Trip Type : River Cruise
Splendid castle-Heidelberg-Germany-992560-P

Christmastime in Alsace and Germany

Avalon Waterways
4.8 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
5 days
From: Check price
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Overview

Highlights

  • Visit to the cities Zürich, Breisach and Strasbourg
  • Experience the nature by visiting Black Forest
  • Visit to “World’s Largest Wine Barrel” called GREAT VAT
  • Visit to Heidelberg Castle and Gothic Cathedral church

Short Description

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 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!

Stride Take

This Rhine River cruise travels from Frankfurt to Basel costs about $220 per person per day and allows time to explore some of Germany and France’s famous Christmas markets during late November and early December. Early bookers (by late June for the following year) can save up to $1,000 per couple on Avalon, though the savings wouldn’t be nearly that much on this cruise. Avalon also waives its singles supplement on select cruises during the year, making them a bargain for solo travelers who typically pay as much as 50 percent more than a person traveling in double occupancy.

These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Trip Type River Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Zürich
End City Frankfurt

Trip Includes

  • Meals
  • Accommodation

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive In Zürich, Switzerland–Transfer To Basel (Embarkation)

Meals: Dinner

Welcome to Switzerland.

NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2: Breisach, Germany. Excursion To The Black Forest

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region.

Day 3: Strasbourg, France

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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.

Day 4: Excursion To Heidelberg, Germany

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, 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 is scattered over five town squares, and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts.

Day 5: Frankfurt (Disembarkation)

Meals: Breakfast

Your vacation ends after breakfast today.

Availability

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  • Deposit Price: $ 250

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Stride Featured in

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1,268 Avalon Waterways Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.8 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 1,130
Great 88
Average 30
Disappointing 9
Terrible 11
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Christmastime in Alsace and Germany

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Company Reviews

Our experience far exceeded our…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Our experience far exceeded our expectations. Everyone and everything was wonderful. The only disappointment was the independently contracted guide that we had in Munich. He was very dismissive of Avalon's policies and made us feel he was doing us a favor by showing us around the city.
Read more

Amsterdam to Budapest

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide2.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
Amsterdam to Budapest. Just returned River was low. My travel agent called for three days in a row before our departure. She was told there were no low water issues. The day we were to depart we were told there would be two nights on land in Frankfort. We could obtain a full refund and cancel the trip. But the rest of the trip would be fine. Not so we were "tossed off the second ship' the last two days and bused to Budapest. There is no way Avalon did not know of this schedule change. You do not make arrangements overnight for 100+ people to spend six days and four nights off the ship. Avalon was not truthful gave us a paltry return of our costs. We also found out the ships were loaded with other guests who were also being shuffled around. Terrible way to run a business. I would not endorse them to anyone....ever. Ruined a very expensive fifteen day holiday.
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Excellence

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The crew, service, food and excursions were excellent. Would
travel with Avalon again and recommend them to anyone interested
in river cruising.

Excellence

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The crew, service, food and excursions were excellent. Would
travel with Avalon again and recommend them to anyone interested
in river cruising.

We had the greatest time

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We had the greatest time! We would definitely use Avalon Waterways in the future.

Quaint and Acitve

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
The staff was exceptional meeting our every need and always with a smile. The housekeeping was not exceptional and could have been a little better. There was a wide variety of food choices but not terrible flavorful. The seafood was not always properly cooked.

The activities and tours with well planned and good for people looking for athletic options. Although you could sit and relax, this cruise was more for active middle aged individuals.The tour guides were all local and outstanding. Activities and tour guides are the selling point for this cruise.
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Details

Ship Name

Tranquility II

Ship Description

Another exciting Suite Ship® graces the rivers of Europe in 2015. The intimate setting of the Avalon Tranquility II features two full decks of Panorama Suites with Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air Balcony®. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard-perfect for stretching out and relaxing-or even throwing a private cocktail party for up to six adults in the spacious sitting area. Onboard amenities and services include a complimentary Internet Corner and free Wi-Fi access, a Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment, a hair salon, elevator, and a spacious Sky Deck with shade system, whirlpool, deck games, and the delightful Sky Bistro for al-fresco lunches of light grill fare.

Deck & Cabin Plans

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Optional Activities

The following list of optional excursions and on-board packages are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

We know that many times travelers celebrate special occasions on vacation and you can now pre-purchase celebration packages before your cruise departure. We offer special birthday, anniversary and wedding vow packages. These packages include all the elements you need to celebrate with family & friends.

Availability of optional excursions is subject to sufficient participation, weather conditions, seasonal suitability, days of operation, group interests, and general feasibility for your vacation. The approximate value listed gives you a good, general idea of what you can expect to pay but may vary once you are on your vacation. Some information provided might be in a foreign currency; to get an estimated price, use a currency converter for exchange rate information (pricing may vary at the time of booking).

Once you have booked your vacation, Avalon Waterways provides the ability to pre-purchase excursions and packages, register for your cruise and provide emergency contact information online.

Zurich:

Excursion To Mount Pilatus

Zurich Sightseeing

Breisach:

Excursion To Colmar

Strasbourg:

Excursion To The Alsace Countryside

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Moevenpick Zurich Airport

Hotel with contemporary design features throughout, 2 kms from Zurich Airport and 10 kms from Zurich city center.

Moevenpick Frankfurt City

A 288 room modern property with a good location close to one of the city's newest shopping centers. Facilities include a restaurant serving Swiss specialities with an open show kitchen, an all-day bar for cocktail and snacks and a top floor fitness area.

Cancellation Policy:

If a booking cancellation is received by Avalon prior to the final payment date of your vacation, your non-refundable land deposit and Travel Protection payments will be retained in addition to your Flex-Air deposit, Instant Purchase Air payment and service fee, and/or intra-vacation air deposit. For individual reservations, the following per person cancellation fees apply. Total price does not include discounts, promotions, or special incentives. (For group reservations, refer to the Group Policy.)

Standard Cancellation Fees:

  • 90-60 days prior to commencement of services: 35% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • 59-30 days prior to commencement of services: 50% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • 29-1 days prior to commencement of services: 80% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • On departure day and later: 100% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments

Additional Information:

  • 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.

Trip ID#:

ChrAlsAva

Trip Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses

Meals Included:

4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 4 Dinners

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