European Christmas Markets River Cruises 2020

I took my first Christmas Market cruise with AmaWaterways in 2010. Not only was this my first Christmas Market cruise, but it was also my first river cruise in Europe – I had only done one other river cruise and that was on the Mekong. Leaving home for the holidays can be a hard. For some it feels like you are leaving behind tradition, family, and friends which can seem to be unthinkable. I was one of those people – until I did it.

AmaBella docked along the Rhine. © Britton Frost

While it was hard to say goodbye to most of my immediate family and my lifelong Christmas traditions, I knew that taking a Christmas cruise on the Rhine was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The snowcapped villages, charming markets, and cheerful locals awaited me, and I was ready to take it all in.

Christmas Markets – like this one in Vienna, Austria – are all about unique crafts, local food and traditions. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Shortly after boarding AmaBella, I knew that the journey ahead was going to be a memorable one. Everyone on the ship seemed to adopt the Christmas mentality to “eat, drink, and be merry.” There were many late nights spent in the lounge where we danced, shared stories about our own holiday traditions back home, sang, and more.

New friends made aboard AmaBella. © Britton Frost

It is hard to say what stood out more – the beautiful towns and markets that we visited on this trip, or the time spent aboard with my fellow passengers. Both complemented each other so well. In fact, a large group of us made sure that we were in the same tour group for most excursions so that we didn’t have to part ways throughout the day.

This was easily my favorite river cruise that I have ever taken, and I am so excited to take my next Christmas cruise at the end of this year aboard AmaMagna. But enough about my Christmas cruise, let’s take a look at some of the Christmas market itineraries offered in 2020 so that you can choose a sailing to give you the same wonderful experience that I had.

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has four weeklong Christmas market itineraries. Three of these itineraries sail the Danube, and one sails the Rhine. Though three of these itineraries take place on the same river, each Danube itinerary includes different stops, with one sailing onto Nuremberg instead of stopping in Vilshofen. Magna On The Danube takes place aboard the double-wide river ship, AmaMagna.

Prices for Ama’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$2,349 per person.

Christmas Markets On The Danube – 7-nights from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany

Countries visited: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Weissenkirchen, Melk, Linz, Passau, Vilshofen

Overnights in: Budapest and Vilshoften

Magna On The Danube – 7-nights from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany

Countries visited: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Krems, Spitz, Linz, Passau, Vilshofen

Overnights in: Budapest and Vilshofen

Christmas Markets On The Rhine – 7-nights from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Ludwigshafen, Strasbourg, Gengenbach, Breisach, Basel

Overnights in: Amsterdam

Iconic Christmas Markets – 7-nights from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg

Overnights in: Budapest and Nuremberg

Avalon Waterways

Avalon has the most extensive list of itineraries that we will look at today. These itineraries range from four to 17 days and sail the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers – Avalon’s Christmastime From Budapest To Basel itinerary sails all three rivers in one journey. Avalon’s nine Christmas itineraries are perfect for both travelers looking for a long journey that takes them through a large stretch of Europe and also those looking for a short sailing to give them a taste of what Christmastime on the river is like.

Prices for Avalon’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$1,049 per person.

Christmastime From Budapest To Basel – 17-days from Budapest, Hungary to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Mainz, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, Basel

Overnights in: Budapest and Nuremberg

Christmastime From Vienna To Basel – 16-days from Vienna, Austria to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Vienna, Melk, Grein, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Mainz, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, Basel

Overnights in: Vienna, Nuremberg, Basel

Festive Season On Heart Of The Danube – 13-days from Budapest, Hungary to Mainz, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Mainz

Overnights in: Budapest and Nuremberg

Christmastime From Vienna To Mainz – 12-days from Vienna, Austria to Mainz, Germany

Countries visited: Austria and Germany

Stops in: Vienna, Melk, Grein, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Mainz

Overnights in: Vienna and Nuremberg

Christmastime From Nuremberg To Basel – 10-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Mainz, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, Basel

Overnights in: Nuremberg

Festive Season On The Blue Danube Discovery – 8-days from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg

Overnights in: Budapest and Nuremberg

Christmastime On The Danube – 7-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Austria and Germany

Stops in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna

Overnights in: Nuremberg and Vienna

Festive Season On A Taste Of The Danube – 4-days from Budapest, Hungary to Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia and Austria

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Melk, Dürnstein, Krems, Vienna

No overnights.

Christmastime In Alsace & Germany – 5-days from Basel, Switzerland to Mainz, Germany

Countries visited: Switzerland, Germany, France

Stops in: Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Heidelberg, Mainz

No overnights.

