Christmas River Cruises - 8 Day Basel to Amsterdam Cruise

Festive Time on the Romantic Rhine with Lucerne, Paris & London – Northbound 2017

16 Day River Cruise from Lucerne to London

2017 Information

Europe’s most legendary cities, rivers, and sights await on this mesmerizing journey. Your vacation begins with two overnights in lovely Lucerne, Switzerland, where an included guided walk features the poignant Lion Monument, the ornate historic homes lining the walled Old Town, and Chapel Bridge—the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. There’s free time to explore on your own, then a real treat! An excursion takes you to the top of Mount Pilatus for spectacular Alpine views. (Departures October 19 to November 2 visit the Swiss Transport Museum as transportation up Mt. Pilatus is unavailable due to maintenance.) In the afternoon, a short transfer delivers you to your Avalon ship for the cruise portion of your adventure. 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. After disembarking your Avalon cruise ship in Amsterdam, we transfer you by high-speed train to Paris for your exciting Monograms extension. We've arranged your hotel reservations, daily breakfast, sightseeing with local experts, transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and more. Plus, we know you are not familiar with the cities, so we've arranged the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts® to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and more. The moment you arrive in Paris, you’ll feel the magic. We know the very best place to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower, and we’ll take you there to get your shots! We’ll also take you to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire its amazing stained-glass Rose Window, then for a different perspective of the city, we've arranged for you to enjoy a cruise along the Seine. With three overnights, the “City of Light” is yours for discovering. Next, bid “Au Revoir” as an included high-speed train transfer whisks you from Paris to London for three nights and plenty of time to investigate just what makes England so jolly. We’ll pick you up at your hotel for exclusive, guided sightseeing with a local expert. You'll hear the inside stories around places like Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, and the Houses of Parliament. We’ll take you inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. We’ll also take you to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (if available). In both cities you’ll have a full day to explore on your own. From Paris, perhaps hunt for the many celebrity tombstones in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, take a French cooking lesson, or enjoy a cabaret show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. In London, you may want to ride the London Eye, shop at the iconic Harrods department store, ride a red double-decker bus or the “Tube,” or take in a West End theater show.


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 Lucerne. Welcome to Switzerland!

Day 2 Lucerne. Guided sightseeing, see the Lion Monument, walk across CHAPEL BRIDGE

Day 3 Lucerne–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): Mountain excursion; onboard welcome reception

Day 4 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a woodcarver’s workshop; Christmas market

Day 5 Strasbourg:
guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral, Christmas Market

Day 6 Excursion to Heidelberg–Mainz:
guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat in Heidelberg; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Christmas Market

Day 7 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 8 Cologne:
choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk, Christmas Market

Day 9 Amsterdam: canal cruise and Illumination Cruise during Lights Festival.

Paris & London: 6 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed Thalys train (first-class) from Amsterdam to Paris; high-speed Eurostar train (standard class*) from Paris to London (porterage available for one suitcase on Paris–London stretch only); transfers to/from train stations; discounts at the famous Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris.

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; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
  • Buffet breakfast daily in Lucerne, Paris & London

NOTES:

  • In the event that a high-speed train is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be altered or operated by motorcoach.
  • 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 1Lucerne

Welcome to Lucerne! The remainder of the day is free to start exploring this delightful town on the Reuss River.

Day 2Lucerne

On your GUIDED WALK this morning, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution, and ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town, then cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit church. This afternoon, you are free to explore on your own. (Breakfast)

Day 3Lucerne–Basel (Embarkation)

This morning, another true Swiss experience: a trip to the top of nearby Mount Pilatus, the “Guard of Lucerne,” for spectacular vistas over Lucerne, its lake, and the Alpine scenery. Departures WZA2-T 1019 to 1102 will visit the Swiss Museum of Transport, as transportation up Mount Pilatus will be closed for maintenance during this period. This afternoon, a short transfer takes you to Basel to board your river cruise vessel.

Day 4Breisach, 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 5Strasbourg, 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 6Excursion 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 7Rüdesheim–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 8Cologne

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 9Amsterdam, 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 10Amsterdam–Paris, France

Disembark your Avalon ship for your included transfer to the train station, where you will travel via HIGH-SPEED THALYS TRAIN (first-class) to join your Monograms package. (Breakfast)

Day 11Paris

Morning guided sightseeing takes you to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, where Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, to admire its famed 13th-century Rose Window. Pass the Latin Quarter, Les Invalides, the Opéra, Place de la Concorde, and Arc de Triomphe. Drive by the Seine River with its beautiful bridges, and along the fashionable Champs-Elysées. Stop to take photos of the iconic Eiffel Tower from one of the best viewing points. Also enter the world’s most visited museum, THE LOUVRE, to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures (Tuesdays, take a Seine cruise instead). (Breakfast)

Day 12Paris

Your Local Host can suggest options, like an excursion to Monet’s Giverny or Versailles Palace, a visit to Musée d’Orsay, where to try French onion soup, and many other possibilities. (Breakfast)

Day 13Paris–London, England

Travel to London by HIGH-SPEED EUROSTAR TRAIN (standard class). (Breakfast)

Day 14London

Morning guided sightseeing includes London’s landmarks. Drive past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married; Whitehall’s mounted horseguards; the Prime Minister’s Downing Street; and Piccadilly Circus. Take photos of the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel situated on the river bank, and the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. Then, visit ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (except on Sundays). Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece with its world-famous dome is an iconic feature of London’s skyline. The final highlight is the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard (if held). (Breakfast)

Day 15London

Your Local Hosts will be pleased to give you some interesting suggestions for the day—perhaps a visit to the blood-curdling London Dungeon or Madame Tussauds’ celebrity wax figure exhibition, and an acclaimed West End show with pre-theater dinner at a London restaurant. (Breakfast)

Day 16London

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 Favorites 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 Balcony®
  • 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 Balcony®
  • 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

No hotels exist for WZA2-T in 2017

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