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Classic Christmas Markets

8 Days from $3,799 per person

Style: Boutique River Cruises | Pace: Leisurely

Discover villages with fairytale houses and a friendly, festive atmosphere. Share traditional holiday goodies with the people who made them. Watch as modern children abandon their usual electronics and discover the enchantment of handcarved wooden toys, as scents of cinnamon and roasting nuts fill the air. Perfect for those wanting to experience the quintessential magic of the holidays while shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures and discovering the legends behind some of our most popular holiday traditions

Print Itinerary

Overview

Discover villages with fairytale houses and a friendly, festive atmosphere. Share traditional holiday goodies with the people who made them. Watch as modern children abandon their usual electronics and discover the enchantment of handcarved wooden toys, as scents of cinnamon and roasting nuts fill the air. Perfect for those wanting to experience the quintessential magic of the holidays while shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures and discovering the legends behind some of our most popular holiday traditions

  1. Arrive at Nuremberg International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

    meal(s):Dinner
  2. For an over-the-top, old-world holiday extravaganza, look no further than Nuremberg, which boasts the largest and grandest Christmas market in all of Germany—and that’s really saying something. The “Gingerbread Capital of the World” pulls out all the stops during the holidays, as you’ll see for yourself on a panoramic tour guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. You could not ask for a more perfect place to begin an exploration of Christmas traditions than Nuremberg. The people of Nuremberg hold their Christkindlesmarkt very close to their hearts. The iconic Christkind, with her white-and-gold dress, long blond curls and golden crown, has been the symbol for the Christmas Market for many decades. During Advent, she is the most important representative of the city; every year she opens the Christmas Market by declaring: “Welcome, young and old, to my little community of wood and cloth. While this market’s splendor is fleeting, the joy it brings is eternal.” And with that declaration, the market festivities begin in a town that is famous for its gingerbread and long toy-making tradition.

    Featured Excursion:
    Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market

    Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market
    Beautiful at any time, Nuremberg’s Old Town is especially magical when dressed in all of its holiday splendor. Unfortunately, the city’s history also has a dark side, as you will see on a panoramic tour that shows you places where Hitler celebrated the might of his Third Reich—the Rally Grounds and the never-finished coliseum, Congress Hall—before you reach Old Town, where you’ll find the archetypal medieval German city. Stroll through the castle gardens and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, then walk through a maze of cobblestone lanes down to the central Market Square. There, spread out before the Church of Our Lady, is the largest Christmas market in Germany. Two hundred stalls filled with holiday wares—ornaments, nutcrackers, seasonal treats and hand-carved toys—await you, and the irresistible aromas of roasting nuts, cinnamon and grilled sausages waft through the air. Adding to the fun is an area set aside especially for children, complete with a two-tiered carousel featuring carved reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. As you wander through the market, you will certainly want to indulge in some of the city’s famous gingerbread; after all, Nuremberg is known as the “Gingerbread Capital of the World.”

    After Hours:
    Take a shuttle back to town this evening for a look at the Christmas Market under the winter night sky.

    A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Welcome Reception and Dinner
  3. The fact that Bamberg still exists today is something of a miracle, given that it survived WWII bombing virtually unscathed. It’s a superb example of a medieval German city, one compact enough to explore on foot with a local expert. You’ll also have free time to visit not just one but four Christmas markets. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg, unlike most German cities, was largely undamaged by bombing during WWII. This fact, combined with the city’s prosperous thousand-year history, means that Bamberg has one of the largest intact old-town centers in Europe, so the medieval layout and architecture that was a model for other towns throughout Central Europe remains for you to see and experience.

    Featured Excursion:
    Bamberg walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Generations Excursion:
    Bamberg x-mas treasure hunt
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    Bamberg walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    The entire heart of historic Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is yours to explore today. In the splendid late-Romanesque Imperial Cathedral you will find the only papal tomb in Germany, that of Pope Clement II (who was the bishop of Bamberg before he became pope), as well as the tomb of Emperor Henry II (who established the bishopric). Near it are two magnificent palaces: The Old Palace, the late-Gothic imperial residence (if you saw the 2011 3-D version of The Three Musketeers, you’ll recognize it immediately), sits across from the New Residence, where the 17th-century prince-bishops lived. Cross the footbridge to the old Town Hall; legend has it that the bishop refused to give the town land for their town hall, so they built an artificial island for it smack in the middle of the Regnitz River. You’ll also see parts of Bamberg’s famous Nativity Walk, which links 35 churches, museums and public spaces that display Nativity scenes, some made hundreds of years ago. When the tour concludes, you’ll have time to explore Bamberg’s Christmas Market, which is actually four markets: the traditional one on the Market Square, one featuring medieval cultural programs and two markets that focus on local arts and crafts. Shuttles will be provided throughout the afternoon to take you between the ship and town.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  4. Rothenburg looks like something straight out of the pages of a storybook, with its medieval walls, cobbled streets, Gothic churches and Hansel-and-Gretel houses. Join a local expert for an insightful walking discovery tour, and then wander amongst the stalls at one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Your ship docks in the Bavarian town of Kitzingen in the morning, and after breakfast you’ll take a ride along the Romantic Road, once a medieval trade route, to Rothenburg. The minute you step down from the motorcoach in Rothenburg (also known as Rothenburg ob der Tauber), you’ll know why the route, which links picturesque and well-preserved old towns, is called the Romantic Road. Rothenburg is right out of a storybook: Wide medieval walls still enclose its charming core of Gothic churches and gabled houses.

