Join us on the brand New AMA Waterways
AMALea November 27, 2019
Exclusive FULL SHIP CHARTER
9 Nights from only $2699pp
Travelback through centuries as you walk along cobblestone streets through grandcities and historic towns bedecked with twinkling Christmas trees and linedwith wooden huts gleaming with handcrafted treasures. Iconic Christmas Marketsquare plentiful and are on full display for your pleasure: Budapest'sVorosmarty Square, where all products sold in the market are guaranteed astraditionally handmade; Vienna with its impressive Christmas Markets that seemto majestically appear around every corner; Nuremberg's festive Christ kindlesmarket, the largest and oldest Christmas Market in Germany; and Regensburg'sChristmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Castle, considered one of Bavaria's mostbeautiful and romantic-along with many others throughout your journey-are yoursto explore. Sparkling lights; the festive sounds of children dressed as angelssinging carols; enticing smells of hot-mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, sausagesand sweet treats of every kind; and timeless wonders are a feast for all yoursenses.
COUNTRIES: Austria, Germany, Hungary,Slovakia, Czech Republic
Day 1: ARRIVE IN PRAGUE,CZECH REPUBLIC
Arrivein Prague and transfer to our hotel.
Day 2: PRAGUE
The fairytale city of Praguealways enchants, but it really sparkles even more during the holiday season.Prague offers a collection of Art Nouveau, Baroque, Renaissance and Gothicarchitecture, which you'll get to see on your tour. You will see Rudolfinum, theNational Museum, Wenceslas Square and the Dancing House, as well as visit 1,000year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus before walking over the romantic CharlesBridge to the Old Market Square, where you will find the capital's famousAstronomical Clock, Tyn Church and the statue of Jan Husek. You will then havefree time to explore Prague's renowned Christmas Markets -in the Old TownSquare. (B)
Day 3: PRAGUE -NUREMBERG, GERMANY -EMBARKATION
Departfrom Prague via motor coach. Enroute, you'll enjoy some time exploring one ofNuremberg's colorful Christmas Markets before boarding your luxury ship.(B,D)
Day 4: NUREMBERG
Join a city tour of WWII highlights and then walk through Nuremberg's cobblestone streets to the Imperial castle and 900-year-old city ramparts. Later, you can visit Nuremberg's Christkindles markt (Christmas Market), one of the world’s large stand most famous Christmas Markets. Stroll along as the aroma of mulled wine and gingerbread fill the air and browse through over 100 red and white canvas-topped booths offering an assortment of unique treasures, toys and seasonal goodies. Enroute to Regensburg, you'll cruise through the man made marvel, the Main-Danube Canal. (B,L,D)
Day 5: REGENSBURG
Regensburgis one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join a guided walking tour showcasing the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria before visiting one of Bavaria's most beautiful and romantic Christmas Markets at Thurn and Taxis Castle, where you can watch artisans make their unique arts and crafts.As an alternate option, sample some of Bavaria's specialties-beer, sausage and pretzels. Or bike to Walhalla where you will see the neo- Classical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. (B,L,D)
Day 6: PASSAU
Join a walking tour of this 2,000-year-old city, noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen's. Go in search of Bavarian-style crafts at the Christmas Market.Alternatively, you can travel through the serene Austrian Alps to Salzburg,birthplace of Mozart. Your full-day excursion in Salzburg includes a walking tour of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, its magnificent cathedral and Christmas Market, which is a feast for the senses. For the active adventurer, join a guided bike tour along the Danube. (B,L,D)
Day 7: MELK, AUSTRIA -VIENNA
Cruise to Melk, known for its magnificent Benedictine Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe's largest and most revered monasteries. Visit this magnificent Benedictine Abbey, which now houses a museum chronicling its history and a famous library with countless medieval manuscripts. Alternatively,go on a guided bike ride along the Danube and through the scenic the Wachau Valley. (B,L,D)
Day 8: VIENNA
The "City of Waltzes"offers a treasure trove of gems just waiting to be discovered. Join a tour show casing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs before concluding in Vienna's historic city center. Afterwards, you'll visit the Rathaus (TownHall) Christmas Market. Ifyou prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride along theDanube. During the afternoon, visit the Karlsplatz(Artisans) Christmas Market,a local favorite, and the market at SchÃnbrunnPalace with a giant sparkling Christmas tree. Cap the day off with "Vienna by Night" Christmas Markets at the beautifully decorated Maria Theresaplatz Christmas Market, set amongst the world-renowned sights of Vienna's majestic Ringstrasse, and at the illuminated Rathaus, Vienna's largest Christmas Market.(B,L,D)
Day 9 : BUDAPEST,HUNGARY
Savo rthe beauty of Buda and Pest on opposite sides of the Danube with a city tour that showcases many highlights, including Heroes' Square and Castle Hill, home to Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church. In the center of it all is the Christmas Market, where you can shop for traditional Hungarian wares and delightful holiday treats. (B,L,D)
Day 10: BUDAPEST -DISEMBARKATION
Bid farewell to Budapest as youprepare for your flight home. (B)
Doing your Christmasshopping in the European markets visited on a river cruise almost guaranteesthat the gifts you put under the tree when you return home will be unique.Think wooden toys, hand-blown glass, scarves, hats and leather goods. There arespecialty teas, honey, wine and liqueurs. A vast array of ornaments awaits you,made of wood, paper, lace and glass.
The real secret tomarket shopping is pacing yourself. On an average seven- or eight-day cruise,you may visit as many as 10 different Christmas markets, and although there issome duplication of the goods from market to market, you will find items thatare special to that city or town at each one.
