Christmas Markets Along the Rhine - Southbound

Christmas Markets Along the Rhine - Southbound

Start: Düsseldorf, Germany Finish: Basel, Switzerland

Visiting: Düsseldorf, Germany , Köln, Germany , Rüdesheim, Germany , Heidelberg, Germany , Baden-Baden, Germany , Strasbourg, France , Lucerne, Switzerland , Basel, Switzerland , Düsseldorf


Duration: 7 Nights

Tour code: RCY2022

Tour operator: Tauck

Age range: 0-99


From: $2190 $2146

Extra tourhub saving: $44

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Tour Overview

Travel along the Rhine for the holiday season, from Düsseldorf to Basel aboard ms Inspire, both perfect ways to capture all the magic of Christmas Markets in Germany and France. Along with all the inclusions that are part of every Tauck river cruise, Tauck's Christmas market experience wows you with special holiday touches like an onboard tree-trimming party... glühwein and other treats aboard the riverboat, decorated in a festive seasonal theme... a traditional European Christmas dinner with all the fixings... special evenings of onboard holiday-themed entertainment... walking in the footsteps of celebrities at the Kurhaus casino in Baden-Baden... a lecture on Alsatian storytelling traditions in Strasbourg... a cookie-making demonstration and a visit to the fanciful Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett in Rüdesheim... a traditional German lunch in Heidelberg and much more!

Highlights

  • icon Visits to Christmas Markets in Rudesheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Strasbourg
  • icon All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors & Tauck Cruise Director
  • icon All private Tauck shore excursions – £951 Value!
  • icon Walking tours of market cities and towns with local guides
  • icon Visits to Old Town Heidelberg and historic Heidelberger Schloss (Heidelberg Castle)

Itinerary

icon Day 1: Arrive Köln

Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Dinner


Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Düsseldorf. Transfers are included from the Düsseldorf Airport and Düsseldorf Train Station to the ms Inspire, where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Guests enjoying a pre-stay in Düsseldorf at the Hotel Breidenbacher Hof will receive a transfer from the hotel to the riverboat. If you arrive earlier, you might choose to go into the city to visit one of Düsseldorf's Christmas Markets – and perhaps have your first taste of the traditional glühwein that is so much a part of the holiday scene. Back onboard the riverboat, meet your Tauck Directors and cruise mates at the captain's welcome reception followed by dinner tonight.

icon Day 2: Historic Köln

Location: Köln, Germany

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Travel back in time as you make your way along the River Rhine… Glide past rolling hillsides and see the magnificent castles of centuries past… each with its own unique story to tell… Your Tauck Director will give you insights into that history, before sharing the tale of the enchantress Lorelei, who lured lovelorn sailors to their demise with her beauty and song… See lasting remnants of the Altstädte, or Old Towns, of German cities, many restored to their former glory after World War II…  Experience what the river has to offer… from the comfort of your riverboat.
 
Spend the morning in Köln (Cologne) and enjoy a guided tour of this historic cultural center of the Rhineland – with its Christmas Market adjacent to the Gothic, twin-spired Kölner Dom. Back aboard ship, take part in our tree-trimming party after dinner tonight as the riverboat cruises to Koblenz overnight, then on to Rüdesheim.

icon Day 3: Music, sweet treats & more in Rüdesheim

Location: Rüdesheim, Germany

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Rüdesheim - Holiday carols, children's laughter, carousels... the season's joyful noises reverberate across this little town on the Rhine as you browse the shops and stalls of its Weihnachtsmarkt, another Christmas Market tour standout, winding your way through its quaint cobblestone streets; the largest nativity scene in Europe adorns the market square. Even the Drosselgasse, a narrow lane famed for its wine bars, is all done up in yuletide green and gold. Heart-shaped lebkuchen, local favorites like schweinebraten and jagerschnitzel - and especially Rüdesheim coffee, laced with locally produced brandy - tempt your taste buds.
 
