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Rhine Holiday Markets

8 Days | Basel to Cologne

4.5/5  79 reviews

from
$5,299

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Rhine Holiday Markets
  • 8 days
  • 3 countries
  • UNESCO

Switzerland, France and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas market cruise.

Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns. Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas Market. Sip vin chaud as you stroll to Place Kléber to behold the enormous, brilliantly lighted tree of Strasbourg. See how the baroque town hall of Koblenz is transformed into an Advent calendar and find unexpected treasures in the stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral.

Savor tantalizing once-a-year treats with Uniworld’s “Taste of Christmas” program, including gingerbread and warm spiced wine. Revel in brightly painted carousels and handmade ornaments, medieval squares illuminated by twinkling lights, life-sized Nativity figures and joyful brass choirs. Sail through castle-strewn hillsides and visit charming towns decked in festive finery for a holiday season you will never forget.

Rhine Holiday Markets Map
LEGEND
  • UNESCO
  • Motorcoach
  • Embark/Disembark
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.
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Day 1

Basel (Embark)

Basel
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.
Important Note: Uniworld's airport services and transfers to the ship will take place on the Switzerland side of the Basel-Mulhouse Airport. Be sure to enter Customs on the Switzerland side, as guests cannot return to the Switzerland side after they have exited the airport from the France side.
Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.
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Day 2

Basel

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. 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.

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

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Basel walking 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...

Read More >

Basel walking 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Lucerne: a Swiss Gem

5.5 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$58
Located on the frosty shores of Lake Lucerne and framed by the snow-capped Alps, Lucerne enchants visitors with all the sights of a traditional Swiss Christmas. Stroll past the 13th-century Water Tower and across the famous covered Chapel Bridge, with its 15th-century painted panels (depicting...
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Lucerne: a Swiss Gem

Duration: 5.5 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$58 pre-purchase €35 EUR onboard

Located on the frosty shores of Lake Lucerne and framed by the snow-capped Alps, Lucerne enchants visitors with all the sights of a traditional Swiss Christmas. Stroll past the 13th-century Water Tower and across the famous covered Chapel Bridge, with its 15th-century painted panels (depicting scenes from the Plague). Admire the stately façades of the medieval family palaces and the old city ramparts, the Town Hall and the famous Lion Monument, which commemorates the Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution-and delve into the delights of the Christmas markets on your own.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

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Day 3

Kehl (Strasbourg)

Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. It’s also been known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. With a friendly local expert, see this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops that will win your heart. You won’t want to miss the holiday treats like bûche de Noël, the delicious Christmas cake made to look like a yule log.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Choose between...

or

“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....

Read More >

“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 moveable 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.

or

Strasbourg walking tour with Christmas market

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...

Read More >

Strasbourg walking tour with Christmas market

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 Kléber 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Alsatian Wine Road

4 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$107
Head out along the Alsatian Wine Road, a winding road that hugs the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and links charming villages and vineyards producing the great white wines of the region, to a family-owned winery, where you'll sample three delicious wines. Your next stop is Obernai, a...
Read More >

Alsatian Wine Road

Duration: 4 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$107 pre-purchase €65 EUR onboard

Head out along the Alsatian Wine Road, a winding road that hugs the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and links charming villages and vineyards producing the great white wines of the region, to a family-owned winery, where you'll sample three delicious wines. Your next stop is Obernai, a picturesque town of half-timbered houses and delightfully decorated shops, where you can explore the Christmas Market.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

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Day 4

Mannheim (Heidelberg)

Mannheim

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. The atmospheric cellar is like no other you’ll ever experience, and the candlelit tasting room is decked for the holidays.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Choose between...

or

Private 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...

Read More >

Private 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. Most importantly, Wiedemann and his family run their farm and vineyards with the utmost care, tending to them with natural materials only.

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 tasting room (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.

This MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience supports Global Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences support sustainable tourism, offering our guests opportunities to directly impact the communities we explore in a positive way.

mtm-logo

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences support sustainable tourism, offering our guests opportunities to directly impact the communities we explore in a positive way.

or

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...

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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 gallons (220,000 liters) 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

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Day 5

Mainz, Rüdesheim

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. Or opt to explore neighboring Wiesbaden’s Christmas Market. 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.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursions

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Rüdesheim walk with local treats and Christmas Market

Follow your guide through the cobbled lanes of Rüdesheim while you hear about the vibrant life of this old and fascinating town. Walk down the famously quaint Drosselgasse alley and taste Rüdesheim’s hallmark treat—coffee splashed with brandy and topped with whipped...

