CRUISETOUR

Grand Christmastime Cruise From Vienna to Basel (16 Days)

Cruise Line: Avalon Waterways
Vienna, Austria to Basel, Switzerland
Dates: 01 Dec 2018 - 16 Dec 2018

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DAY
PORT
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
ARRIVE DEPART
DAY 1
01 Dec 2018
Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria's capital, is known as the "City of Music" and inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. This afternoon, board your cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner); Note: Guests must be onboard ship by 5 pm.

DAY 2
02 Dec 2018
Vienna, Austria

Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, this is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys' Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions, the Neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House, and awe-inspiring St. Stephen's Cathedral—plus, countless other sights you'll see on your guided tour. Alternatively, we offer you a special culinary tour at the Viennese Christmas markets where you can taste all the best flavors that Austria has to offer during Christmastime. Be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3
03 Dec 2018
Melk, Austria
Grein, Austria

This morning sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk, where the magnificent 11th-century Benedictine abbey, one of Europe's largest monasteries, dominates the town and hosts an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You'll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings. Relax and enjoy onboard leisure of your ship while sailing into Grein, a quaint little village, and after a walking tour, visit the oldest town theater of Austria. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4
04 Dec 2018
Passau, Germany

This morning, you may wish to join an optional full-day excursion to Salzburg to see some of the popular Sound of Music sites, find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night carol, and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening or stay onboard and relax as you cruise to Passau, located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets, lined with beautiful patrician houses, and at this time of year, the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) is set up against the magnificent backdrop of St. Stephan's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included guided walk. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5
05 Dec 2018
Regensburg, Germany

Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany's best-preserved medieval cities. The only German city center not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of "historic interest". Architectural highlights included on your guided walk are the 13th-century Old Town Hall and Porta Praetoria, a gate to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included snack at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany's oldest restaurants. During free time explore on your own or visit the Regensburg Christmas market, including the one hosted by Thurn and Taxis Palace. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sausage, roasted almonds, and gingerbread create a memorable atmosphere. Enjoy an onboard lecture about Christmas traditions and, before dinner tonight we'll introduce you to some of Germany's famous beers! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6
06 Dec 2018
Nürnberg, Germany

Although 90% of its old town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose from an included guided sightseeing tour and marvel at the city's medieval fortifications, Gothic churches, and Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a Nuremberg rally grounds tour. The old town is illuminated with festive lights, and the Christmas market is one of the biggest in Germany, featuring 200 stalls selling traditional wares and foods. After your free time at the Christmas market, a shuttle bus service will be at your disposal to take you back to the ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 7
07 Dec 2018
Nürnberg, Germany
Munich, Germany
Nürnberg, Germany

After breakfast, disembark the vessel that has brought you to Nuremberg and drive to Munich, where a local expert will proudly show you the sights of the Bavarian capital. An inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture, you'll see the Olympic Stadium, 1,000-foot-high Television Tower, Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz in the historic heart of the city with the Old and New Town Halls, and the Gothic Frauenkirche. Later, there's free time to explore on your own. The traditional Christmas market is located on the Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air and the strains of alpine Christmas music coming from the town hall. At the nearby Rindermarkt, you'll find the Kripperlmarkt, one of the largest markets in Germany to specialize in mangers and other nativity accessories. And don't leave Munich without paying a visit to the famous Hofbräuhaus for a stein of beer! Return to Nuremberg in the late afternoon and embark on the ship that will take you to Basel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 8
08 Dec 2018
Nürnberg, Germany

A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, buy those last-minute Christmas gifts, or ask your cruise director for suggestions of things to do. Shuttle service available. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 9
09 Dec 2018
Bamberg, Germany

In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany's most powerful imperial dynasties. Your guided walking tour takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, you'll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Würzburg, and attend a fascinating onboard lecture to learn more about European Christmas traditions. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 10
10 Dec 2018
Würzburg, Germany

Known as the "Pearl of the Romantic Road", Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your included guided sightseeing tour, visit the magnificent Baroque Würzburg Residence, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own—maybe visit the Christmas markets or join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg where you will have the opportunity to visit the Christmas Museum. Be sure to try a Schneeball (snowball), a local specialty not at all suitable for a diet! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 11
11 Dec 2018
Miltenberg, Germany

A culinary demonstration will be delivered before lunch and before your arrival in Miltenberg. Tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, the picturesque Bavarian village of Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. This afternoon's guided walk will acquaint you with the town's delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centers around a Renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the Giant's House), and the Gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. There's free time to explore before you depart for Wiesbaden before dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 12
12 Dec 2018
Wiesbaden, Germany
Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany
Wiesbaden, Germany

