Day 1 – Frankfurt (embark)
Arrive at Frankfurt International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Day 2 – Frankfurt
Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience both aspects of the city today, with time to browse the local Christmas market, one of the best on the Continent. Other options include a “Taste of Christmas” walking tour featuring all sorts of sugary and savory treats or an excursion to the Christmas market in Wiesbaden. You’ll wake up to the pulse of one of Germany’s most flourishing cities, Frankfurt. Its cosmopolitan citizens hail from more than 200 nations, and its soaring skyscrapers are home to major European transportation and financial institutions, among them the European Central Bank. In the afternoon, you have the option to return to the Wiesbaden Christmas Market via a complimentary shuttle.
A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Featured Excursions: Choice of Frankfurt walking discovery tour with Christmas Market or Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour or Wiesbaden Christmas Market
Generations Excursion: Christmas with dinosaurs. A Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton looms high overhead, and a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus lumber along a wall. You journey into the distant past when you visit Frankfurt’s Senckenberg Museum. The Messel Pit, the world’s richest site for Eocene fossils, is not far from Frankfurt and provides many of the wonders on display here, including 50-million-year-old midget horses (with four toes instead of the modern-day horse’s solid hoof), long-extinct birds and alligators that indicate that this region was once a tropical rainforest—hard as that might be to believe during Germany’s winter! When you’ve spent enough time exploring the past, cross the Main bridge to Romer Square and Frankfurt’s fabulous Christmas market.
Day 3 – Cruising the Main River, Wertheim
Get a taste of life in the Middle Ages at a remarkably well-preserved German village, where you’ll meet a local butcher and baker (and perhaps even a candlestick maker) on a guided walking tour. Be sure to fortify yourself with a mug of mulled wine and a slice of delicious stollen before visiting the town’s charming Christmas market. Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers, Wertheim (or Wertheim am Main) is a lovely village dating back over a thousand years. It epitomizes the friendly, slow-paced, small-town atmosphere of many German villages; here, residents greet each other by name as they do their daily shopping for fresh bread and sausage in tiny shops. On your guided walking tour of the village, you’ll hear a lot about daily life in Wertheim, as well as facts about the town and its history. Its many well-preserved medieval buildings— complete with low doors, tiny rooms and insufficient lighting—attest to the inconveniences of life in the Middle Ages.
Featured Excursions: Choice of Wertheim walking discovery tour with mulled wine or Michelstadt Christmas Market
Generations Excursion: Medieval insights. Christmas cards come to life in Wertheim, where your family guide takes you on a tour of storybook gabled houses—they almost look like the fanciest gingerbread houses in the world—and garland-bedecked cobblestone streets where kids have had snowball fights for 700 years. Wertheim has been home to glassblowers for many generations; one of today’s master glassblowers will exhibit his art and craft in a traditional Advent demonstration.
Day 4 – Würzburg
One of the best ways to embrace a different culture is through encounters with local residents, which you’ll experience today in a typical Franconian village. Make new friends over hot drinks and homemade seasonal treats; see the Würzburg Residence, a baroque-style palace famous for its gigantic ceiling fresco. And visit the town’s renowned Christmas market for some one-of-a-kind gifts for friends back home (or yourself!). The town of Würzburg owes many of its most notable monuments to the ambitious building programs of the wealthy prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, who controlled the town in the 17th-and 18th-centuries. Their spectacular episcopal residence is on your schedule for today, as is a delightful encounter with the residents of a Franconian village.
Featured Excursions: Würzburg Residenz with Christmas Market and exclusive Franconian “Village Day”
Generations Excursion: Würzburg Residenz with Christmas Market and exclusive Franconian “Village Day. The bishops’ palace—all 300 rooms of it—is overwhelming. If you saw the 2011 film The Three Musketeers with Orlando Bloom, you saw the palace in many scenes: It stood in for the king of France’s palace, which gives you a hint of just how grand it truly is. Among its many treasures is the world’s largest ceiling fresco, painted by Tiepolo; as you mount the stairs, you’ll see how the artist reveals different parts of his work depending on where you are—be sure to notice how some of the figures in the painting seem to be climbing out of the fresco onto the elaborate molding. And then check out the Christmas market: Some of the stands sell miniature replicas of the houses around the square, so perhaps you can spot both the ornament and the original house. Your day also includes a chance to meet young people in the village of Aschfeld and to sample some of their favorite homemade seasonal treats, like stollen.
Day 5 – Kitzingen (Rothenburg), Schweinfurt
Rothenburg looks like something straight out of the pages of a storybook, with its medieval walls, cobbled streets, Gothic churches and Hansel-and-Gretel houses. Join a local expert for an insightful walking discovery tour, and then wander amongst the stalls at one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Your ship docks in the Bavarian town of Kitzingen in the morning, and after breakfast you’ll take a ride along the Romantic Road, once a medieval trade route, to Rothenburg. The minute you step down from the motorcoach in Rothenburg (also known as Rothenburg ob der Tauber), you’ll know why the route, which links picturesque and well-preserved old towns, is called the Romantic Road. Rothenburg is right out of a storybook: Wide medieval walls still enclose its charming core of Gothic churches and gabled houses.