    Featured Excursion:
    Full-day Rothenburg with walking discovery tour and Christmas Market

    Generations Excursion:
    Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    Full-day Rothenburg with walking discovery tour and Christmas Market
    Rothenburg really does look like a fairytale version of the Middle Ages. Great stone walls surrounding the medieval core stand tall, linking towers, bastions and parapets, and timber-framed houses decked out for the holidays line the narrow cobblestone streets and tiny squares. Walk with a local expert to the magnificent Town Hall, whose Gothic, Renaissance and baroque features reveal its long history. The Gothic Franciscan Church is revered for its famous Tilman Riemenschneider altarpiece depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata. Your local expert can suggest the best places to enjoy a lunch on your own before you wander among the stalls of one of Germany’s oldest and most celebrated Christmas markets. You’ll find charming handcrafted wares and souvenirs, as well as pastries and mulled wine to keep you warm. Don’t miss a favorite seasonal treat, the schneeball, or snowball, made from strips of sweet dough shaped into a ball that is fried and covered in powdered sugar or chocolate. Be sure to check out the original Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store opposite the market. A huge Christmas tree revolves in the center of the store, and some 35,000 Christmas-themed items line the shelves.

    Generations Excursion: Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
    Back in the Middle Ages, when Rothenburg was new, people could be punished—publicly and painfully—for a huge number of crimes. Touch a woman’s hand without permission? Pay a fine. Get drunk in public? You might be fitted with a heavy wooden barrel and forced to walk up and down the streets. And these were just the mild punishments. At the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum, a thousand years of legal history is on display—both the laws themselves and the many gruesome ways people were punished for breaking those laws: an iron maiden, thumbscrews, a spiked chair, the rack. It’s fascinating, horrifying, illuminating and sometimes even funny. If you prefer something a little more Christmas-y, visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum, home to thousands of enchanting Christmas ornaments. Whichever you choose, you’ll also sample a local holiday specialty, the schneeball (or “snowball”—it’s snowy with powdered sugar).
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.


    meal(s):Breakfast and Dinner
  5. One of the best ways to embrace a different culture is through encounters with local residents, which you’ll experience today in a typical Franconian village. Make new friends over hot drinks and homemade seasonal treats, then head off to see the Würzburg Residence, a baroque-style palace famous for its gigantic ceiling fresco. Later, visit the town’s renowned Christmas market for some one-of-a-kind gifts for friends back home (or yourself!).   The town of Würzburg owes many of its most notable monuments to the ambitious building programs of the wealthy prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, who controlled the town in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their spectacular episcopal residence is on your schedule for today, as is a delightful encounter with the residents of a Franconian village.

    Featured Excursions:
    Exclusive Franconian “Village Day”
    Würzburg Residence with Christmas Market

    Generations Excursion:
    Würzburg Residence & Franconian “Village Day”
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    Exclusive Franconian “Village Day”
    Travel through Franconia’s rolling hills and farms to the picture-perfect village of Aschfeld, which features a historic church with a defensive wall that protected residents throughout the Middle Ages. A visit to Aschfeld offers a truly special opportunity to interact with small-town Franconians and chat with them about their daily lives. Locals will share traditional homemade Christmas goodies such as cookies, stollen and gingerbread, along with coffee and tea. Their English-speaking abilities vary, so this is a great opportunity for you to try out your German, just as your hosts are trying out their English. Here’s one phrase you might want to know: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” which means “Merry Christmas!”

