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Rhine Holiday Markets

8 Days from $3,999 per person

Style: Boutique River Cruises | Pace: Leisurely

Switzerland, France and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas markets cruise. Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns on a luxury, all-inclusive Rhine River cruise. Perfect for shoppers searching for unique gifts, Christmas enthusiasts looking for the origins of many cherished holiday traditions, and anyone who loves seasonal treats and festive holiday decorations and lights.

Print Itinerary

Overview

Switzerland, France and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas markets cruise. Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns on a luxury, all-inclusive Rhine River cruise. Perfect for shoppers searching for unique gifts, Christmas enthusiasts looking for the origins of many cherished holiday traditions, and anyone who loves seasonal treats and festive holiday decorations and lights.

  1. Arrive at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. 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. Basel is a cultural and artistic powerhouse, with all sorts of galleries, theaters and museums. And at this time of year, the city’s Christmas market draws visitors from all over Europe, as does its Christmas Street, lined with more than 100 beautifully decorated and illuminated Christmas trees. Be sure to make a wish in the town’s Wish Book! Your day in Basel begins with a short panoramic tour of Switzerland’s second-largest city. Long an important center of education, banking and trade, Basel boasts a glorious history that stretches back to the Roman Empire. During the Renaissance, its university and master printers drew intellectuals from all over Europe, including the great thinker Erasmus of Rotterdam, whose tomb is found within the walls of the Romanesque cathedral. To this day, the city remains a cultural and artistic powerhouse, with numerous art galleries, theaters and more than 30 museums. And at this time of year, a beloved Christmas market draws visitors from all over Europe.

    Featured Excursion:
    Basel walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Basel walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Do you have a special wish for Christmas? Write it in the Wish Book, which lies open in Basel’s 17th-century Town Hall during Advent, waiting for residents and visitors to express their hopes and dreams for the holiday—or for the world. Your local expert will take you past the Town Hall, whose red-brick walls feature paintings by Hans Bock, so you’ll know right where to go after your tour. The 800-year-old Münster, with its red sandstone walls, multicolored roof tiles and twin towers, is equally spectacular; spread out before it you’ll find the wondrous Christmas Market. With more than 150 stands, it offers many locally made craft items, unique ornaments and delicious seasonal baked goods. Warm your hands on a mug of hot mulled wine as you browse.

    After exploring this Swiss treat, you’ll want to visit the town’s illuminated Christmas Street, which is beautifully decorated with more than 100 Christmas trees. If you’re looking for truly unique gifts, stop by Johann Wanner’s shop, with its array of elegant angel ornaments, blown-glass figurines and pewter Victorian miniatures. You’ll also find museums and art galleries, specialty shops and cozy wainscoted restaurants near Market Square.

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

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner
  3. Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it via a canal boat or on foot with a friendly local expert, this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. Kehl, directly across the river from Strasbourg, will be your ship’s base while you explore the Alsatian capital, which is known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. It is home to a magnificent, single-spire Gothic cathedral and many beautiful half-timbered houses.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Strasbourg panoramic tour with Old Town and Christmas market visit or Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Strasbourg walking tour

    Strasbourg panoramic tour with Old Town and Christmas market visit
    Catch the highlights of multinational Strasbourg from the warmth of a comfortable motorcoach: it’s a city with deep connections to both France and Germany. The European Quarter—Strasbourg is home to many EU institutions—is stunningly modern, but you’ll find a beautifully preserved old town to explore on foot. Enchanting half-timbered houses line the canals of Petite France, one of the oldest districts, and the medieval cathedral—a religious institution has stood in its spot for 3,000 years—is extraordinary. Step inside with your guide to see the 15th-century astronomical clock and the gorgeous rose window (the craftsmen who built Chartres Cathedral created it). Since Strasbourg calls itself the Capital of Christmas, you won’t be surprised to find that this town really goes all out for the holidays. The Christmas tree on Place Kleber towers over hundreds of stalls—but it’s only one part of the market, which spreads through 10 neighboring locations, all of them both historic and wonderfully decorated. Browse on your own among chalets stocked with finely crafted toys, ceramics, jewelry and handmade Nativity figurines, not to mention the giant toy storks in Santa hats that are a playful tribute to Strasbourg’s beloved storks, and keep warm with mulled wine and holiday treats like buche de Noël.

    Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Strasbourg walking tour
    Alsace is famous for its excellent cuisine, which combines French and German elements in delectable and unique ways. Roam through Petite France with your local expert, where the little shops are all charmingly decked out for Christmas, and explore the Christmas Market set up in Broglie Square. Stroll from chalet to chalet, as the stalls are known here, which brim with ornaments, pretzels, steaming vats of mulled wine and Alsace’s best-known Christmas cookies, called bredele. There are many kinds—hirschhörnle, anise, makrenle, rochers, speculatius—each with a distinctive shape, history and flavoring, all of which your guide can tell you about as you sample them.

    During the afternoon, you will have some free time to wander through the beautiful Old Town. You might want to spend more time at the Christmas Market, which takes on an especially festive look as darkness falls and the lights illuminate the entire area; visit the magnificent cathedral; or simply stroll along the lanes of Petite France. You could learn about Alsatian wines in the medieval wine cellars of the old city hospital, spend some time among the treasures of the Rohan Palace’s museums or shop along the Grand Arcades. Stop for a warm drink at a café on Place Gutenberg, named for the man who invented movable type here in Strasbourg some 560 years ago.

    Shuttles will be available to take you to and from the ship, in case you want to drop off your finds and return for more.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  4. Wake up in Germany and choose your adventure for the day. You can join an excursion to the historic university town of Heidelberg, where you’ll see the castle ruins and visit the Christmas market. Or for something really unexpected, venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious!   Your ship left France behind and sailed into Germany during the wee hours of the morning. If you speak no German, here’s one phrase you might want to learn now: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” or “Merry Christmas!” Today you’ll have two choices: Venture into the storied city of Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in the country, or visit the Doktorenhof vinegar estate for a special vinegar tasting.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Full-day Heidelberg tour with Christmas Market or Exclusive Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting

    Full-day Heidelberg tour with Christmas Market
    Heidelberg’s castle, high above the town, may have been destroyed by lightning in the 1700s, but it remains a beautiful and intriguing destination. Your walk up to the castle ruins will end in the vast courtyard, partially enclosed by the wings of the once-great palace. The castle was the official residence of the prince electors, one of whom built the world’s largest wine barrel in 1751—the Heidelberg Tun, able to hold 58,100 gallon of wine—to contain the wine he collected as taxes from local vintners. It still stands as a monumental memento of the economic importance of wine in the region, and though it has been empty for centuries, you could, if you like, climb up to the top and take a spin on the dance floor that has been built on it.

    Your second destination is downtown Heidelberg’s splendid Christmas Market, one of the largest in the country. It fills square after square, offering an inviting array of unusual arts and crafts, as well as exquisite hand-blown glass ornaments. Marvel at the Christmas pyramid, with its figures from the city’s history rotating inside the tower at Market Square; take a ride on the carousel at University Square; or try out your ice skating skills on the rink in Charles Square.

    Your local expert can recommend places for you to enjoy a hearty lunch on your own; be sure to try some typical German fare like sauerbraten. Afterwards, you can continue to wander around Old Town, where you’ll encounter the 15th-century Holy Spirit Church and the Student Prison. Heidelberg has one of the longest pedestrian streets in Germany—perfect for strolling and window shopping. Or simply spend a little more time at the Christmas Market before returning to the ship.

    Note: Lunch is not included with the full-day Heidelberg tour.

