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European Holiday Markets

8 Days from $3,999 per person

Style: Boutique River Cruises | Pace: Leisurely

Visit some of the most famous and delightful holiday markets in Central Europe. At each market, you’ll find wooden stalls displaying traditional crafts that range from quirky little characters made of fruit and dressed in Bavarian costume to beautifully carved and painted Nativity figures. You’ll also find exquisite ornaments and fine contemporary crafts, along with fairytale villages decked in holiday finery. Those looking to experience Europe at its most magical will enjoy the chance to discover the delightful holiday traditions and treats of Germany and Austria, and to find special gifts for loved ones back home.

Print Itinerary

Overview

Visit some of the most famous and delightful holiday markets in Central Europe. At each market, you’ll find wooden stalls displaying traditional crafts that range from quirky little characters made of fruit and dressed in Bavarian costume to beautifully carved and painted Nativity figures. You’ll also find exquisite ornaments and fine contemporary crafts, along with fairytale villages decked in holiday finery. Those looking to experience Europe at its most magical will enjoy the chance to discover the delightful holiday traditions and treats of Germany and Austria, and to find special gifts for loved ones back home.

  1. Arrive at Nuremberg Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.

    meal(s):Dinner
  2. For a truly over-the-top 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 its long toy-making tradition.

    Featured Excursions: 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.” Shuttles are available to take you to and from the ship.

    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 Old Town of Regensburg sparkles with holiday lights and decorations this time of year, adding to its already considerable charms. Check out the best and brightest cultural sights, then head to what may very well be the most romantic Christmas market in all of Germany, nestled within the courtyard of a beautiful baroque castle. “Regensburg is so beautifully situated; this region had to attract a town,” Goethe wrote in his Diary of an Italian Voyage. And attract a town it did. In fact, it first attracted the armies of ancient Rome, who founded the town in about the year 100. The town thrived, not just because of its beautiful location, but also because ambitious and farseeing locals built a bridge over the Danube in the 12th century. The Stone Bridge helped Regensburg become an international trading hub and, at one time, the capital of Bavaria. So many of the handsome buildings from that period remain that UNESCO declared the old city center a World Heritage Site.

    Featured Excursions:
    “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking discovery tour with enchanting Christmas Market in the Thurn and Taxis Castle

    “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking discovery tour with enchanting Christmas Market in the Thurn and Taxis Castle
    Old-town Regensburg sparkles with holiday lights and decorations at this time of year, adding to its enormous charm. As you walk through the cobbled lanes of the UNESCO-designated city center, Regensburg’s 2,000-year history is revealed: The ancient Roman gate still stands, as do the Stone Bridge, the Gothic town hall where the Imperial Diet met for three centuries, the 13th-century fortified patrician houses, and the spectacular Cathedral of St. Peter, whose magnificent 14th-century stained-glass windows alone are worth your walk. At the end of your tour, you’ll find yourself at what may be the most romantic Christmas market in all of Germany: the one laid out in the courtyard of the Thurn and Taxis Castle. A glorious baroque palace enfolds the square, where branch-thatched huts sell handcrafted local wares and Bavarian delicacies. There’s always a nearby bonfire where you can warm up while you sip your mulled wine or nibble a hot pastry. The princely Thurn and Taxis family has owned the palace for centuries, and Princess Gloria (once known as the punk princess for her youthful escapades) may come out to read a Christmas story to an audience of children. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Christmas markets are set up in the area around the 500-year-old Neupfarrkirche (a market that has been voted the loveliest in Germany), in front of the classical columns of the former city guardhouse and in the Kohlenmarkt, where artisans and craftspeople sell handmade dolls, marionettes, pottery and other fine-quality wares. Shop for children’s toys or traditional Nativity scenes with hand-carved figures. As you take in the delights of the markets, enjoy regional specialties, such as mulled blueberry wine from the Bavarian Forest, Regensburg sausages on crisp rolls, steamed dampfnudel (dumplings with vanilla sauce) and mulled cider.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  4. Is that the sound of…jingle bells? Yes indeed, but that’s not Santa’s sleigh you’re hearing, it’s a horse-drawn wagon whisking you through the densely wooded Bavarian Forest. This area is known for glass-making, which you’ll observe close up at a famous workshop. Onward to Passau, a lovely place to take a stroll and visit the local Christmas market, followed by a traditional Bavarian dinner served in a festively decorated barn. Begin the day in the beautiful Bavarian Forest, known as the green roof of Europe, and then explore historic Passau, the three-river city on the Austrian border.