Some market stalls willhave English-speaking attendants, others will not, but prices in euros areusually clearly marked. Cash is the easiest way to shop in the marketsthemselves, but some stalls may also accept credit cards, particularly forlarger items.
Decorations and Ambiance
There's no shortage offestive decor onboard the ships themselves, but the real treats are the marketsand their settings. From the red-and-white canopies of the market in Nuremberg,set in the medieval city center, to stalls in Regensburg's Thurn and Taxismarket topped with pine branches in front of a towering palace, each market hasa unique decorating style.
The aromas of the seasondrift through the markets in the form of fire pits and barrels burning forwarmth, gingerbread baking and chestnuts roasting.
Most cruises afford you theopportunity to visit at least a few markets after dark to enjoy the lights thatdecorate stalls and the squares and parks where the markets take place. Citiesand towns in Europe also adorn public buildings and plazas with wreaths, bowsand lights.
Snow You Don't Have to Shovel
There's certainly noguarantee that there will be snow during your cruise but if the white flufffalls, the best news is that you can sit back and enjoy it without all the workthat comes with it.
Weather in Germany,where the bulk of the Christmas market cruises take place, is relatively mildduring December. Daily highs average in the mid-30s. Precipitation, averagingonly 2 or 3 inches along both the Danube and the Rhine, is as likely to bein the form of rain as it is snow. Make sure you plan your outerwearaccordingly.
Hot spiced wine is astaple of Christmas markets throughout Europe, known by the German name of gluhwein or the Swedish glogg. Even serious oenophiles findjoy in wandering through street vendors sipping steaming cheap wine fromkitschy souvenir mugs. Each vendor uses their own recipe, but expects someversion of red wine, lightly spiced with cinnamon, cloves and oranges heated toaround 170 degrees.
Most sellers also offerwine with a little more kick to it in the form of add-ins like brandy, amaretto,Grand Marnier or vodka. And, of course, there is a nonalcoholic version knownas punch or kinderpunsch.
In most markets, you payfor the wine and a deposit on the mug, which is then refunded upon return ifyou don't care to have the souvenir. Refills are then available for purchase atsubsequent stalls as you wind your way through the market.
Sweet and Savory Treats
Sweets range from simplechocolate-dipped dried fruit on skewers to elaborate pastries. Waffles toppedwith fruit or Nutella are favorite eat-on-site market foods. In Germany, friedapples, doughnuts and, of course, strudel is abundant. Here's a quickdictionary of sweets by their common market names:
· Schmalzkuchen: vanilla- or lemon-flavoredballs of fried dough, rolled in sugar
· Lebkuchen: gingerbread cookies, oftenheart-shaped and coated in chocolate or sugar icing
· Maroni: sweet, roasted chestnuts
· HeibeSchokolade:Hot chocolate, for those not interested in mulled wine
· Pfannkuchen: crepes, often filled with cream,Nutella or fruit
Sausages top the list ofsavory treats at the markets. Fat or thin, fried or flame-grilled, sausages arenormally served in fresh, crusty rolls, topped with optional sauerkraut andmustard. Recipes vary from region to region, so trying one at each stop of yourcruise is perfectly acceptable.
Also look for potatopancakes called kartoffelpfannkuchen and potato dumplings, kartoffelknodel.
Aficionados of Europeanculture can delight in the traditions and celebrations of the holiday season.Church and family play huge roles in those celebrations, as does food.Christmas market cruises are an ideal way to immerse yourself in the culturesyou visit, even beyond the markets. A ship's tours include plenty of stops atcathedrals and abbeys. Onboard entertainment usually includes local singers andmusicians brought on in ports of call, most of them performing Christmas music.
European crew membersare also eager to share their own holiday traditions with guests, includinggames, music and visits from Saint Nicholas. And, tour guides in every cityimpart the details of how their city and its inhabitants celebrate.
River cruises are nevershort on scenery along the banks of the rivers they sail, but there issomething seasonally romantic about the winter landscapes, often dusted by snow,as you sip coffee or hot chocolate in a festive lounge full of fellow cruisers.With fewer outdoor activities available to passengers on these winter cruises,the itineraries often include a bit more daytime cruising between ports.
Less Crowded Sites
While the Christmasmarket cruise season is fairly busy, it is a far quieter season than summer.That means smaller crowds almost everywhere you go other than the markets.Sightseeing is easier, and lines are shorter at museums, theaters, galleriesand other non-shopping areas.
· 7 night’s luxury accommodation in an outside stateroom (most with twinbalconies)
· Computerfor internet access
· Entertainment-On-Demandin all staterooms featuring free high-speed internet access, movies, a musiclibrary and English language TV stations
· Mini-fridge,desk and sitting area
· Bottled water replenished daily
AN ARRAY OF AMENITIES
· Personalizedservice from a highly trained Cruise Manager during both cruise and landprograms
· Internetand Wi-Fi access
· Sundeck pool with swim-up bar and walking track
· Fitness room, massage services and hair salon
· Main Lounge with panoramic views and bar
· Daily entertainment including cultural performances
· All onboard dining in a variety of venues
· Regionallyinspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients
· The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
· Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, La ChaÃne des RÃ´tisseurs Dinner, Captain's Cocktailand Gala Dinner
· LaChaÃne des RÃ´tisseurs exclusive dining experience
· Unlimitedfine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
· Unlimitedsparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
· Sip& Sail Daily Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and softdrinks
· Tapas,sandwiches, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge
A WORLD OF EXPLORATION
· Immersivetours in every destination
· