2018 : Grand Christmastime Cruise from Vienna to Basel (WXVZ) - Passion & Imagery II

16 Day River Cruise from Vienna to Basel

This European Christmastime river cruise will take you across Austria and Germany and along the Danube, Main, and Rhine Rivers. Enjoy guided sightseeing in several cities along the way and delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of centuries-old Christmas markets.

Begin in musical Vienna, where a guided tour shows you the impressive sights. Perhaps opt for a guided culinary walk through the Christmas markets to taste some Austrian holiday favorites, or explore on your own. Cruise through the winter wonderland of the Wachau Valley and visit Melk with its magnificent abbey. In Regensburg, one of Germany's best-preserved medieval cities, marvel at the sights and savor local sausages. While sailing to Nuremberg, learn about Christmas traditions and sample some German beer. At Nuremberg's Christmas market, which is one of the oldest in the world, be sure to try Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread). A full-day excursion to Munich shows you the Bavarian capital. The traditional Christmas market on the Marienplatz delights with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread! Continue your holiday river cruise to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where many nativity scenes are exhibited throughout the town. In Wurzburg, on the River Main, visit the ornate Bishop's Residenz, then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Gluhwein (hot mulled wine). See Europe's largest nativity scene with life-size figures In Rudesheim on the Rhine; and visit Heidelberg Castle towering magnificently over the city, before cruising to Strasbourg, France. This time of year, the historic charm of the city is mixed with festive aromas, sights, and sounds-creating a truly magical atmosphere! Visit the gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Continue to Breisach, Germany-gateway to the famous Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, before ending this charming Christmastime river cruise adventure in Basel, Switzerland.

You've always forged your own path...with your own distinct perspective of looking at the world. Avalon Waterways presents a river cruise experience with your unique style in mind-offering expansive views and wider perspectives. That's why we've used our 89 years to design a cruise experience that's just a bit different. Here are just some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships.

  • Panoramic windows throughout the ship
  • Elegant, contemporary design & decor
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew & Cruise Director
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship
  • Avalon FreshSM healthy cuisine options
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch & dinner
  • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
  • Included sightseeing with headsets by Certified Local Guides
  • Complimentary Nordic walking sticks
  • Complimentary bicycles available for time on shore
  • Local FavoritesSM - onboard cultural & artisan experiences
  • Sky Deck shade system & premium lounge chairs
  • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and games
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Premium L'Occitane bath products & hairdryer
  • Large bathroom featuring shower with glass door
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with free movie channels
  • Individual climate control
  • Complimentary bottled water daily
  • Club Lounge with 24-hour, self-serve beverage station
  • Premium coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate & teas
  • Cookies & fresh fruit available throughout the day
  • And, much more

    Highlights & Sightseeing

    Days 1-2 Vienna: onboard welcome reception on Day 1; choice of guided sightseeing, or culinary tour at Christmas market on Day 2

    Day 3 Krems-Melk: guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk; guided walk in Grein, visit the historical theater

    Day 4 Passau: guided walk; Christmas market

    Day 5 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstkuche; Christmas market; onboard lecture; beer tasting

    Day 6 Nuremberg: onboard lecture, choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; Christmas market

    Day 7 Nuremberg (Disembarkation)-Excursion to Munich (Embarkation): guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz

    Day 8 Nuremberg: Day at leisure for visiting Christmas Market

    Day 9 Bamberg: guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall; onboard lecture; Christmas market

    Day 10 Wurzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop's Residenz; Christmas markets

    Day 11 Miltenberg: onboard culinary demonstration, guided walk

    Day 12 Wiesbaden-Excursion to Rudesheim: visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat

    Day 13 Heidelberg-Speyer: guided visit of the castle; see the Great Vat, Christmas markets; time at leisure for Christmas markets in Speyer

    Day 14 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market

    Day 15 Breisach: excursion to the Black Forest; Christmas market

    Day 16 Basel: your vacation ends this morning

    Meals

  • Captain's welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapes
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course a la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

    Notes

  • Christmas Markets are open from the first weekend 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.
  • Special features and day of operation are subject to change.

    Day-By-Day Itinerary

    Day 1
    Arrive in Vienna, Austria (Embarkation)

    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 on board ship by 5 pm.

