Christmastime in Alsace & Germany (Southbound) 2020

5 Day River Cruise Mainz to Basel

2020 Information. Switch to 2019 »

This Christmastime river cruise is a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season! Board your Avalon Suite Ship® in Mainz, Germany, then sail up the Rhine River to Basel, Switzerland, passing beautiful views and quaint villages festively lit and decorated. This one-of-a-kind Christmas river cruise through France and Germany takes you on an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city. At 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. You’ll also find an array of crafts, Christmas decorations, and gifts. Strasbourg, located on the border of France and Germany, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. Strasbourg 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 atmos-phere as you visit the Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece made of red sandstone, and containing an-cient murals and fascinating astronomical clock.

Your Christmas river cruise along the Rhine River takes you to 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 this time of year when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Your delightful holiday cruise ends in Basel, Switzerland. Don’t miss this ex-perience to savor the holiday season in traditional and beautiful Christmas traditions of European winter markets and festivities!


Dates & Prices Get a Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Mainz (Embarkation): Onboard welcome receptionDay 2 Heidelberg—Speyer: Guided visit of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; Christmas markets in SpeyerDay 3 Strasbourg: Guided tour, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas marketDay 4 Breisach: Choice of visit to Badische Winzerkeller, or excursion the Black Forest; Christmas marketDay 5 Basel (Disembarkation):Your cruise 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

  • 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)

MAINZ, GERMANY (EMBARKATION)

Welcome to Germany. Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding

Flights into Frankfurt must arrive by 3 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER

Day 2

(B, L, D)

HEIDELBERG EXCURSION. 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

This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board

EVENING/OVERNIGHT 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.

CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 4

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

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL

Day 5

(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 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.
  • Guided Tours, Optional Excursions, activities, sailing and docking schedules may be contingent on weather conditions or other issues outside of our control and could therefore be subject to change at any time.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.

Ship Details

Imagery II
Tranquility 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

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. 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

Tranquility II

Another exciting Suite Ship® graces the rivers of Europe in 2015. The intimate setting of the Avalon Tranquility II features two full decks of Panorama Suites with Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air Balcony®. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard-perfect for stretching out and relaxing-or even throwing a private cocktail party for up to six adults in the spacious sitting area. Onboard amenities and services include complimentary computer use in public areas and free Wi-Fi access, a Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment, an elevator, and a spacious Sky Deck with shade system, whirlpool, deck games, and the delightful Sky Bistro for al-fresco lunches of light grill fare.

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
  • 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)


Strasbourg
Breisach

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: $$