creative international cuisine and there is a fabulous bar serving drinks and light snacks which is also a great spot for a nightcap. For relaxation there is a Lifestyle Studio featuring a gym, Finnish sauna, bio sauna & ice fountain.

Hotel Amenities

Restaurant On-Site
Luggage Storage
Fitness Room
Currency Exchange
Free WiFi
Bar/Lounge
Business Center
ATM
Parking/Valet
Gift Shop
Concierge desk
Dry Cleaning
Spa Services
Elevator
Room Amenities

Air Conditioning (Seasonal)
In-Room Safe
Disabled Access / Rooms
Non-smoking Rooms
Smoking Rooms
Wake-Up Calls
Television
Room Service
Climate Control
Pay Movies
Internet Access
Coffee Maker
Desk
Hair Dryer
Mini-bar
Window Opens
Air Conditioning
Phone
Voicemail
Iron/Ironing Board
Cable/Satellite
Complimentary Toiletries

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Zurich
Breisach
Strasbourg
Amsterdam
Packages

Zurich

The Rhine Falls - Europe's Biggest Waterfall

The Rhine Falls - Europe's Biggest Waterfall

At 500 feet (152m) wide and 75 feet (23m) high, with an average 21,000 cubic feet (595 cubic m.) of water per second, the Rhine Falls are Europe's biggest waterfall. This is a great natural spectacle that you should not miss!

Price Range: $

Pilatus

Pilatus

Enjoy the magnificent panorama from Mount Pilatus

Price Range: $$

Breisach

Colmar

Colmar

Known as the birthplace of the father of The Statue of Liberty, Colmar is indeed, one of the most beautiful, small towns in France.

Price Range: $$

Strasbourg

Alsace

Alsace

The famous Alsace Wine Route, or "Route des Vins,, is a winding ribbon of flower decorated villages in the north of Alsace. This guided excursion takes you on the back roads through the heart of the wine-making country.

Price Range: $$

Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

If you are in the Netherlands only for a short time, then this is a great excursion to see the typical Dutch sights in just one afternoon. Join our local expert on a journey through times when Dutch sailing ships crossed the seven seas and goods from all corners of the world were traded in Holland.

Price Range: $

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$

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