Read More >

Rüdesheim walk with local treats and Christmas Market

Follow your guide through the cobbled lanes of Rüdesheim while you hear about the vibrant life of this old and fascinating town. Walk down the famously quaint Drosselgasse alley and taste Rüdesheim’s hallmark treat—coffee splashed with brandy and topped with whipped cream.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Abbey Eberbach: Rhinegau Riesling-Historic Walls

2.5 hours
Activity Level: Strenuous
$131
Stunning, austere stone arches loft far overhead, and footsteps echo through cloisters built nearly a millennium ago. This is Eberbach Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Germany, which was founded by Bernard of Clairvaux back in 1136. Canny Frenchman that he was, he encouraged the development ...
Read More >

Abbey Eberbach: Rhinegau Riesling-Historic Walls

Duration: 2.5 hours
Activity Level: Strenuous
$131 pre-purchase €79 EUR onboard

Stunning, austere stone arches loft far overhead, and footsteps echo through cloisters built nearly a millennium ago. This is Eberbach Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Germany, which was founded by Bernard of Clairvaux back in 1136. Canny Frenchman that he was, he encouraged the development of wine culture at the abbey, which at one time housed the largest wine barrel in the region (it held more than 50,000 liters); the historic vineyards--some 300 hectares--are mostly planted with Riesling grapes. Today you can taste some delightful locally grown Rieslings as you stroll through the ancient cloisters on a tour that includes a look at the enormous medieval wine presses, the vaulted wine cellar known as the Cabinetkeller (whose name gave rise to the use of Kabinett as a Riesling classification), the Romanesque chapel and the vast, chilly dormitory. Many scenes for the movie The Name of the Rose were filmed here--do you recall how cold all the actors looked? Unless you're here during high summer, you'll understand why! This excursion is as atmospheric and informative as it is delicious.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

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Day 6

Cruising the romantic Rhine River, Koblenz

Koblenz

Spend a spectacular morning onboard 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. After sailing past 40 miles (65 kilometers) 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. Watch the waters of the Moselle gush into the Rhine as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner before embarking on a walking tour of Koblenz’s historical treasures.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Koblenz walking 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...

Read More >

Koblenz walking 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Show MoreLess

Day 7

Cologne

Cologne

Your local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and magical secrets with you.

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

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Show MoreLess

Day 8

Cologne (Disembark)

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.
Show MoreLess
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.
ExpandCollapse All

Day 1

Cologne (Embark)

Cologne
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.
Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.
Show MoreLess

Day 2

Cologne

Your local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and magical secrets with you.

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

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit and Christmas Markets

Show MoreLess

Day 3

Koblenz, Cruising the romantic Rhine River

Koblenz

This morning, 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. Watch the waters of the Moselle gush into the Rhine as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner before embarking on a walking tour of Koblenz’s historical treasures. Later, spend a spectacular afternoon onboard 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.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Koblenz walking 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...

Read More >

Koblenz walking 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Abbey Eberbach: Rhinegau Riesling-Historic Walls

2.5 hours
Activity Level: Strenuous
$131
Stunning, austere stone arches loft far overhead, and footsteps echo through cloisters built nearly a millennium ago. This is Eberbach Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Germany, which was founded by Bernard of Clairvaux back in 1136. Canny Frenchman that he was, he encouraged the development ...
Read More >

Abbey Eberbach: Rhinegau Riesling-Historic Walls

Duration: 2.5 hours
Activity Level: Strenuous
$131 pre-purchase €79 EUR onboard

Stunning, austere stone arches loft far overhead, and footsteps echo through cloisters built nearly a millennium ago. This is Eberbach Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Germany, which was founded by Bernard of Clairvaux back in 1136. Canny Frenchman that he was, he encouraged the development of wine culture at the abbey, which at one time housed the largest wine barrel in the region (it held more than 50,000 liters); the historic vineyards--some 300 hectares--are mostly planted with Riesling grapes. Today you can taste some delightful locally grown Rieslings as you stroll through the ancient cloisters on a tour that includes a look at the enormous medieval wine presses, the vaulted wine cellar known as the Cabinetkeller (whose name gave rise to the use of Kabinett as a Riesling classification), the Romanesque chapel and the vast, chilly dormitory. Many scenes for the movie The Name of the Rose were filmed here--do you recall how cold all the actors looked? Unless you're here during high summer, you'll understand why! This excursion is as atmospheric and informative as it is delicious.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

Show MoreLess

Day 4

Rüdesheim, Mainz

Your day begins in 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. Then you’ll head back to the ship for a short cruise to Mainz. 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. Or opt to explore neighboring Wiesbaden’s Christmas Market.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursions

Rüdesheim walk with local treats and Christmas Market

Follow your guide through the cobbled lanes of Rüdesheim while you hear about the vibrant life of this old and fascinating town. Walk down the famously quaint Drosselgasse alley and taste Rüdesheim’s hallmark treat—coffee splashed with brandy and topped with whipped...