    Würzburg Residence with Christmas Market
    This 300-room UNESCO World Heritage–designated residence was constructed over a period of 60 years in the 18th century. An extraordinarily lavish palace, it was created under the auspices of two Schönborn prince-bishops, Lothar Franz and Friedrich Carl, who brought enormous knowledge and passion to the project, as well as a budget for the best of the best. The magnificent grand staircase boasts the world’s largest ceiling fresco, painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Portions of the building were damaged by Allied bombing in 1945, but fortunately most of the historic furnishings had been stored off-site and key rooms were unharmed, so you can see the original—and matchless—artwork, gilding and statuary. Check out the spectacular Hall of Mirrors and the imposing Imperial Hall, which boasts a large oval dome and 20 half-columns. At the conclusion of your tour, you’ll head back to Würzburg’s glorious Christmas Market, which is held in the square in front of the old City Hall. Beautifully decorated wooden booths are illuminated by the soft glow of Christmas lighting, and the air is filled with the scent of roasted chestnuts and the sound of Christmas carols. As you rove among the booths, you can watch glassblowers and wood carvers at work and buy their handiwork directly from them.

    Generations Excursion: Würzburg Residence & Franconian “Village Day”
    The bishops’ palace—all 300 rooms of it—is overwhelming. If you saw the 2011 film The Three Musketeers with Orlando Bloom, you saw the palace in many scenes: It stood in for the king of France’s palace, which gives you a hint of just how grand it truly is. Among its many treasures is the world’s largest ceiling fresco, painted by Tiepolo; as you mount the stairs, you’ll see how the artist reveals different parts of his work depending on where you are—be sure to notice how some of the figures in the painting seem to be climbing out of the fresco onto the elaborate molding. And then check out the Christmas market: Some of the stands sell miniature replicas of the houses around the square, so perhaps you can spot both the ornament and the original house. Your day also includes a chance to meet young people in the village of Aschfeld and to sample some of their favorite homemade seasonal treats, like stollen.
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  6. Get a taste of life in the Middle Ages at a remarkably well-preserved German village, where you’ll meet a local butcher and baker (and perhaps even a candlestick maker) on a guided walking tour. Be sure to fortify yourself with a mug of mulled wine and a slice of delicious stollen before visiting the town’s charming Christmas market. Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers, Wertheim (or Wertheim am Main) is a lovely village dating back over a thousand years. It epitomizes the friendly, slow-paced, small-town atmosphere of many German villages; here, residents greet each other by name as they do their daily shopping for fresh bread and sausage in tiny shops. On your guided walking tour of the village, you’ll hear a lot about daily life in Wertheim, as well as facts about the town and its history. Its many well-preserved medieval buildings— complete with low doors, tiny rooms and insufficient lighting—attest to the inconveniences of life in the Middle Ages.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Wertheim walking discovery tour with mulled wine and Christmas stollen demonstration or Michelstadt Christmas Market

    Generations Excursion:
    Medieval insights & pretzel-making
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    Wertheim walking discovery tour with mulled wine and Christmas stollen demonstration
    You’ll see the dramatic ruins of Wertheim Castle standing high above the village as you ramble through the narrow streets, passing small bakeries and butcher shops. The counts of Wertheim began building this huge fortress in the 12th century, and the town grew up in its shelter. Wertheim had defenses of its own too: The Pointed Tower, a former watchtower also used as a jail for drunkards and shrews in the 13th-century, still stands, leaning slightly toward its neighbors, not from age but because flood waters have undermined it. It’s not the only architectural wonder you’ll pass: Blue House’s spectacular half-timbering is painted with an unusual cobalt glass-based paint, and Zobel House is just 10 feet (3 meters) wide at its base. In the Market Square, you’ll see St. Mary’s Chapel, which was erected in 1447; the step-gabled house built for 16th-century wine merchant Lorenz Baunach; and the 1574 Angels’ Well, which derives its name from the two little angels that hold Wertheim’s coat of arms. Stop in at a butcher shop for a sampling of the best local sausage; you can even buy some (canned, of course) to take home with you! Then enjoy a cup of mulled wine and a stollen (traditional German fruitcake) baking demonstration by a master baker at a private village wine estate. After the tour you can stay in town to shop for keepsakes or visit the Glass Museum before making your way back to the ship.

    Michelstadt Christmas Market
    The historic half-timber facades of the houses and town hall from 1484 are the worthy setting for more than 100 wooden market stalls made in a particularly attractive style. The extraordinary decoration like the magical nativity scene with life-sized figures, the giant Christmas pyramid, a group of angels and the big colorful wooden musical box conjure up a festive atmosphere. Father Christmas comes regularly to cheer up the children. In the castle's wine tasting hall, sculptors, wood turners, ivory carvers and carpenters demonstrate their craft. Even the toy museum opens its doors wide, to the joy of adult and child visitors alike. Advent music, Christmas concerts and the sound of trumpets lend everything a reflective, festive note.

