Discover fairytale castles and historic vineyards as part of this spectacular Rhine River holiday fantasy. Explore the canal-laden city of Amsterdam in all its seasonal glory, with its neat rows of buildings and rich history. Wander the stalls of France’s oldest Christmas Market in Strasbourg and explore the restaurants, open-air wine gardens, and Christmas Market of Drosselgasse, the cultural heart of Rüdesheim. Sail aboard an elegantly decorated ship through cities and towns brimming with beautiful decor, glittering Christmas trees and holiday spirit. Plus, enjoy festive onboard traditions and an exquisite holiday feast with all the trimmings on every Christmas Markets departure. Encompassing the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, as well as iconic landmarks and majestic mountain landscapes, this distinctive itinerary is truly a Christmas miracle.
Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles (Christmas)
At A Glance
On our river cruises, you will enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours. In many cases, you will have a choice of excursions, such as standard tours, bike tours, hikes and Special Interest Tours. We always include a large variety of activities so that you can choose how you want to explore. No matter your preference, your days will be full of discovery and wonder.
Embark your ship in Basel for your Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps cruise. (B,D)
|“City of Art” tour with Christmas Markets
|OR Three countries bike tour
|OR Full-day Lake Lucerne excursion with Christmas Markets*
|Half-day Lucerne with Christmas Markets
Enjoy getting to know Basel, Switzerland’s third largest city. Long an important university, banking and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval town hall, richly decorated market square and exquisite 18th-century patrician homes. Tour the city by foot or on a guided bike tour that takes you through three countries: Switzerland, France and Germany. Both tours offer free time to visit Basel’s Christmas Markets. Alternatively, go on a full-day excursion to Lake Lucerne or spend your afternoon there. Lake Lucerne is known for its Lion Monument – the figure of a dying lion carved into a hillside in memory of the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution in 1792 – which Mark Twain described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” Whether you choose the full-day excursion or half-day tour to Lake Lucerne, you’ll also see Lake Lucerne’s spectacular medieval walls and towers, dating back to the 13th century, plus enjoy free time to explore the Christmas Markets. (B,L,D)
*Not combinable with other tours on this day.
|“The Gem of Alsace” tour and Christmas Markets
|Gengenbach Christmas Market Tour
Strasbourg offers flavors of both France and Germany because of its borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République before walking through its iconic “La Petite France” district, lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through charming streets past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock. During the tour you will receive free time to visit the Christmas markets. Alternatively, take a guided bike ride through the city and Parc de l’Orangerie. In the afternoon, visit the picturesque town Gengenbach stroll through the town’s narrow streets full of half-timbered houses. Enjoy the Gengenbach Christmas Market, packed with holiday treats and centers around the 18th century town hall. (B,L,D)
|Heidelberg tour and Christmas Markets
|OR Medieval Speyer and Christmas Markets
|OR Heidelberg Philosopher’s hike
Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of four excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century, 49,000-gallon wine cask. Here you can also enjoy visiting some of the festive Christmas Markets. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Old Gate, Altpörtel. In your free time, you might choose to visit the Christmas Markets or Technik Museum featuring exhibits of vintage cars, military aircraft and even a submarine! Or pedal along the river Neckar to the picturesque medieval city center of Ladenburg and enjoy some free time to explore the shops. Later in the day, cruise to the charming village of Rüdesheim and join a wine tasting to discover the flavors of the town’s iconic vineyards. Or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy, coffee and whipped cream. (B,L,D)
|Siegfried’s Mechanical Instrument Cabinet
|Gondola ride and Christmas Market
|OR Guided bike tour of the Rheingau
|Castles along the Rhine scenic cruising
|Exclusive Lahneck Castle visit
Let Siegfried’s Mechanical Instrument Cabinet charm you with its remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments. Or drink up the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal. Afterwards, enjoy free time in the town, perhaps to explore the Drosselgasse, the town’s cultural heart, and the Christmas Markets. For a more active adventure, hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards or join a guided bike tour along the scenic Rhine River. Later in the day, cruise through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river before reaching Lahnstein, where you will enjoy a unique evening visit at Lahneck Castle. (B,L,D)
|Cologne walking tour and Christmas Markets
|OR Cologne Cathedral Architecture tour
Enjoy cruising to Cologne. Join a guided tour through the Old Town. During your free time, browse through the city’s most impressive Christmas Markets, offering 160 attractively designed wooden pavilions. As an alternative, examine the historic architectural styles on display throughout the Cologne Cathedral during a guided tour. This 13th-century Gothic marvel and UNESCO World Heritage Site was the tallest building in the world at the time of its completion, and the church withstood 14 hits from aerial bombs during World War II. Active guests will want to join a guided bike ride along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten. (B,L,D)
|Canal cruise tour
There are 165 canals in Amsterdam, and you’ll get to enjoy some of them on your canal cruise. Alternatively, get a taste of local flavor, passing iconic canals, gabled houses, narrow bridges and house boats while tasting Dutch specialties at one of Amsterdam’s grand cafes. Please note: tour depends upon docking location and may be replaced with Jordaan District Walking Tour. (B,L,D)
**May be replaced with alternate tour based on docking location
Bid farewell to Amsterdam as you prepare for your return flight home.