Enjoy a morning aboard the riverboat as you cruise along the Rhine to Rüdesheim. Do a bit of exploring at the city's Weihnachtsmarkt near the pier before walking or riding a mini-train (weather permitting) to Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett for an unexpected musical treat; here, housed in a 16th-century castle, you'll find one of the world's largest collections of whimsical mechanical musical instruments, some centuries old. It wouldn't be the holiday season without holiday cookies; a cookie-making demonstration may give you some ideas to take home – and the results you'll sample are especially good when accompanied by Rüdesheim coffee, infused with local brandy. Spend some free time on your own, then return to the riverboat to enjoy dinner aboard ship and continue your cruise.

icon Day 4: Discover the spirit of the holiday season in Heidelberg

Location: Heidelberg, Germany

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Heidelberg - With thousands of stars twinkling in the trees... hundreds of booths sprawling across five city squares... and an ice rink glistening in the shadow of Heidelberger Schlöss... you’ll think you’ve stepped inside a snowglobe at this shining Weihnachtsmarkt! Festooned with figures from the city’s history, the glowing Christmas Pyramid dominates the Marktplatz. On the Universitätsplatz, a carousel turns, and the scent of almonds and glühwein fills the air. Watch skaters whirl to holiday tunes at the rink on the Karlsplatz... hunt for crafts at the Anatomiegarten... or stroll past the crèche on the Kornmarkt.
 
Dock this morning for a full-day trip to Heidelberg. Home to Germany's oldest university, Heidelberg has been a dynamic place since sometime in the 5th century… and a lot happens here, especially during the holiday season. Begin your day with a guided visit to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schlöss), which has kept watch over the town below for many centuries, revealing what castle life might have been like there long ago. A funicular ride leads to a walking tour of the medieval Old Town, and a visit to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets, sprawling across five city squares aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Wind up your day with a traditional German lunch – with award-winning beer – at a local restaurant. Reboard the riverboat to continue your cruise; a jazz band entertains you onboard tonight.

icon Day 5: Christmas in Baden-Baden & the Black Forest

Location: Baden-Baden, Germany

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Baden-Baden - The Black Forest's special magic casts its spell over the Christmas Market of this famous spa town, set adjacent to its sumptuous Belle Èpoque casino complex - the Kurhaus - which screen icon Marlene Dietrich called "the most beautiful casino in the world." Cheered by the strains of local choirs and bands performing holiday music - or perhaps by the baaaas of bleating sheep from the market's "living Nativity" - wind your way to booth upon booth of carved wooden toys and ornaments, silver jewelry, decorative candles and goodies galore.
 
Christmastime in the Black Forest has a magic all its own, as you'll see today after docking for an excursion to Baden-Baden. This famous Black Forest spa town has welcomed people seeking its healing waters ("baden," in fact, means "to bathe") since Roman times... as well as the wealthy elite who have frequented its Belle Èpoque casino, the Kurhaus, for more than a century. Following a walk through Baden-Baden's delightful Christmas Market, visit the adjacent Kurhaus. After lunch back aboard the riverboat or on your own in town, the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you please. Join your Tauck Directors for a Discovery Briefing before dinner aboard the riverboat this evening.

icon Day 6: A walking tour of Strasbourg and its Christmas Markets

Location: Strasbourg, France

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Strasbourg - Steaming mulled wine... gingerbread... Advent wreaths... a towering Christmas tree, dwarfed by soaring Strasbourg Cathedral... nearly every street and building aglow with lights and decorations... bredle, the tiny, traditional holiday cakes of Alsace... the unmistakable sights, sounds, flavors and smells of the Alsatian holidays surround you at Strasbourg's Marchés de Noël, the oldest and largest in France. A dozen themed markets fan out from the cathedral along the Grand Rue - the original Christkindelsmärik... the Bredle Market... the Kingdom of the Wine Growers... the Children's Village... the Village of Sharing and others. Artisans show off their wares in stalls that stretch on as far as the eye can see... and the ancient heart of this canal-crossed city is bathed in gold!
 