    Exclusive Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting
    For a different spin on the Palatinate wine region, visit the Weinessiggut Doktorenhof estate for a special vinegar tasting. Yes, you read that right—a vinegar tasting. Founded by Georg Wiedemann some 30 years ago, Doktorenhof produces vinegars from premium wines, rather than inexpensive ones. Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir are aged with a century-old vinegar “mother,” as the bacteria that makes vinegar is known, and flavored with a variety of herbs and fruits. The results make complex and elegant aperitifs, intended to be sipped from a specially designed long-stemmed glass between courses or after a meal. The atmospheric cellar (think candles, cloaks and choir music) is like no other you’ll ever experience, and the candlelit tasting room is decked for the holidays. You’ll have plenty of time to explore their enticing gift shop, too.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Double your fun today with visits to two Christmas markets. The first is in Mainz, the birthplace of Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing press and home to a 200-year-old Christmas market. The next is in Rüdesheim, a town famous for its life-sized Nativity scene, brandy-infused coffee and a quirky museum devoted to mechanical musical instruments. Mainz, standing at the confluence of the Rhine and the Main rivers, may be best known as the city where Johannes Gutenberg prepared his priceless 42-line bible for publication in 1485, using his newly invented printing press. You have the morning at leisure to explore the city that inspired such ingenuity, venturing off on your own to visit the Gutenberg Museum or one of the other intriguing museums nearby. Or you could stroll with the Cruise Manager through the Old Town neighborhood known as the Cherry Orchard, which is lined with picturesque half-timbered houses, on your way to the 200-year-old St. Nicholas Christmas Market. The millennium-old St. Martin’s Cathedral acts as its backdrop, and the holiday pyramid smack in the middle of the square reflects Mainz’s history—figures of Gutenberg and the ancient Roman commander Dresus join the standard angels and Santas. Mainz’s Old Town brims with specialty shops tucked into lovingly restored buildings: You’ll find jewelry, leather goods, books, toys—something special for every special person on your list. However you choose to spend your time in Mainz, you’ll head back to the ship for a short cruise to Rüdesheim, which, like many cities along the Rhine, dates back to Roman times, when the Rhine was the northern border of the empire. Today, Rüdesheim is famous for its beauty and its entertaining alley of shops and wine bars called the Drosselgasse. It’s also home to a unique and fascinating little museum devoted to mechanical musical instruments.

    Featured Excursion:
    Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum with Christmas Market

    Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum with Christmas Market
    Board a delightfully quaint mini train to Siegfried’s Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments. This small, personal museum houses one of the world’s best collections of mechanical musical instruments in a 16th-century mansion, the Brömserhof. Here a guided tour will introduce you to rare mechanical instruments; some of them are 300 years old, and all of them are wonderfully inventive and fun. Listen as tiny birds pop out of music boxes and begin to sing; marvel as colorfully costumed mechanical figures play miniature violins. It’s an enchanting and surprising experience. Your enchantment continues at Rüdesheim’s fabulous Christmas Market. Browse the more than 120 stalls packed with holiday delights, and don’t miss Rüdesheim’s life-sized Nativity scene—one of Germany’s largest. If a hot beverage appeals to you, order a Rüdesheimer coffee and enjoy the ritual as it is prepared before you: The local brandy is set a-fire as it is poured into the drink. Be sure to take a look at the illuminated decorations on the rooftops—Rüdesheim’s residents have a friendly competition to see who can mount the brightest and most unusual lighted holiday display.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. On today’s cruise along the Rhine, watch out for the Loreley rock, a tall slate cliff towering over the narrowest point of the river. Celebrated in song and shrouded in legend, the rock is famous for the tale of Loreley, a beautiful siren whose beguiling song doomed passing sailors. Further down the river, step ashore in Koblenz, a historic town with a colorful past, eclectic architecture and an enchanting Christmas market. Spend a spectacular morning on board your luxurious boutique ship as you sail the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stretch of the Rhine is extraordinarily picturesque: Castles perch atop steep cliffs above the water and each quaint village is marked by the spire of its historic church. The ship will pass the famous Lorelei rock, where, legend has it, a siren lured sailors to their doom. After sailing past 40 miles of gorgeous scenery, you’ll reach the famous intersection of the Rhine and the Moselle. Here, where the two rivers meet, you’ll find the enchanting town of Koblenz.