    Featured Excursions:
    Exclusive Bavarian Forest village with Theresienthal glass manufactory visit
    Passau walking discovery tour with Christmas Market and Bavarian Christmas celebration with dinner in a country barn

    Exclusive Bavarian Forest village with Theresienthal glass manufactory visit
    Want to know what it feels like to live in a Christmas card illustration? Find out as you snuggle down in toasty blankets for a brisk ride in a horse-drawn wagon (or, if there’s snow, a horse-drawn sleigh) through the wonderland that is the Bavarian Forest in December. The largest nature preserve in Europe, the Bavarian Forest is home to lynxes and river otters, among other rare species, as well as miles of ski trails. It is also home to a long tradition of glassmaking; the famous ruby-red Bohemian lead-crystal glass is made here. See this tradition at work with a visit to the world-renowned glass manufacturer Theresienthal. The company fell on hard times and was forced to close for a short time in the late 20th century, but it was rescued by its employees. Some of the craftspeople—wood turners, glassblowers, engravers and painters—you’ll see at work are fourth- or fifth-generation Theresienthal artisans. You can peruse the exquisite glassware in the adjacent shop—just in case someone on your Christmas list loves fine glassware—and visit the glass museum, where you’ll find a renowned collection of glassware representing some of the pieces Theresienthal made for the courts of Europe in the 19th century. Note: On rare occasions, Theresienthal must empty and refit its ovens. During such times, glass-blowing demonstrations are unavailable; passengers will still enjoy a visit to the workshop and an explanation of glass making and engraving techniques.

    Passau walking discovery tour with Christmas Market and Bavarian Christmas celebration with dinner in a country barn
    Join your guide for a stroll through picturesque lanes in the heart of Passau, stopping at the Town Hall to see its magnificent atrium, which boasts several massive works by the famous German painter Ferdinand Wagner, and pausing to admire the beautiful rococo stairway of the bishop’s New Residence. After much of the town burned to the ground in 1662 and again in 1680, the reconstruction involved many Italian artists, who gave Passau the baroque and rococo touches you see everywhere. Monumental St. Stephan’s Cathedral, built in glorious baroque style, forms the backdrop for the Passau Christmas Market. You’ll find a lot to enjoy here—from miniature Bavarian houses and blown-glass ornaments to spun-sugar confections—in more than 70 stalls. At times, the Passau Christmas Market also features demonstrations by local craftspeople, such as glassblowers, candle makers, wood carvers and confectioners, so you can buy your gifts from the people who made them. But that’s not the end of your Bavarian Christmas fun: You’ll also visit a nearby family-owned farm restaurant for a traditional holiday celebration. Sit down to a hearty dinner with drinks in the festively decorated country barn while you listen to carols and some beloved Bavarian polka and waltz tunes and see how good a pair of lederhosen can look on the right man at a mini fashion show (if you are in the market for dirndls and lederhosen, the family’s specialty clothes shop is right up your alley).

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  5. There’s more to Linz than its famous Linzer torte, although that alone makes it well worth a visit. The city has a thriving contemporary art scene, and its two Christmas markets are over-the-top enchanting. See the sights on foot with a local expert, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Linz opera house and taste cider at an Austrian apple and pear orchard. Your ship sails into Austria, cruising along an especially scenic stretch of the Danube called the Schlögener Schlinge, a great loop where the river almost doubles back on itself, before arriving in Linz. In keeping with the Austrian traditions of good food and good music, Linz gave rise to both the Linzer torte and the Linz Symphony. The torte is a delectable confection, and the symphony is one of Mozart’s most celebrated works. The story goes that the composer was so inspired by the beauty of the city that he finished his Symphony No. 36 in less than a week here in 1783. This vibrant city, the second largest in Austria, has been a center of trade and industry for centuries—and it still inspires artists today.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market or Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market

    Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    The seductive scents of seasonal treats—gingerbread and Linzer torte, cakes and cookies—waft through the air, and the stalls are full of local craft items at Linz’s two delightful Christmas markets, which are connected by the main shopping thoroughfare and a spectacular light show. Begin at the Main Square, where the stalls are decorated with motifs of Linz landmarks, and follow the illuminations to the Volksgarten, where you’ll find, literally, a fairytale Christmas—large, animated displays of fairytale scenes will entrance the child in you.

    Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market
    Linz’s New Cathedral dates to the 19th century (the old cathedral, a few blocks away, was built in the baroque era), but as you take in its neo-Gothic splendor, you might guess that it is much older—until you notice that the stained-glass windows include 19th-century Linz notables. Linz’s new opera house, however, is quite new: It opened in 2013. Covering several city blocks, the Terry Pawson–designed complex incorporates state-of-the-art backstage workshops and staging equipment, which your guide will show you. In explaining why Linz undertook this incredibly ambitious and expensive project, the governor of Upper Austria said, “Culture costs, but the absence of culture costs much, much more.” You may be ready for a break after your tour, and where better to take one than at Jindrak, a beloved local bakery famous for its Linzer torte. Refreshed, you will head for the hills—literally. A motorcoach will carry you into Mostviertel, Lower Austria’s famous cider region, where the road winds among beautiful orchard-covered hills and meadows. Tour a typical farm for an insightful look at rural life and local crops, and enjoy the fruit of these orchards—pear and apple ciders.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  6. After a scenic cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley, we’ll reach the tiny village of Dürnstein. Walk along its cobbled streets, browse the shops selling apricot schnapps, and perhaps take a quick jaunt up to the ruins of a castle (with an intriguing tale all its own). Later, you can taste various mulled wines and attend an organ concert at an Augustine church. Make your way to the lounge this morning to marvel at the scenery of the Wachau Valley, the 19-mile stretch of the Danube that cuts through a rocky gorge amid the foothills of the Bohemian Forest between Melk and Dürnstein. This beautiful region, with steep, densely wooded slopes on the south side of the river and a mixture of crags and vineyards on the north, was declared a World Heritage Landscape by UNESCO. Dotted along the banks are small historic towns and wine-making communities. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes ripened on the terraces that cling to these rocky slopes.

    Featured Excursions:
    Dürnstein walking discovery tour with exclusive mulled wine tasting and organ concert in Augustine church

    Dürnstein walking discovery tour with exclusive mulled wine tasting and organ concert in Augustine church
    Considering its diminutive size, the village of Dürnstein offers much to explore. The famous blue baroque tower of the abbey church is doubtless its best-known landmark, but the ruined castle above the town provides its most romantic tale. There Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned until he was found by his faithful bard, Blondel, and ransom could be raised—or so the legend goes. Walk with the Cruise Manager through the Kremser Gate, which dates to the 15th century, and past 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century houses; it’s an up-close look at over 300 years of local architectural styles. The inhabitants of this region have grown apricots and grapes for many centuries, and they have happily turned both into delectable beverages through the years. See what they do with the local wine in winter, as you warm up with a mulled wine tasting after your walk, then head to a local Augustine church for an organ concert.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  7. The “City of Waltzes” is famous for many things, including world-class art museums, music and architecture (not to mention sinfully rich pastries). See the top sites on a city tour or savor the flavors of the season with our exclusive “Taste of Christmas” guided walking. Whichever option you choose, you’ll also have ample time to explore one of Europe’s greatest Christmas markets. Vienna is a city steeped in history, music and elegant architecture. Mozart, Austria’s most famous citizen, was at the height of his creative powers when he lived here, writing perhaps his best-known works, including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. He found Vienna a very inspiring place, and so will you. You’ll have a full day to savor the Christmas spirit in Vienna.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Vienna city tour with Christmas Market or Exclusive "Taste of Christmas" Vienna walking tour