    Generations Excursion: Medieval insights & pretzel-making
    Christmas cards come to life in Wertheim, where your family guide takes you on a tour of storybook gabled houses—they almost look like the fanciest gingerbread houses in the world—and garland-bedecked cobblestone streets where kids have had snowball fights for 700 years. Wertheim has been home to glassblowers for many generations; one of today’s master glassblowers will exhibit his art and craft in a traditional Advent demonstration. Plus, you’ll get your hands in some pretzel dough and learn how to twist your own (and eat your handiwork).
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.


    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  7. Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience both aspects of the city today, with time to browse the local Christmas market, one of the best on the Continent. Other options include a “Taste of Christmas” walking tour featuring all sorts of sugary and savory treats or an excursion to the Christmas market in Wiesbaden. You’ll wake up to the pulse of one of Germany’s most flourishing cities, Frankfurt. Its cosmopolitan citizens hail from more than 200 nations, and its soaring skyscrapers are home to major European transportation and financial institutions, among them the European Central Bank.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour or Wiesbaden Christmas Market or Frankfurt walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Generations Excursion:
    Christmas with dinosaurs
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour
    What better way to end your holiday cruise than by sampling some of the seasonal specialties of this region? Join your local expert for an exploration of Frankfurt’s culinary delicacies, including holiday treats such as bethmännchen, a marzipan- filled pastry named for a 19th-century banking family, and quetschemännchen, quirky little plum-and-nut figures that are traditionally made for the season. (They were also traditionally sent by a young man to the young lady he was interested in; if she accepted one from him, she accepted him also.) These are just a couple of the treats awaiting you as you ramble through the picturesque area around historic Römer Square, where markets have been held since the 13th-century. Tall half-timbered houses, including the old Town Hall, enclose the square, which has hosted a Christmas market since the 1390s. Now you’ll find long rows of gaily decorated stalls filled with imaginative crafts and delicious foods, one last delightful market for you to enjoy before you head home.

    Wiesbaden Christmas Market
    The Sternschnuppenmarkt (or “Twinkling Star”) Christmas Market in Wiesbaden is a delight for visitors young and young at heart, festively decorated and well-organized, with a colorful stage and a good mix of friendly vendors. There’s also a one-of-a-kind backdrop, the city’s grand Town Hall, State Capitol and the Market Square Church, the latter of which is beautifully illuminated.

    Frankfurt walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Dive into the energy of this sophisticated city with your guide, roaming from its historic heart, Römer Square, to its landmark skyscraper, Main Tower, where you’ll take an elevator to the 650-foot-high (198 meters) viewing platform for a panorama of the 50 skyscrapers that underline the importance of this European hub. Closer to earth, you’ll see the Römer, a complex of patrician houses originally built around 1288 that has served as Frankfurt’s City Hall for more than 600 years. From here, you’ll notice the red sandstone tower of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral; kings were elected and emperors crowned here beginning in 1356. Then you’ll have the opportunity to explore this lovely city at your own pace. Old Town, which is resplendent with the joyous sights and sounds of Frankfurt’s Christmas Market, is a great place to start. This market is one of the largest in Germany, as well as one of the most beautiful, featuring a vintage carousel and a huge, gorgeously illuminated Christmas tree. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping and you don’t see just what you’re looking for at the market, you could check out the designer shops on Goethe Street or the little boutiques on Berger Street. The treasures of the Römer are so close to the ship that you can take in the sights at your leisure before returning to the dock. If you’d like a break from holiday shopping, no fewer than 13 museums line the Main River right next to your ship, all of them worth exploring. The Städel has a splendid collection of works by painters ranging from Rubens to Baselitz.

    Generations Excursion: Christmas with dinosaurs
    A Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton looms high overhead, and a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus lumber along a wall. You journey into the distant past when you visit Frankfurt’s Senckenberg Museum. The Messel Pit, the world’s richest site for Eocene fossils, is not far from Frankfurt and provides many of the wonders on display here, including 50-million-year-old midget horses (with four toes instead of the modern-day horse’s solid hoof), long-extinct birds and alligators that indicate that this region was once a tropical rainforest—hard as that might be to believe during Germany’s winter! When you’ve spent enough time exploring the past, cross the Main bridge to Romer Square and Frankfurt’s fabulous Christmas market.
    This excursion is only available on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

    A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner
  8. Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to the Frankfurt International Airport for your flight home.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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Print Itinerary

Overview

Discover villages with fairytale houses and a friendly, festive atmosphere. Share traditional holiday goodies with the people who made them. Watch as modern children abandon their usual electronics and discover the enchantment of handcarved wooden toys, as scents of cinnamon and roasting nuts fill the air. Perfect for those wanting to experience the quintessential magic of the holidays while shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures and discovering the legends behind some of our most popular holiday traditions

