Cruising the Rhine Near Christmastime | AMA Travel

Cruising the Rhine near Christmastime

Kim Stainger, International Travel Specialist | Email | (780) 418-8908

What better way to get into the holiday spirit, than to be surrounded by the smell of gingerbread and the sounds of familiar Christmas carols as you visit the market stalls packed with unique handcrafted gifts? For a unique Christmas memory I highly recommend cruising down the legendary Rhine River aboard Viking River Cruises to take in the Christmas markets in Europe.

Small, But Comfy, Accommodations

Although the French Balcony Stateroom on board the Viking Longship Alta was only 135 square feet, my cabin had floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows, which gave me breathtaking views of castles, windmills, the Black Forest, and the Rhine Valley. The closet and drawers provided ample storage space, and my suitcase fit right under the bed, leaving plenty of space to store goodies picked up at the Christmas markets. The shower was roomy enough, so I was very comfortable during my eights days on the river.

When You're Feeling Peckish

As with ocean cruises, there's plenty of food on a river cruise, which is good because it’s important to keep your strength up for all the sight-seeing and shopping you’ll be doing. A buffet and a la carte breakfast and lunch is served in the main dining, while dinner is served by menu. If you prefer a lighter breakfast or lunch, visit the Aquavit Lounge, which also serves snacks between meals. There is also an area stocked with an assortment of coffees, hot chocolate, and baked goods for those between meals snack attacks.

No Shortage of Activities

There is no shortage of things to see and do as you travel between destinations. A few of my favourites included listening to the piano player entertain us every night, as well as the sweet sounds of the children’s choir singing Christmas carols (a great way to get in the holiday spirit).

If you prefer something a bit more educational, you can enjoy a nautical talk by the cruise director, take German lessons, learn about Dutch heritage, or learn how to decorate gingerbread. You can also take in a demonstration on how to make Rudesheimer Coffee.

Even More to Do

While the Christmas markets are the focus of the cruise, they aren’t the only things worth noting about this cruise. We made quite a few stops during our journey, but these few top my list:

  • Amsterdam: Take the train to all of the major tourist attractions, including Anne Frank’s house and VanGogh’s museum.
  • Cologne: Take in the city's most famous attraction, the Kolner Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral. Next door is the Museum Ludwig, which is home to one of the largest collections of works by Pablo Picasso. If it’s chocolate you’re in the mood for, you’ll want to visit the Schokoladen Museum to see how it’s made before sampling a few tasty treats.
  • Heidelberg University: Visit Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. The old bridge at Schloss Castle is a popular site for photos (keep an eye out for the bridge monkey holding a mirror). The old town is also great for shopping, food, and the Christmas markets.
  • Strasbourg: All the old buildings, the shops, and the Gothic Cathedral made this one of my favourite stops – it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Located in France, this historic city centre is linked to the rest of the city by 21 bridges.
  • Breisach: Another of my favourite stops, this city is the gateway to the famous Black Forest, (definitely go for a hike), and is known for its mountains, breath-taking scenery (seriously, it was like looking at a painting) and cuckoo clocks (I recommend taking in the demonstration on how they’re built).

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Looking for a Similar Adventure?

If you have any questions, or are interested in enjoying a similar cultural experience, please email me or call (780) 418-8908.