Christmastime from Basel to Budapest 2019

17 Day River Cruise Basel to Budapest

2019 Information

Begin your Christmas river cruise through France and Germany in Basel, Switzerland. Here, you’ll board your Avalon Suite Ship® to sail for the Bavarian town of Breisach. From here, take a day’s tour of the Black Forest area for the perfect beginning of the Christmas ambience, which you’ll see in town at the marvelous markets.

Next, you’ll see the gothic cathedral and iconic sights of Strasbourg, France, with the warm glow of its Christmas markets adding to the beauty of the city. Your cruise takes you to Speyer, Germany, for an excursion to Heidelberg Castle, with free time to peruse the shining Christmas markets in Heidelberg or Speyer.

Visit a picturesque Main river village, before your next stop in Würzburg, Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road.” Savor the sights, sounds, and confections of Würzburg’s warm Christmas markets before continuing your guided European vacation to enjoy Christmas in the Heart of Germany and hear of the beautiful Christmas traditions of Germany with a lecture on board, and a guided sightseeing tour of the glowing Christkindlesmarkt of Bamberg—complete with dozens of nativity scenes of every size.

Your European Christmas market vacation includes a visit to Nuremberg, with a guided sightseeing tour, free time to enjoy Christmas markets, and an excursion to Rüdesheim. Then sail from Nuremberg to Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. Take in the breathtaking views before continuing through the picturesque Wachau Valley to the romantic sights of Vienna, the “City of Music.”

Your European river cruise vacation ends in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, with guided sightseeing and free time to explore this vibrant city and its Christmas markets on your own. With Christmas memories of Germany, and the Danube’s legendary beauty, this Christmas river cruise will be cherished for years to come.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Basel (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception
Day 2 Breisach: Excursion to Black Forest; Christmas market
Day 3 Strasbourg: Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market
Day 4 Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg: Guided tour of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas markets
Day 5 Wiesbaden. Excursion to Rüdesheim:Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat
Day 6 Main River Village: Guided walk, onboard baking demonstration
Day 7 Würzburg: Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz; Christmas market
Day 8 Bamberg: Onboard Christmas Traditions lecture; guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall; Christmas market
Day 9 Nuremberg: Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; Christmas market
Day 10 Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich: Guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz
Day 11 Nuremberg: Day at leisure to visit Christmas market

Day 12 Regensburg: Onboard lecture; guided walk;Christmas Market; beer tasting on board
Day 13 Passau: Guided walk
Day 14 Melk–Wachau Valley–Vienna: Guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk; scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley; Austrian cookie tasting
Day 15 Vienna: Choice of guided sightseeing or culinary tour at Christmas Market
Day 16 Budapest: Guided sightseeing, see Heroes’ Square
Day 17 Budapest (Disembarkation): Your vacation ends this morning

Always Included

You've always forged your own path...with your own distinct perspective of looking at the world. Avalon Waterways presents a river cruise experience with your unique style in mind—offering expansive views and wider perspectives. That's why we've designed a cruise experience that's just a bit different.

Here are just some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships. See the Ship Amenities Section below for more information about the amenities in our fleet’s unique ships.

Throughout the Ship
Suites & Staterooms
Health & Fitness
Dining

Throughout the Ship:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Panoramic windows
  • Elegant, contemporary design & decor
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew & Cruise Director
  • Sky Deck with whirlpool, shade awnings, game area and premium lounges
  • Covered Observation Lounge
  • Club Lounge with 24-hour self-serve beverage station with complimentary cappuccinos, lattes, tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, as well as treats throughout the day

Suites & Staterooms:

  • Comfort Collection BedsSM with choice of mattress firmness
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Premium L'Occitane bath products
  • Large bathroom featuring shower with glass door
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with free movie channels
  • Individual climate control and in-room safe
  • USB Ports
  • Complimentary bottled water daily
  • And, much more.

Health & Fitness:

  • Bikes
  • Canoe, kayak and jogging excursions
  • Maps for hiking, biking and jogging routes
  • Fitness and wellness activities
  • Fitbits®
  • All through your Avalon Adventure HostSM

Dining

  • FlexDiningSM for more venue and seating options, including flexible seating times in our main Dining Room
  • Avalon Fresh® healthy cuisine options at every meal
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with every lunch and dinner
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast options
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or Sky Grill on the Sky Deck (weather permitting)
  • Daily Afternoon Tea featuring tea, coffee, sweet treats & sandwiches
  • Daily four-course a la carte dinner in the main Dining Room with choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. Includes selections of regional recipes, Western dishes and vegetarian options.
  • Enjoy a tasting menu with a view in the Panorama Bistro - a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere while mingling over several satisfying selections
  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions and dinners with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Panorama Lounge featuring premium spirits and Avalon specialty cocktails, along with local entertainment special guests
  • Cocktails available on the Sky Deck
  • Fresh fruit available throughout the day

