Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection wants you to start thinking about the holidays and Europe’s stunning Christmas Markets. Special Christmas Market-themed river cruises are offered from the last week of November right up until December 20th or so, when river cruises spanning both Christmas and New Years are typically offered.
This year, Uniworld is spicing up its Christmas Markets cruises by offering A Taste of Christmas – a unique complimentary shore excursion program offered exclusively to Uniworld guests.
Available in Paris, Vienna, Strasbourg and Frankfurt, A Taste of Christmas provides guests with an in-depth tour of each city’s main Christmas Market with a local expert. Each of these tours concludes with delicious, seasonal treats made by a local vendor, and can include a marzipan-filled pastry or freshly baked gingerbread in Germany; vanillekipferi, Austria’s favorite Christmas cookie; or a sampling of bredele, traditional Alsatian Christmas cookies, each with its own distinctive shape, history and flavoring.
Other holiday-themed excursions can include taking a horse-drawn wagon ride through the Bavarian Forest, wandering through Versailles on a secret palace tour, sipping cocktails with a real-life Austrian princess, enjoying a festive New Year’s Eve dinner and a private concert with the chance to dance to famous Strauss waltzes at a Viennese palace, or ringing in the New Year in an opulent Budapest ballroom with a gala dinner and dance.
“Everyone loves our holiday river cruises, as they are a wonderful way to spend quality time with your loved ones as you create your own traditions,” says Guy Young, president of Uniworld.
All told, Uniworld has seven separate all-inclusive holiday itineraries on offer for the upcoming 2014 season:
- Rhine Holiday Markets (Basel to Cologne, 8 Days)
- Danube Holiday Markets (Budapest to Passau, 8 Days)
- Classic Christmas Markets (Nuremberg to Frankfurt, 8 Days)
- European Holiday Markets (Nuremberg to Vienna, 8 Days)
- Parisian Winter Holiday (Paris to Paris, 8 Days)
- Enchanting Christmas & New Year’s Cruise (Passau to Budapest, 11 Days)
- Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise (Nuremberg to Budapest, 13 Days)
While it might seem early to be talking about the holiday season – it is six months away, after all – it’s never too early when it comes to cruises that feature Europe’s storybook-esque Christmas Markets. Demand for these popular sailings can be quite high, and it’s not uncommon for itineraries to sell out months in advance.
There’s not just one Christmas Market, either. Cities like Strasbourg and Vienna regularly sport up to a dozen different markets, each with their own distinct themes and vendors. Even the collectible cups that serve up hot helpings of Gluhwein – mulled, spiced red or white wine – can change from market to market.
The best time to start thinking about the holidays – and river cruising through them – is right now.