Christmastime From Prague to Basel – Cruise Only 2018

10 Day River Cruise from Nuremberg to Basel

2018 Information

Celebrate this magical time of year with a delightful Christmastime river cruise through the heart of Germany, on the Main Danube Canal, and the Main and Rhine Rivers.

Board your ship in Nuremberg, Germany, host to one of the oldest Christmas markets in the country. Get into the holiday spirit as you stroll through the brightly illuminated and decorated Old Town. 200 stalls sell traditional German Christmas wares and seasonal delicacies. In delightful Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll find nativity scenes built by local citizens throughout the town. Learn about holiday traditions as you cruise to Würzburg, and here walk through the halls of the ornate Bishop’s Residenz—home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Learn how to bake a traditional cookie before arriving at one of the charming small towns with half-timbered houses that are dotted along the Main River. In Rüdesheim on the Rhine River, see Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures. Visit Heidelberg Castle, which towers magnificently over the city, and watch the skaters on the ice rink below. At this time of year, the historic charm of Strasbourg, France, is mixed with festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! Visit the gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock.

Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Breisach, Germany—gateway to the famous Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, and the home of Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. There is no better setting at this time of year, when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Your delightful holiday cruise ends in Basel, Switzerland.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Nuremberg (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 2 Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour, Christmas market

Day 3 Bamberg: guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall; onboard lecture; Christmas market

Day 4 Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz; Christmas markets

Day 5 Miltenberg: onboard culinary demonstration, guided walk

Day 6 Wiesbaden. Excursion to Rüdesheim: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat

Day 7 Heidelberg–Speyer: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; time at leisure for Christmas markets in Speyer

Day 8 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market

Day 9 Breisach: excursion to the Black Forest; Christmas market

Day 10 Basel: your vacation ends this morning

Meals

  • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

Day-By-Day Itinerary

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

Day 1

(D)

Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation)

Embark your cruise vessel in Nuremberg. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

Nuremberg

Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market is one of the most famous in the world. You’ll find 200 stalls offering traditional wares, including Nuremberg Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), baked goods and sweets, Christmas decorations, ornaments, and more. After your free time at the Christmas Market, a shuttle bus service will be at your disposal to take you back to the ship.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Bamberg

In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, you’ll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Würzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about European Christmas traditions.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Würzburg

Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon, you are free to explore on your own...maybe visit the Christmas markets or join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg, where you will have the opportunity to visit the Christmas Museum. Be sure to try a Schneeball (snowball), a local specialty not at all suitable for a diet!

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Miltenberg

A CULINARY DEMONSTRATION will be delivered before lunch and before your arrival in Miltenberg. Tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, the picturesque Bavarian village of Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. This afternoon’s GUIDED WALK will acquaint you with the town’s delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centers around a Renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giant’s house) and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. There’s free time to explore before you depart for Wiesbaden before dinner.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Wiesbaden. Excursion to Rüdesheim

After breakfast this morning, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rüdesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise! Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Afterward, we’ll offer you a SPECIAL TREAT and then there’s free time to explore. 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. In the afternoon, return to Wiesbaden.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Excursion to Heidelberg–Speyer

This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, 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. Rejoin your ship in Speyer, and the afternoon is yours to do as you please. There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts at the Speyer Christmas market.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Strasbourg, 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 that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your GUIDED 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. This evening, enjoy an onboard WOODCARVING demonstration.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Breisach, 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 once 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, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon, there’s free time in Breisach to visit one more Christmas market—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region.

Day 10

(B)

Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends after breakfast today.

NOTE:
Flights out of Zürich airport should not leave before 10 am.

Notes

  • Christmas Markets are open from the first weekend of December, depending on the location.
  • 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.
  • Special features and day of operation are subject to change.

Ship Details

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 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). 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)


Wurzburg
Packages
Strasbourg
Breisach

Wurzburg

Discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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: $$

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: $$

Strasbourg

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: $$

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