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Christmastime from Nuremberg to Basel 2021

From Nuremberg, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland
Length: 10 Days - Departs: Thu, Dec 09, 2021

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River Cruise Itinerary

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Celebrate this magical time of year with a delightful Christmastime river cruise through the beautiful views of the heart of Germany, on the Main Danube Canal, and the Main and Rhine Rivers. Board your ship in Nuremberg, Germany, host to one of the oldest Christmas markets in the country. Get into the holiday spirit as you stroll through the brightly illuminated and decorated Old Town. 200 stalls sell traditional German Christmas wares and seasonal delicacies. In delightful Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll find nativity scenes built by local citizens through-out the town. Learn about holiday traditions as you cruise to Würzburg, and here walk through the halls of the ornate Bishop’s Residence—home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Learn how to bake a traditional cookie before arriving at one of the charming small towns with half-timbered houses that are dotted along the Main River. In the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Continue your cruise to Speyer and visit Heidelberg Castle, which towers magnificently over the city, and watch the skaters on the ice rink below. At this time of year, the historic charm of Strasbourg, France, is mixed with festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! Visit the gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Breisach, Germany—gateway to the famous Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, and the home of Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. There is no better setting at this time of year, when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Your delightful holiday cruise ends in Basel, Switzerland.

  1. Day 1
    NUREMBERG, GERMANY (EMBARKATION)
    Thu, Dec 09, 2021
    Welcome to Nuremberg, where your Suite Ship® is Ready for BoardingFlights into Nuremberg must arrive by 3:30 pm. Indulge in traditional holiday fare and hot libations to warm your heart and soulGuests must be on board ship by 5 pm.OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN NUREMBERG (D)
  2. Day 2
    NUREMBERG
    Fri, Dec 10, 2021
    Living Heritage and History Lessons CLASSIC Choose a Guided Tour of Nuremberg’s medieval architecture, gilded fountain, Gothic cathedral, and Kaiserburg Castle, OR: CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the historic Nuremberg Rally Grounds—used by the Third Reich.Spend free time browsing the spruce stalls of the Christmas Markets of Nuremberg. Sample favorite Bavarian fare—bratwurst, gingerbread, mulled blueberry wine, and countless other Christkindlmarkt culinary delights. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board.EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BAMBERG (B,L,D)
  3. Day 3
    BAMBERG
    Sat, Dec 11, 2021
    Cherished Christmas Customs and Cradle ScenesCLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Bamberg—medieval home of Germany’s Roman Empire dynasties. Stroll through dozens of Bamberg’s nativity scenes—from miniature to life-size. Take free time to enjoy the quaint Christmas markets, and warm up with traditional German dumplings, sausage, and a glass of hearty Bavarian ale. DISCOVERY Enjoy an onboard Christmas Traditions Lecture while sailing. AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO WÜRZBURG(B,L,D)
  4. Day 4
    WÜRZBURG
    Sun, Dec 12, 2021
    Ornaments, Old Saint Nicholas, and Nutcrackers Sweet CLASSIC Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the “Pearl of the Romantic Road” with its Old Main Bridge, towering fortress, and baroque Bishop’s Residence.You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the beautiful Bavarian town of Rothenburg. Visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt German Christmas museum—the world’s most extensive collection of traditional German Christmas decorations.Spend free time enjoying the festive, warm glow of Wurzburg’s Christmas markets. Later, enjoy live entertainment on board.EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MAIN RIVER VILLAGE(B,L,D)
  5. Day 5
    MAIN RIVER VILLAGE
    Mon, Dec 13, 2021
    Hidden Gifts and Holiday Delights CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of a picturesque village along the Main River. DISCOVERY Join a Cookie-Baking Demonstration on board your ship while sailing.AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO FRANKFURT(B,L,D)
  6. Day 6
    FRANKFURT. EXCURSION TO RUDESHEIM
    Tue, Dec 14, 2021
    Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country CLASSIC Tour the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience in Rüdesheim, enjoy a local special treat.Don’t miss the tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork of sparkling winter wonderlands in the city.EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER (B,D)
  7. Day 7
    HEIDELBERG EXCURSION. SPEYER
    Wed, Dec 15, 2021
    Winter Wonders and a Wine Barrel Fit for a King CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour that includes the magnificent Heidelberg Castle and the Great Vat—the world’s largest wine barrel.After the tour, visit the local German Christmas Markets in Heidelberg. Explore at your own pace to soak up the sights and sounds, tantalizing treats, and seasonal handiwork Speyer Christmas markets.This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board.EVENING/OVERNIGHT TO STRASBOURG (B,L,D)
  8. Day 8
    STRASBOURG, FRANCE
    Thu, Dec 16, 2021
    A Gothic Cathedral, Heaven’s Time, and Joyeux Noël CLASSIC Come along for City Sightseeing, including the city’s gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District.You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to beautiful Alsace, for an afternoon in a French wine-country village. Savor the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition by spending your free time this afternoon wandering the French winter markets of Strasbourg. Take in the lights, music, and the pleasures of the season. EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH(B,L,D)
  9. Day 9
    BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO BLACK FOREST
    Fri, Dec 17, 2021
    History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black ForestDISCOVERY Visit to Badischer Winzerkeller, the largest German wine producer in Europe. Discover Germany’s southernmost wine country in Baden—ideally situated between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River. Learn about the vintners’ process in the vineyards here, and enjoy a wine tasting, OR:DISCOVERY Join a Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood.You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings, and enjoy the warmth and glow of the Christmas season. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BASEL (B,L,D)
  10. Day 10
    BASEL, SWITZERLAND (DISEMBARKATION)
    Sat, Dec 18, 2021
    Your cruise ends with breakfast this morning.Flights should not leave Zürich airport before 10 am or Basel airport before 8 am.(B)