    Featured Excursion:
    Koblenz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Koblenz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Watch the waters of the Moselle gush into the Rhine as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner. It’s an appropriate spot for a symbol of German unity: an equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, erected in honor of German unification in 1871. Behind it is Koblenz’s oldest church, St. Castor’s Basilica, originally built in the ninth century and the first of the charming churches and squares you’ll encounter as you wander through Old Town. Like many Rhineland towns, Koblenz suffered at the hands of French forces under Louis XIV—that’s why you’ll see so many baroque features in the buildings you pass, since so many needed to be rebuilt after the French left. That’s also why the Church of Our Lady has twin onion domes. Originally built in the Middle Ages on the highest point in Koblenz, the lovely church that stands in this spot now mostly dates to the early 1700s. Following your tour, delve into the Koblenz Christmas Market, which spills from square to square, with stalls full of unique Rhine Valley handicrafts, baked goods and wines. Be sure to check out the Advent calendar in the baroque town hall’s windows.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  7. You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. Your local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and Magi-cal secrets with you. Later, you can explore the city’s seven (!) Christmas markets to your heart’s content. Cologne is the largest and oldest city of the Rhineland and a cultural mecca, with more than 30 museums and hundreds of art galleries. A congenial atmosphere and a mix of ancient, modern and reconstructed buildings characterize the heart of the city.

    Featured Excursion:
    Cologne walking discovery tour with Cologne Cathedral visit and Christmas markets

    Cologne walking discovery tour with Cologne Cathedral visit and Christmas markets
    As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the UNESCO-designated cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city center. Though it was damaged, the great cathedral retains many of its original treasures, including a gold-embellished reliquary believed to contain the earthly remains of the fabled Magi. What could be more appropriate at this time of year? Your local expert can tell you the history of the cathedral and its artwork, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi, which has drawn Christian pilgrims for centuries.

    When you step out of the cathedral, you won’t be able to miss the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland—it marks one of seven Christmas markets for you to explore. Here in the cathedral square, you’ll discover 160 wood pavilions with a variety of gifts and souvenirs. You can return to the ship or stay in town to visit other holiday markets. Each one has a unique theme. There’s the fun Old Market and the romantic Angels’ Market at New Market, which, despite its name, is actually the oldest Christmas market in Cologne. Rudolf Square displays fairytale figures and spectacular holiday lighting. You’ll even find a lively harbor-themed market next to the Chocolate Museum, complete with juggling pirates and performers singing sea shanties.

    Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict set of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.

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

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Captain's Farewell 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 Cologne Bonn Airport for your flight home.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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Print Itinerary

Overview

Switzerland, France and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas markets cruise. Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns on a luxury, all-inclusive Rhine River cruise. Perfect for shoppers searching for unique gifts, Christmas enthusiasts looking for the origins of many cherished holiday traditions, and anyone who loves seasonal treats and festive holiday decorations and lights.

  1. Arrive at Cologne Bonn 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. You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. Your local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and Magi-cal secrets with you. Later, you can explore the city’s seven (!) Christmas markets to your heart’s content. Cologne is the largest and oldest city of the Rhineland and a cultural mecca, with more than 30 museums and hundreds of art galleries. A congenial atmosphere and a mix of ancient, modern and reconstructed buildings characterize the heart of the city.

    Featured Excursion:
    Cologne walking discovery tour with Cologne Cathedral visit and Christmas markets

    Cologne walking discovery tour with Cologne Cathedral visit and Christmas markets
    As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the UNESCO-designated cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city center. Though it was damaged, the great cathedral retains many of its original treasures, including a gold-embellished reliquary believed to contain the earthly remains of the fabled Magi. What could be more appropriate at this time of year? Your local expert can tell you the history of the cathedral and its artwork, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi, which has drawn Christian pilgrims for centuries.

