This year start a new tradition with a holiday markets river cruise. Escape the usual stressors of the holidays – from crowded mall parking lots to hours spent cooking and cleaning, and instead, spend your hours relaxing and letting your ship’s staff take care of the work part of the holidays, so you and your loved ones can focus on enjoying the merriments of the holiday season.
November-December, you can catch the wonderment of the season on a magnificent Christmas markets cruise along the famous Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle Rivers. Sail to the heart of quaint villages decked out in twinkling lights to celebrate the season. Disembark and within a minute you will be in awe at the town squares, that since the medieval times, have been filled with artisan stalls showcasing handmade crafts, delicious pastries, spiced cider and mulled wine. Shop for one-of-a-kind hand-made gifts as the smell of gingerbread cookies fills the air and the sounds of carolers surround you. Witness massive trees glittering with fine ornaments in the shadows of ornate castles and cathedrals.
One of the most famous of these Christkindlesmarkts can be found in Nuremberg, Germany. Here red and white blanketed stalls lend a coziness to the air as children frolic in the Children’s market, taking turns riding a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a steam train, while parents nosh on tasty bratwurst to stay warm nearby, sipping spiced wine or a wide array of dark beers.
Beyond the markets, a holiday river cruise is perfect for exploring Central Europe’s greatest sights, from charming villages and bustling capital cities to scenic landscapes and awe-inspiring architecture.
Some itineraries take you to the highlights of the Danube River through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, while others wind through Austria’s cities of Vienna, Melk, Linz, Krems and Passau, Germany, to Bratislava, Slovakia.
Vienna, Austria, known for its famous musical composers, including Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms is a grand capital city, showcasing elaborate architecture and intimate bistro pubs perfect for some hearty winter dining and celebrating. Where the Danube and Ilz rivers meet, discover the town of Passau, Germany, famous for making swords. Stroll down cobblestone streets and gaze at arched bridges and imposing Italianate mansions.
The city of Linz, Austria was named the European Capital of Culture in 2009 and is also on the UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts list. Historically, Linz was a commerce hub for the Roman Empire and is known as a city of the Habsburgs, the last home to German Emperor, Friedrich III. The city’s ancient medieval center is encircled by neoclassical, neo-baroque and neo-Renaissance neighborhoods. Witness impressive landmarks and taste the legendary Linzer torte – dating to 1653 – and is said to be the oldest cake in the world, and St. Martin’s church, the oldest church in Austria.
In Bratislava, you can walk right from your ship’s port to explore the city’s Old Town. Slovakia’s capital city is both a buzzing political and economic center. A maze of narrow, cobblestone streets wind around colorful 18th-century buildings and alluring sidewalk cafes. Museums, cathedrals and palaces entice, while photography buffs will want to capture images of the impressive medieval castle that looms over the city. For more contemporary sights, Bratislava boasts a pulsating modern art scene and outstanding examples of Communist-era architecture.
Aboard your all-inclusive, all-suite, luxurious Crystal river yacht, you will cruise from one storied European port to the next. Your day’s adventure might include a morning in the Fitness Center using state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment, or perhaps a yoga class followed by a soothing massage. For lunch, dine on Michelin Star-level cuisine while watching the world drift slowly by. Enjoy a mid-afternoon respite in your well-appointed butler-serviced suite. You can even attend a lecture. The choices for enjoying your ships many impressive amenities are all yours.
Come aboard and revel in the warmth of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets on a holiday voyage that offers traditional festivities, glittering décor, multi-faith services, a daily selection of holiday cookies from around the world, complimentary shore excursions and more to fill you with the joy of the season. Take in the seasonal sights, scents and sounds with Christmas Markets Crystal holiday experience, for a voyage wrapped in the all-inclusive luxury and legendary hospitality that will provide you with new adventures and magical memories with the ones you love the most.