Countries Visited

Switzerland, France, Germany

Rivers Visited

Main

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Inclusions

  • In the event of technical or water level issues, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or alter the program, including hotel overnight when necessary.
  • Guided Tours, Optional Excursions, activities, sailing and docking schedules may be contingent on weather conditions or other issues outside of our control and could therefore be subject to change at any time.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • Christmas markets generally operate from late November until the third week of December.


Accommodation Information

Gateway city for departures is Zürich.

Port charges:
$252

Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

Additional accommodations before or after your tour may be available.

All prices per person based on double occupancy. Cruise price based on Category E in a deluxe outside stateroom on Indigo Deck. See below for upgrade pricing.

Health and Safety Protocols for Avalon Waterways

Today's world has changed, but what remains certain is Avalon Waterways' commitment to guest safety, comfort and peace-of-mind while traveling with us. To that end, Avalon Waterways has established a worldwide Assurance program, with enhanced on-trip protocols and procedures, to ensure the health – and happiness – of guests throughout their travels with us.

It all starts with Avalon Waterways' Global Health & Safety Team, dedicated to ensuring that cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s travel standards—from start to finish. The following areas address Avalon Waterways' commitment to providing a safe and clean environment for guests.

WELCOME ABOARD

New embarkation procedures to offer guests a safe start to their journey, including:

  • Social distancing throughout embarkation
  • Mandatory health screening, including touch-free temperature-check, for all guests and crew
  • Luggage disinfection prior to onboarding (with crew wearing gloves and masks)

FRESH AIR, INSIDE AND OUT:

In addition to Avalon Waterways' Open-Air staterooms, the air in the ships is not circulated between staterooms; only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air.

BLENDING CULTURAL PROXIMITY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCE:

New social distancing guidelines for guests throughout their Avalon cruise include:

  • Reducing ship capacity as required for more space on board per guest
  • Introducing more dining venues for more dining space per person
  • Crew wearing masks for the duration of the cruise during any guest interaction
  • Providing masks for guests to wear during any event where social proximity could become an issue, including disembarkation for excursions and safety drills
  • Adjusting ratio of guides and coaches for excursions, as required

NEW TECHNOLOGY TO ENSURE CLEANLINESS:

  • Electrostatic disinfecting systems
  • UV disinfecting systems

TOUCHING HEARTS, NOT HANDS:

Reducing risk with hands-free service, including:

  • More hand-sanitizing stations throughout the ship
  • Required use of hand-sanitizing stations when leaving the ship, returning to the ship and entering dining venues as well as entering each public/common space
  • Self-serve stations, including buffets, drinks, specialty coffees and snacks have been replaced with crew service
  • All buffets (breakfast and lunch) replaced by a full range of á la carte menu choices
  • Hourly (or more frequent) disinfection of all public areas

COMMITMENT TO THE CLEANEST SHIPS:

Enhanced cleaning procedures throughout each ship, including these additional steps that go above-and-beyond Avalon’s already strict procedures:

  • Deep disinfection of each stateroom between cruises, including:
    • Use of disinfectants and cleaning materials that meet the highest standards
    • Soft goods in each stateroom (mattress, sofa, window coverings, chairs, etc.) disinfected between cruises
  • Disinfection of all dining areas between meals
  • Disinfection of all shared items like umbrellas, bicycles and other Adventure Center items
  • Disinfection of all goods prior to loading on the ship
  • Ongoing crew training in protective equipment use and hygiene

