Christmastime from Budapest to Basel 2020

17 Day River Cruise Budapest to Basel

2020 Information. Switch to 2019 »

Your Danube River cruise embarks from Budapest—Hungary’s “Pearl of the Danube”—with an overnight cruise to Vienna. You’ll also see the historic Vienna Opera House and stunningly beautiful St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Continue to Nuremberg, and Bamberg with its glowing Christkindlesmarkt—complete with dozens of nativity scenes of every size. Würzburg is the next stop on your Christmas river cruise through Germany. Savor the sights, sounds, and confections of Würzburg’s warm Christmas markets before sailing to visit a picturesque Main River village. You’ll continue your scenic river cruise on the Rhine River to see the shining Christmas markets of Germany, France, and Switzerland.

Enjoy Heidelberg’s sparkling Christmas markets during your stay, before sailing for Strasbourg, France. City sightseeing includes Strasbourg’s stained-glass, gothic cathedral, astronomical clock, and La Petite France district. Take time to browse the French winter markets with festive lights. On to Breisach and the Black Forest of Bavaria to experience generations of warm and festive Christmas traditions. From Bavarian bretzels to Black Forest Cake and mulled wine, you’ll feel the Christmas spirit in the idyllic setting of the Black Forest. Your Christmastime river cruise will conclude in Basel, Switzerland. With Christmas celebration and special traditions large and small, and panoramic views, you’ll keep the visions of your scenic European river cruise in your memory for many Christmases to come.


Dates & Prices Get a Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Budapest (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception Day 2 Budapest—Vienna: Scenic sailing, pass through Bratislava; Austrian cookies tasting on boardDay 3 Vienna: Choice of guided sightseeing, or culinary tour at Christmas marketDay 4 Krems—Wachau Valley—Melk: Guided city walk in Krems; scenic sailing through the Wachau Valley; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in MelkDay 5 Passau: Guided walkDay 6 Regensburg: Guided city walk; free time for Christmas markets; onboard Christmas lecture; beer tasting on boardDay 7 Nuremberg: Choice of guided sightseeing, or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour, or Roth sightseeing; Christmas marketDay 8 Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich: Full-day guided tour in MunichDay 9 Nuremberg: Day at leisure to visit Christmas marketsDay 10 Bamberg: Guided tour, see the Old Town Hall; onboard Christmas Traditions lectureDay 11 Würzburg:Guided tour, visit the Bishop’s Residenz; Christmas marketDay 12 Main river village: Cookie-baking demonstration on board, guided tourDay 13 Mainz. Excursion to Rüdesheim: Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treatDay 14 Heidelberg—Speyer: Guided visit of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; Christmas markets in SpeyerDay 15 Strasbourg: Guided tour, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas marketDay 16 Breisach: Choice of visit to Badische Winzerkeller, or excursion the Black Forest; Christmas marketDay 17 Basel (Disembarkation):Your cruise ends this morning

Cruise YourWay

Avalon makes it easy to experience vacation your way with seamless extension options before and after your cruise. Your Way offers added nights in a selection of locales. From Budapest to Barcelona, you can spend a little or a lot more time getting to know more on shore with Your Way custom itineraries.

View 2 Your Way Cruise Options »

Day-By-Day Itinerary

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

Day 1

(D)

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (EMBARKATION)

Time for Coffee, and Confections

Flights into Budapest must arrive by 2 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

With a free day to explore before your cruise, take time to take photographs on the Royal Palace grounds in this treasure trove of historical architecture. Enjoy the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition before boarding your Suite Ship®.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VIENNA

Day 2

(B, L, D)

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Vienna Waltzes and the Beautiful Blue Danube

Enjoy sailing the Danube, which shares dozens of miles with Hungary and Slovakia. Relax on the Sky Deck to see the rolling landscape and red-rooftops of the Slovakian capital of Bratislava come into view.

Discovery
Enjoy an Austrian Cookie Tasting while sailing to Vienna.

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


OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN VIENNA

Day 3

(B, L, D)

VIENNA

Royal Collections, Amusing Attractions, and Culinary Confections

Classic
Take a Guided Tour of Vienna to see the Imperial Palace complex—the winter residence of the Imperial family, 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.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KREMS

Day 4

(B, L, D)

KREMS

Christmas Markets in the Austria’s Wine Country

Classic
Join a Guided Walk to explore this small valley town, seemingly untouched by the new world.

In your free time perhaps try some roasted chestnuts, one of the most popular treats at the Christmas market.

During lunchtime sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley to Melk.

MELK


Ornate Architecture and Scenic Splendors

Classic
Take a Guided Tour of Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings, statues, incredible library, and ornate pipe organ.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PASSAU

Day 5

(B, L, D)

PASSAU, GERMANY

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”.

Alternatively, join a full day Guided Optional Excursion to Salzburg—the city of Mozart and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas.

Meet your ship back in Passau after your selected activities for sailing.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO REGENSBURG.

Day 6

(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
Enjoy a Christmas Traditions Lecture on board while sailing this afternoon.
Discovery
Later, indulge in a Beer Tasting on board.