  1. Arrive at Frankfurt International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

    meal(s):Dinner
  2. Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience both aspects of the city today, with time to browse the local Christmas market, one of the best on the Continent. Other options include a “Taste of Christmas” walking tour featuring all sorts of sugary and savory treats or an excursion to the Christmas market in Wiesbaden. You’ll wake up to the pulse of one of Germany’s most flourishing cities, Frankfurt. Its cosmopolitan citizens hail from more than 200 nations, and its soaring skyscrapers are home to major European transportation and financial institutions, among them the European Central Bank.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour or Wiesbaden Christmas Market or Frankfurt walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour
    What better way to end your holiday cruise than by sampling some of the seasonal specialties of this region? Join your local expert for an exploration of Frankfurt’s culinary delicacies, including holiday treats such as bethmännchen, a marzipan- filled pastry named for a 19th-century banking family, and quetschemännchen, quirky little plum-and-nut figures that are traditionally made for the season. (They were also traditionally sent by a young man to the young lady he was interested in; if she accepted one from him, she accepted him also.) These are just a couple of the treats awaiting you as you ramble through the picturesque area around historic Römer Square, where markets have been held since the 13th-century. Tall half-timbered houses, including the old Town Hall, enclose the square, which has hosted a Christmas market since the 1390s. Now you’ll find long rows of gaily decorated stalls filled with imaginative crafts and delicious foods, one last delightful market for you to enjoy before you head home.

    Wiesbaden Christmas Market
    The Sternschnuppenmarkt (or “Twinkling Star”) Christmas Market in Wiesbaden is a delight for visitors young and young at heart, festively decorated and well-organized, with a colorful stage and a good mix of friendly vendors. There’s also a one-of-a-kind backdrop, the city’s grand Town Hall, State Capitol and the Market Square Church, the latter of which is beautifully illuminated.

    Frankfurt walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Dive into the energy of this sophisticated city with your guide, roaming from its historic heart, Römer Square, to its landmark skyscraper, Main Tower, where you’ll take an elevator to the 650-foot-high (198 meters) viewing platform for a panorama of the 50 skyscrapers that underline the importance of this European hub. Closer to earth, you’ll see the Römer, a complex of patrician houses originally built around 1288 that has served as Frankfurt’s City Hall for more than 600 years. From here, you’ll notice the red sandstone tower of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral; kings were elected and emperors crowned here beginning in 1356. Then you’ll have the opportunity to explore this lovely city at your own pace. Old Town, which is resplendent with the joyous sights and sounds of Frankfurt’s Christmas Market, is a great place to start. This market is one of the largest in Germany, as well as one of the most beautiful, featuring a vintage carousel and a huge, gorgeously illuminated Christmas tree. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping and you don’t see just what you’re looking for at the market, you could check out the designer shops on Goethe Street or the little boutiques on Berger Street. The treasures of the Römer are so close to the ship that you can take in the sights at your leisure before returning to the dock. If you’d like a break from holiday shopping, no fewer than 13 museums line the Main River right next to your ship, all of them worth exploring. The Städel has a splendid collection of works by painters ranging from Rubens to Baselitz.

    A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Welcome Reception and Dinner
  3. Get a taste of life in the Middle Ages at a remarkably well-preserved German village, where you’ll meet a local butcher and baker (and perhaps even a candlestick maker) on a guided walking tour. Be sure to fortify yourself with a mug of mulled wine and a slice of delicious stollen before visiting the town’s charming Christmas market. Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers, Wertheim (or Wertheim am Main) is a lovely village dating back over a thousand years. It epitomizes the friendly, slow-paced, small-town atmosphere of many German villages; here, residents greet each other by name as they do their daily shopping for fresh bread and sausage in tiny shops. On your guided walking tour of the village, you’ll hear a lot about daily life in Wertheim, as well as facts about the town and its history. Its many well-preserved medieval buildings— complete with low doors, tiny rooms and insufficient lighting—attest to the inconveniences of life in the Middle Ages.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Wertheim walking discovery tour with mulled wine and Christmas stollen demonstration or Michelstadt Christmas Market

    Wertheim walking discovery tour with mulled wine and Christmas stollen demonstration
    You’ll see the dramatic ruins of Wertheim Castle standing high above the village as you ramble through the narrow streets, passing small bakeries and butcher shops. The counts of Wertheim began building this huge fortress in the 12th century, and the town grew up in its shelter. Wertheim had defenses of its own too: The Pointed Tower, a former watchtower also used as a jail for drunkards and shrews in the 13th-century, still stands, leaning slightly toward its neighbors, not from age but because flood waters have undermined it. It’s not the only architectural wonder you’ll pass: Blue House’s spectacular half-timbering is painted with an unusual cobalt glass-based paint, and Zobel House is just 10 feet (3 meters) wide at its base. In the Market Square, you’ll see St. Mary’s Chapel, which was erected in 1447; the step-gabled house built for 16th-century wine merchant Lorenz Baunach; and the 1574 Angels’ Well, which derives its name from the two little angels that hold Wertheim’s coat of arms. Stop in at a butcher shop for a sampling of the best local sausage; you can even buy some (canned, of course) to take home with you! Then enjoy a cup of mulled wine and a stollen (traditional German fruitcake) baking demonstration by a master baker at a private village wine estate. After the tour you can stay in town to shop for keepsakes or visit the Glass Museum before making your way back to the ship.

