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Christmas Markets Along the Rhine - Southbound

Christmas Markets Along the Rhine - Southbound

Operator: Tauck
Ship: MS Inspire
Starts: Cologne, Germany on Sun, Dec 06, 2020
Ends: Basel, Switzerland on Sun, Dec 13, 2020

Overview

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Itinerary

Countries Visited

France, Germany, Switzerland

Rivers Visited

Rhine

River Cruise Itinerary

Travel along the Rhine for the holiday season, from Köln 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!

Day 1 (Sun, Dec 06, 2020): Köln, Germany

Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Köln (Cologne). Transfers are included from the Köln / Bonn Airport or Köln Hauptbahnhof (Cologne Central Train Station) to ms Inspire, where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Guests enjoying a pre-stay in Köln will receive a transfer from the hotel to the riverboat. If you arrive earlier, you might choose to go into the city to see the Weihnachtsmarkt at Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), nominated by the trade press as one of the most beautiful markets on a European Christmas Market tour – 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.


Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2 (Mon, Dec 07, 2020): Köln, Germany

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 (Tue, Dec 08, 2020): Rüdesheim, Germany

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 (Wed, Dec 09, 2020): Heidelberg, Germany

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 (Thu, Dec 10, 2020): Baden-Baden, Germany

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 (Fri, Dec 11, 2020): Strasbourg, France

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 (Sat, Dec 12, 2020): Lucerne, Switzerland

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 (Sun, Dec 13, 2020): Basel, Switzerland

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.


Meals Included: Breakfast

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-342-0019

Inclusions

Travel along the Rhine for the holiday season, from Köln 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!

  • Visits to Christmas Markets in Rüdesheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Strasbourg
  • All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors & Tauck Cruise Director
  • All private Tauck shore excursions - $1,294 Value!
  • Walking tours of market cities and towns with local guides
  • Visits to Old Town Heidelberg and historic Heidelberger Schlöss (Heidelberg Castle)

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-342-0019

Ship Information

MS Inspire


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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.5
Accommodations
4.5
Itinerary
4.7
Professional Staff
4.5
Repeat with Operator
4.2
Value for Money
4.5

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Ratings based off 12 reviews - currently showing 3 reviews with comments only

Very good itinerary and great on board staff, including the Cruise Director, who was immensely helpful when my partner became ill with bronchitis. Local guides in Colmar, Stuttgart, and Amsterdam were very, very good too. Food and drink were plentiful and well-prepared.

Tauck tours are always very professional and first class. The river boat that Tauck leased was gorgeous, with large bathrooms and well appointed cabins. The food was ample and very good, with a reasonable selection for all palates. The ports of call were lovely; while we did not stop at some of the larger cities such as Cologne, it allowed us to often be the only river boat at each port for many of the ports of call. The tours on land were diverse and interesting, and the Tauck tour directors made sure that the tours were informative and top notch.

kudos to Tauck - You get what you pay for........


AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Tauck. Brochure Price is based on the itinerary's highest brochure price. Our price reflects our base price for the same departure as Brochure Price. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. All prices change frequently and our website prices are not guaranteed until a deposit has been received by us. The prices on our website are intended to serve as a guide only and may not accurately reflect current prices. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Please call us toll free at 1-800-342-0019 to confirm current prices and availability. Prices listed are per person, cruise only, and based on double occupancy.

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