‘Tis the season to be joyful
Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas as you journey through storybook villages. Sample tasty yuletide treats and regional delicacies as you browse colorful stalls for handcrafted ornaments and unique gifts. Admire the twinkling lights of Cologne and revel in the merry atmosphere of the Rhine Valley, as storefront displays, wine cellars and markets embrace the holiday season. This 8-day voyage is a joyful celebration of festive cheer.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands / Basel, Switzerland
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 $3,399.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. A city of charming canals, elegant gabled houses, splendid museums and abundant bicycles, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam is a delight to explore. Its patchwork of waterways forms about 90 islands connected by 1,500 bridges. The legacy of the Dutch Golden Age lives on in gilded manses and in the lush paintings of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters that adorn the Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands’ grand repository of art and cultural history. Discovering Amsterdam is a pleasure best pursued on foot; visitors line the tranquil canals and linger over Dutch pancakes, or take a stroopwafel to go.
Sail the bucolic waters of the Rhine, deep into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt Delta, classic Dutch landscapes unfurl all around. Flat farmland, charming windmills and svelte poplar trees line the shores, and vast tracts of land stretch in all directions, growing all manner of bounty, from tomatoes to tulips. Gaze upon Friesian cows and tidy villages with their neatly laid farmhouses and marvel at how much of this land was reclaimed from the sea, saved by the stirrings of traditional windmills and the building of dikes.
Dordrecht is the oldest city in Holland. Throughout the city, there are hundreds of historic monuments and landmarks, including the Grote Kerk and the 13th-century Augustinian monastery known as Het Hof. The picturesque waterways and decorative bridges of Dordrecht exude a bygone era and are best explored on foot. The inner-city harbors are centuries old and lined with grand warehouses that have now been transformed into elegant homes. With a relaxed atmosphere and a plethora of quaint cafés and shops, Dordrecht oozes old-world charm.
The yuletide season in Düsseldorf is a feast for the senses. The air carries the scent of candied roasted almonds, a mouthwatering sweet snack, popular over the festive season. There are several Christmas markets located throughout the city. In the Old Town, burgher-style huts, modeled on the city’s traditional architecture, offer a range of tasty treats, from bratwurst to stollen, a cake-like bread filled with fruits, spices and nuts. In front of City Hall, the Handwerkermarkt offers crafts by local artists, while the Schadowmarkt lines the main shopping street amid festive store window displays.
Themed winter markets feature across Cologne during the holiday season, inviting visitors to browse colorful market stalls for handmade gifts, beautiful artwork and colorful crafts. The towering Gothic Cologne Cathedral provides a stunning backdrop to the city’s festivities and array of offerings from its red wooden stalls. Beneath the pointed roofs of Cologne harbor’s tented market, unique crafted goods are displayed amid the twinkling lights of boats bobbing in the marina.
Koblenz is a traditional German country town with a wine heritage that spans centuries; a key ingredient for the warming glühwein that is served from taverns and market stalls during the holiday season. The scent of cinnamon, cloves and spices waft from steaming mugs as the sounds of festivities fill the air from one of the many musical performances, creating a toe-tapping atmosphere. Centered around the Schängel fountain, the Koblenz Christmas market offers all the flavors of the yuletide season from its famous Christmas bakery.
The Rhine River flows through one of Germany’s most scenic regions. As you sail its most picturesque stretch, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Middle Rhine, you will pass vineyard-blanketed hills whose steep slopes require vintners to pick grapes by hand, keeping a centuries-old tradition alive. Admire splendid castles and dramatic rocks along the banks, all of which have stories to share. Perhaps you will marvel most at the Lorelei Rock at a dramatic curve in the river. Its eponymous river maiden mesmerized sailors with her song and lured them to their demise at her feet.
Located in the picturesque Rhine Valley, Rüdesheim is brimming with festive cheer. The vibrant Drosselgasse, a narrow alleyway lined with decorated restaurants and bars, is the perfect place to explore and immerse in the spirit of the holiday season. Traditional Rhineland music provides the backdrop to a tankard of Christmas beer. Market stalls offer an array of tasty morsels from various nations, and local artisans demonstrate their talents with displays of unique, handcrafted gifts.
Mannheim’s Christmas market is a holiday season shopping extravaganza, centered around the city’s iconic water tower. One of Germany’s oldest and largest markets, more than 160 booths host vendors from around the world, offering handicrafts and handmade items. Beautiful glassware, and carved wooden toys and games, sit alongside Christmas lanterns, colorful baubles and ornaments, all of which are presented in quaint wooden houses. Luxurious cashmere scarves, sheepskin mittens and felt hats are the ideal purchase to take home as gifts for friends and family.
Speyer’s Old Town transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. With the historic Old Gate as a stunning backdrop, market stalls are brimming with yuletide treats, serving Christmas cookies and steaming mugs of aromatic glühwein. Skaters don their woolen hats and gloves, and take to the ice for some festive fun, while visitors browse for unique handmade gifts. The holiday atmosphere continues into January, bringing the opportunity for New Year merrymakers to enjoy the festivities and sample regional specialties, such as potato soup and yeast dumplings.
Strasbourg is said to be the capital of Christmas in France, with the city’s cathedral square taking center stage as it is transformed into a winter wonderland. The city’s Christkindelsmärik is the oldest in France, dating back to 1570. Hundreds of stalls are brimming with colorful wares, fine food and mulled wine, bringing festive cheer in abundance. Alsatian specialties feature an array of hearty classics, from bretzels (soft, bread-like pretzels) to bredele (star-shaped spiced cookies), and knacks (sausages) to pain d’epices (gingerbread).
Breisach is a gateway to the fabled Black Forest region, built on a basalt rock outcropping in the Rhine plain. It is located in one of the warmest parts of Germany, across the river from French Alsace, famous for its wine growing. But Breisach, too, can boast about its wine: it is home to Europe’s largest cellars, with a storage capacity of more than 160 million liters. The most prominent landmark of Breisach is the Romanesque-Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, built between the 12th and 13th centuries. Its two towers are visible from throughout the city and from the Rhine.
A delightful blend of old and new, Basel is Switzerland’s best-kept secret. During the holiday season, the medieval Old Town is transformed into a magical yuletide affair. Cobblestone streets are lined with wooden chalet-style huts selling all manner of festive treats and gifts. Visitors to the Christmas market can enjoy a warming cup of aromatic glühwein in a decorated boot-shaped mug. Hand-carved tree decorations, cheerfully painted ceramics and delicious food are sold from stalls throughout the city. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.