    Michelstadt Christmas Market
    The historic half-timber facades of the houses and town hall from 1484 are the worthy setting for more than 100 wooden market stalls made in a particularly attractive style. The extraordinary decoration like the magical nativity scene with life-sized figures, the giant Christmas pyramid, a group of angels and the big colorful wooden musical box conjure up a festive atmosphere. Father Christmas comes regularly to cheer up the children. In the castle's wine tasting hall, sculptors, wood turners, ivory carvers and carpenters demonstrate their craft. Even the toy museum opens its doors wide, to the joy of adult and child visitors alike. Advent music, Christmas concerts and the sound of trumpets lend everything a reflective, festive note.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  4. One of the best ways to embrace a different culture is through encounters with local residents, which you’ll experience today in a typical Franconian village. Make new friends over hot drinks and homemade seasonal treats, then head off to see the Würzburg Residence, a baroque-style palace famous for its gigantic ceiling fresco. Later, visit the town’s renowned Christmas market for some one-of-a-kind gifts for friends back home (or yourself!).   The town of Würzburg owes many of its most notable monuments to the ambitious building programs of the wealthy prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, who controlled the town in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their spectacular episcopal residence is on your schedule for today, as is a delightful encounter with the residents of a Franconian village.

    Featured Excursions:
    Würzburg Residence with Christmas Market
    Exclusive Franconian “Village Day”

    Würzburg Residence with Christmas Market
    This 300-room UNESCO World Heritage–designated residence was constructed over a period of 60 years in the 18th century. An extraordinarily lavish palace, it was created under the auspices of two Schönborn prince-bishops, Lothar Franz and Friedrich Carl, who brought enormous knowledge and passion to the project, as well as a budget for the best of the best. The magnificent grand staircase boasts the world’s largest ceiling fresco, painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Portions of the building were damaged by Allied bombing in 1945, but fortunately most of the historic furnishings had been stored off-site and key rooms were unharmed, so you can see the original—and matchless—artwork, gilding and statuary. Check out the spectacular Hall of Mirrors and the imposing Imperial Hall, which boasts a large oval dome and 20 half-columns. At the conclusion of your tour, you’ll head back to Würzburg’s glorious Christmas Market, which is held in the square in front of the old City Hall. Beautifully decorated wooden booths are illuminated by the soft glow of Christmas lighting, and the air is filled with the scent of roasted chestnuts and the sound of Christmas carols. As you rove among the booths, you can watch glassblowers and wood carvers at work and buy their handiwork directly from them.

    Exclusive Franconian “Village Day”
    Travel through Franconia’s rolling hills and farms to the picture-perfect village of Aschfeld, which features a historic church with a defensive wall that protected residents throughout the Middle Ages. A visit to Aschfeld offers a truly special opportunity to interact with small-town Franconians and chat with them about their daily lives. Locals will share traditional homemade Christmas goodies such as cookies, stollen and gingerbread, along with coffee and tea. Their English-speaking abilities vary, so this is a great opportunity for you to try out your German, just as your hosts are trying out their English. Here’s one phrase you might want to know: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” which means “Merry Christmas!”

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  5. Rothenburg looks like something straight out of the pages of a storybook, with its medieval walls, cobbled streets, Gothic churches and Hansel-and-Gretel houses. Join a local expert for an insightful walking discovery tour, and then wander amongst the stalls at one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Your ship docks in the Bavarian town of Kitzingen in the morning, and after breakfast you’ll take a ride along the Romantic Road, once a medieval trade route, to Rothenburg. The minute you step down from the motorcoach in Rothenburg (also known as Rothenburg ob der Tauber), you’ll know why the route, which links picturesque and well-preserved old towns, is called the Romantic Road. Rothenburg is right out of a storybook: Wide medieval walls still enclose its charming core of Gothic churches and gabled houses.

