Celebrate the festive season in Central Europe with a magnificent 4-night cruise from Frankfurt to Basel! Stops include Speyer, Germany, for an excursion to Heidelberg, where you can marvel at the red sandstone castle and bask in the holiday atmosphere; Strasbourg, France, for guided sightseeing and time to explore one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe; and Breisach for an included excursion into Germany’s legendary Black Forest. Try some festive Glühwein, smell the aromas of the Christmas markets, shop for local Christmas ornaments, and delight in the holiday cheer. This year, start your holiday season with this joyous and memorable cruise—there is no better way to celebrate the season!
Day #1 Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany (Embarkation). Flights into Frankfurt must arrive before 3:30 pm. Situated on the Main River, Frankfurt is a truly cosmopolitan city and the commercial capital of Germany. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception at 6 pm. (D)
Day #2 Speyer, Germany. Excursion to Heidelberg. This morning, dock in the ancient imperial city of Speyer on the left bank of the Rhine. From here, an included excursion takes you to Heidelberg, of Student Prince fame and Germany’s oldest university town. Take your photos of imposing Heidelberg Castle, built of red sandstone and towering above the city. At this time of year an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Glühwein, hot punch, Bratwurst, and other tasty treats. The Christmas market itself is scattered over five town squares and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. (B,L,D)
Day #3 Strasbourg, France. Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg is influenced by the culture of both countries and is the capital of the Alsace region. It is the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. A Local Guide shows you the noteworthy sights: the GOTHIC CATHEDRAL, the lovely LA PETITE FRANCE district, Place Kleber, and Place Gutenberg with the statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathedrale and Place Broglie, the centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets you’ll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wines, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! (B,L,D)
Day #4 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest. Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. There’s no better setting for this time of year than when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses with their long sloping roofs, connoting images of warm and festively decorated interiors. And if there has been a fresh snowfall, this will indeed be a Winter Wonderland! Surely the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation). Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Homebound flights should not leave Zürich Airport before 10 am. (B)