Christmas Market Cruises

Enjoy the magnificent holiday season traveling on the Europe’s best Christmas river cruises. The European Christmas markets cruising experience features a top-luxury riverboat travel plus the onshore holiday shopping. Dining options ashore include the seasonal specialties apple cider, warm spiced wine, sweet gingerbread, all kinds of handmade sweets, chocolate, cookies, along with the perfectly cold beer and steaming hot sausages.

Know, that your European Christmas Market cruise vacations will be dominated by the festively decorated riverboat and its definitely not cheap ticket prices. Along with the delight in the tastes, smells and sights of local Xmas markets, the onboard enrichment and entertainment programs offer expert lectures on the Europe’s holiday traditions, live music and dance shows, gala dinner events.

Christmas Market Cruises

Once upon a time, before Christmas, people gathered on snow-covered cobblestone squares to buy special tools and ingredients needed to make the season treats. They kept warm with music, games and hot spiced wine, while shopping and chatting with local tradesmen. That’s how, 500 years ago, the first Christmas Markets looked like. Today, though the holiday light comes from electric bulbs, heartiness and fun still prevail.Christmas Market Cruises

During your Christmas market cruise you’ll discover small villages with fairytale white houses and a festive atmosphere. Get ready to share traditional Christmas goodies with the ones who made them and watch as modern kids abandon their electronics and discover the beauty of handcarved wooden toys. Roasting nuts and cinnamon scent will fill the air.

Christmas Market Cruises in Europe

Europe in winter time can be as energizing as it is cold. Squares are lit up and full of decorations. Light snow dusting covers the ground, and Christmas markets offer full swing. River cruise lines operate voyages through Europe in winter months, called Christmas Market cruises.

It’s no secret that European river cruise ships ply the famous tributaries of Danube, Rhine and Rhone during the most temperate spring, summer and fall seasons. But a handful of river cruise ships, operated by lines ranging from Avalon to Viking River, offer special winter-time sailings. Prepare for a memorable experience.

River holiday cruises are offered until January 1, but the European Christmas Markets open typically around November 25 and remain operational until December 24th. The sailings within these dates can offer one-of-a-kind experience along Europe’s waterways. The transformation between summer months to winter is really remarkable, as cities like Cologne, Strasbourg and Vienna, take on entirely different look during the run-up to Christmas holidays.Estonia - Tallinn Christmas Market

Another reason to choose Christmas market cruises, of course, is the opportunity to see some of the grandest cities in Europe in snow-covered glory, although there is no guarantee to experience snow. However, unlike the full-body contact North American sport – Christmas shopping, Europeans prefer the option of shopping in the open-air Christmas Markets, opposed to the shopping malls.

Europe’s Christmas markets are also a social experience as people gather after work to enjoy nice meal, delicious mulled wine and hot chocolate – or why not a cold beer with the sausages. There is no fighting for parking and no battling checkout lines. People just enjoy the company of others.

You won’t miss the throngs of tourists crowding the cities during summer months and your exploration time ashore for sure will be more relaxed than in the crowded heat of summer. May be it’s cold outside, but the atmosphere aboard is cheery and warm, and offers the usual amenities. However, bring your heavy coat for the nights on the observation deck.

Christmas market cruises are extremely popular, so they sell out in advance. Christmas voyages at one time were offered only along a handful of rivers in Europe, but today every major river line offers sailings traversing the Danube, Rhine, Main and beyond.

Traveling during Christmas holidays is a magical way to celebrate and spend quality time with family and friends. Christmas market cruises are a fabulous way for absorbing ancient holiday traditions, sightseeing in historic cities, and shopping, shopping, shopping.