Read More >

Rüdesheim walk with local treats and Christmas Market

Follow your guide through the cobbled lanes of Rüdesheim while you hear about the vibrant life of this old and fascinating town. Walk down the famously quaint Drosselgasse alley and taste Rüdesheim’s hallmark treat—coffee splashed with brandy and topped with whipped cream.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Mainz Christmas Market stroll

Show MoreLess

Day 5

Germersheim (Heidelberg)

Mannheim

Wake up and choose your adventure for the day. 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. The atmospheric cellar is like no other you’ll ever experience, and the candlelit tasting room is decked for the holidays. If you speak no German, here’s one phrase you might want to learn now: “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” or “Merry Christmas!”

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

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Private 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...

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Private 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. Most importantly, Wiedemann and his family run their farm and vineyards with the utmost care, tending to them with natural materials only.

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 tasting room (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.

This MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience supports Global Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences support sustainable tourism, offering our guests opportunities to directly impact the communities we explore in a positive way.

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MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences support sustainable tourism, offering our guests opportunities to directly impact the communities we explore in a positive way.

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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...

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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 gallons (220,000 liters) 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

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Day 6

Kehl (Strasbourg)

Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. It’s also been known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. With a friendly local expert, see this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops that will win your heart. You won’t want to miss the holiday treats like bûche de Noël, the delicious Christmas cake made to look like a yule log.

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

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“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....

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“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 moveable 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.

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Strasbourg walking tour with Christmas market

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...

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Strasbourg walking tour with Christmas market

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 Kléber 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Alsatian Wine Road

4 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$107
Head out along the Alsatian Wine Road, a winding road that hugs the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and links charming villages and vineyards producing the great white wines of the region, to a family-owned winery, where you'll sample three delicious wines. Your next stop is Obernai, a...
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Alsatian Wine Road

Duration: 4 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$107 pre-purchase €65 EUR onboard

Head out along the Alsatian Wine Road, a winding road that hugs the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and links charming villages and vineyards producing the great white wines of the region, to a family-owned winery, where you'll sample three delicious wines. Your next stop is Obernai, a picturesque town of half-timbered houses and delightfully decorated shops, where you can explore the Christmas Market.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

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Day 7

Basel

Basel

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. 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.

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

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Featured Excursion

Basel walking 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...

Read More >

Basel walking 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.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Masterpiece Collection Providing the most all-inclusive luxury to our guests is the heart and soul of our brand and that will never change. Yet sometimes our guests want something that goes even "above and beyond" our included experiences. In light of this, we now offer guests a curated selection of optional excursions, available for an additional charge.

Lucerne: a Swiss Gem

5.5 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$58
Located on the frosty shores of Lake Lucerne and framed by the snow-capped Alps, Lucerne enchants visitors with all the sights of a traditional Swiss Christmas. Stroll past the 13th-century Water Tower and across the famous covered Chapel Bridge, with its 15th-century painted panels (depicting...
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Lucerne: a Swiss Gem

Duration: 5.5 hours
Activity Level: Intermediate
$58 pre-purchase €35 EUR onboard

Located on the frosty shores of Lake Lucerne and framed by the snow-capped Alps, Lucerne enchants visitors with all the sights of a traditional Swiss Christmas. Stroll past the 13th-century Water Tower and across the famous covered Chapel Bridge, with its 15th-century painted panels (depicting scenes from the Plague). Admire the stately façades of the medieval family palaces and the old city ramparts, the Town Hall and the famous Lion Monument, which commemorates the Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution-and delve into the delights of the Christmas markets on your own.

*Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 5 days prior to the cruise/tour start date if space allows. Some venues are limited in the number of guests they can accommodate. Guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date; if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change.

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Day 8

Basel (Disembark)

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.
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What's Included

All-Inclusive - Dining

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, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water

Excursions

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

Accommodations

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

Experiences

  • 3 countries: France, Germany, Switzerland
  • 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • Group Transfers are included on arrival and departure days (please see terms and conditions for transfer guidelines)
  • Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment
  • Cultural enrichment, including a Signature Lecture

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