    Vienna city tour with Christmas Market
    Ring Street, the great horseshoe-shaped boulevard lined with many of the city’s major landmarks—Parliament, City Hall, the Vienna State Opera, glorious museums—is a mere 150 years old, practically an infant for a city of Vienna’s age. It replaced the walls that had protected the city for centuries. See them all on a panoramic tour, then set off on foot for a guided walking tour with a local expert, passing more top sites—such as Hofburg Palace, the Spanish Riding School and St. Stephan’s Cathedral—and stopping to visit the National Library, said to be the most beautiful library room in the world. You’ll also have leisure time to explore on your own and to visit Vienna’s most famous Christmas market, situated in front of City Hall, where more than 140 wooden stalls entice you with every sort of delicacy. Be sure to try the rum balls and nutmeg-spiced macaroons, which are local favorites, and amble through the adjacent park to admire the elaborately decorated trees.

    Exclusive "Taste of Christmas" Vienna walking tour
    A drive along Vienna’s Prater Street and Ring Street provides you with a glimpse of the magnificent buildings that showcased the Habsburgs’ grandeur, ending at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Stroll with your guide along the Graben, the elegant artery of downtown Vienna, and Kohlmarkt, which is lined with chic shops (don’t miss the dazzling display of holiday confectionary art in the windows of Café Demel, which once supplied Empress Sissi with candied violets), on your way to several delightful Christmas markets. The Am Hof Advent Market features contemporary crafts, ranging from jewelry to knitwear; just a few steps further along, on Freyung Square, is the oldest and most traditional of the city’s markets. Handsome palaces border the triangular square, which is filled with delightful stalls selling Nativity scenes, glass ornaments and handicrafts. Breathe in the aromas of such seasonal treats as roasted chestnuts, hot spiced wine and vanilla crescents, Austria’s most famous Christmas cookie. How can you resist? Luckily, this is the moment and the place to sample these and other holiday specialties! After enjoying some treats here, you’ll walk through the luxe Palais Ferstel shopping arcade to the bustling Christmas Market in front of the City Hall, which you may explore on your own. The afternoon is yours. Spend as long as you like at the Rathaus Christmas Market or venture off to another of the city’s seasonal markets. Of course, there are many other sights to see. Over 100 museums beckon you to delve into their depths. You might wish to visit the Albertina Museum: It houses an incredible collection of graphic arts, including one million old-master prints and an impressive group of works by 19th- and 20th-century painters, ranging from Renoir to Rothko. You could tour the Belvedere, where Klimt’s famous The Kiss is on display. Alternatively, you can encounter Viennese coffeehouse culture at one of the dozens of traditional cafés in Vienna’s Old City.

    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 and transfer to Vienna International Airport for your flight home.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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Print Itinerary

Overview

Visit some of the most famous and delightful holiday markets in Central Europe. At each market, you’ll find wooden stalls displaying traditional crafts that range from quirky little characters made of fruit and dressed in Bavarian costume to beautifully carved and painted Nativity figures. You’ll also find exquisite ornaments and fine contemporary crafts, along with fairytale villages decked in holiday finery. Those looking to experience Europe at its most magical will enjoy the chance to discover the delightful holiday traditions and treats of Germany and Austria, and to find special gifts for loved ones back home.

  1. Arrive at Vienna 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. The “City of Waltzes” is famous for many things, including world-class art museums, music and architecture (not to mention sinfully rich pastries). See the top sites on a city tour or savor the flavors of the season with our exclusive “Taste of Christmas” guided walking. Whichever option you choose, you’ll also have ample time to explore one of Europe’s greatest Christmas markets. Vienna is a city steeped in history, music and elegant architecture. Mozart, Austria’s most famous citizen, was at the height of his creative powers when he lived here, writing perhaps his best-known works, including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. He found Vienna a very inspiring place, and so will you. You’ll have a full day to savor the Christmas spirit in Vienna.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Vienna city tour with Christmas Market or Exclusive "Taste of Christmas" Vienna walking tour

    Vienna city tour with Christmas Market
    Ring Street, the great horseshoe-shaped boulevard lined with many of the city’s major landmarks—Parliament, City Hall, the Vienna State Opera, glorious museums—is a mere 150 years old, practically an infant for a city of Vienna’s age. It replaced the walls that had protected the city for centuries. See them all on a panoramic tour, then set off on foot for a guided walking tour with a local expert, passing more top sites—such as Hofburg Palace, the Spanish Riding School and St. Stephan’s Cathedral—and stopping to visit the National Library, said to be the most beautiful library room in the world. You’ll also have leisure time to explore on your own and to visit Vienna’s most famous Christmas market, situated in front of City Hall, where more than 140 wooden stalls entice you with every sort of delicacy. Be sure to try the rum balls and nutmeg-spiced macaroons, which are local favorites, and amble through the adjacent park to admire the elaborately decorated trees.

    Exclusive "Taste of Christmas" Vienna walking tour
    A drive along Vienna’s Prater Street and Ring Street provides you with a glimpse of the magnificent buildings that showcased the Habsburgs’ grandeur, ending at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Stroll with your guide along the Graben, the elegant artery of downtown Vienna, and Kohlmarkt, which is lined with chic shops (don’t miss the dazzling display of holiday confectionary art in the windows of Café Demel, which once supplied Empress Sissi with candied violets), on your way to several delightful Christmas markets. The Am Hof Advent Market features contemporary crafts, ranging from jewelry to knitwear; just a few steps further along, on Freyung Square, is the oldest and most traditional of the city’s markets. Handsome palaces border the triangular square, which is filled with delightful stalls selling Nativity scenes, glass ornaments and handicrafts. Breathe in the aromas of such seasonal treats as roasted chestnuts, hot spiced wine and vanilla crescents, Austria’s most famous Christmas cookie. How can you resist? Luckily, this is the moment and the place to sample these and other holiday specialties! After enjoying some treats here, you’ll walk through the luxe Palais Ferstel shopping arcade to the bustling Christmas Market in front of the City Hall, which you may explore on your own. The afternoon is yours. Spend as long as you like at the Rathaus Christmas Market or venture off to another of the city’s seasonal markets. Of course, there are many other sights to see. Over 100 museums beckon you to delve into their depths. You might wish to visit the Albertina Museum: It houses an incredible collection of graphic arts, including one million old-master prints and an impressive group of works by 19th- and 20th-century painters, ranging from Renoir to Rothko. You could tour the Belvedere, where Klimt’s famous The Kiss is on display. Alternatively, you can encounter Viennese coffeehouse culture at one of the dozens of traditional cafés in Vienna’s Old City.

    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. After a scenic cruise, we’ll reach the tiny village of Dürnstein. Walk along its cobbled streets, browse the shops selling apricot schnapps, and perhaps take a quick jaunt up to the ruins of a castle (with an intriguing tale all its own). Later, you can taste various mulled wines and attend an organ concert at an Augustine church.

    Featured Excursions:
    Dürnstein walking discovery tour with exclusive mulled wine tasting and organ concert in Augustine church

    Dürnstein walking discovery tour with exclusive mulled wine tasting and organ concert in Augustine church
    Considering its diminutive size, the village of Dürnstein offers much to explore. The famous blue baroque tower of the abbey church is doubtless its best-known landmark, but the ruined castle above the town provides its most romantic tale. There Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned until he was found by his faithful bard, Blondel, and ransom could be raised—or so the legend goes. Walk with the Cruise Manager through the Kremser Gate, which dates to the 15th century, and past 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century houses; it’s an up-close look at over 300 years of local architectural styles. The inhabitants of this region have grown apricots and grapes for many centuries, and they have happily turned both into delectable beverages through the years. See what they do with the local wine in winter, as you warm up with a mulled wine tasting after your walk, then head to a local Augustine church for an organ concert.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  4. There’s more to Linz than its famous Linzer torte, although that alone makes it well worth a visit. The city has a thriving contemporary art scene, and its two Christmas markets are over-the-top enchanting. See the sights on foot with a local expert, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Linz opera house and taste cider at an Austrian apple and pear orchard. Your ship sails into Austria, cruising along an especially scenic stretch of the Danube called the Schlögener Schlinge, a great loop where the river almost doubles back on itself, before arriving in Linz. In keeping with the Austrian traditions of good food and good music, Linz gave rise to both the Linzer torte and the Linz Symphony. The torte is a delectable confection, and the symphony is one of Mozart’s most celebrated works. The story goes that the composer was so inspired by the beauty of the city that he finished his Symphony No. 36 in less than a week here in 1783. This vibrant city, the second largest in Austria, has been a center of trade and industry for centuries—and it still inspires artists today.

