Celebrate the festive season
Take part in time-honored European holiday traditions on this 10-day cruisetour. Stroll among colorful stalls and mingle with locals as you sample glühwein. Revel in Berlin’s festive atmosphere and discover the treasured recipe for Dresden’s famous Christstollen. Shop for handmade porcelain in Meissen and spend two days in Prague, delving into the city’s Jewish history while its famed Christmas market exudes an abundance of good cheer.
Berlin, Germany / Prague, Czech Republic
2023 Sailings on December
2024 Sailings from November to December
2025 Sailings from November to December
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Cruise fare from $4,299.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Arrive and check in to your hotel. In Berlin and across Germany, the lighting of the first Adventskranz candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve marks the start of the festive season. Christmas market stalls open for business, and decorated as picture-postcard scenes of winter, shop window displays brim with seasonal gift ideas. A stroll along Kurfürstendamm, or “Kudamm” as it is known to residents, is often referred to as the Champs-Élysées of Berlin and is a delight to explore during the holiday season.
The festive season in Berlin is a magical affair, with the scent of spices in the air and twinkling lights draped from lampposts throughout the city. Every district hosts its own Christmas market, and each carries its own traditions and flair. Colorful stalls display exquisite hand-painted wooden ornaments and delicate blown glass decorations alongside tasty treats such as lebkuchen, delicious gingerbread cookies. The winter climes add to the atmosphere with aromatic mulled wine served in boot-shaped mugs—perfect for warming chilled fingers against the cold.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and begin your journey to your embarkation city. Potsdam straddles one of the Elbe’s main tributaries, the Havel River. It boasts a rich history that spans more than 1,000 years. From its humble beginning, Potsdam burgeoned into a royal city, hosting the residences of Prussian and German rulers until the early 1900s. A series of tumultuous events followed, but through it all, Potsdam maintained its prominent stature. And in 1990, with Germany’s reunification, Potsdam was named Brandenburg’s state capital. Today, the city’s regal past lives on in its 16 well-preserved palaces and three elegantly landscaped parks.
Transfer to your ship and settle into your stateroom. Wittenberg is an important center of culture and learning, known mostly as the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. It was here that the Augustinian monk Martin Luther famously nailed his “95 Theses” against the selling of indulgences to the door of the palace church in 1517, launching the spread of a new religious movement throughout Europe. Wittenberg’s incredibly preserved Old Town was spared destruction during World War II, and so its charming houses remain as they have for centuries, with those in the market square huddled around the beloved statue of Luther.
During the holiday season, Wittenberg is set against a backdrop of winter market stalls in small wooden houses as Christmas fragrances fill the air. Advent performances take center stage in the Church Square with dancers in colorful costumes, Christmas-themed puppet shows and traditional organ music creating an infectiously festive atmosphere. In the forest that once belonged to the famous German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach, regional crafts, delicious mulled wine and tasty treats, including the traditional Möllensdorfer Christmas sausage, are on offer.
Yuletide aromas and tasty treats can be enjoyed at the Christmas market in Meissen, one of Saxony’s most picturesque historic cities. From the tower of the Church of Our Lady, spectacular views over the Market Square can be enjoyed. A festive stroll tracing the river on Elbstrasse reveals the city’s twinkling lights. Every year, the grand Town Hall turns into a giant, real-life Advent calendar, with its windows and doors revealing new pictures each day of December until Christmas Eve.
The scent of gingerbread, aromatic glühwein and roasted chestnuts has been filling the air of Dresden’s Old Market Square since the mid-15th century. Traditional crafts, such as Ore Mountain folk art, Lusatian blue-printed fabrics and Moravian stars, are popular gifts, as is the city’s famous Dresdner Christstollen, a delicious spiced fruit loaf. Each year, a festival dedicated to the regional specialty takes place, where a giant stollen weighing several tons is presented to the town and sold to raise funds for charitable causes.
Sail through the magnificent, soaring rock formations of Saxon Switzerland. This spectacular region earned its name from two Swiss painters who were reminded of their home while visiting. You will witness some of the wildest cliff formations imaginable, with nicknames such as Catapult, Locomotive and Wolf’s Ravine. As you pass through, marvel at the Bastei, a 1,000-foot spectacle of tooth-like rocks connected by a footbridge. Sailing past these iconic monoliths is sure to be a highlight of your journey.
One of the oldest and most important spa resorts in Saxon Switzerland, the beautiful resort city of Bad Schandau has retained much of the splendor and charm of bygone ages. After iron-rich springs were discovered here in the mid-18th century, hotels and spa houses soon dotted the landscape. In 1920, the town (then Schandau) was awarded the right to use the prefix “Bad,” meaning “Spa.” For refugees and emigrants during World War II, this was a place of hope. Many were helped to safety by climbers who knew secret passes through the mountains and out of Germany.
Winter in Prague, while cold, is beautiful. Crackling fires in traditional pubs provide warmth to patrons as they step in from the chill of the outdoors. Once inside, an array of hearty fare awaits; traditional dishes include roast pork with dumplings and pickled cabbage or garlic soup. A leisurely stroll across the Charles Bridge on a frosty morning is a picture-postcard sight. Bustling Christmas markets also offer delicious yuletide treats alongside a warming glass of Christmas cheer with spiced mulled wine.
Prague is known as the “City of a Hundred Spires” and it is easy to see why. The towering twin steeples of Týn Church and the beautiful baroque Church of St. Nicholas are among some of the city’s most notable. Best explored on foot, Prague’s Old Town is a maze of ancient cobblestone lanes with the Old Town Square at its core. Here, the medieval Astronomical Clock still chimes today and provides for its viewers a little theater with the “Walk of the Apostles” on the hour, every hour.
Few cities embody the past as authentically as Prague, the Czech Republic’s atmospheric capital on the Vltava River that clings to its history with unwavering passion. Prague’s medieval architecture is its most prominent, but the city is also a rich repository of Romanesque, baroque and art nouveau buildings that stir the imagination. The city’s graceful, pedestrian-only Charles Bridge served as the coronation route of the kings of Bohemia across the river to Hradčany Castle and its rich complex of royal buildings. After breakfast, check out of your hotel and journey home.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.