October may have only just started, but there’s an excellent chance you’re going to be hearing a lot more about Christmas in the coming months. As we’ve written about before, late November marks the start of the fantastic seasonal Christmas Markets river cruises, and this year, the number of companies getting in on the action continues to grow.
California-based AmaWaterways is kicking off its Christmas season this year by offering voyages through seven different countries aboard five elegant ships: AmaLegro, AmaCello, AmaDagio, AmaLyra, and the brand-new AmaCerto.
“The holiday spirit comes alive in Europe’s Christmas markets and we love that our guests can enjoy this special time of year with us,” said Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways’ executive vice president and co-owner. “AmaWaterways celebrates the season with on-board entertainment, festive decorations and overall holiday cheer. An experience like this only comes once a year and we anticipate another strong season for our Christmas cruises.”
The Christmas Markets kick off in late November and typically continue up until December 24, though voyages can take place over the Holiday and while New Year’s celebrations are still in full swing. The Christmas Markets are wholly unique to Europe, and typically take place outdoors in one of the many historic city squares. Rain, shine or snow doesn’t stop these vibrant marketplaces, where the smells of hot spiced wine, gingerbread, pastries, sausages, and roasting chestnuts fills the air.
This year, AmaWaterways continues to offer two of its most popular itineraries: the 10-night Christmas Time Cruise from Prague to Budapest; and the 12-night Christmas on the Rhine journey from Zurich to Amsterdam. Both are available as cruise-tours, or as seven-night voyages between Nuremberg and Budapest; or Basel and Amsterdam, respectively.
There’s a lot to like about both itineraries. AmaWaterways’ Christmas Time Cruise allows guests to experience the magic and splendor of the Danube during the Holiday season. With calls in Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk and Vienna, the opportunities to revel in the Holiday season while exploring some of Europe’s most historically and culturally significant cities are boundless.
Each Christmas Market is unique, and one “must-do” market on this trip is the Romantic Christmas Market in Regensburg. Held on the grounds of the palatial Schloss Thurn & Taxis – a mere 15 minute walk from your ship – this market re-creates the classic experience that has been held for hundreds of years, complete with wood fire-pits, an outdoor food market, and wooden huts and vendor stalls. It is an experience not to be missed!
Alternately, AmaWaterways’ Christmas on the Rhine itineraries begin in Switzerland, where full cruise-tour guests will be able to experience the beauty of Zurich and Lucerne before transferring to Basel to board the AmaCello.
From there, guests can experience the stunning Christmas Markets in France, Germany and the Netherlands as they travel to Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, and finally, Amsterdam.
Departure dates are available from November 25 to December 23 along the Rhine; and from November 18 to December 25 along the Danube.
More information on AmaWaterways and its stunning fleet can be found by viewing our complete company and fleet overviews here on River Cruise Advisor.