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

AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG

Day 7

(B, L, D)

NUREMBERG

Living Heritage and History Lessons

Classic
Choose a Guided Sightseeing of Nuremberg—with its medieval architecture, gilded fountain, gothic cathedral, and Kaiserburg Castle, OR;
Classic
Take a Guided Tour of the historic Nuremberg Rally Grounds—used by the Third Reich.

Spend free time on your own to browse the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare—from dozens of bratwurst varieties, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other culinary delights of the Christkindlmarkt.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG

Day 8

(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.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG

Day 9

(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. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG

Day 10

(B, L, D)

BAMBERG

Cherished Christmas Customs and Cradle Scenes

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.

Discovery
Enjoy an onboard Christmas Traditions Lecture while sailing.
AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WÜRZBURG

Day 11

(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.

Later, enjoy live entertainment on board

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MAIN RIVER VILLAGE

Day 12

(B, L, D)

MAIN RIVER VILLAGE

Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights

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 MAINZ

Day 13

(B, D)

MAINZ. EXCURSION TO RUDESHEIM

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country

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

Day 14

(B, L, D)

EXCURSION TO HEIDELBERG. SPEYER

Winter Wonders and a Wine Barrel Fit for a King

Classic
Take a Guided Tour that includes the magnificent Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat—the world’s largest wine barrel. After the tour, visit the local German Christmas markets in Heidelberg.

Explore at your own pace to soak up the sights and sounds, tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of Speyer Christmas markets..

This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board

EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO STRASBOURG

Day 15

(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 CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 16

(B, L, D)

BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO BLACK FOREST

History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest

Discovery
Visit to Badische Winzerkeller, the largest German wine producer in Europe. Discover Germany’s southernmost wine country in Baden—ideally situated between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River. Learn about the vintners’ process in the vineyards here, and enjoy a wine tasting, OR:
Discovery
Join a 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, and enjoy the warmth and glow of the Christmas season.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL

Day 17

(B)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND (DISEMBARKATION)

Your cruise ends with breakfast this morning.

Flights shouldn’t leave Zürich airport before 10 am.

Notes

  • In the event of technical or water level issues, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or alter the program, including hotel overnight when necessary.
  • 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.
  • Christmas markets generally operate from late November until the third week of December.


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Christmastime from Budapest to Basel

Start Sooner, Stay Longer

Start your vacation earlier or stay longer with destination options before or after your Avalon cruise.

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, 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


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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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

 Optional Excursions

No matter what you’re into: food, wine, history, art, music or anything else, we give you the freedom to personalize your vacation with optional excursions that speak to your interests.

When you book your excursions with us, you can be assured that every optional excursion that we offer coordinates with the free time that you'll have in your destination, so you'll never have conflicts between included and optional activities. Our team of travel experts carefully selects each optional excursion that we offer to ensure that you receive the highest quality at a great value. Our tried-and-true partners have a finger on the pulse of the city in which they operate so they deliver the very best experiences. We offer experiences you cannot create on your own and because you’re booking with us, we coordinate all your transportation and timing needs.

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). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

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


Budapest
Vienna
Passau
Wurzburg
Strasbourg
Breisach

Budapest

Belle Époque Art & Architecture of Budapest

Belle Époque Art & Architecture of Budapest

Travel back to the Golden Age of Budapest's Belle Époque on this captivating guided excursion featuring Andrássy Avenue, glass-painter Miksa Róth's Memorial House, and the crown jewel of Budapest: the incomparable Hungarian State Opera House!

Price Range: $$

Bites & Highlights of Budapest

Bites & Highlights of Budapest

Experience some of Budapest's most famous sights and most delectable foods on this unique guided foodie tour!

Price Range: $$

Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing

Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing

Explore the piquant flavors of traditional Hungarian cuisine during this fun and delicious dinner excursion.

Price Range: $$

Vienna

Classical Concert

Classical Concert

Enjoy a spellbinding evening of classical works by Mozart and Johann Strauss, performed brilliantly by professional Salon Orchestra Alt-Wien musicians in one of Europe's prettiest venues.

Price Range: $$

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Visit magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former summer residence of the Habsburg imperial family.

Price Range: $$

Passau

Discover Salzburg's Christmas Traditions

Discover Salzburg's Christmas Traditions

See Salzburg most famous sights and learn all about its Christmas traditions, including a tasting of Austrian holiday delicacies, on this enthralling full-day guided excursion.

Price Range: $$$

Wurzburg

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Jewel of the Middle Ages

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Jewel of the Middle Ages

The Jewel of the Middle Ages awaits your discovery on this half-day guided excursion to fairytale Rothenburg ob der Tauber on Germany's famed Romantic Road.

Price Range: $$

Strasbourg

Strasbourg: Bites & Highlights

Strasbourg: Bites & Highlights

Discover the Alsatian cuisine and traditions, so influenced by the unique history of a region, whose control alternated between Germany and France for centuries.

Price Range: $$

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Travel along the famed Alsace Wine Route on this enchanting half-day excursion that visits a traditional medieval Alsace village and includes a cellar tasting of the local wines.

Price Range: $$

Breisach

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Discover the fusion of German and French culture on this wonderful guided tour through storybook Colmar, the 'Little Venice' of France and capital of the Alsace wine region.

Price Range: $$