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Christmastime from Basel to Budapest 2019

17 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Fly for free from select gateways. This offer is combinable with select promotions. Expires December 18. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Avalon Waterways Journeys Club members save $150 per person off trips. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 BASEL, SWITZERLAND (EMBARKATION)
Welcome to Switzerland! Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding.

Flights into Zürich must arrive by 3 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Stroll through the city centre, enjoy the festive illumination and savor Christmas delicacies like waffles, gingerbread, sweets and Swiss raclette.

EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH (D)

Day 2 BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO BLACK FOREST
History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest

DISCOVERY Join a full-day Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings.

Alternatively, spend your afternoon leisurely browsing Breisach’s lovely Christmas market to sample bretzels, mulled wine, and Black Forest cake.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STRASBOURG (B,L,D)

Day 3 STRASBOURG, FRANCE
A Gothic Cathedral, Heaven’s Time, and Joyeux Noël

CLASSIC Come along for City Sightseeing, including the city’s gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to beautiful Alsace, for an afternoon in a French wine-country village.

Savor the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition by spending your free time this afternoon wandering the French winter markets of Strasbourg. Take in the lights, music, and the pleasures of the season.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER (B,L,D)

Day 4 SPEYER, GERMANY. HEIDELBERG EXCURSION
Winter Wonders and a Wine Barrel Fit for a King

CLASSIC Take a half-day Guided Tour that includes the magnificent Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat—the world’s largest wine barrel.

This afternoon, visit the local German Christmas Markets in Heidelberg, or Speyer. Explore at your own pace to soak up the sights and sounds, tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of these sparkling winter wonderlands.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO WIESBADEN (B,L,D)

Day 5 WIESBADEN. EXCURSION TO RUDESHEIM
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country

DISCOVERY Tour the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience in Rüdesheim

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER (B,D)

Day 6 MAIN RIVER VILLAGE
Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights in Beautiful Bavaria

CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of a picturesque village along the Main River.

DISCOVERY Join a Cookie-Baking Demonstration on board your ship while sailing.

AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WÜRZBURG (B,L,D)

Day 7 WÜRZBURG
Ornaments, Old Saint Nicholas, and Nutcrackers Sweet

CLASSIC Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the “Pearl of the Romantic Road” with its Old Main Bridge, towering fortress, and baroque Bishop’s Residence.

You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the beautiful Bavarian town of Rothenburg. Visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt German Christmas museum—the world’s most extensive collection of traditional German Christmas decorations.

Spend free time enjoying the festive, warm glow of Wurzburg’s Christmas markets.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG (B,L,D)

Day 8 BAMBERG
Cherished Christmas Customs and Cradle Scenes

DISCOVERY Enjoy an onboard Christmas Traditions Lecture while sailing.

CLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Bamberg—medieval home of Germany’s Roman Empire dynasties. Stroll through dozens of Bamberg’s nativity scenes—from miniature to life-size.

Take free time to enjoy the quaint Christmas markets, and warm up with traditional German dumplings, sausage, and a glass of hearty Bavarian ale.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NUREMBERG (B,L,D)

Day 9 NUREMBERG
Living Heritage and History Lessons

CLASSIC Choose a Guided Tour of Nuremberg’s medieval architecture, gilded fountain, Gothic cathedral, and Kaiserburg Castle, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the historic Nuremberg Rally Grounds—used by the Third Reich.

Spend free time browsing the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare—bratwurst, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other Christkindlmarkt culinary delights.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG (B,L,D)

Day 10 NUREMBERG. EXCURSION TO MUNICH
CLASSIC Enjoy a Guided City Tour which will show you the highlights of fascinating Munich. See Nymphenburg Palace—a former residence of Bavarian monarchs, along with the Old and New Town Halls of Marienplatz. (B,D)

Day 11 NUREMBERG
Living Heritage and History Lessons

A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, buy those last-minute Christmas gifts, or ask your Cruise Director for suggestions of things to do.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO REGENSBURG (B,L,D)

Day 12 REGENSBURG
Magical Regensburg—Bavaria’s Medieval Miracle

CLASSIC Join a Guided City Walk and see Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria—built in 179 AD as the entrance to Castra Regina fortress.

