Christmastime in Alsace & Germany (Frankfurt to Basel)
5 days with
Day 1 Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany (Embarkation)
Welcome to Germany! This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception before sailing out of Frankfurt.
NOTE: Flights into Frankfurt must arrive by 3:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Excursion to Heidelberg–Mannheim
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. Visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! At this time of year, an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Glühwein, 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. Rejoin your ship in Mannheim, and the afternoon is yours to do as you please.There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts at the Mannheim Christmas market.
Day 3 Strasbourg, France
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your GUIDED WALKING TOUR you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a 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 Cathédrale and Place Broglie, its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets you’ll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine region is available. This evening, enjoy an onboard WOODCARVING demonstration.
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. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents once described them as black. 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. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon there’s free time in Breisach to visit one more Christmas market—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region.
Day 5 Basel Switzerland (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends after breakfast today.
All This Included
Celebrate the festive season in Central Europe with a magnificent 4-night cruise from Frankfurt to Basel! Stops include Mannheim, Germany, for an excursion to Heidelberg, where you visit 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! Your ship will be decorated and dressed up in Christmas colors.
Buffet breakfast; superb dining with meals on board featuring full breakfast with complimentary sparkling wine, lunch with complimentary soft drinks, and dinner including complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks; a welcome reception, Captain’s reception, and farewell dinner; one sitting with open seating arrangements
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
Included shore excursions with Local Guide
Headsets for shore excursions
Complimentary Wi-Fi access
Personalized room options & excursions
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Cruise: deluxe 4-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
Frankfurt: onboard welcome reception
Heidelberg - Mannheim: guided visit of the castle; see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; time at leisure for Chirstmas markets in Mannheim
Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; onboard woodcarving demonstration
Breisach: excursion to the Black Forest; Christmas market
Basel: your vacation ends this morning
Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
Enjoy a lively accordion music presentation, and attend a fascinating woodcarving demonstration.
Cruising: Cabin onboard the Avalon Tranquility II
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Frankfurt:
in single room $274, in twin room $153
Flights into Frankfurt must arrive by 3:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Flights out of Zürich airport should not leave before 10 am.
Christmas markets operate from late November until the third week of December, depending on the location.
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 becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
Port charges not included: $96
Gratuities to Local Guides & excursion drivers are included.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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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.