Crystal River Cruises

Crystal offers travelers four Christmas cruise options. Two of these itineraries take place on the Rhine, and two on the Danube. The Danube itineraries are both weeklong itineraries but vary in the ports that they visit. Delightful Danube Christmas takes guests from Budapest all the way up to Regensburg, Germany, while Danube Christmas Dreams concludes in Vienna, Austria. The Rhine itineraries vary both in ports and in length – with one weeklong itinerary and one 10-night itinerary.

Prices for Crystal’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$2,150.

Delightful Danube Christmas – 7-nights from Budapest, Hungary to Regensburg, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Dürnstein, Melk, Passau, Regensburg

Overnights in: Budapest, Vienna, Regensburg

Christmas Time On The Rhine – 7-nights from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Strasbourg, Basel

Overnights in: Amsterdam and Koblenz

Danube Christmas Dreams – 7-nights from Budapest, Hungary to Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria

Stops in:  Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Dürnstein, Melk,  Linz, Krems

Overnights in: Budapest and Vienna

Rhine Christmas Markets – 10-nights from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Countries visited: Switzerland, France, Germany, Netherlands

Stops in: Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, Amsterdam

Overnights in: Basel, Rüdesheim, Amsterdam

Uniworld

Uniworld features seven Christmas cruise itineraries. These itineraries range from eight to 13 days and sail the Rhine, Danube, Main, and Seine. Apart from the diversity in rivers that Uniworld cruises for Christmas, the amount of overnights offered on these sailings also sets Uniworld apart from the other cruise companies that we have looked at so far. For example, the Grand Christmas And New Year’s Cruise sails from Nuremberg to Budapest, a sailing that is usually 8 days long. This sailing, however, is 13 days long and features four overnights.

Prices start for Uniworld’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$2,499.

Parisian Royal Holidays – 8-days roundtrip from Paris, France

Countries visited: France

Stops in: Paris, La Roche-Guyon, Vernon, Rouen, Versailles

Overnights in: Paris

European Holiday Markets – 8-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Germany and Austria

Stops in: Nuremberg, Roth, Regensburg, Deggendorf, Passau, Linz, Dürnstein, Vienna

Overnights in: Nuremberg and Vienna

Rhine Holiday Markets – 8-days from Basel, Switzerland to Cologne, Germany

Countries visited: Switzerland, France, Germany

Stops in: Basel, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Cologne

Overnights in: Basel and Cologne

Classic Christmas Markets – 8-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Frankfurt, Germany

Countries visited: Germany

Stops in: Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rothenburg, Würzburg, Wertheim, Frankfurt

Overnights in: Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt

Danube Holiday Markets – 8-days from Budapest, Hungary to Passau, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Krems, Linz, Passau

Overnights in: Budapest and Passau

Grand Christmas And New Year’s Cruise – 13-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Germany, Austria, Hungary

Stops in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Deggendorf, Passau, Linz, Dürnstein, Vienna, Budapest

Overnights in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Vienna, Budapest

Enchanting Christmas & New Year’s Cruise – 11-days from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary

Stops in: Passau, Linz, Grein, Melk, Dürnstein, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Overnights in: Passau, Vienna, Budapest

Viking River Cruises

Unlike the other cruise lines that we have looked at, Viking does not have dedicated Christmas cruises. What Viking does do, however, is add in the components of a Christmas cruise to its Rhine and Danube itineraries. What this means is that guests will choose an itinerary from the four listed below and if it coincides with the holiday season, guests will be able to visit Christmas Markets and partake in the holiday festivities.

Prices for Viking’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$1,899.

Danube Waltz – 8-days from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Krems, Linz, Passau

Overnights in: Budapest and Passau

Rhine Getaway – 8-days from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Countries visited: Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands

Stops in: Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, Kinderdijk, Amsterdam

No overnights.

Romantic Danube – 8-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg

Overnights in: Budapest and Nuremberg

Paris To The Swiss Alps – 8-days from Paris, France to Zürich, Switzerland

Countries visited: France, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland

Stops in: Paris, Luxembourg City, Trier, Bernkastel, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, Zürich, Basel

Overnights in: Paris and Zürich

Tauck

Tauck offers four eight-day Christmas itineraries. Tauck’s Christmas Markets Along The Danube and Christmas Markets Along The Rhine itineraries are similar to those we have looked at offered by the previous companies, however Tauck has two unique sailings that set it apart from the rest. First is the new Yuletide Spirit itinerary, which takes guests through Belgium and The Netherlands from Brussels to Amsterdam. Second is Tauck’s Holiday Magic itinerary – which is a Tauck Bridges itinerary geared specifically toward families. Tauck is the only company on this list that has an itinerary specific for families.

Prices for Tauck’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$2,990 per person.