Christmas Market River Cruises 2017-2018

5-day from Frankfurt to Basel, leaving Dec 10, ship Avalon Vista “Christmastime in Alsace and Germany” (prices from  $1,470) included:
4 nights cabin stay
stop in Speyer (Germany)
excursions to
Strasbourg (France)
Germany’s Black Forest
8-day from Prague to Frankfurt,
leaving Dec 03, ship Avalon Vista
“Christmas in the Heart of Germany” (prices from $2,100) included:
7 nights cabin stay
Prague guided sightseeing
Old Town Christmas market
sightseeing in Nuremberg, Würzburg, Bamberg
a visit to Bishop’s Residenz
tour to the Bavarian village of Miltenberg
9-day from Prague to Vienna, leaving
Dec 02 (Dec 14), ship Avalon Panorama
“Christmastime on the Danube – Eastbound” (prices from $2,370) included:
8 nights cabin stay
guided sightseeing
visit to Hradcany Castle (Prague),
beer tasting
guided visit of Benedictine Abbey (Melk)
9-day from Vienna to Prague, leaving
Nov 28 (ship Avalon Panorama)
Nov 29 (ship Avalon Vista)
Dec 10 (ship Avalon Panorama)
“Christmastime on the Danube – Westbound” (prices from  $2,370) included:
8 nights cabin stay
guided sightseeing in Vienna, Nuremberg,Regensburg, Prague
visit of Benedictine Abbey (Melk)
beer tasting
visit of Hradcany Castle (Prague)
12-day Prague to Basel, leaving Dec 03, ship Avalon Vista “Christmastime Prague to Basel – Westbound” (prices from  $3,470) included:
11-night cabin stay
guided sightseeing in Prague, Nuremberg, Würzburg, Bamberg
the Bavarian village of Miltenberg
Strasbourg, France
visit to Würzburg Bishop’s Residenz
excursion to Rüdesheim and Heidelberg
Germany’s Black Forest
12-day Vienna to Frankfurt, leaving Nov 29, ship Avalon Vista “Christmastime in Germany & Austria – Westbound” (prices from  $3,910) included:
11-night cabin stay
guided sightseeing inNuremberg, Vienna, Munich, Würzburg,Bamberg
walks in themedieval Regensburg, Dürnstein, Miltenberg
visit to Bishop’s Residence (Würzburg)
Benedictine Abbey (Melk)
beer tasting (Bamberg)
wine tasting Wachau Valley (Austria)
16-day Vienna to Basel, leaving Nov 29, ship Avalon Vista “Grand Christmastime Cruise – Westbound” (prices from $5,270) included:
15-night cabin stay
stopping in Dürnstein (baroque Stiftskirche)
Benedictine Abbey (Melk)
regional wines’ tasting
visit to Linz, Passau,Nuremberg, medieval Regensburg, Munich
German beer tasting (Regensburg)
Bishop’s Residenz (Würzburg)
medieval Miltenberg
excursion to Rüdesheim wine village
Heidelberg (red sandstone castle)
guided sightseeing Strasbourg
excursion to Germany’s Black Forest.
8-day Nuremberg to Frankfurt (the reverse), leaving Nov 29 and Dec 13 (from Frankfurt); Dec 06 and Dec 20 (from Nuremberg), ship River Queen “Classic Christmas Markets” (prices from $2,800) included:
7-night cabin stay
Nuremberg city tour
Bamberg Nativity walk
Rothenburg and Wertheim walking tours
Würzburg Residenz
Frankfurt city tour and Christmas Markets
8-day Nuremberg to Vienna (the reverse), leaving Dec 08 (from Vienna); Dec 01 and Dec 15 (from Nuremberg), ship River Empress “European Holiday Markets
along the Danube” (prices from $2,900)
7-night cabin stay
Nuremberg city tour
Regensburg walking tour
Horse-drawn sleigh ride (Bavarian Forest)
floral decorating demonstrations, glassmaking
Passau and Linz walking tours
classical concert in Vienna
8-day from Budapest to Passau (the reverse), leaving Dec 08 (from Passau); Dec 01 and Dec 15 (from Budapest), ship – Maria Theresa, River Beatrice “Danube Holiday Markets” (prices from $3,200) included:
7-night cabin stay
Budapest and Bratislava city tours
Mozart and Strauss concert in Vienna
organ recital in Göttweig Abbey
Salzburg, Linz, Steyr and Passau Christmas Markets
8-day from Basel to Cologne (the reverse), leaving leaving Dec 13 (from Cologne); Dec 06 and Dec 20 (from Basel), ship – S.S. Antoinette “Rhine Holiday Markets” (prices from $2,900) included:
7-night cabin stay
Basel, Heidelberg and Koblenz walking tours
Strasbourgby canal or “Taste of Christmas” market
Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum
Cologne cathedral visit