    When you step out of the cathedral, you won’t be able to miss the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland—it marks one of seven Christmas markets for you to explore. Here in the cathedral square, you’ll discover 160 wood pavilions with a variety of gifts and souvenirs. You can return to the ship or stay in town to visit other holiday markets. Each one has a unique theme. There’s the fun Old Market and the romantic Angels’ Market at New Market, which, despite its name, is actually the oldest Christmas market in Cologne. Rudolf Square displays fairytale figures and spectacular holiday lighting. You’ll even find a lively harbor-themed market next to the Chocolate Museum, complete with juggling pirates and performers singing sea shanties.

    Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict set of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.

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

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Captain's Welcome Dinner
  3. This morning you’ll reach the famous intersection of the Rhine and the Moselle. Where the two rivers meet, you’ll find the enchanting town of Koblenz. Step ashore in this historic town with a colorful past, eclectic architecture and an enchanting Christmas market. On today’s cruise along the Rhine, watch out for the Loreley rock, a tall slate cliff towering over the narrowest point of the river. Celebrated in song and shrouded in legend, the rock is famous for the tale of Loreley, a beautiful siren whose beguiling song doomed passing sailors. Later, spend a spectacular afternoon on board your luxurious boutique ship as you sail the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stretch of the Rhine is extraordinarily picturesque: Castles perch atop steep cliffs above the water and each quaint village is marked by the spire of its historic church.

    Featured Excursion:
    Koblenz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Koblenz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Watch the waters of the Moselle gush into the Rhine as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner. It’s an appropriate spot for a symbol of German unity: an equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, erected in honor of German unification in 1871. Behind it is Koblenz’s oldest church, St. Castor’s Basilica, originally built in the ninth century and the first of the charming churches and squares you’ll encounter as you wander through Old Town. Like many Rhineland towns, Koblenz suffered at the hands of French forces under Louis XIV—that’s why you’ll see so many baroque features in the buildings you pass, since so many needed to be rebuilt after the French left. That’s also why the Church of Our Lady has twin onion domes. Originally built in the Middle Ages on the highest point in Koblenz, the lovely church that stands in this spot now mostly dates to the early 1700s. Following your tour, delve into the Koblenz Christmas Market, which spills from square to square, with stalls full of unique Rhine Valley handicrafts, baked goods and wines. Be sure to check out the Advent calendar in the baroque town hall’s windows.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  4. Double your fun today with visits to two Christmas markets. The first is in Rüdesheim, a town famous for its life-sized Nativity scene, brandy-infused coffee and a quirky museum devoted to mechanical musical instruments. The next is in Mainz, the birthplace of Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing press and home to a 200-year-old Christmas market. Rüdesheim, like many cities along the Rhine, dates back to Roman times, when the Rhine was the northern border of the empire. Today, Rüdesheim is famous for its beauty and its entertaining alley of shops and wine bars called the Drosselgasse. It’s also home to a unique and fascinating little museum devoted to mechanical musical instruments. Then you’ll head back to the ship for a short cruise to Mainz. Mainz, standing at the confluence of the Rhine and the Main rivers, may be best known as the city where Johannes Gutenberg prepared his priceless 42-line bible for publication in 1485, using his newly invented printing press. You have the afternoon at leisure to explore the city that inspired such ingenuity, venturing off on your own to visit the Gutenberg Museum or one of the other intriguing museums nearby. Or you could stroll with the Cruise Manager through the Old Town neighborhood known as the Cherry Orchard, which is lined with picturesque half-timbered houses, on your way to the 200-year-old St. Nicholas Christmas Market. The millennium-old St. Martin’s Cathedral acts as its backdrop, and the holiday pyramid smack in the middle of the square reflects Mainz’s history—figures of Gutenberg and the ancient Roman commander Dresus join the standard angels and Santas. Mainz’s Old Town brims with specialty shops tucked into lovingly restored buildings: You’ll find jewelry, leather goods, books, toys—something special for every special person on your list.