    Featured Excursions:
    Bavarian Christmas celebration with dinner in a country barn
    Choice of Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market or Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market

    Bavarian Christmas celebration with dinner in a country barn
    You’ll visit a nearby family-owned farm restaurant for a traditional holiday celebration. Sit down to a hearty dinner with drinks in the festively decorated country barn while you listen to carols and some beloved Bavarian polka and waltz tunes and see how good a pair of lederhosen can look on the right man at a mini fashion show (if you are in the market for dirndls and lederhosen, the family’s specialty clothes shop is right up your alley).

    Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    The seductive scents of seasonal treats—gingerbread and Linzer torte, cakes and cookies—waft through the air, and the stalls are full of local craft items at Linz’s two delightful Christmas markets, which are connected by the main shopping thoroughfare and a spectacular light show. Begin at the Main Square, where the stalls are decorated with motifs of Linz landmarks, and follow the illuminations to the Volksgarten, where you’ll find, literally, a fairytale Christmas—large, animated displays of fairytale scenes will entrance the child in you.

    Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market
    Linz’s New Cathedral dates to the 19th century (the old cathedral, a few blocks away, was built in the baroque era), but as you take in its neo-Gothic splendor, you might guess that it is much older—until you notice that the stained-glass windows include 19th-century Linz notables. Linz’s new opera house, however, is quite new: It opened in 2013. Covering several city blocks, the Terry Pawson–designed complex incorporates state-of-the-art backstage workshops and staging equipment, which your guide will show you. In explaining why Linz undertook this incredibly ambitious and expensive project, the governor of Upper Austria said, “Culture costs, but the absence of culture costs much, much more.” You may be ready for a break after your tour, and where better to take one than at Jindrak, a beloved local bakery famous for its Linzer torte.

    Refreshed, you will head for the hills—literally. A motorcoach will carry you into Mostviertel, Lower Austria’s famous cider region, where the road winds among beautiful orchard-covered hills and meadows. Tour a typical farm for an insightful look at rural life and local crops, and enjoy the fruit of these orchards—pear and apple ciders.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  5. Onward to Passau, a lovely place to take a stroll and visit the local Christmas market. Is that the sound of…jingle bells? Yes indeed, but that’s not Santa’s sleigh you’re hearing, it’s a horse-drawn wagon whisking you through the densely wooded Bavarian Forest. This area is known for glass-making, which you’ll observe close-up at a famous workshop. Begin the day in the beautiful Bavarian Forest, known as the green roof of Europe, and then explore historic Passau, the three-river city on the Austrian border.

    Featured Excursions:
    Exclusive Bavarian Forest village with Theresienthal glass manufactory visit
    Passau walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Exclusive Bavarian Forest village with Theresienthal glass manufactory visit
    Want to know what it feels like to live in a Christmas card illustration? Find out as you snuggle down in toasty blankets for a brisk ride in a horse-drawn wagon (or, if there’s snow, a horse-drawn sleigh) through the wonderland that is the Bavarian Forest in December. The largest nature preserve in Europe, the Bavarian Forest is home to lynxes and river otters, among other rare species, as well as miles of ski trails. It is also home to a long tradition of glassmaking; the famous ruby-red Bohemian lead-crystal glass is made here. See this tradition at work with a visit to the world-renowned glass manufacturer Theresienthal. The company fell on hard times and was forced to close for a short time in the late 20th century, but it was rescued by its employees. Some of the craftspeople—wood turners, glassblowers, engravers and painters—you’ll see at work are fourth- or fifth-generation Theresienthal artisans. You can peruse the exquisite glassware in the adjacent shop—just in case someone on your Christmas list loves fine glassware—and visit the glass museum, where you’ll find a renowned collection of glassware representing some of the pieces Theresienthal made for the courts of Europe in the 19th century. Note: On rare occasions, Theresienthal must empty and refit its ovens. During such times, glass-blowing demonstrations are unavailable; passengers will still enjoy a visit to the workshop and an explanation of glass making and engraving techniques.