8-day from Nuremberg to Frankfurt, leaving Dec 03, ship – Avalon Vista “Christmas in the heart of Germany” (prices from $1,970) included:
5-night cabin stay
2-night hotel in Prague
Prague, Nuremberg and Bamberg walking tours
excursion to Rothenburg
guided tour in Wertheim
12-day Zurich to Amsterdam (the reverse), leaving on Nov 21, 26; Dec 5, 10, 19, 14 (from Zurich); Nov 23; Dec 02, 07, 16, 21 (from Amsterdam), ship – Amacerto, Amaserena “Christmas on the Rhine” (prices from $3,960) included:
2-night hotel in Zurich
2-night hotel in Lucerne
7-night cruise from Basel to Amsterdam (the reverse)
walking tour of Zürich (Grossmünster)
Lake Lucerne
Rhine Castles
guided canal boat tour in Amsterdam
8-day Paris to Paris, leaving on Dec 06, 13, 20, 27, ship – River Baroness “Parisian Winter Holiday” (prices from $2,800) included:
7-night cabin stay
Hike to Château Gaillard
Rouen walking tour
Cathedral choir recital
“Secret Versailles” palace tour
Seine “Heart of Paris” cruise, Christmas markets
11-day Prague to Amsterdam, leaving on Dec 25, ship – Amaprima “Treasures of the Rhine and Main” (prices from $3,680) included:
3-night pre-cruise hotel in Prague
7-night Nurmeberg to Amsterdam
Prague sightseeing tour
Nuremberg-Bamberg walking tour
guided tour of Würzburg and medieval Rothenburg
board a miniature train to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum
Amsterdam guided canal cruise
11-day from Passau to Budapest, leaving on Dec 23, ship – Maria Theresa “Enchanting Christmas and New Years cruise” (prices from $4,900) included:
10-night cabin stay
Passau walking tour
festive holiday lunch in Salzburg
Grein city walk and cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle (Princess Anita von Hohenberg)
Melk Abbey visit, organ concert, Dürnstein village walk and mulled wine tasting
Mozart and Strauss concert (Viennese concert hall)
typical Austrian dinner
Bratislava and Budapest walking tours
excursion to Szentendre Artists’ Village
13-day from Nuremberg to Budapest, leaving on Dec 22, ship – River Empress “Grand Christmas and New Years cruise” (prices from $5,500) included:
12-night cabin stay
Nuremberg and Regensburg city tours
horse-drawn carriage ride (Bavarian Forest)
Passau and Linz walking tours
New Years gala dinner and dance at Viennese palace.
8-day from Budapest to Nuremberg
Nov 28; Dec 12, 26 (Viking Freya); Nov 29; Dec 13 (Viking Atla); Dec 6 (Viking Jarl); Dec 5, 19 (Viking Njord)
8-day from Nuremberg to Budapest
Dec 5, 19 (Viking Freya); Dec 6 (Viking Atla); Nov 29; Dec 13 (Viking Jarl); Dec 12 (Viking Njord)
“Romantic Danube” (prices from $1,860) included:
8-day cruise, river-view stateroom
six guided tours, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites
all meals, Welcome Cocktail Reception&Dinner
Captain’s Farewell Dinner
complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks
musical entertainment, lectures on Viennese coffee houses, Mozart, European Union
8-day from Passau to Budapest
Dec 6, 20 (Viking Baldur); Nov 28; Dec 12, 26 (Viking Alsvin); Nov 29; Dec 13, 27 (Viking Eistla); Dec 5, 19 (Viking Skadi)
8-day from Budapest to Passau
Dec 13, 27 (Viking Baldur); Dec 5, 19 (Viking Alsvin; Dec 6, 20 (Viking Eistla); Nov 28; Dec 12, 26 (Viking Skadi)
“Danube Waltz” (prices from $1,860) included:
8-day cruise, river-view stateroom
six guided tours, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites
all meals, Welcome Cocktail Reception&Dinner
Captain’s Farewell Dinner
complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks
musical entertainment, lectures on Viennese coffee houses, Mozart
8-day from Amsterdam to Basel
Dec 05 (Viking Idi); Dec 1, 15 (Viking Hlin); Nov 28; Dec 12 (Viking Kvasir); Dec 8, 22 (Viking Kara)
8-day from Basel to Amsterdam
Nov 28; Dec 12 (Viking Idi); Dec 8, 22 (Viking Hlin); Dec 5 (Viking Kvasir); Dec 1, 15 (Viking Kara)
“Rhine Getaway” (prices from $1,860). included:
8-day cruise, river-view stateroom
six guided tours, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
all meals, Welcome Cocktail Reception&Dinner
Captain’s Farewell Dinner
complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks
musical entertainment, lectures.