    Featured Excursion:
    Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum with Christmas Market

    Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum with Christmas Market
    Board a delightfully quaint mini train to Siegfried’s Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments. This small, personal museum houses one of the world’s best collections of mechanical musical instruments in a 16th-century mansion, the Brömserhof. Here a guided tour will introduce you to rare mechanical instruments; some of them are 300 years old, and all of them are wonderfully inventive and fun. Listen as tiny birds pop out of music boxes and begin to sing; marvel as colorfully costumed mechanical figures play miniature violins. It’s an enchanting and surprising experience. Your enchantment continues at Rüdesheim’s fabulous Christmas Market. Browse the more than 120 stalls packed with holiday delights, and don’t miss Rüdesheim’s life-sized Nativity scene—one of Germany’s largest. If a hot beverage appeals to you, order a Rüdesheimer coffee and enjoy the ritual as it is prepared before you: The local brandy is set a-fire as it is poured into the drink. Be sure to take a look at the illuminated decorations on the rooftops—Rüdesheim’s residents have a friendly competition to see who can mount the brightest and most unusual lighted holiday display.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Wake up and choose your adventure for the day. You can join an excursion to the historic university town of Heidelberg, where you’ll see the castle ruins and visit the Christmas market. Or for something really unexpected, venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious!   Your ship left France behind and sailed into Germany during the wee hours of the morning. If you speak no German, here’s one phrase you might want to learn now: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” or “Merry Christmas!” Today you’ll have two choices: Venture into the storied city of Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in the country, or visit the Doktorenhof vinegar estate for a special vinegar tasting.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Full-day Heidelberg tour with Christmas Market or Exclusive Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting

    Full-day Heidelberg tour with Christmas Market
    Heidelberg’s castle, high above the town, may have been destroyed by lightning in the 1700s, but it remains a beautiful and intriguing destination. Your walk up to the castle ruins will end in the vast courtyard, partially enclosed by the wings of the once-great palace. The castle was the official residence of the prince electors, one of whom built the world’s largest wine barrel in 1751—the Heidelberg Tun, able to hold 58,100 gallon of wine—to contain the wine he collected as taxes from local vintners. It still stands as a monumental memento of the economic importance of wine in the region, and though it has been empty for centuries, you could, if you like, climb up to the top and take a spin on the dance floor that has been built on it.

    Your second destination is downtown Heidelberg’s splendid Christmas Market, one of the largest in the country. It fills square after square, offering an inviting array of unusual arts and crafts, as well as exquisite hand-blown glass ornaments. Marvel at the Christmas pyramid, with its figures from the city’s history rotating inside the tower at Market Square; take a ride on the carousel at University Square; or try out your ice skating skills on the rink in Charles Square.

    Your local expert can recommend places for you to enjoy a hearty lunch on your own; be sure to try some typical German fare like sauerbraten. Afterwards, you can continue to wander around Old Town, where you’ll encounter the 15th-century Holy Spirit Church and the Student Prison. Heidelberg has one of the longest pedestrian streets in Germany—perfect for strolling and window shopping. Or simply spend a little more time at the Christmas Market before returning to the ship.

    Note: Lunch is not included with the full-day Heidelberg tour.

    Exclusive Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting
    For a different spin on the Palatinate wine region, visit the Weinessiggut Doktorenhof estate for a special vinegar tasting. Yes, you read that right—a vinegar tasting. Founded by Georg Wiedemann some 30 years ago, Doktorenhof produces vinegars from premium wines, rather than inexpensive ones. Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir are aged with a century-old vinegar “mother,” as the bacteria that makes vinegar is known, and flavored with a variety of herbs and fruits. The results make complex and elegant aperitifs, intended to be sipped from a specially designed long-stemmed glass between courses or after a meal. The atmospheric cellar (think candles, cloaks and choir music) is like no other you’ll ever experience, and the candlelit tasting room is decked for the holidays. You’ll have plenty of time to explore their enticing gift shop, too.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it via a canal boat or on foot with a friendly local expert, this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. Kehl, directly across the river from Strasbourg, will be your ship’s base while you explore the Alsatian capital, which is known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. It is home to a magnificent, single-spire Gothic cathedral and many beautiful half-timbered houses.

