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Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns. Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas Market. Sip vin chaud as you stroll to Place Kléber to behold the enormous, brilliantly lighted tree of Strasbourg. See how the baroque town hall of Koblenz is transformed into an Advent calendar and find unexpected treasures in the stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral.
Savor tantalizing once-a-year treats with Uniworld’s “Taste of Christmas” program, including gingerbread and warm spiced wine. Revel in brightly painted carousels and handmade ornaments, medieval squares illuminated by twinkling lights, life-sized Nativity figures and joyful brass choirs. Sail through castle-strewn hillsides and visit charming towns decked in festive finery for a holiday season you will never forget.
Arrive at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer, or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Basel is a cultural and artistic powerhouse, with all sorts of galleries, theaters and museums. And at this time of year, the city’s Christmas Market draws visitors from all over Europe, as does its Christmas Street, lined with more than 100 beautifully decorated and illuminated Christmas trees. Do you have a special wish for Christmas? Write it in the Wish Book, which lies open in Basel’s 17th-century Town Hall during Advent, waiting for residents and visitors to express their hopes and dreams for the holiday—or for the world.
Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. It’s also been known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. With a friendly local expert, see this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops that will win your heart. You won’t want to miss the holiday treats like bûche de Noël, the delicious Christmas cake made to look like a yule log.
Your ship left France behind and sailed into Germany during the wee hours of the morning. If you speak no German, here’s one phrase you might want to learn now: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” or “Merry Christmas!” Today you’ll have two choices: Venture into the storied city of Baden-Baden, whose contemporary flair meshes with hot springs, spas and unspoiled nature, or visit the Doktorenhof vinegar estate for a special vinegar tasting. The atmospheric cellar is like no other you’ll ever experience, and the candlelit tasting room is decked for the holidays.
Mainz’s Old Town brims with specialty shops tucked into lovingly restored buildings. You’ll find jewelry, leather goods, books, toys—something special for every special person on your list. Or opt to explore neighboring Wiesbaden’s Christmas Market. However you choose to spend your time in Mainz, you’ll head back to the ship for a short cruise to Rüdesheim, which, like many cities along the Rhine, dates back to Roman times, when the Rhine was the northern border of the empire. Today, Rüdesheim is famous for its beauty and its entertaining alley of shops and wine bars called the Drosselgasse.
Cruising the romantic Rhine River, Koblenz
Spend a spectacular morning onboard your luxurious boutique ship as you sail the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stretch of the Rhine is extraordinarily picturesque: Castles perch atop steep cliffs above the water and each quaint village is marked by the spire of its historic church. After sailing past 40 miles (65 kilometers) of gorgeous scenery, you’ll reach the famous intersection of the Rhine and the Moselle. Here, where the two rivers meet, you’ll find the enchanting town of Koblenz. Watch the waters of the Moselle gush into the Rhine as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner before embarking on a walking tour of Koblenz’s historical treasures.
Your local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and magical secrets with you.
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer, or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Cologne Bonn Airport for your flight home.
The luxurious décor of the 443-foot, 152-passenger S.S. Antoinette—Uniworld’s first Super Ship—features fine Brazilian marble on the walls and floors, a 19th-century Venetian glass mirror, a stylish Bar du Leopard with full-service bar, and an onboard cinema. The two-story foyer boasts a 10-foot blue Strauss Baccarat chandelier with huge sapphires—a stunning piece that once hung in New York's famous Tavern on the Green—and a collection of original artwork is displayed throughout the ship.
Staterooms and suites (with the exception of the Grand Suite and Suites 402 & 403, which have been gorgeously redesigned) on La Princesse Deck have open-air balconies that, at the touch of a button, will raise the glass to create a completely enclosed conservatory.