Join us for a cruise on the Rhine River to explore the oldest, most revered Christmas markets in Europe. Let yourself be swept away by the beauty and charm of long-standing holiday traditions that include dazzling lights, soothing mulled wine, and zesty gingerbread delights. Plunge into the holiday spirit on our exclusive European Christmas cruise.
You’ll board our ship at 5 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail.$
After dinner on board, join us for an evening celebrating the Alsatian holiday cookies known as bredeles by learning how to make them yourselves. Our ship will cruise through the night.
Romantic Rhine River - SANKT GOARSHAUSEN - RÜDESHEIM
We’ll cruise the Rhine to the legendary rock of the Lorelei, following the twists and turns dominated by dramatic ruins, scenic vineyards, and majestic fortresses. Join us in the lounge and learn to decorate delicious bredeles by hand!
Our next stop is Rüdesheim, a picturesque village lined with narrow, cobblestone streets and half-timbered homes. We’ll board a tourist train(1) for Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet, showcasing 350 self-playing, mechanical music instruments dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries and including delicate musical boxes and a gigantic piano-orchestrion. Then enjoy some free time on your own to discover the international Christmas market located in the city's historic downtown area. The 120 wooden chalets set the stage for an authentic German Christmas market displaying artisan objects, great gift ideas, and delicious culinary specialties such as local confections and cookies, and of course, pretzels! The city is also home to one of the largest nativity scenes in Europe.
You’ll return to the ship by walking down the infamous Drosselgasse, lined with numerous cafés and bars. We’ll enjoy dinner on board before a quick escape to the city again this evening to taste the exquisite Rüdesheimer Kaffee.*
RÜDESHEIM - MAINZ - GAMBSHEIM
We’ll cruise to Mainz in the early morning. Once we arrive, we’ll set out for a tour on foot of the city to see many of its remarkably restored sites. This excursion includes an inside visit to the magnificent 1,000-year-old Saint-Martin’s Cathedral. We’ll then stroll down the picturesque streets of the old city to the Gutenberg Museum, which houses two copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the first major book printed with movable type in the West. Enjoy some free time on your own before heading back to the ship. Don’t miss the colorful local Christmas market near the cathedral, framed by splendid Renaissance-style buildings. Germany is known for its decorative wooden Christmas carousels, and a larger than life one is usually found at the market in Mainz surrounded by traditional chalets selling handcrafts, souvenirs, and luscious goodies. You might notice that German Christmas markets are more than just a place to buy or sell. In fact, they become a true reflection of everyday life where the locals gather for a quick bite or drink at the end of the winter day. So, join in the holiday spirit and top off your well-deserved vacation.
After the tour, we’ll have lunch on the ship and spend the afternoon cruising to Gambsheim. Feel free to join us for a bit of onboard entertainment recounting Christmas traditions.
Tonight is our festive gala evening. Our ship will cruise through the night.
GAMBSHEIM - STRASBOURG
Once we arrive in Gambsheim, we’ll leave by coach for Wingen-sur-Moder and a visit to the Musée Lalique to learn about crystalware-genius René Lalique and his successors. Lalique became one of the greatest names of his time, both as a jeweler and a master glassmaker. His instantly recognizable style was a major influence in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. Discover the company’s wide range of impressive crystal and glass designs, pieces of jewelry, tableware, lights, and vases. Admire the fabulous collections on your own, and don’t miss the temporary exhibit just for the holidays! Christmas is the perfect time to showcase the exceptional past and present work of Lalique.
We’ll return on board and enjoy lunch as we cruise to Strasbourg. Once we arrive, feel free set out on your own to admire the lights around the city near the cathedral, the Place Kléber, Carré d’Or, and Place Gutenberg. It’s quite a sight! And don’t forget to browse a few of the Christmas Markets set up across the city. We’ll greet you with a hot cup of mulled wine* as you return on board.
Enjoy an authentic Alsatian dinner this evening, followed by a quiz to test your knowledge about Alsatian Christmas Markets.
Enjoy breakfast on board this morning before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. End of our services.