    Day 2
    Vienna

    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
    Melk-Grein

    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 of your ship while sailing into Grein, a quaint little village, and after a WALKING TOUR, visit the oldest THEATER of Austria. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 4
    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 on board 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. Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 5
    Regensburg

    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 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 Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany's oldest restaurants. During free time explore on your own or visit the Regensburg Christmas market, including the ones 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
    Nuremberg

    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
    Nuremberg (Disembarkation)-Excursion to Munich (Embarkation)

    After breakfast, disembark the vessel which 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 which will take you to Basel.(Breakfast, Dinner)

    Day 8
    Nuremberg

    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
    Bamberg

    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 Wurzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about European Christmas traditions. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 10
    Wurzburg

    Known as the "Pearl of the Romantic Road," Wurzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP'S RESIDENZ, 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
    Miltenberg

    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
    Wiesbaden. Excursion to Rudesheim

    After breakfast this morning, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rudesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to SIEGFRIED'S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT 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
    Excursion to Heidelberg-Speyer

    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 Gluhwein, 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
    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 Kleber, 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 Cathedrale 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
    Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

    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
    Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)

    Your vacation ends after breakfast today. (Breakfast)

    NOTE:
    Flights out of Zurich airport should not leave before 10 am.

  • Call (520) 445-6812 for more information or to book today! Mention code 13286907

    Cruise Line
    Avalon Waterways
    Duration
    16 Days
    Cruise Ship
    Passion

    Click for more information on this ship.

    DayPortArriveDepart
    Day 1Vienna  
    Day 2Vienna  
    Day 3Grein  
    Day 4Passau  
    Day 5Regensburg  
    Day 6Nuremberg  
    Day 7Nuremberg  
    Day 8Nuremberg  
    Day 9Bamberg  
    Day 10Wurzburg  
    Day 11Miltenberg  
    Day 12Wiesbaden  
    Day 13Speyer  
    Day 14Strasbourg  
    Day 15Breisach  
    Day 16Basel  
    Dates/Pricing

    Click Quote or call us to get additional information on your chosen travel date. Special offers or competitive pricing may be available!

    DatePrice / DescriptionQuote
    12/01/2018Quote
    Disclaimer

    Port charges:
    $360

    Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

    Extra nights per person in Vienna:
    in single room $225, in twin room $125

    Extra nights per person in Zurich:
    in single room $230, in twin room $140

    Prices shown above include cruise in Category E in a deluxe outside stateroom on Indigo Deck.

    To upgrade to a higher category, add per person:

    Category / Decks / Price
    D / Indigo Deck / $426
    B / Sapphire Deck / $2,462
    A / Sapphire Deck / $2,569
    P / Royal Deck / $2,784
    Royal Suite / Royal Deck / $4,284

    Prices shown are "starting at" prices and do not include airfare.

    Travel Terms & Conditions
    The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travelers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travelers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
    View full Terms & Conditions

    Important Notes

  • Vacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.
  • A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. View Terms & Conditions for limited exceptions.
  • The following charges are not included in the land/cruise vacation price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; intra-vacation air, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; Federal inspection fees for the Federal U.S. Customs and Immigrations; International Air Transportation tax; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; airport taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security fee up to $11.20 per person, passenger facility charges up to $18 per person, Federal domestic flight segment fees up to $4.10 per segment, and U.S. and international arrival and departure and other government-imposed added by the airline and applicable at time of booking; port taxes; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ship's crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted Avalon menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant or onboard your vessel (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); airport transfers on non-qualifying flights; optional excursions; additional activities and excursions purchased online; porterage at airports and train stations; Travel Protection; and all other items of a personal nature.
  • Additional airline-imposed fees for seat assignments may apply and are not included in your total package cost. Please refer to carrier websites for seat assignment policies and applicable pricing.

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    Guaranteed air-inclusive prices - air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and only available when booked in conjunction with a land vacation. An additional non-refundable air deposit of $300 per person is required for Flex Air booked in conjunction with any land vacation (i.e. air-inclusive vacation). Air can only be booked by Avalon in conjunction with a vacation package. Instant Purchase Air requires air payment in full at time of booking (i.e. air-inclusive vacation) plus a non-refundable per person service fee of $30 (North/Central America), $50 (Europe/Middle East) or $80 (all other international destinations). Once booked, Instant Purchase Air is non-refundable, and non-changeable. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. However, once your airfare is confirmed and Avalon has received your full air and land deposit, your air-inclusive vacation price is guaranteed.

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