Featured Excursions: Full-day Rothenburg with walking tour and Christmas Market
Generations Excursion: Rothenburg and walk the ramparts. Step into medieval Germany on today’s excursion in picture-perfect Rothenburg, where you’ll have two opportunities for a peek into the town’s fascinating history. Zigzag along the medieval, well-preserved ramparts and navigate the narrow passageways that were originally built to protect the city during the Middle Ages. Within the ramparts sit 46 surviving towers, numerous gates and a charming Old Town that tell the city’s remarkable tale. Make your way to the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum, where a thousand years of legal history is on display. Here, you’ll uncover both the laws themselves and the many gruesome ways people were punished for breaking those laws: an iron maiden, thumbscrews, a spiked chair, the rack, and more. If you prefer something a little more Christmas-y, visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum, home to thousands of enchanting Christmas ornaments. Whichever you choose, you’ll also sample a local holiday specialty, the schneeball (or “snowball”—its powdered sugar dusting gives it a snowy appearance). Then, cap your fairytale day with free time to explore at your leisure.
Day 6 – Bamberg
The fact that Bamberg still exists today is something of a miracle, given that it survived WWII bombing virtually unscathed. It’s a superb example of a medieval German city, one compact enough to explore on foot with a local expert. You’ll also have free time to visit not just one but four Christmas markets. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg, unlike most German cities, was largely undamaged by bombing during WWII. This fact, combined with the city’s prosperous thousand-year history, means that Bamberg has one of the largest intact old-town centers in Europe, so the medieval layout and architecture that was a model for other towns throughout Central Europe remains for you to see and experience.
Featured Excursions: Bamberg Nativity Walk with Christmas Market
Generations Excursion: Bamberg at Medieval tiems with nativity scenes
Day 7 – Nuremberg
For an over-the-top, old-world holiday extravaganza, look no further than Nuremberg, which boasts the largest and grandest Christmas market in all of Germany—and that’s really saying something. The “Gingerbread Capital of the World” pulls out all the stops during the holidays, as you’ll see for yourself on a panoramic tour guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. You could not ask for a more perfect place to begin an exploration of Christmas traditions than Nuremberg. The people of Nuremberg hold their Christkindlesmarkt very close to their hearts. The iconic Christkind, with her white-and-gold dress, long blond curls and golden crown, has been the symbol for the Christmas Market for many decades. During Advent, she is the most important representative of the city; every year she opens the Christmas Market by declaring: “Welcome, young and old, to my little community of wood and cloth. While this market’s splendor is fleeting, the joy it brings is eternal.” And with that declaration, the market festivities begin in a town that is famous for its gingerbread and long toy-making tradition.
Featured Excursions: Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market
Day 8 – Nuremberg (disembark)
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to the Nuremberg International Airport for your flight home.
A journey that will make you believe in holiday magic all over again.
Once upon a time, people gathered on cobblestone squares to buy the special tools and ingredients they needed to make the treats of the season. They kept warm with hot spiced wine, music and games while they shopped and chatted with the local tradesmen. Those were the first Christmas markets, 500 years ago. Today, though the light comes from twinkling electric bulbs rather than torches, bonhomie and fun still prevail.
Discover villages with fairytale houses and a friendly, festive atmosphere. Share traditional holiday goodies with the people who made them. Watch as modern children abandon their usual electronics and discover the enchantment of hand-carved wooden toys, as scents of cinnamon and roasting nuts fill the air. Sail through Christmas country, trying Frankfurt’s famous apple cider, Bamberg’s specially brewed holiday beer and Nuremberg’s gingerbread. Throughout, cozy up to steaming mugs of glühwein (warm spiced wine) and do as the locals do by collecting different mugs from each stall and town you visit. Embrace the holiday spirit in Germany, the land where many Christmas traditions began, and find the magic of the season in the smiles that you meet along the way.
Who will enjoy this cruise:
Those wanting to experience the quintessential magic of the holidays while shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures and discovering the legends behind some of our most popular holiday traditions.
Generations Family Program:
Uniworld's Generations Program features exclusive activities for kids from 4 to 17 years old and includes dedicated Family Hosts. Enjoy the same industry-leading service and accommodations that you always expect from Uniworld, with additional programs, events and excursions for your travelers in training.
Embrace the holiday spirit in Germany, the land where many Christmas traditions began, and find the magic of the season in the smiles that you meet along the way.
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water
6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
Guided “Taste of Christmas” and “Village Day” programs
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all shore excursions
Use of Nordic walking sticks
7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the regal River Queen
Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100%
Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
1 country: Germany
2 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
All transfers on arrival and departure days
Captivating onboard local entertainment
Cultural enrichment, including a Signature Lecture: “Christmas Traditions in Germany”
Exclusive Generations Family Program on a select December departure
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.