    Passau walking discovery tour with Christmas Market and Bavarian Christmas celebration with dinner in a country barn
    Join your guide for a stroll through picturesque lanes in the heart of Passau, stopping at the Town Hall to see its magnificent atrium, which boasts several massive works by the famous German painter Ferdinand Wagner, and pausing to admire the beautiful rococo stairway of the bishop’s New Residence. After much of the town burned to the ground in 1662 and again in 1680, the reconstruction involved many Italian artists, who gave Passau the baroque and rococo touches you see everywhere. Monumental St. Stephan’s Cathedral, built in glorious baroque style, forms the backdrop for the Passau Christmas Market. You’ll find a lot to enjoy here—from miniature Bavarian houses and blown-glass ornaments to spun-sugar confections—in more than 70 stalls. At times, the Passau Christmas Market also features demonstrations by local craftspeople, such as glassblowers, candle makers, wood carvers and confectioners, so you can buy your gifts from the people who made them.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  6. The Old Town of Regensburg sparkles with holiday lights and decorations this time of year, adding to its already considerable charms. Check out the best and brightest cultural sights, then head to what may very well be the most romantic Christmas market in all of Germany, nestled within the courtyard of a beautiful baroque castle. “Regensburg is so beautifully situated; this region had to attract a town,” Goethe wrote in his Diary of an Italian Voyage. And attract a town it did. In fact, it first attracted the armies of ancient Rome, who founded the town in about the year 100. The town thrived, not just because of its beautiful location, but also because ambitious and farseeing locals built a bridge over the Danube in the 12th century. The Stone Bridge helped Regensburg become an international trading hub and, at one time, the capital of Bavaria. So many of the handsome buildings from that period remain that UNESCO declared the old city center a World Heritage Site.

    Featured Excursions:
    “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking discovery tour with enchanting Christmas Market in the Thurn and Taxis Castle

    “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking discovery tour with enchanting Christmas Market in the Thurn and Taxis Castle
    Old-town Regensburg sparkles with holiday lights and decorations at this time of year, adding to its enormous charm. As you walk through the cobbled lanes of the UNESCO-designated city center, Regensburg’s 2,000-year history is revealed: The ancient Roman gate still stands, as do the Stone Bridge, the Gothic town hall where the Imperial Diet met for three centuries, the 13th-century fortified patrician houses, and the spectacular Cathedral of St. Peter, whose magnificent 14th-century stained-glass windows alone are worth your walk. At the end of your tour, you’ll find yourself at what may be the most romantic Christmas market in all of Germany: the one laid out in the courtyard of the Thurn and Taxis Castle. A glorious baroque palace enfolds the square, where branch-thatched huts sell handcrafted local wares and Bavarian delicacies. There’s always a nearby bonfire where you can warm up while you sip your mulled wine or nibble a hot pastry. The princely Thurn and Taxis family has owned the palace for centuries, and Princess Gloria (once known as the punk princess for her youthful escapades) may come out to read a Christmas story to an audience of children.

    The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Christmas markets are set up in the area around the 500-year-old Neupfarrkirche (a market that has been voted the loveliest in Germany), in front of the classical columns of the former city guardhouse and in the Kohlenmarkt, where artisans and craftspeople sell handmade dolls, marionettes, pottery and other fine-quality wares. Shop for children’s toys or traditional Nativity scenes with hand-carved figures. As you take in the delights of the markets, enjoy regional specialties, such as mulled blueberry wine from the Bavarian Forest, Regensburg sausages on crisp rolls, steamed dampfnudel (dumplings with vanilla sauce) and mulled cider.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  7. For a truly over-the-top 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 its long toy-making tradition.

    Featured Excursions: 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.” Shuttles are available to take you to and from the ship.