DISCOVERY Later, indulge in a Beer Tasting on board.

This evening, enjoy live entertainment after dinner as you cruise toward Passau.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PASSAU (B,L,D)

Day 13 PASSAU
Go for Baroque in Passau–Where the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers meet

CLASSIC Join a Guided City Walk to learn more about this beautiful “City of Three Rivers,” OR:

Join a full day Guided Optional Excursion to Salzburg—the city of Mozart—or a full day Guided Optional Excursion to the picturesque Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov.

Sail to Linz this afternoon, or join your ship after your selected full-day excursion.

LINZ, AUSTRIA

The Linzer Torte and a Legendary Love of Art and Music

Enjoy a free afternoon to linger in Linz. Take a bicycle from the ship and cycle along the Danube, or follow one of Linz’s many nature trails for a bird’s-eye view of the city and river below.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MELK (B,L,D)

Day 14 MELK—WACHAU VALLEY
Striking Frescoes and Breathtaking Views of the Wachau Valley

CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings, statues, incredible library, and ornate pipe organ

DISCOVERY Enjoy an Austrian Cookie Tasting while sailing to Vienna.

During lunchtime sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley to Vienna.

VIENNA

Vienna Waltzes and the Beautiful Blue Danube

This evening, you may choose to attend an Optional Excursion to a Royal Waltz Concert for an unforgettable evening of music in an elegant hall.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN VIENNA (B,L,D)

Day 15 VIENNA
Royal Collections, Amusing Attractions, and Culinary Confections

CLASSIC Venture into the Habsburg empire on a Guided City Tour of Vienna’s gilded landmarks. See the Imperial Palace complex—the winter residence of the Imperial Family, the historic Vienna Opera House and stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral, OR:

DISCOVERY Join a Guided Culinary Tour of Vienna’s magical Christmas Advent Markets to sample Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel.

Join a Guided Optional Excursion to Schönbrunn Palace—a Habsburg Empire summer home for 300 years.

Spend free time on your own to enjoy the Christkindlesmarkt, or relax by the fire’s glow in a Viennese café this evening.

Later, relax on board with live entertainment as you sail to Budapest.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BUDAPEST (B,L,D)

Day 16 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
The Pearl of the Danube in the Heart of Europe

CLASSIC Enjoy a Guided City Sightseeing, including the iconic Heroes’ Square.

Take in the beauty of Budapest while enjoying a free afternoon exploring such famous sights as the Chain Bridge. Get to know the city’s cafés and pubs, and don’t miss the unique Christmas markets that Budapest hosts every year during the Festive season.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN BUDAPEST (B,L,D)

Day 17 BUDAPEST (DISEMBARKATION)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
  • Breisach: excursion to Black Forest; Christmas market
  • Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market
  • Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg: guided tour of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas markets
  • Wiesbaden. Excursion to Rüdesheim: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat
  • Main river village: guided walk, onboard baking demonstration
  • Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz; Christmas market
  • Bamberg: onboard Christmas Traditions lecture; guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall; Christmas market
  • Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; Christmas market
  • Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich: guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz
  • Nuremberg: day at leisure to visit Christmas market
  • Regensburg: onboard lecture; guided walk;Christmas Market; beer tasting on board
  • Passau: guided walk
  • Melk—Wachau Valley—Vienna: guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk; scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley; Austrian cookie tasting
  • Vienna: choice of guided sightseeing or culinary tour at Christmas Market
  • Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Heroes’ Square
  • Budapest (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning
All This Included
Begin your Christmas river cruise through France and Germany in Basel, Switzerland. Here, you’ll board your Avalon Suite Ship® to sail for the Bavarian town of Breisach. From here, take a day’s tour of the Black Forest area for the perfect beginning of the Christmas ambience, which you’ll see in town at the marvelous markets.

