Grand Christmastime Cruise from Vienna to Basel 2019

16 Day River Cruise from Vienna to Basel

2019 Information. Switch to 2020 »

This European Christmastime river cruise will take you across Austria and Germany and along the Danube, Main, and Rhine Rivers. Enjoy guided sightseeing in several cities along the way and delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of centuries-old Christmas markets.

Begin in musical Vienna, where a guided tour shows you the impressive sights. Perhaps opt for a guided culinary walk through the Christmas markets to taste some Austrian holiday favorites, or explore on your own. Cruise through the winter wonderland of the Wachau Valley and visit Melk with its magnificent abbey. Enjoy a guided sightseeing in Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. While sailing to Nuremberg, learn about Christmas traditions and sample some German beer. At Nuremberg’s Christmas market, which is one of the oldest in the world, be sure to try Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread). A full-day excursion to Munich shows you the Bavarian capital. The traditional Christmas market on the Marienplatz delights with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread!

Continue your holiday river cruise to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where many nativity scenes are exhibited throughout the town. In Würzburg, on the River Main, visit the ornate Bishop’s Residenz, then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). See Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures In Rüdesheim on the Rhine; and visit Heidelberg Castle towering magnificently over the city, before cruising to Strasbourg, France. This time of year, the historic charm of the city 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 to Breisach, Germany—gateway to the famous Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, before ending this charming Christmastime river cruise adventure in Basel, Switzerland.


Dates & Prices Get a Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Vienna (Embarkation):Welcome reception on boardDay 2 Vienna:Choice of guided sightseeing, or culinary tour at Christmas marketDay 3 Wachau Valley–Melk–Grein:Scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in MelkDay 4 Passau:Guided walk; Christmas marketDay 5 Regensburg:Guided walk; Christmas market; Christmas Traditions lecture; beer tasting on boardDay 6 Nuremberg:Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; Christmas marketDay 7 Nuremberg (Disembarkation). Excursion to Munich (Embarkation):Guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz Day 8 Nuremberg:Day at leisure to visit Christmas marketDay 9 Bamberg:Guided tour, see the Old Town Hall; onboard Christmas Traditions lecture Day 10 Würzburg:Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz; Christmas marketDay 11 Main River Village:Baking demonstration on board, guided walkDay 12 Mainz–Excursion to Rüdesheim:Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treatDay 13 Heidelberg–Speyer:Guided visit of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; time at leisure for Christmas markets in SpeyerDay 14 Strasbourg:Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas marketDay 15 Breisach:Excursion the Black Forest; Christmas marketDay 16 Basel (Disembarkation):Your vacation ends this morning

Day-By-Day Itinerary

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

Day 1

(D)

VIENNA, AUSTRIA (EMBARKATION)

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

Flights into Vienna must arrive by 3:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Indulge in traditional holiday fare and hot libations to warm your heart and soul before boarding.

Day 2

(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.

You may join a Guided Optional Tour of Schönbrunn Palace—summer home of the Habsburg dynasty 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.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN MELK

Day 3

(B, L, D)

MELK, AUSTRIA

Striking Frescoes and the Breathtaking Wachau Valley

Classic
Take a Guided Tour of Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings.

This afternoon cruise to Grein, where this evening you will enjoy live entertainment on board.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN PASSAU

Day 4

(B, L, D)

PASSAU

Saint Stephens, Salzburg, and the Story of Silent Night

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

You may like to join a Guided Optional Excursion to Salzburg, Austria. See the setting of The Sound of Music, and learn the story behind the beloved Christmas hymn, Silent Night (included for departure 25 November only).

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO REGENSBURG

Day 5

(B, L, D)

REGENSBURG

Christmas Magic in Bavaria’s Medieval Miracle

Classic
Join a Guided City Walk and see Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria—entrance to the Castra Regina fortress built in 179 AD.

Take time to browse Regensburg’s sparkling Christmas markets. Enjoy hot-mulled wine, candied almonds, gingerbread, or bratwurst.

Discovery
Enjoy a Christmas Traditions Lecture on board while sailing this morning.
Discovery
Later, indulge in an onboard Beer Tasting to sample regional German brews.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG

Day 6

(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 7

(B, D)

NUREMBERG (DISEMBARKATION). EXCURSION TO MUNICH (EMBARKATION)

This morning disembark the vessel which has brought you to Nuremberg and drive 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.

Take some free time today to stroll this pedestrian and bike-friendly city to see the famous Glockenspiel, outdoor cafés, or a Bavarian Biergärten for authentic brews.

Return to Nuremberg in the late afternoon and embark on the ship which will take you to Vienna.

Day 8

(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 BAMBERG

Day 9

(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.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WÜRZBURG

Day 10

(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 MAIN RIVER VILLAGE

Day 11

(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 MAINZ

Day 12

(B, D)

MAINZ. 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 13

(B, L, D)

SPEYER, GERMANY. HEIDELBERG EXCURSION

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.

This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO STRASBOURG

Day 14

(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 BREISACH

Day 15

(B, L, D)

BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO 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.

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.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL

Day 16

(B)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND (DISEMBARKATION)

Your vacation 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.
  • 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.

Similar Cruises

Ship Details

Passion
Visionary

Passion

Yet another beautiful Suite Ship graces the rivers of Europe in 2016. The Avalon Passion welcomes passengers to their home-away-from-home with two full decks of Panorama Suites, featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform into a unique Open-Air Balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than industry standard and ideal for stretching out and relaxing-or even throwing a private cocktail party for up to six adults in the spacious sitting area. On board, passengers enjoy free Wi-Fi access, complimentary computer use in public areas, a Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment, an elevator, and an expansive Sky Deck with shade system, premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, deck games, and the delightful Sky Bistro for al fresco lunches of light grill fare.

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
  • 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
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

Visionary

Take in the view like never before on the Avalon Visionary. You'll enjoy the intimate setting achieved with two full decks of suites featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows. Your suite is transformed into a unique Open-Air BalconySM, with your Comfort Collection bed facing the window for river cruising's unparalleled views of Europe's stunning landscapes. 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


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
  • 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
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

Hotels

Vienna
Zurich

 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)


Vienna
Wurzburg
Strasbourg

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: $$

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: $$