Holiday Markets

Holiday Markets

Experience European holiday traditions on a seven-night Rhine River cruise taking you to holiday markets in France, Germany and Switzerland. Explore these lively fairs, filled with Old World decorations, delicious holiday treats and more. Visit Heidelberg and Cologne, and personalize your cruise with a selection of included excursions in Basel, Breisach, Rüdesheim and Strasbourg. Aboard the MS Amadeus Silver III, your exclusively chartered first-class ship, you’ll never miss a sight, including the scenic Rhine Gorge. All meals are included. Wine, beer and soft drinks are complimentary with lunches and all dinners aboard the ship.

Trip Itinerary:

December 11 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Zürich, Switzerland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: ZRH.

Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

December 12 Zürich, Switzerland/Basel

Arrive at Zürich, Switzerland. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to Basel to embark the MS Amadeus Silver III. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your cabin may not be immediately available. Those arriving early in the morning and transferring with the group should be prepared for a short excursion prior to ship embarkation.

Tonight, get to know your fellow cruisers at the Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

December 13 Basel

Spend the day exploring Basel, a vibrant city on the Rhine River in the northwest corner of Switzerland near the French and German borders.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Alemannia Basel. Established first as a settlement of the Celtic Rauraci tribe in the first century B.C., then expanded by the Romans in the third century, Basel has a long, rich history. Take a tour of the Old Town, and visit the festive Christmas markets in the Münsterplatz and Barfüsserplatz.
• The Ways of Art in Basel. Since 1997, the Fondation Beyeler has shared with visitors its impressive collection of modern art and wide range of special exhibits. Here, art lovers can contemplate the works of the greatest modern and contemporary artists. See the creative expressions of artists such as Monet, Picasso, Warhol and Lichtenstein.

Return to the ship for lunch.

Free Time: The afternoon is at leisure in Basel. Spend some time in the city, which is known for its myriad museums and charming Old Town.

The ship departs for Breisach, Germany, tonight.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 14 Breisach, Germany

The ship arrives in Breisach this morning.

Discovery: Freiburg and Breisach. Begin your walking tour of the German towns of Freiburg and Breisach near the storied Black Forest. In Freiburg, explore the lively Augustinerplatz in the center of town, and visit the Freiburg Münster, the historic 11th-century cathedral decorated with vibrant stained-glass windows and lacy spires. Continue to Breisach, home to one of the largest wine cellars in Europe. See St. Stephanmünster, the cathedral perched atop a hill overlooking the city. Stroll along Breisach’s cobblestone streets and see the city’s highlights.

Return to the ship for lunch.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Riquewihr and the Wines of the Alsace. Set in a small valley near the Vosges Mountains, Riquewihr, France, is an enchanting Alsatian village that looks much as it did in the 16th century. Its architecture, including half-timbered houses and medieval fortifications, add to its storybook quality. Selected as one of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France,” The Most Beautiful Villages of France, Riquewihr charms all who visit. Stroll through the town, known for its fabulous wines and romantic charm, on a walking tour and stop to enjoy a wine tasting.
• Colmar Markets. Spend the afternoon in Colmar, France, and discover the Alsatian way of celebrating the holidays. Visit four of the markets in the city’s picturesque Old Town. The main market occupies the Place des Dominicains, where the beautiful Dominican Church anchors the square. Continue to the Place Jeanne d’Arc market, which gives you a taste, figuratively and literally, of being in an Alsatian village. Here, local food products are the focus, and you just might give into the temptation to treat yourself to the area’s specialties, including delicious charcuterie, liqueurs and sweets. The Place de l’Ancienne Douane market surrounds the fountain dedicated to local 16th-century hero Lazare de Schwendi. The final stop is the indoor market at the Koïfhus, where the work of local woodworkers, potters, jewelers and other artisans are for sale.

Return to the ship for dinner.

The ship departs for Strasbourg, France.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 15 Strasbourg, France

The ship arrives in Strasbourg, capital of the French region of Alsace, this morning.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Strasbourg Panorama. Discover Strasbourg’s unique blend of German and French influences. Pass by the highlights, including Palais Rohan, an 18th-century building modeled after the noble mansions of Paris, and St. Thomas Church, the main Protestant church. Continue your exploration of Strasbourg with a guided walking tour of the historic center and a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, considered one of the finest Gothic masterpieces.
• Culinary Strasbourg. Experience the Alsatian culinary scene on a guided tour that takes you to the city’s “winstubs,” cozy wine pubs that typically have long communal tables, and other local cafés and shops. Along the way, sample traditional dishes and wines of Alsace.

Return to the ship for lunch.

Free Time: This afternoon, take advantage of a complimentary shuttle from the ship to the Strasbourg city center. Stroll through the city on your own and visit the holiday market. Established in 1570, it is touted as being France’s oldest “marché de Noël,” as the French holiday markets are known. Stay warm with a mug of mulled wine, and immerse yourself in the festive holiday spirit!