Next, you’ll see the gothic cathedral and iconic sights of Strasbourg, France, with the warm glow of its Christmas markets adding to the beauty of the city. Your cruise takes you to Speyer, Germany, for an excursion to Heidelberg Castle, with free time to peruse the shining Christmas markets in Heidelberg or Speyer.

Visit a picturesque Main river village, before your next stop in Würzburg, Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road.” Savor the sights, sounds, and confections of Würzburg’s warm Christmas markets before continuing your guided European vacation to enjoy Christmas in the Heart of Germany and hear of the beautiful Christmas traditions of Germany with a lecture on board, and a guided sightseeing tour of the glowing Christkindlesmarkt of Bamberg—complete with dozens of nativity scenes of every size.

Your European Christmas market vacation includes a visit to Nuremberg, with a guided sightseeing tour, free time to enjoy Christmas markets, and an excursion to Rüdesheim. Then sail from Nuremberg to Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. Take in the breathtaking views before continuing through the picturesque Wachau Valley to the romantic sights of Vienna, the “City of Music.”

Your European river cruise vacation ends in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, with guided sightseeing and free time to explore this vibrant city and its Christmas markets on your own. With Christmas memories of Germany, and the Danube’s legendary beauty, this Christmas river cruise will be cherished for years to come.
  • Ship Amenities - Avalon Artistry II:
    • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
    • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, shade awnings, & outdoor deck game area
    • State-of-the-art fitness center
    • Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
    • Convenient Elevator Service
    • Elegant, contemporary design
    • Outside viewing deck
    • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
    • English-speaking friendly crew, staff & professional Cruise Director
    • Sightseeing with Expert Local Guides
    • Onboard lectures, activities & entertainment
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Sky Deck whirlpool
    • Complimentary computer use in public areas
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
    • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Breisach
    • Onboard Adventure Center with active gear, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, watercraft & maps
    • Light lunch & casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
    • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
    • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
    • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Onshore & Onboard experiences with regional customs, cultures & tastings with local artisans, experts & entertainers
    • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
    • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
    • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro's tasting menu for a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere
    • Sky Deck game area
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and board games
    • Complimentary bottled water, fresh fruit, and cookies available throughout the day
    • Full-size closet mirror
  • Ship Dining - Avalon Artistry II:
    • Avalon FreshSM healthy cuisine options at every meal
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine & canapés
    • Welcome dinner
    • Five-course farewell dinner
    • Spacious, open-seating dining room
    • Daily early-riser breakfast
    • Daily late-riser breakfast
    • Full buffet breakfast with sparkling wine and made-to-order egg station
    • Lunch buffet with carving and pasta stations
    • Al fresco lunch in the Sky Grill
    • Cocktails with a view on the Sky Deck
    • Healthy Corner options including low calorie, low fat, high fiber, low cholesterol, and high energy choices
    • Vegetarian options at every meal, as well as vegan and allergy-free selections
    • Afternoon Tea featuring tea, coffee, and sweet treats
    • Happy Hour every evening including featured drink specials
    • Seasonal cuisine featuring the freshest local ingredients
    • Chef-prepared onboard meals with regional cuisine and familiar favorites
    • Four-course dinners with choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrées and desserts or cheese
    • Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Panorama Lounge & Bar with premium spirits, cozy seating, panoramic windows & dance floor
    • Night Fare served at 10:30 pm
    • Healthy meal options
    • Light lunch & casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro's tasting menu for a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere
    • Tastings - sample the destination's famous delicacies
    • Coffee or tea after dinner
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Artistry II
Zurich: Radisson Blu Airport
Budapest: InterContinental Budapest
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Zürich:
in single room from $185 to $349, in twin room from $120 to $208

Extra nights per person in Budapest:
in single room $178, in twin room $111
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • Port charges: $416
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
  • Triples not available.
  • 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.



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