After breakfast this morning, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rüdesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum is a real surprise! Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Afterward, we'll offer you a special treat and then there's free time to explore. The entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialties from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. You'll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square you'll find Europe's largest nativity scene with life-size figures. In the afternoon, return to Wiesbaden. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 13
13 Dec 2018
Speyer, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany
Speyer, Germany

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 Speyer, 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 Speyer Christmas market. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 14
14 Dec 2018
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 15
15 Dec 2018
Breisach, Germany
Black Forest, Germany
Breisach, Germany

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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 16
16 Dec 2018
Basel, Switzerland

Your vacation ends after breakfast today. (Breakfast); Note: Flights out of Zürich airport should not leave before 10 am.

Grand Christmastime Cruise From Vienna to Basel map

What's Included

Included

  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows

    Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs

    Sky Deck with shade awnings

    Expanded Fitness Center

    Non-smoking interior

    Elevator

    Elegant, contemporary design

    Outside viewing deck

    Headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe

    Friendly, English-speaking crew

    Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides

    Cruise Director

    Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment

    Revolutionary engineering

    Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)

    Sky Deck whirlpool

    Internet Corner

    Hair salon (manicures available)

    Complimentary Wi-Fi access

    Onboard movie nights

    Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein

    Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro

    Behind-the-scenes ship tour

    Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing options

    Use of Nordic walking sticks

    Local Favorites onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, artisans & experts

    English-speaking TV channels with over 100 free movie options

    Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise

    Panorama Bistro

    Sky Deck game area

    Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees

    Well-stocked library

    Complimentary maps

    Fresh fruit available throughout the day

    Selection of Local Favorites to bring the customs, cultures, and tastes of your destination to life

Not Included

  • Airfare

    gratuities

About Us

When designing its new ships, Avalon Waterways started with the traveler instead of the ship. This is a river cruise company that invites innovation, imagination and a relentless desire to create a smart use of space be its guide. The result? More space. Bigger views. More comfort … All thanks to one-of-a-kind Panorama SuitesSM on the industry’s only Suite Ships®. The Suite Ships of Avalon are revolutionizing the river cruise industry. For instance, on these signature vessels, Avalon brings an unprecedented level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail to every aspect of the Panorama Suites, providing travelers an oasis to escape to, not escape from. Even better? Avalon doesn’t offer travelers just a few Panorama Suites on each ship. Instead, 80 percent of the guest rooms on Suite Ships are Panorama Suite (they’re 30 percent larger than the average river cruise room). In designing its ships, Avalon has refused to see space as a barrier. That fact couldn’t be truer when looking at the company’s inspired indoor/outdoor space. For instance, Avalon’s Open-Air Balconies®, a completely new concept, make full use of the intended balcony experience – in any weather condition, in any season – without compromising room space. How? Giant wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows with a 7-foot opening. Avalon has considered every detail of the cruise experience. But perhaps it’s what the company hasn’t done that makes it so unique. It hasn’t filled ships to capacity with people. In fact, because the river cruise line made its rooms so spacious, there’s more room for less people. Simply put, Avalon Waterways is built differently

Insider Tip

Step aboard Europe's youngest fleet and you'll find yourself surrounded by the most expansive views, innovative technologies and inspired designs.

Terms & Conditions

Cruise-only fares are per person, based on double occupancy in US dollars, unless otherwise noted. Pricing and itinerary are subject to change without notice. Restrictions may apply.

Cruise-only fares are per person, based on double occupancy in US dollars, unless otherwise noted. Pricing and itinerary are subject to change without notice. Restrictions may apply.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
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Add-Ons

Shore Excursions

Vienna, Austria - 01 Dec 2018

Vienna, Austria - 02 Dec 2018

Passau, Germany - 04 Dec 2018

Regensburg, Germany - 05 Dec 2018

Nürnberg, Germany - 06 Dec 2018

Nürnberg, Germany - 07 Dec 2018

Munich, Germany - 07 Dec 2018

Nürnberg, Germany - 07 Dec 2018

Nürnberg, Germany - 08 Dec 2018

Bamberg, Germany - 09 Dec 2018

Wiesbaden, Germany - 12 Dec 2018

Wiesbaden, Germany - 12 Dec 2018

Strasbourg, France - 14 Dec 2018

Basel, Switzerland - 16 Dec 2018

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