    Featured Excursion:
    Full-day Rothenburg with walking discovery tour and Christmas Market

    Full-day Rothenburg with walking discovery tour and Christmas Market
    Rothenburg really does look like a fairytale version of the Middle Ages. Great stone walls surrounding the medieval core stand tall, linking towers, bastions and parapets, and timber-framed houses decked out for the holidays line the narrow cobblestone streets and tiny squares. Walk with a local expert to the magnificent Town Hall, whose Gothic, Renaissance and baroque features reveal its long history. The Gothic Franciscan Church is revered for its famous Tilman Riemenschneider altarpiece depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata. Your local expert can suggest the best places to enjoy a lunch on your own before you wander among the stalls of one of Germany’s oldest and most celebrated Christmas markets. You’ll find charming handcrafted wares and souvenirs, as well as pastries and mulled wine to keep you warm. Don’t miss a favorite seasonal treat, the schneeball, or snowball, made from strips of sweet dough shaped into a ball that is fried and covered in powdered sugar or chocolate. Be sure to check out the original Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store opposite the market. A huge Christmas tree revolves in the center of the store, and some 35,000 Christmas-themed items line the shelves.

    meal(s):Breakfast and Dinner
  6. The fact that Bamberg still exists today is something of a miracle, given that it survived WWII bombing virtually unscathed. It’s a superb example of a medieval German city, one compact enough to explore on foot with a local expert. You’ll also have free time to visit not just one but four Christmas markets. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg, unlike most German cities, was largely undamaged by bombing during WWII. This fact, combined with the city’s prosperous thousand-year history, means that Bamberg has one of the largest intact old-town centers in Europe, so the medieval layout and architecture that was a model for other towns throughout Central Europe remains for you to see and experience.

    Featured Excursion:
    Bamberg walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Bamberg walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    The entire heart of historic Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is yours to explore today. In the splendid late-Romanesque Imperial Cathedral you will find the only papal tomb in Germany, that of Pope Clement II (who was the bishop of Bamberg before he became pope), as well as the tomb of Emperor Henry II (who established the bishopric). Near it are two magnificent palaces: The Old Palace, the late-Gothic imperial residence (if you saw the 2011 3-D version of The Three Musketeers, you’ll recognize it immediately), sits across from the New Residence, where the 17th-century prince-bishops lived. Cross the footbridge to the old Town Hall; legend has it that the bishop refused to give the town land for their town hall, so they built an artificial island for it smack in the middle of the Regnitz River. You’ll also see parts of Bamberg’s famous Nativity Walk, which links 35 churches, museums and public spaces that display Nativity scenes, some made hundreds of years ago. When the tour concludes, you’ll have time to explore Bamberg’s Christmas Market, which is actually four markets: the traditional one on the Market Square, one featuring medieval cultural programs and two markets that focus on local arts and crafts. Shuttles will be provided throughout the afternoon to take you between the ship and town.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  7. For an over-the-top, old-world holiday extravaganza, look no further than Nuremberg, which boasts the largest and grandest Christmas market in all of Germany—and that’s really saying something. The “Gingerbread Capital of the World” pulls out all the stops during the holidays, as you’ll see for yourself on a panoramic tour guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. You could not ask for a more perfect place to begin an exploration of Christmas traditions than Nuremberg. The people of Nuremberg hold their Christkindlesmarkt very close to their hearts. The iconic Christkind, with her white-and-gold dress, long blond curls and golden crown, has been the symbol for the Christmas Market for many decades. During Advent, she is the most important representative of the city; every year she opens the Christmas Market by declaring: “Welcome, young and old, to my little community of wood and cloth. While this market’s splendor is fleeting, the joy it brings is eternal.” And with that declaration, the market festivities begin in a town that is famous for its gingerbread and long toy-making tradition.

    Featured Excursion:
    Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market

    Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market
    Beautiful at any time, Nuremberg’s Old Town is especially magical when dressed in all of its holiday splendor. Unfortunately, the city’s history also has a dark side, as you will see on a panoramic tour that shows you places where Hitler celebrated the might of his Third Reich—the Rally Grounds and the never-finished coliseum, Congress Hall—before you reach Old Town, where you’ll find the archetypal medieval German city. Stroll through the castle gardens and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, then walk through a maze of cobblestone lanes down to the central Market Square. There, spread out before the Church of Our Lady, is the largest Christmas market in Germany. Two hundred stalls filled with holiday wares—ornaments, nutcrackers, seasonal treats and hand-carved toys—await you, and the irresistible aromas of roasting nuts, cinnamon and grilled sausages waft through the air.

    Adding to the fun is an area set aside especially for children, complete with a two-tiered carousel featuring carved reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. As you wander through the market, you will certainly want to indulge in some of the city’s famous gingerbread; after all, Nuremberg is known as the “Gingerbread Capital of the World.”

    A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner
  8. Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to the Nuremberg International Airport for your flight home.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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  • Transfer Guidelines - Europe

    Flights must arrive between 5am and 5pm and depart between 6am and 6pm. Airport arrival and departure transfers are included on arrival and departure days only.