    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 Nuremberg 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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Cruise Start Date Classic French Balcony Deluxe French Balcony Suite Grand Suite Royal Suite Availability Price
1 Dec 19 Sold Out $4,199pp $4,699pp $6,799pp $8,699pp $10,399pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Beatrice
Vienna to Nuremberg
8 Dec 19 Sold Out $4,199pp $4,699pp $6,799pp $8,699pp $10,399pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Beatrice
Nuremberg to Vienna
15 Dec 19 Sold Out $3,999pp $4,499pp $6,599pp $8,499pp $10,199pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Beatrice
Vienna to Nuremberg
  • 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 All Meals
  • 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

Dining

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 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 majestic River Beatrice
  • 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” and “Gentle Walking” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of Nordic walking sticks

Experiences

  • 2 countries: Austria, Germany
  • 3 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: “The Sound of Christmas Music, from ‘Silent Night’ to Christmas Oratorio”
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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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DELIGHTFULLY DIVINE

River Beatrice has reemerged as S.S. Beatrice, after undergoing an extensive bow-to-stern renovation. This jewel of a ship made her debut bearing an inspired, sleek look, graceful redesigned bow, updated lounge and the most elegant grand staircase. Be one of the first to cruise on the lavishly refined S.S. Beatrice.

STUNNING NEW FEATURES

Additional five-star dining venues with a private space for group dining

A new grand suite

Two new royal suites measuring 390 square feet

Several adjoining rooms, perfect for families traveling together

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

 

Inaugurated: 2009
Renovated: 2018
Guests: 152
Staff: 55

Royal Suites: 2 (390 sq ft)
Grand Suites: 2 (310 sq ft)
Suites: 12 (225 sq ft)
Deluxe French Balcony: 13 (150 sq ft)
French Balcony: 37 (150 sq ft)
Classic: 10 (150 sq ft)

Length: 430 ft
Width: 37.5 ft
Voltage: 110/220 volts

 

SUITE

Luxurious riverview suite (225 sq ft - 21 sq m)

Suite includes a handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, built-in closets, hair dryer, safe, direct-dial telephone, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center

Marble bathroom with Hermés bath and body products, plush towels, backlit magnifying mirror, cozy bathrobes and slippers

 

DELUXE FRENCH BALCONY

Luxurious riverview stateroom (150 sq ft - 14 sq m) with a French balcony

Handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, built-in closets, hair dryer, safe, individual climate-controlled thermostat, direct-dial telephone, and flat-screen TV with infotainment center, mineral water

Marble bathroom with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, backlit magnifying mirror, cozy bathrobes and slippers

 

FRENCH BALCONY

Luxurious riverview stateroom (150 sq ft - 14 sq m) with a French balcony

Handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, built-in closets, hair dryer, safe, individual climate-controlled thermostat, direct-dial telephone, and flat-screen TV with infotainment center, mineral water

Marble bathroom with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, backlit magnifying mirror, cozy 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. 

We are excited to introduce our newest Super Ship — S.S. Beatrice. The S.S. Beatrice boasts yacht-style light wood with blue and white finishes throughout, a renovated lobby featuring elegant mirrors, marble floors, a white Murano chandelier with blue shades, and a grand staircase made of nickel and black iron – a signature design element of Uniworld’s Super Ships. The ship’s redesigned lounge features sofas and chairs with hand-made upholstery, a parquet floor and upholstered ceiling panels, solar shades, and new USB ports allowing guests to charge anywhere they are sitting. The artwork throughout the ship includes pieces from Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Pino Signoretto.

S.S. Beatrice offers four dining options all inspired by famous Austrian composers, including Mozart’s, the ship’s main restaurant; Wolfgang’s bar and lounge and newly added Schubert’s and Max’s. For guests seeking an immersive culinary experience, Max’s restaurant offers intimate cooking classes where guests can create local European cuisines alongside the chef. Schubert’s, an 18-seat café located at the bow of the ship, offers guests shared plates from lunch through dinnertime. The cozy Austrian-styled eatery features menus reflecting the cuisine of the ship’s destinations.

Additionally, S.S. Beatrice has two new Grand Suites each measuring 310 square feet and a second 390 square foot Owner’s/Royal Suite. Connecting rooms, ideal for friends and families traveling together, have also been added.

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  • U.S. citizens traveling to Germany and Austria 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 these countries.

  • The currency in Germany and Austria is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive in Europe, 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. 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.

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