A Merry Little Christmas Cruise
5 days with U by Uniworld Rating:
Day 1: Budapest
Ruin Pub Rendezvous
After you’ve refueled and gotten your jolly bearings, follow your host on a pub crawl through the city’s world-renowned ruin bars. Budapest has a reputation for being an epic party city, but we can’t be certain. If you could, please, follow your host through the city’s extensive scene of abandoned-buildings-turned-raves and report back to us. Once upon a time, there was an abandoned factory that had an appointment set with a wrecking ball. Its owners had another idea. They threw together old furniture and DIY decorations to create Szimpla Kert, the mother of all clubs. This laid the blueprint for every bar ruin after and now Budapest is crawling with them. Party your way through Budapest’s underground club scene, enjoying cheap drinks, techno beats and street art at every stop.
Day 2: Budapest
Budapest Christmas Fair
If you’re not yet in the holiday spirit, you will be. Follow your host into Budapest’s Christmas Fair at Vörösmarty Square. Gifts, trinkets and holiday treats—this place has it all.
House of Terror Museum
Pay holiday homage to those who were held captive, tortured and killed in two of the bloodiest periods of Hungarian history. This fascinating museum offers an unforgettable look at fascism and communism in the 20th century.
Budapest's Jewish Legacy
Pay tribute to Budapest’s rich Jewish culture with a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center and Dohány Street Synagogue. With seating for 3,000 people, Dohány is the largest synagogue in all of Europe and second largest in the world.
Read, Sip, Repeat
Join your fellow bookworms and coffee addicts on a tour of Budapest’s most beautiful libraries and coffeehouses. Flip through antique pages and revel in Hungary’s unique literary culture. Caffeinate to your heart’s content with the pick-me-ups that fuel the city’s coffee scene.
Take a break from the cold and warm yourself into a state of holiday bliss at Budapest’s historic Lukács Thermal Bath. The pools leverage the underground healing waters of Hungary’s oldest hot spring, dating all the way back to Roman and medieval Turkish times. Locals love Lukács for three things: relaxing in thermal baths, enjoying medical spa treatments and partying. That’s right—every Saturday night, it turns into a lively party venue with beer, cocktails, a DJ and a laser show. Be there for it all.
Ice Skating at the Castle
Put the night on ice and glide around the skating rink next to City Park and Vajdahunyad Castle for a Christmas activity that’s both romantic and nostalgic.
Day 3: Bratislava & Vienna
The Festive Streets of Old Town
Walk the festive streets of Bratislava’s Old Town with your host and stop at the city’s annual Christmas market. Taste Slovak delicacies and pick up some Bohemian Christmas decorations and toys—all handcrafted for the holiday season.
Rock Me, Amadeus
If there’s one “must-do” in Vienna, the mecca of classical music, it’s attending a Mozart and Strauss concert. This isn’t your average concert. Head to Klosterneuburg Abbey, a 900-year-old Augustinian monastery, for a classical music performance by a professional chamber orchestra. After, mix and mingle with the wildly talented musicians at an exclusive reception.
Day 4: Vienna
The Vienna Three
Vienna comes alive during the holidays. Take a host-escorted, leisurely tour of the Freyung Christmas Market. It’s elegant and charming, located in the heart of the city. Then stop by the City Hall Market right in front of the illuminated neo-gothic building. For nativity scenes and artisan goods, check out the market at Karlsplatz, arguably the grandest baroque church in the world.
After Hours at the Castle
What’s better than poking around a baroque palace? Poking around after hours, when the crowds of tourists have all gone back home. Your guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace—the former summer residence of the imperial family—includes the state rooms and private apartments of Empress Maria Theresa. A little background: Emperor Leopold I commissioned architect Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to build a palatial hunting lodge for the throne to be at the end of the 17th century. Half a century later, Maria Theresa Schönbrunn made it the focus of court life. Today, it plays host to highest-level politicians in all of Europe. And now—you.
Cooking with NENI
When you take a NENI cooking class, you know you’re learning from some of the best chefs in the world. Head to the flagship store in the heart of Vienna’s Naschmarkt. Take in the festive sounds and smells of the market stalls. Then work alongside the NENI experts to prepare some all-time classic holiday recipes. Spoiler Alert: you eat what you make.
Cooking to Opera
Holiday music and holiday food go together like wiener and schnitzel. Enjoy a private opera show while you learn how to make delicious Viennese eats from one of the city’s esteemed chefs. Because if you want to cook like a Viennese chef, you should listen to Viennese music, too.
Day 5: Budapest (Disembark)
All This Included
In November and December, two of The A’s itineraries get infused with some Christmas magic. During this festive time of year, your U cruise down the Danube will take you to some of the best and brightest Christmas Markets in Europe (just wait until you see the light displays) and a special New Year’s Eve celebration. Each day will present several jolly options for how you can spend your time, including a trek through a Bavarian Forest to Passau’s Christmas Market in an old quarry, a Viennese Taste of Christmas excursion and an exclusive classic Christmas concert in Klosterneuburg Abbey.
Cruising cabin onboard: The A
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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.