Christmas Market River Cruises 2017-2018

10-day including 2 nights in Prague, plus multiple Christmas Markets on the route from Nuremberg to Budapest, including Regensburg, Salzburg, Vienna
Nov 24, 29 (AmaViola); Nov 25, 30; Dec 9, 14 (AmaStella); Nov 26; Dec 5, 10, 19 (AmaSonata); Nov 27; Dec 2, 11, 16 (AmaSerena)
“Christmas Markets on the Danube” (prices from $2,800) included:
2-night hotel stay in Prague
transfer to the ship in Nuremberg
7-night cruise accommodation
tours and excursions offered daily
free high-speed Internet, complimentary Wi-Fi
dining with all meals included, multiple dining venues
wines, beer & soft drinks with lunch and dinner
bottled water in every stateroom
Cocktail Reception, Welcome Dinner, Captain’s Gala Dinner
lectures, cooking demonstration, music performances, piano music
bicycles and guided bicycle tours
non-smoking environment
all local taxes
8-day from Nuremberg to Frankfurt
Nov 28; Dec 5, 12, 19 (Uniworld, River Duchess)
“Classic Christmas Markets” (prices from $2,900) included:
7-night cruise, riverview stateroom
all transfers on arrival/departure days
all meals, Captain’s Welcome/Farewell Receptions
Welcome/Farewell Gala Dinners
all unlimited beverages, including beer, fine wine, spirits, soft drinks, specialty tea and coffee, mineral water
6 days of excursions
2 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Quietvox portable audio-headset system
use of Nordic walking sticks
signature lecture about Christmas rraditions in Germany
  1. 5-day from Basel to Frankfurt, leaving on Dec 3 (Avalon Waterways, Tranquility II)
  2. 8-day from Frankfurt to Prague, visiting Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg
    Dec 7 (Avalon Waterways, Tranquility II)
  3. 9-day from Vienna to Prague, visiting Regensburg, Nuremberg
    Dec 5 (Avalon Impression)
  4. 9-day from Prague to Vienna, visiting Regensburg, Nuremberg
    Nov 27 (Avalon Impression)
  5. 12-day from Zurich to Prague, visiting Strasbourg, Würzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg
    Dec 3 (Tranquility II)
  6. 13-day from Frankfurt to Budapest, visiting Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Munich and Vienna
    Dec 7 (Tranquility II)
  7. 17-day from Zurich to Budapest
    Dec 3 (Tranquility II)
  1. “Christmastime in Alsace and Germany” (prices from $1,460)
  2. “Christmas in the Heart of Germany” (prices from $2,100)
  3. “Christmastime on the Danube – Westbound” (prices from $2,370)
  4. “Christmastime on the Danube – Eastbound” (prices from $2,370)
  5. “Christmastime Zurich to Prague” (prices from $3,220)
  6. “Christmastime Frankfurt to Budapest” (prices from $3,750)
  7. “Christmastime Zurich to Budapest” (prices from $5,100)
wall-to-wall panoramic windows
non-smoking interior
headsets for guided shore excursions
onboard lectures and nightly entertainment
room service – Continental breakfast and beverages
Internet corner, complimentary Wi-Fi
biking excursions
alternate lunch and dinner (Panorama Bistro)
fresh fruit throughout the day
premium lounge chairs
fitness center, elevator
Sky Deck whirlpool
onboard movie nights
Sky Deck game area
use of Nordic walking sticks
beverage station with complimentary hot chocolate, tea and premium coffees
7-day from Budapest to Nuremberg
Dec 03, 04, 10, 17 (Viking Longships)
“Romantic Danube” (prices from £890) included:
7 nights full board cruise
economy class flights from London to Budapest; return from Munich
complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks with lunch and dinner
guided excursions
Welcome Cocktail Reception & Dinner
Captain’s Farewell Dinner
port and airport taxes, transfers

The above YouTube video release is by the Viking Cruises line about the Christmas Markets cruises highlights on their river boat vacations. You can also check this link to the Wikipedia’s Xmas Market page.

Enjoy your “best shopping + food” fun on your European Xmas holiday vacations! Good luck with the prices – and bon appetit!