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  • Generations Program
Cruise Start Date Classic Deluxe French Balcony Suite Availability Price
12/1/19 Sold Out $4,099pp $5,199pp $6,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: River Queen
Nuremburg to Frankfurt
12/8/19 Sold Out $4,099pp $5,199pp $6,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: River Queen
Frankfurt to Nuremburg
Generations Program
12/15/19 Sold Out $3,799pp $4,899pp $6,199pp Request Quote
SHIP: River Queen
Nuremburg to Frankfurt
  • Generations Program: This departure includes special programs, events and excursions designed specifically for young travelers.
  • Click here for more information about Uniworld’s unique Generations family program.
  • All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
  • Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
  • Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
  • The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
  • Prices exclude additional port charges of $170 per person.
  • AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive $100 Member Benefit Discount on all Uniworld River Cruises booked through Grand European Travel plus receive a free travel gift.
  • Past Travelers receive additional savings. Call for details.
  • View River Cruise Terms & Conditions 
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  • All Meals Included Onboard All Meals Included Onboard
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Professional Cruise Management Professional Cruise Management
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • All Gratuities All Gratuities
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Six-Star Ships Six-Star Ships

Generations Family Program (select sailing)

Share the magic of a European holiday with the special young people in your life on this multigenerational “Classic Christmas Markets” cruise filled with lots of family holiday merrymaking.

Dining

  • All meals included onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water

Accommodations

  • 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the regal River Queen
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access

Excursions

  • 6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided “Taste of Christmas,” “Village Day” and “Gentle Walking” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of Nordic walking sticks

Experiences

  • 1 country: Germany
  • 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • All transfers on arrival and departure days
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment
  • Cultural enrichment, including a Signature Lecture: “Christmas Traditions in Germany”
  • Exclusive Generations Family Program on a select December departure
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  • Transfer Guidelines - Europe

    Flights must arrive between 5am and 5pm and depart between 6am and 6pm. Airport arrival and departure transfers are included on arrival and departure days only.

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HER MAJESTY LOOKS BRILLIANT IN BLUE

This ship is fit for a queen, with her charming artwork, white and blue color scheme and functioning fireplace. The readers got it right when naming the River Queen the #1 ship in the entire industry in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler poll. Original art includes works by Georges Goursat and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Click HERE to view a pdf of ship facts (and click HERE to download software to open a pdf file).

 

Inaugurated: 1999
Renovated: 2010
Guests: 128
Staff: 42

Suites: 4 (214 sq ft)
French Balcony: 16 (151 sq ft)
Deluxe: 37 (151 sq ft)
Classic: 7 (151 sq ft)

Length: 361 ft
Width: 37.5 ft
Voltage: 110/220 volts

SUITES

Lavishly appointed riverview suite (215 sq ft - 20 sq m)

Handcrafted Savoir® of England bed, built-in closet, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

Additional special amenities and services

FRENCH BALCONY

Lavishly appointed riverview stateroom (151 sq ft - 14 sq m)

Handcrafted Savoir® of England bed, built-in closet, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

Our meticulously designed ships feature enticing public areas and luxurious amenities, including a lounge with full-service bar, well-equipped fitness center, restaurant, Serenity River Spa, and a Sun Deck where you can relax and take in the ever-changing views. 

One of the most unique ships cruising Europe’s waterways, the River Queen has an exterior resembling the steamships of the 1930s and an elegant Art Deco interior. Decorated in richly textured blue and white fabrics—with marble bathrooms and inspiring artwork—River Queen is a sublime floating hotel designed with your every comfort in mind. River Queen was rated the #1 ship in the entire cruise industry (both river and ocean) in the 2012 Conde´ Nast Traveler Readers' Cruise Poll.

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  • U.S. citizens traveling to Germany must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Germany.

  • The currency in Germany is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive in Germany, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Germany. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • We recommend packing layers to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress.  It’s important to bring comfortable walking shoes and a waterproof jacket with a hood. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

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  • Transfer Guidelines - Europe

    Flights must arrive between 5am and 5pm and depart between 6am and 6pm. Airport arrival and departure transfers are included on arrival and departure days only.

Add An Optional Cruise Extension Package:

Prague

Included in your 4-day stay:

  • 3 nights at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel (or similar)
  • Breakfast daily and all gratuities, service charges, taxes and porterage
  • Choice of Prague old town or Prague castle visit
  • English-speaking expert
  • All transfers

Pricing:

$849 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $399.

Additional fees may apply, please call for details. 

Note: This extension is for cruises that begin or end in Nuremberg.

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  • Transfer Guidelines - Europe

    Flights must arrive between 5am and 5pm and depart between 6am and 6pm. Airport arrival and departure transfers are included on arrival and departure days only.

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