Enrichment: German Holiday Traditions. From Advent wreaths to Christmas baking, cherished seasonal customs have been handed down from one generation to the next. Discover some of the favorite traditions in German households.

The ship overnights in Strasbourg.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 16 Speyer, Germany/Heidelberg

The ship arrives in Speyer, Germany, this morning.

Discovery: Heidelberg. Visit the nearby city of Heidelberg, and step inside the red sandstone walls of Heidelberg Castle, which stands watch over the Neckar Valley. Inside the Fassbau, the Barrel Building, see the immense wine barrel, which once held 34,342 gallons of wine. It was built in 1591 to store the wine collected as taxes. Then stroll through the city center, passing the Student Jail, Old University and the cathedral, and walk along the banks of the Neckar River.

Relax after your stroll at a restaurant in the area, where you’ll savor traditional German dishes and delight in the comfortable, cozy atmosphere that Germans call “gemütlichkeit.”

Free Time: Spend some time exploring on your own in Heidelberg’s historic center.

Afterward, enjoy a special musical performance in town. Listen to an entertaining mix of holiday songs, arias and contemporary pieces as you enjoy seasonal refreshments.

Return to the ship for dinner.

The ship departs Speyer this evening.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 17 Rüdesheim

The ship arrives in Rüdesheim this morning.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Rüdesheim Walking Tour. Explore Rüdesheim’s charming Old Town. Walk the Drosselgasse, the main street, which features the city’s popular restaurants, bars and shops. See the “Christmas Market of the Nations,” an international market with holiday items from around the world. Visit Siegfried’s Mechanisches Musikkabinett, a museum dedicated to self-playing mechanical musical instruments. This fascinating museum’s collection includes hundreds of items from handheld music boxes to calliopes. There is some time at leisure after the tour. Why not choose a café and sit down with a Rüdesheimer Kaffee, a flaming, brandy-spiked coffee drink, as you take in the town’s holiday spirit?
• Rhine Wine Tasting. At the Broemserburg Castle and Wine Museum, delve into the history of wine and winemaking during a castle tour. Learn about the Rhine terroir, the soil and climate conditions, that contribute to the character of the grapes grown here before partaking in a wine tasting. If you wish, you can climb the castle tower for a spectacular view of the city and the Rhine Valley.

Return to the ship for lunch.

This afternoon, sail through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley en route to Cologne. This scenic gorge is the most famous stretch of the Rhine River. Here, vines that produce the area’s famous Riesling grapes lace the hills rising from the riverbank. Some 40 castles, built during the Holy Roman Empire, stand imposingly on the terraced hills, and fortified towns and villages once doubled as toll stations for passing ships. Folk tales have developed around the Loreley Rock for centuries; the one most associated with it stems from a 19th-century German Romantic poem involving a beautiful, but spurned, sorceress, who upon being convicted of luring men to their deaths, jumped to her own death from the rock. Subsequent writers, most famously poet Heinrich Heine, elaborated on the theme. In Heine’s 1823 poem, “Die Lorelei,” Loreley was a siren whose bewitching song caused passing sailors to crash their ships on the rocks. UNESCO honored this section of the Middle Rhine Valley as a cultural landscape because of how societies have used and developed the valley over thousands of years. The Rhine has been a crucial trade route during that time, and as such it has fostered the mingling of northern and southern European cultures.

Before dinner tonight, gather for a Glühwein party with your shipmates. If you haven’t already tried it at one of the holiday markets, you’ll delight in this warm concoction of cloves, cinnamon, citrus and red wine, a wintertime favorite!

The ship arrives in Cologne late tonight.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 18 Cologne

Discovery: Cologne. Germany’s oldest major city, Cologne takes pride in its vibrant cultural scene and its awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral. Topped by two ornately decorated spires, the Dom was under construction for more than 630 years. During a guided walking tour of the old town, marvel at the cathedral’s impressive exterior as you stand the Domplatz, and then step inside to see the stone columns soaring upward toward the vaulted ceiling.

Return to the ship for lunch.

Free Time: The afternoon is at leisure to explore Cologne on your own. Complimentary shuttles between the ship and the city center will be available this afternoon.

Tonight, gather for a festive farewell reception and dinner to celebrate your Advent adventure on the Rhine.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

December 19 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Frankfurt Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals - Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

A special note about air: If you have purchased only the Cruise Program, please book flights that arrive on Day 2, the first day of the Cruise Program. The date is listed at the top of your Reservation Confirmation.

Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to operational conditions. You will receive an updated itinerary with your final documents. Your Travel Director will advise you of any additional changes on site.
Excursions require walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths or other uneven surfaces.

Map:


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