A local guide joins you aboard the riverboat to tell the story of storytelling in France's Alsace region, before heading out for a walking tour through ancient Strasbourg's Christmas Market, the biggest and oldest in all of France. Home to the European Union and in a sense the “Capital of Europe,” Strasbourg would also like you to think of it as the “Capital of Christmas.” The setting of its Marchés de Noël (as Christmas Markets are called in most cities in France), around the Gothic Cathedral de Notre-Dame, is breathtaking; after your visit, you can return to the riverboat or explore on your own and have lunch in Strasbourg, one of the best Christmas Market tour towns in France! Enjoy cocktails followed by the chef's signature dinner this evening.

icon Day 7: Lucerne & Mt. Pilatus at Christmastime

Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Accommodation Name: ms Inspire

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


From the riverboat this morning, set off on a shore excursion to Switzerland's lakeside "City of Lights," Lucerne. On an orientation tour with your Tauck Director, highlights include the Kappelbrucke, a covered wooden footbridge crossing the Reuss River that dates back to the 1330s; an octagonal Water Tower once used as a prison; and lovely squares like the Kornmarkt, Weinmarkt and Hirschenplatz. In Altstadt Lucerne (Old Town), narrow cobblestone lanes lead to picturesque squares lined with houses painted with frescoes. After lunch in town, head out for the heights of Mt. Pilatus via gondola to enjoy spectacular views of the city and Lake Lucerne; after descending the mountain by gondola, return to the riverboat in the afternoon. Please join us this evening for the captain’s farewell reception followed by dinner aboard the riverboat – sharing more memories of your Rhine holiday cruise over a mug of steaming glühwein with the new friends you’ve made – as the ship makes its way to Basel.

icon Day 8: Journey home

Location: Basel, Switzerland

Meals: Breakfast


Tour ends: Basel, Switzerland. Transfers are provided from the riverboat to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg or to Zürich Airport or Zürich Hauptbahnof (Zürich Central Train Station); guests enjoying a post-stay in Basel will receive a transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please allow three hours for airport check-in.

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Reviews

Read all 0 reviews
The very good & the so-so
The shore activities, a typical German meal, a visit to a casino with snacks and children’s concert, a Christmas cookie making demonstration, etc., were special. The only downside was ....more The shore activities, a typical German meal, a visit to a casino with snacks and children’s concert, a Christmas cookie making demonstration, etc.

, were special.

The only downside was the dinner service.

The food was good, but we never knew who would come to our table to do what and they seemed in a hurry to swipe our plates away.

; ....less
Rhine Christmas Markets Cruise - December 2016
Great ship cabin and crew service. Public areas on ship very nice. Great ports and tours. Tauck personnel did excellent job. Only concern was mediocre quality of dinners aboard ....more Great ship cabin and crew service.

Public areas on ship very nice.

Great ports and tours.

Tauck personnel did excellent job.

Only concern was mediocre quality of dinners aboard ship.

Similar to that on mediocre ocean cruise lines.

Breakfast and lunches were excellent.

Weather was excellent.

No rain or snow.

Cold but not unbearably so.

A very festive and delightful time to be in Europe! Would have been nicer if ship was docked in more convenient locations to towns visited.

Felt security was excellent.

Was there between terrorist threat in Strasbourg and incident in Berlin.

Security always of concern now.

Tauck very accommodating and welcoming.

No problems with Rhine water level.

; ....less
Christmas Markets
Usual Tauck attention to detail. Employees were very accommodating. Guides language skills were mostly fine. They need to be taller or hold the Tauck sign higher. ....more Usual Tauck attention to detail.

Employees were very accommodating.

Guides language skills were mostly fine.

They need to be taller or hold the Tauck sign higher.

Companionship excellent.

Arthurs was a good addition.

Hotel Ernst excellent/ Les Trois Rois less so and twice as expensive.