    Featured Excursions:
    Choice of Strasbourg panoramic tour with Old Town and Christmas market visit or Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Strasbourg walking tour

    Strasbourg panoramic tour with Old Town and Christmas market visit
    Catch the highlights of multinational Strasbourg from the warmth of a comfortable motorcoach: it’s a city with deep connections to both France and Germany. The European Quarter—Strasbourg is home to many EU institutions—is stunningly modern, but you’ll find a beautifully preserved old town to explore on foot. Enchanting half-timbered houses line the canals of Petite France, one of the oldest districts, and the medieval cathedral—a religious institution has stood in its spot for 3,000 years—is extraordinary. Step inside with your guide to see the 15th-century astronomical clock and the gorgeous rose window (the craftsmen who built Chartres Cathedral created it). Since Strasbourg calls itself the Capital of Christmas, you won’t be surprised to find that this town really goes all out for the holidays. The Christmas tree on Place Kleber towers over hundreds of stalls—but it’s only one part of the market, which spreads through 10 neighboring locations, all of them both historic and wonderfully decorated. Browse on your own among chalets stocked with finely crafted toys, ceramics, jewelry and handmade Nativity figurines, not to mention the giant toy storks in Santa hats that are a playful tribute to Strasbourg’s beloved storks, and keep warm with mulled wine and holiday treats like buche de Noël.

    Exclusive “Taste of Christmas” Strasbourg walking tour
    Alsace is famous for its excellent cuisine, which combines French and German elements in delectable and unique ways. Roam through Petite France with your local expert, where the little shops are all charmingly decked out for Christmas, and explore the Christmas Market set up in Broglie Square. Stroll from chalet to chalet, as the stalls are known here, which brim with ornaments, pretzels, steaming vats of mulled wine and Alsace’s best-known Christmas cookies, called bredele. There are many kinds—hirschhörnle, anise, makrenle, rochers, speculatius—each with a distinctive shape, history and flavoring, all of which your guide can tell you about as you sample them.

    During the afternoon, you will have some free time to wander through the beautiful Old Town. You might want to spend more time at the Christmas Market, which takes on an especially festive look as darkness falls and the lights illuminate the entire area; visit the magnificent cathedral; or simply stroll along the lanes of Petite France. You could learn about Alsatian wines in the medieval wine cellars of the old city hospital, spend some time among the treasures of the Rohan Palace’s museums or shop along the Grand Arcades. Stop for a warm drink at a café on Place Gutenberg, named for the man who invented movable type here in Strasbourg some 560 years ago.

    Shuttles will be available to take you to and from the ship, in case you want to drop off your finds and return for more.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  7. Basel is a cultural and artistic powerhouse, with all sorts of galleries, theaters and museums. And at this time of year, the city’s Christmas market draws visitors from all over Europe, as does its Christmas Street, lined with more than 100 beautifully decorated and illuminated Christmas trees. Be sure to make a wish in the town’s Wish Book! Your day in Basel begins with a short panoramic tour of Switzerland’s second-largest city. Long an important center of education, banking and trade, Basel boasts a glorious history that stretches back to the Roman Empire. During the Renaissance, its university and master printers drew intellectuals from all over Europe, including the great thinker Erasmus of Rotterdam, whose tomb is found within the walls of the Romanesque cathedral. To this day, the city remains a cultural and artistic powerhouse, with numerous art galleries, theaters and more than 30 museums. And at this time of year, a beloved Christmas market draws visitors from all over Europe.

    Featured Excursion:
    Basel walking discovery tour with Christmas Market

    Basel walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
    Do you have a special wish for Christmas? Write it in the Wish Book, which lies open in Basel’s 17th-century Town Hall during Advent, waiting for residents and visitors to express their hopes and dreams for the holiday—or for the world. Your local expert will take you past the Town Hall, whose red-brick walls feature paintings by Hans Bock, so you’ll know right where to go after your tour. The 800-year-old Münster, with its red sandstone walls, multicolored roof tiles and twin towers, is equally spectacular; spread out before it you’ll find the wondrous Christmas Market. With more than 150 stands, it offers many locally made craft items, unique ornaments and delicious seasonal baked goods. Warm your hands on a mug of hot mulled wine as you browse.

