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