Trip marred by theft of $100 US in 20's from travel wallet Discovery of theft of $100 US from travel wallet at Hotel Les Trois Rois and their lack of concern; ....less
50/50
The markets were great but very crowded and there was no real opportunity to see the markets after dark to enjoy all the lights and decorations. The crew on ....more The markets were great but very crowded and there was no real opportunity to see the markets after dark to enjoy all the lights and decorations.

The crew on board were very attentive and friendly.

The crew was probably the best part of the cruise.

I had traveled with Tauck 3 times prior to this trip and I must say the first 3 were great.

This one? Arriving in Cologne and having to arrange my own transport to the boat.

Then having to take a city bus to the train station because my flights were canceled from Basel and having to overnight in Chicago then paying to have my bag check for the last leg of my trip back to Florida.

I forgot sitting 3 hours on the tarmac in Zurich.

; ....less
River cruise with our friends
Everything was perfect! We had never been on a cruise and we were extremely satisfied with this type of cruise. Staff anticipated our every need and ....more Everything was perfect! We had never been on a cruise and we were extremely satisfied with this type of cruise.

Staff anticipated our every need and our room was great!!! The walk-in closet was a big plus.

The tours of the towns were wonderful and the local guides were very knowledgeable.

Besides enjoying the trip with our 6 friends, the morning we spent cruising the Rhine while listening to one of our guides talk about the various castles.

; ....less
Christmas Markets Cruise 2016
We were a group of 4 Australian's. As we boarded the vessel in Cologne, we were left speechless by the absolute elegance of our surroundings. Our cabins were ....more We were a group of 4 Australian's.

As we boarded the vessel in Cologne, we were left speechless by the absolute elegance of our surroundings.

Our cabins were luxurious and the whole experience was magical.

The crew worked above and beyond to ensure we had an exceptional time.

Nothing was too much trouble.

; ....less
Christmas Markets on the Rhine River
Having traveled with Tauck before, I knew this trip would be first rate. To begin, "Grace," the ship was a five star floating hotel complete with every amenity available. The ....more Having traveled with Tauck before, I knew this trip would be first rate.

To begin, "Grace," the ship was a five star floating hotel complete with every amenity available.

The delicious food and drinks varied at every meal, while the cabins were spotless and comfortable.

The cruise directors were top notch.

A marvelous experience! Tauck rocks.

There were no memorable moments.

The entire vacation WAS the memorable event.

; ....less
Dream come true!
From the planning with the travel department to the post-cruise drop-off at the airport EVERYTHING was so well done by Tauck. The ship was beautifully decorated & elegantly appointed. ....more From the planning with the travel department to the post-cruise drop-off at the airport EVERYTHING was so well done by Tauck.

The ship was beautifully decorated & elegantly appointed.

The Christmas Markets were magical.

Time to plan another Tauck Tour! We came back frozen & wet from visiting the Christmas Market in Aachen.

We were greeted with warm towels & big smiles & were enveloped into the gorgeous lobby and offered delicious cookies to distract us from the cold.

A huge team moved us on board quickly & the chilly times were quickly forgotten.

; ....less
Christmas markets along the Line
This was first river cruise with Tauck and it's not going to be the last. Everything from the day I landed in Germany till end of my Tour in ....more This was first river cruise with Tauck and it's not going to be the last.

Everything from the day I landed in Germany till end of my Tour in Switzerland was super.

Words can't express how fantastic this trip was but I'll use one word, SPECTACULAR.

The entire Trip and finding a birthday gift and card in my room and the crew singing a happy birthday song to me.

; ....less

Dates & Availability

Nov 29, 2022

Tuesday

From

$2342

Dec 06, 2022

Tuesday

17 +

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Dec 06, 2022

Tuesday

17 +

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From

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Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

Extra tourhub saving: $48

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Dec 13, 2022

Tuesday

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$2146

Dec 20, 2022

Tuesday

12 +

Places Available

Dec 20, 2022

Tuesday

12 +

Places Available

From

$2146


Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

Extra tourhub saving: $44

Instant Booking Available