    After exploring this Swiss treat, you’ll want to visit the town’s illuminated Christmas Street, which is beautifully decorated with more than 100 Christmas trees. If you’re looking for truly unique gifts, stop by Johann Wanner’s shop, with its array of elegant angel ornaments, blown-glass figurines and pewter Victorian miniatures. You’ll also find museums and art galleries, specialty shops and cozy wainscoted restaurants near Market Square.

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

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala 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 EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg for your flight home.

    meal(s):Buffet 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 Availability Price
28 Nov 19 Sold Out $3,999pp $4,899pp $6,599pp $8,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Antoinette
Cologne to Basel
5 Dec 19 Sold Out $3,999pp $4,899pp $6,599pp $8,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Antoinette
Basel to Cologne
12 Dec 19 Sold Out $3,999pp $4,899pp $6,599pp $8,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Antoinette
Cologne to Basel
19 Dec 19 Sold Out $3,999pp $4,899pp $6,599pp $8,499pp Request Quote
SHIP: S.S. Antoinette
Basel to Cologne
  • 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

Dining

  • All meals included 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 exquisite S.S. Antoinette
  • 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

  • 3 countries: France, Germany, Switzerland
  • 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: “European Christmas Traditions, from the Nutcracker to the Tannenbaum”
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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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A GORGEOUS STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY

Her luxurious features begin in the lobby, with a 10-foot Strauss Baccarat chandelier that once hung in Central Park’s Tavern on the Green. The extravagance theme continues throughout with stunning marble, Venetian glass mirrors and several river cruising rarities—the Bar du Leopard, onboard cinema with seating for 22 guests and glass-enclosed mosaic-tiled pool.

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

 

Inaugurated: 2011
Travels on: Rhine River
Guests: 152
Staff: 59

Suites: 8 (294 sq ft)
Deluxe Balcony: 20 (196 sq ft)
French Balcony: 33 (196 sq ft)
Classic: 14 (163 sq ft)

Length: 443 ft
Width: 37.5 ft
Voltage: 110/220 volts

SUITES

Luxurious riverview suite (294 sq ft - 27.3 sq m) with open-air balcony

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

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence and Hermes bath and body products, plush towels, special towel warmers, backlit magnifying mirror, heated mirrors, cozy bathrobes and slippers

Additional amenities and services, including: in-suite butler service; packing and unpacking assistance; in-room breakfast; daily fruit and cookie plate, and an elegant evening snack; iPod dock; Nespresso coffee machine and fine teas; fully stocked mini bar; bottle of wine upon arrival; shoe shine; free laundry service; and a special dinner in L'Orangerie Sky Lounge

DELUXE BALCONY

Luxurious riverview stateroom (196 sq ft - 18.2 sq m) with open-air balcony

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, towel warmer, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

FRENCH BALCONY

Luxurious riverview stateroom (196 sq ft - 18.2 sq m) with a French balcony

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, towel warmer, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

CLASSIC

Luxurious riverview stateroom (163 sq ft - 15 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, towel warmer, 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. 

The luxurious décor of the 443-foot, 154-passenger S.S. Antoinette—Uniworld’s first Super Ship—features fine Brazilian marble on the walls and floors, a 19th-century Venetian glass mirror, a stylish Bar du Leopard with full-service bar, and an onboard cinema. The two-story foyer boasts a 10-foot blue Strauss Baccarat chandelier with huge sapphires—a stunning piece that once hung in New York's famous Tavern on the Green—and a collection of original artwork is displayed throughout the ship.

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  • U.S. citizens traveling to Germany, France, and Switzerland 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 France is the Euro (€).The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Please note that Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, however many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros to help travelers compare prices. Some Swiss merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back will most likely be in Swiss francs.

    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 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 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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