Avalon has designed included activities with a choice of experiences. We invite you to select the tours, activities, and events that interest you most, so you can experience your cruise your way. There are 3 types of included shore excursion on every Europe cruise:

Classic
Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.
Discovery
We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.
Active
Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go - from a guided jogging tour of Amsterdam, to biking, paddling, and hiking your way through scenic locales.
  • Plus independent exploration options and use of our exclusive AvalonGO APP.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

(D)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND (EMBARKATION)

Welcome to Switzerland! Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding.

Flights into Zürich must arrive by 3 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Stroll through the city centre, enjoy the festive illumination and savor Christmas delicacies like waffles, gingerbread, sweets and Swiss raclette.

EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 2

(B, L, D)

BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO BLACK FOREST

History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest

Discovery
Join a full-day Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings.

Alternatively, spend your afternoon leisurely browsing Breisach’s lovely Christmas market to sample bretzels, mulled wine, and Black Forest cake.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STRASBOURG

Day 3

(B, L, D)

STRASBOURG, FRANCE

A Gothic Cathedral, Heaven’s Time, and Joyeux Noël

Classic
Come along for City Sightseeing, including the city’s gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to beautiful Alsace, for an afternoon in a French wine-country village.

Savor the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition by spending your free time this afternoon wandering the French winter markets of Strasbourg. Take in the lights, music, and the pleasures of the season.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER

Day 4

(B, L, D)

SPEYER, GERMANY. HEIDELBERG EXCURSION

Winter Wonders and a Wine Barrel Fit for a King

Classic
Take a half-day Guided Tour that includes the magnificent Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat—the world’s largest wine barrel.

This afternoon, visit the local German Christmas Markets in Heidelberg, or Speyer. Explore at your own pace to soak up the sights and sounds, tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of these sparkling winter wonderlands.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO WIESBADEN

Day 5

(B, D)

WIESBADEN. EXCURSION TO RUDESHEIM

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country

Discovery
Tour the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience in Rüdesheim.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER

Day 6

(B, L, D)

MAIN RIVER VILLAGE

Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights in Beautiful Bavaria

Classic
Take a Guided Tour of a picturesque village along the Main River.
Discovery
Join a Cookie-Baking Demonstration on board your ship while sailing.
AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WÜRZBURG

Day 7

(B, L, D)

WÜRZBURG

Ornaments, Old Saint Nicholas, and Nutcrackers Sweet

Classic
Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the “Pearl of the Romantic Road” with its Old Main Bridge, towering fortress, and baroque Bishop’s Residence.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the beautiful Bavarian town of Rothenburg. Visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt German Christmas museum—the world’s most extensive collection of traditional German Christmas decorations.

Spend free time enjoying the festive, warm glow of Wurzburg’s Christmas markets.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG

Day 8

(B, L, D)

BAMBERG

Cherished Christmas Customs and Cradle Scenes

Discovery
Enjoy an onboard Christmas Traditions Lecture while sailing.
Classic
Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Bamberg—medieval home of Germany’s Roman Empire dynasties. Stroll through dozens of Bamberg’s nativity scenes—from miniature to life-size.

Take free time to enjoy the quaint Christmas markets, and warm up with traditional German dumplings, sausage, and a glass of hearty Bavarian ale.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG

Day 9

(B, L, D)

NUREMBERG

Living Heritage and History Lessons

Classic
Choose a Guided Tour of Nuremberg’s medieval architecture, gilded fountain, Gothic cathedral, and Kaiserburg Castle, OR:
Classic
Join a Guided Tour of the historic Nuremberg Rally Grounds—used by the Third Reich.

Spend free time browsing the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare—bratwurst, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other Christkindlmarkt culinary delights.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG

Day 10

(B, D)

NUREMBERG. EXCURSION TO MUNICH

Classic
Enjoy a Guided City Tour which will show you the highlights of fascinating Munich. See Nymphenburg Palace—a former residence of Bavarian monarchs, along with the Old and New Town Halls of Marienplatz.

Day 11

(B, L, D)

NUREMBERG

Living Heritage and History Lessons

A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, buy those last-minute Christmas gifts, or ask your Cruise Director for suggestions of things to do.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO REGENSBURG

Day 12

(B, L, D)

REGENSBURG

Magical Regensburg—Bavaria’s Medieval Miracle

Classic
Join a Guided City Walk and see Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria—built in 179 AD as the entrance to Castra Regina fortress.
Discovery
Later, indulge in a Beer Tasting on board.

