Christmastime in Alsace & Germany – Northbound 2019

5 Day River Cruise Basel to Frankfurt

2019 Information. Switch to 2020 » Switch to 2021 »

This Christmas river cruise begins in Switzerland and takes you down the Rhine River to France and Germany, with beautiful passing landscapes and quaint villages festively lit and decorated—a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season!

Board your ship in Basel, Switzerland, then stop in Breisach, considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. There is no better setting than at this time of year when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Strasbourg, France, located on the border with Germany, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. The city is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits. Bask in the holiday atmosphere as you visit Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece made of red sandstone, and containing ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock.

You’ll go on an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city. This time of year, an ice rink can be found at the foot of the castle and the Christmas market is spread over five town squares. Delight in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies. There’s plenty of time to find just the right Christmas present amongst the array of crafts, Christmas decorations, and gifts before this magical European river cruise ends in Frankfurt, Germany.


Dates & Prices Get a Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Basel (Embarkation): Onboard welcome receptionDay 2 Breisach: Excursion to Black Forest; Christmas marketDay 3 Strasbourg: Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas marketDay 4 Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg: Guided tour of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas marketsDay 5 Frankfurt (Disembarkation): Your vacation 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 1 Your Way Cruise Option »

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

  • FlexDining® for more venue and seating options, including flexible seating times in our Panorama 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 at 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 Panorama 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 lingering 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 THE BLACK FOREST

History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest

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

This afternoon 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.

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. EXCURSION TO HEIDELBERG

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, 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 FRANKFURT

Day 5

(B)

FRANKFURT (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.


YourWay Logo

Christmastime in Alsace & Germany – Northbound

Start Sooner, Stay Longer

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

Ship Details

Hotels

 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)

No Excursions are available at this time.