Day 1: Basel
Arrive at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg where you’ll be transferred to the ship. (D)
Day 2: Basel
Featured Excursion: Basel walking tour with Christmas Market
Your city walk introduces you to Basel, Switzerland’s second-largest city. Delight in Basel’s Christmas Market, located in the heart of historic Old Town. With more than 150 stands, it offers many locally made craft items, unique ornaments, and delicious seasonal baked goods. Warm your hands on a mug of glühwein (hot mulled wine) as you browse. When you’ve spent as long as you like shopping, visit the illuminated Christmas Street, which is beautifully decorated with over 100 Christmas trees. (BB, L, Captain’s Welcome Gala)
Day 3: Kehl (Strasbourg)
Featured Excursion: Strasbourg by canal with Christmas Market
Situated halfway between Paris and Prague, Strasbourg is known as the “Crossroads of Europe.” See this city as it has been seen through the centuries—on a canal cruise. Petite France, a neighborhood of cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses that is particularly picturesque at this time of year, is where you can visit the oldest Christmas Market in France. Complete your exploration of old- town Strasbourg with a visit to Strasbourg’s magnificent, single-spire Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral. Here you’ll find finely crafted toys, ceramics, jewelry, and handmade Nativity figurines in a wonderfully festive atmosphere. You won’t want to miss the delectable holiday delights like buche de Noel, the delicious Christmas cake made to look like a yule log, or the traditional Alsatian Christmas cookies called bredele. (BB, L, D)
Day 4: Germersheim (Heidelberg)
Featured Excursion: Full-day Heidelberg tour with Christmas Market
Situated on the banks of the Neckar River, Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most beautiful cities and home to the country’s oldest university. Your tour of Heidelberg takes you past the romantic ruins of Heidelberg Castle and through Old Town, which is all dressed up for the holidays. You’ll have ample time to explore the Heidelberg Christmas Market, which spans more than five squares, where you’ll discover an inviting array of unusual arts and crafts, as well as exquisite hand- blown glass ornaments. Marvel at the Christmas Pyramid rotating inside the tower at the Marktplatz, or take a ride on the carousel. Local experts will recommend places for you to enjoy a hearty lunch on your own; be sure to try some typical German fare like sauerbraten (pot roast). (BB, D)
Day 5: Mainz, Rüdesheim
Featured Excursion: Siegfried’s Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments with Christmas Market
Enjoy the morning at leisure in the town of Mainz, where Johannes Gutenberg perfected his printing press. Stroll through Old Town and the city square to Kaiserdom and Kurfürstliche Schloss. Explore the St. Nicholas Christmas Market with 1,000-year-old St. Martin’s Cathedral as a backdrop. During the afternoon, cruise from Mainz to Rüdesheim, located in the heart of the Rhine Valley. The ship docks near Rüdesheim’s Christmas Market, which is unique: it highlights Christmas customs from around the world. Browse the more than 120 stalls packed with holiday delights, and don’t miss Rüdesheim’s life-size Nativity scene—one of Germany’s largest. If you like, drop by one of the many wine bars and sample a glass of the local wine; the Rheingau region of Germany is one of the smallest wine-growing regions in the country, yet it is world-renowned for its high-quality Rieslings. If a hot beverage appeals to you, order a Rüdesheimer coffee and enjoy the ritual as it is prepared before you; locally produced brandy is set afire as it is poured into the drink. As it gets darker, take a look at the illuminated decorations on the rooftops. A trip to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet to see its idiosyncratic collection of self-playing musical instruments is one of the day’s delights. (BB, L, D)
Day 6: Cruising the romantic Rhine River, Koblenz
Featured Excursion: Koblenz walking tour and Christmas Market
In the morning, you’ll cruise to Koblenz via the breathtaking 40 miles of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its 40 castles strung like pearls on the hillside, and the famous Lorelei Rock, the valley is the perfect example of the romantic Rhine. Once you arrive in Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, you’ll begin your walking tour through romantic alleyways lined with half-timbered houses decorated for the season. You’ll pass by St. Castor’s Church, the Church of Our Lady, Schängel Fountain, and historic City Hall. Afterward, delight in the Koblenz Christmas Market with its dozens of wooden stands offering arts and crafts, spicy mulled wine, and sweet Christmas cakes. (BB, L, D)
Day 7: Cologne
Featured Excursion: Cologne walking tour with Cologne Cathedral visit and Christmas Markets
Stroll through the narrow streets of Old Town as you make your way to Cologne Cathedral, the city’s beloved landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed that the earthly remains of the fabled Three Kings (the Magi) lie at rest here. You’ll learn about the history of the cathedral and its artwork, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi. Christian pilgrims have been flocking here for many centuries. In fact, one of the cathedral’s expansions was intended to accommodate the many faithful who travel to experience the wonder of this sacred site.Cologne boasts no fewer than eight Christmas Markets, so we have planned an entire day in this city to let you explore them at your own pace following the tour. Be sure to visit the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market, as well as Alter Markt in front of the City Hall, Neumarkt in Cologne’s shopping area, and the Medieval Christmas Market in front of the Chocolate Museum. (BB, L, Captain’s Farewell Dinner)
Note: On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.
Day 8: Cologne (disembark), transfer to the airport
Disembark the ship ans transfer to Cologne Bonn Airport for your flight home. (CB/BB)
All This Included
Switzerland, France, and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas Markets cruise. The personality of each country shines even brighter at this time of year because of each area’s special holiday traditions.
Visit the delightful Christmas Markets of Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France. Then continue on to Germany—where many of our signature holiday traditions began—with stops in lovely Medieval towns such as Heidelberg, Mainz, Rüdesheim, and Koblenz, as well as the majestic city of Cologne, with its UNESCO-listed Gothic cathedral. As you sail the legendary Rhine, especially the 40 miles along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll be captivated by ancient fortresses, Medieval castles, and half-timbered villages—all set in a winter wonderland.
Share the joy and magic of the season and enter into a festive mood as you enjoy the cozy holiday atmosphere onboard your exquisitely decorated boutique cruise ship.
7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the exquisite S.S. Antoinette
All transfers on arrival and departure days
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
Captain’s Welcome Gala and Farewell Dinners
Complimentary fine wine, beer, and soft drinks during lunch and dinner onboard; bottled water replenished daily in your stateroom; and 24-hour specialty coffee and tea station
Explore 3 countries
6 excursions fully hosted by English-speaking local expert
3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio headset system on all shore excursions
Captivating onboard local entertainment
Signature Lecture: “European Christmas Traditions, from Nutcracker to Tannenbaum”
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard S.S. Antoinette
Pre and Post Add-ons
3 days - $899 per person (single supplement $319)
Relax on the lush shores of Lake Lucerne, which is framed by the awesome peaks of the snow-capped Alps. Lucerne is unrivaled in its pristine beauty, old-world atmosphere, and Swiss charm.
Cabin upgrades are available.
Note: Christmas Markets are generally open from the beginning of Advent until December 23.
Prices exclude additional port charges of $140 and are per person, cruise-only based on double occupancy.
A limited number of singles are available for an additional supplement.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.