This evening, enjoy live entertainment after dinner as you cruise toward Passau.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PASSAU

Day 13

(B, L, D)

PASSAU

Go for Baroque in Passau–Where the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers meet

Classic
Join a Guided City Walk to learn more about this beautiful “City of Three Rivers,” OR:

Join a full day Guided Optional Excursion to Salzburg—the city of Mozart—or a full day Guided Optional Excursion to the picturesque Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov.

Sail to Linz this afternoon, or join your ship after your selected full-day excursion.

LINZ, AUSTRIA

The Linzer Torte and a Legendary Love of Art and Music

Enjoy a free afternoon to linger in Linz. Take a bicycle from the ship and cycle along the Danube, or follow one of Linz’s many nature trails for a bird’s-eye view of the city and river below.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MELK

Day 14

(B, L, D)

MELK–WACHAU VALLEY

Striking Frescoes and Breathtaking Views of the Wachau Valley

Classic
Take a Guided Tour of Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings, statues, incredible library, and ornate pipe organ.
Discovery
Enjoy an Austrian Cookie Tasting while sailing to Vienna.

During lunchtime sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley to Vienna.

VIENNA

Vienna Waltzes and the Beautiful Blue Danube

This evening, you may choose to attend an Optional Excursion to a Royal Waltz Concert for an unforgettable evening of music in an elegant hall.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN VIENNA

Day 15

(B, L, D)

VIENNA

Royal Collections, Amusing Attractions, and Culinary Confections

Classic
Venture into the Habsburg empire on a Guided City Tour of Vienna’s gilded landmarks. See the Imperial Palace complex—the winter residence of the Imperial Family, the historic Vienna Opera House and stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral, OR:
Discovery
Join a Guided Culinary Tour of Vienna’s magical Christmas Advent Markets to sample Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel.

Join a Guided Optional Excursion to Schönbrunn Palace—a Habsburg Empire summer home for 300 years.

Spend free time on your own to enjoy the Christkindlesmarkt, or relax by the fire’s glow in a Viennese café this evening.

Later, relax on board with live entertainment as you sail to Budapest.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BUDAPEST

Day 16

(B, L, D)

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

The Pearl of the Danube in the Heart of Europe

Classic
Enjoy a Guided City Sightseeing, including the iconic Heroes’ Square.

Take in the beauty of Budapest while enjoying a free afternoon exploring such famous sights as the Chain Bridge. Get to know the city’s cafés and pubs, and don’t miss the unique Christmas markets that Budapest hosts every year during the Festive season.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN BUDAPEST

Day 17

(B)

BUDAPEST (DISEMBARKATION)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

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 is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.

Ship Details

Artistry II

Artistry II

The Avalon Artistry II delivers an intimate setting, along with two full decks of suites featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air BalconySM. With 200 square feet, Panorama SuitesSM are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, giving you the rare opportunity to wake each morning to the enchanting scenery and fresh breezes. Onboard amenities include complimentary computer use in public areas and Wi-Fi access, a Fitness Center, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, shade system, whirlpool, and the delightful Sky Bistro.

Included Amenities

Avalon Suite Fleet

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship
  • Panoramic windows throughout the ship
  • Elegant, contemporary design & decor
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew & Cruise Director
  • Sky Deck with whirlpool, shade awnings, game area and premium lounges
  • Covered Observation Lounge
  • Club Lounge with 24-hour self-serve beverage station with complimentary cappuccinos, lattes, tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, as well as treats throughout the day
  • Elevator
  • Non-smoking interior and staterooms

Fitness & Wellness

  • Fitness Center
  • Avalon Adventure Center
    Your place for active gear and excursions, including
    • Bikes
    • Canoe, kayak and jogging excursions
    • Maps for hiking, biking and jogging routes
    • Fitness and wellness activities
    • FitBits®
    All through your Avalon Adventure HostSM
  • Active shore excursions, both included and optional

Avalon Panorama Suites & Staterooms

  • Open-Air BalconiesSM and Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows in all Panorama Suites
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM with choice of mattress firmness
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Premium L'Occitane bath products & hairdryer
  • Large bathroom featuring shower with glass door
  • Wide selection of free movie channels and English-speaking TV
  • Individual climate control and in-room safe
  • Full-size closet and mirror
  • Additional under-bed storage
  • Complimentary bottled water daily

Staterooms & Suites

Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. D, 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
  • USB Ports
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • 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 English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Two windows
  • Writing desk and chair
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
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • 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
  • 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
  • USB Ports
  • 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
  • USB Ports
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Double sinks
  • 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 English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Zurich
Budapest

 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)

No Excursions are available at this time.