Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets River Cruise
|Resort:||Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets River Cruise|
DAY 1ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
Arrive at the airport for your flight to DA 1/4 sseldorf or Cologne, or take the Eurostar to Brussels from London St Pancras International. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored in historic Cologne, whose skyline is dominated by the spires of its magnificent cathedral. The dedicated English-speaking crew welcomes you on board and helps you to your cabin. After settling into your spacious and tastefully furnished accommodation, thereas time to familiarise yourself with this splendid ship.
DAY 2RHINE GORGE & RA?DESHEIM
RHINE GORGE & RA?DESHEIM
To really get in the Christmas mood, nothing beats waking up on board to find youare already cruising through an entrancing winter wonderland. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning and relax on board while a kaleidoscope of riverside views drifts by in all their seasonal glory. Wrap up warm and take to the deck for an invigorating breath of frosty air as we pass through the outstandingly beautiful Rhine Gorge, where the river flows a little faster, the vineyard-covered valley sides are steeper and ruined castles sit atop rocky crags. Tales of mysterious happenings here have been passed down over the generations, most famously of all the legend of the Lorelei a the maiden said to have enticed sailors onto the rocks with her irresistible songs.
The festive period is a magical time to visit this picturesque part of Germany, and no country does it better. The historic Yuletide markets here are the ideal places to soak up the spellbinding atmosphere while seeking out unusual presents for friends and family back home. After lunch on board we arrive in RA 1/4 desheim, whose quirky, crooked houses and tiny streets provide the perfrect chocolate-box setting for its Christmas market. As you wander the myriad stalls, glistening in the glow of hundreds of fairy lights, stop perhaps for a slice of gingerbread or a warming RA 1/4 desheim coffee with its fortifying shot of locally distilled Asbach brandy and a dollop of whipped cream. And donat forget to pay a visit to the Christmas shop: open year-round, itas a treasure trove of all things seasonal, from tree decorations and music boxes to wooden nutcrackers and handcrafted figurines. As the evening light fades, amble back on board to enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the shipas excellent restaurant.
During breakfast this morning we cruise into the cosmopolitan city of Frankfurt. Located on the Main River, itas Germanyas financial and business hub, with one of the worldas largest stock exchanges. The city also has an unexpectedly charming and traditional side, with a medieval Old Town of colourful half-timbered houses huddled around cobbled squares, a wealth of peaceful parks and scenic riverside paths. This morning we enjoy a guided tour to experience its fascinating contrast of new and old: the towering skyscrapers of the 21st-century city on one side; the historic centre on the other, featuring Saint Paulas Church, the Imperial Cathedral and the Gothic RA?mer, a complex of gabled buildings dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, including the Altes Rathaus or Old Town Hall.
There has been a Christmas market held in Frankfurtas historic centre for over 600 years, making it one of the oldest in Europe. It is also one of the most popular, and after lunch on board take a stroll among the maze of stalls clustered around the RA?merplatz market place and Saint Paulas Square selling arts and crafts, toys, decorations and tempting seasonal food and drink a you canat fail to be captivated by its joyful ambience. The 100-foot-tall Christmas tree, carol music and classic fairground attractions all add to the cheery festive feel, while aromas of freshly made gingerbread and baked apples fill the air a simply magical. No visit would be complete without sampling a glass of warming GlA 1/4 hwein, or mulled wine. This delicious concoction is usually made with red wine heated with citrus zest and spices such as cloves and cinnamon. Sometimes itas drunk mit Schuss, meaning a shot of rum or brandy has been added for extra punch!
Thereas time to relax on board before the Captainas Dinner tonight, so why not unwind with an apA(C)ritif in the bar and chat about the dayas events with your fellow travelling companions and newly made friends?
DAY 4KOBLENZ & COLOGNE
KOBLENZ & COLOGNE
Early risers will witness our arrival in historic Koblenz, dramatically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. The city is a romanticas dream a forest-covered hillsides dominate the skyline, while the lower slopes are strewn with the pretty half-timbered buildings so typical of the Rhineland. This morning you will have a tour of Koblenz with a knowledgeable local guide, taking in its principal monuments, discovering ancient squares, admiring lovingly restored historic house frontages and quaint hidden passageways.
Located in the characterful Old Town, Koblenzas Christmas market is one of the largest in the Rhineland. As you browse its gaily decorated stalls, the mouthwatering aromas of hot chestnuts and sausages fill the air, and you must visit the Christmas bakery making the famous Stollen a the delicious spiced bread containing candied and dried fruits, nuts and marzipan customarily eaten at this time of year.
Back on board for lunch, we make our return to Cologne along the Rhine Valley, admiring the rolling countryside, idyllic medieval towns, Gothic church steeples and fairytale castles that create such an enchanting scene.
As the towering spires of Cologneas cathedral come into view on the wintry skyline, we moor in the shadow of this ancient monument once again. Christmas creates a special atmosphere here and you have free time to immerse yourself in the cityas seven Yuletide markets, each with its own unique theme. Every year a huge number of visitors are drawn to the more than 160 tastefully decorated festive stalls of the Cathedral Christmas market, impressively set against the spectacular backdrop of this imposing Gothic building where the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, illuminated with 50,000 LED lights, is a magnificent glittering sight to behold. Thereas also plenty of live entertainment to enjoy.
After browsing the market and its Aladdinas cave of festive gifts and foods, return to the ship to enjoy a final delicious dinner this evening.
DAY 5RETURN HOME
Transfer to the airport for your return flight or to Brussels to connect with the Eurostar service to London St Pancras International.