FOCUS ON CREW HEALTH:

Ensuring a healthy crew, including:

  • Medical certificate required prior to start of contract
  • Daily temperature checks
  • Social distancing in crew living quarters
  • Regular health screenings

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Ship Information

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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.2
Accommodations
4.4
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.6
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.9

Ratings based off 77 reviews - currently showing 17 reviews with comments only

Avalon River Cruise was wonderful. Accommodations, meals and crew were all amazing. The only negative was the bus tours to the Christmas Markets which falls on the tour guides. They did not take into consideration the passengers ability to keep up with the tour and spent too much time on other aspects of the tour and rushed us through the markets. Would be better if the bus dropped us off and the markets and let us walk around and tell us up front a meeting place to return to the ship.

My granddaughter and I had a great time. We enjoyed everything from flight to and flight back home. The staff on board the ship were very pleasant, food service and entertainments were fantastic and the cruise excursions were super. 5 star all the way..Very organized vacation.

Avalon provides different levels of activities and even provides a guide for " gentle walkers", those that others always have to wait for, which makes for a better experience.

We loved the entire trip and accommodations!

Eric was very informative and we felt confident in his knowledge.

Because of low water issues, we did not sale on the Visionary and were not told of the change until we arrived in Prague. We sailed on the Inpression for three days and then were bussed to Passau where we changed to another ship, the Artistry II. Because of low water problems we were bussed to the Marriott to complete our trip. Avalon did a good job making the changes and will be making an adjustment of the cost of he trip because of he low water issues. All of the packing and unpacking was an inconvenience but Avalon did a great job making it all work.

Water was too low because of severe drought. Ship was notified that we couldn.t go upstream from Koblenz thru the Rhine George to Rudesheim and return to Koblenz. Our cruise director was able to make arrangements for us to go by coach to the river and get on a smaller boat and take us to Budesteim and back. Then had a coach pick us up and takes us back to Koblenz to where our ship was anchored. The crew and cruise director went above and beyond to make sure that we were able to see everything that was contained in our vacation package.

The Avalon Romantic Rhine trip was pleasant and relaxed. Additional options were available before, during and after the trip. We even rode bikes (supplied by the ship) at one of the ports one afternoon. I did miss seeing an arrival day option in advance, until taking my luggage to the ship but we had planned to arrive a day early to do this one (windmills) ourselves anyway. My biggest concern was knowing where the ship would dock and how we might get to it; this turned out to be not only a convenient location, but I received an email with a map two days in advance.

we had a wonderful time. Loved everywhere we went. the guides we wonderful. Food best I ever had. Staff 5 diamond service. State Room beautiful and comfortable. Best Time Ever Had will come again and try a different package.

I would strongly recommend Avalon River Cruises to anyone. Even though a barge sinking blocked our progress to Budapest, Avalon did a great job of making to remaining 4 days of the trip very enjoyable.

I was happily satisfied with the entire experience, especially Nico the manager of the trip. My only negative is that I think the gym could have been a bit bigger as it was filled (3machines) each time I went and I had to come back to find a spot. Nice work !

The river cruise was fantastic and met our expectations. However, the flight itinerary coming back to the US was not convenient and poorly arranged. We had a direct flight from Prague to JFK and then a 4 hour lay over before our flight to Washington DC left. With we got back to our home airport around 4:30 am. The return day was totally exhausting. We were surprised that our flight wasn't more convenient as we had booked the trip in November 2017.

The crew on the ship were first class, everything was very good.

We were extremely pleased with the efficiency and friendliness of all the staff and arrangements. Everything was wonderful!

My first river boat cruise was wonderful. We experienced complications due to Europe flooding. Even with many changes, further needs etc, we were assisted and guided through it all.

The overall experience was very professional. Avalon Tours made the transition from airport to the vessel seamless and supportive. Staff aboard the Avalon Visionary was exceptional. The guides were knowledgeable and very helpful. Great tour.

My first river cruise was an excellent experience. It was well-planned and exceeded my expectations. I look forward to booking another cruise through Affordable Tours in the future.

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AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Avalon Waterways. Brochure Price is based on the itinerary's highest brochure price. Our price reflects our base price for the same departure as Brochure Price. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. All prices change frequently and our website prices are not guaranteed until a deposit has been received by us. The prices on our website are intended to serve as a guide only and may not accurately reflect current prices. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Please call us toll free at 1-800-342-0019 to confirm current prices and availability. Prices listed are per person, cruise only, and based on double occupancy.

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