Christmas Markets Along The Danube – 8-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Germany and Austria

Stops in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna

Overnights in: Nuremberg and Vienna

Christmas Markets Along The Rhine – 8-days from Basel, Switzerland to Cologne, Germany

Countries visited: Switzerland, France, Germany

Stops in: Basel, Lucerne, Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, Rüdesheim, Cologne

Overnights in: Basel and Cologne

Holiday Magic: Danube Family River Cruise – 8-days from Regensburg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary

Stops in: Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Dürnstein, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Overnights in: Vienna

Yuletide Spirit: Brussels To Amsterdam – 8-days from Brussels, Belgium to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Countries visited: Belgium and Netherlands

Stops in: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Delft, Gouda, Amsterdam

Overnights in: Brussels and Amsterdam

Scenic

Scenic’s four Christmas cruise itineraries range from eight to 15 days. The most notable itineraries in Scenic’s lineup are two 15-day itineraries that sail from Amsterdam to Budapest and the reverse. Though these two itineraries may not visit as many countries as some of the other itineraries offered, they cover the most ground.

Prices for Scenic’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at $2,095 per person.

Rhine Christmas Markets – 8-days from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden, Strasbourg, Basel

Overnights in: Amsterdam

Danube Christmas Markets – 8-days from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Dürnstein, Vienna, Budapest

Overnights in: Nuremberg and Budapest

Christmas Wonderland – 15-days from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherlands

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Miltenberg, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Linz, Dürnstein, Vienna, Budapest

Overnights in: Amsterdam and Budapest

Christmas Markets – 15-days from Budapest, Hungary to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Countries visited: Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherlands

Stops in: Budapest, Vienna, Dürnstein, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Rüdesheim, Cologne, Amsterdam

Overnights in: Budapest, Vienna, Rüdesheim, Amsterdam

Emerald Waterways

Like its sister company Scenic, Emerald also offers an impressive 15-day itinerary from Amsterdam to Budapest. While Emerald and Scenic seem to offer very similar itineraries, there is variety in the ports that are visited on these sailings.

Prices for Emerald’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$2,995 per person.

Christmas Markets On The Rhine – 8-days from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland

Countries visited: Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Mannheim, Heidelberg,  Kehl, Strasbourg, Breisach, Basel

Overnights in: Amsterdam

Christmas Markets On The Danube – 8-days from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany

Stops in: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Dürnstein, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Overnights in: Budapest

Christmas Markets Of Europe – 15-days from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Netherlands

Stops in: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Miltenberg, Wertheim, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Kelheim, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Dürnstein, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Overnights in: Budapest and Amsterdam

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope offers four short Christmas market itineraries between four and five days. Three of these cruises sail roundtrip from Strasbourg and only explore France. The other itinerary sails the Danube roundtrip from Vienna and visits Budapest and Bratislava.

Prices for CroisiEurope’s 2020 Christmas cruises start at US$565 per person.

Christmas Markets In Alsace – 4-days roundtrip from Strasbourg, France

Countries visited: France

Stops in: Strasbourg and Colmar

Overnights in: Strasbourg

The Magic Of Christmas – 5-days roundtrip from Strasbourg, France

Countries visited: France

Stops in: Strasbourg, Rüdesheim, Mainz, Gambsheim

Overnights in: Rüdesheim, Gambsheim, Strasbourg

A Bountiful Christmas In Alsace And The Black Forest – 4-days roundtrip from Strasbourg, France

Countries visited: France

Stops in: Strasbourg, Breisach, Freiburg, Colmar

Overnights in: Strasbourg and Breisach

Taking In 3 Countries: The Danube And Its Traditions – 5-days roundtrip from Vienna, Austria

Countries visited: Austria, Slovakia, Hungary

Stops in: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest

Overnights in: Vienna and Budapest

Riviera

*Please note that these itineraries are Riviera’s 2019 Christmas sailings. No sailings for 2020 have been announced.

Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets – 5-days roundtrip from Cologne, Germany

Countries visited: Germany

Stops in: Cologne, Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Bonn

Overnights in: Cologne

The Danube’s Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets – 6-days roundtrip from Budapest, Hungary

Countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria

Stops in: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna

Overnights in: Budapest

Breaking away from my family traditions and going on a Christmas Markets cruise was an extremely rewarding experience. So rewarding, in fact, that I hope my Christmas cruise this year starts a tradition of its own. I encourage everyone who is thinking about taking a Christmas cruise to do so. Trust me, the magic of Christmas is felt just as easily across the Atlantic as it is back home.

The post European Christmas Markets River Cruises 2020 appeared first on River Cruise Advisor.

Article ID: ART4455


  
  
 
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  Amy Parker
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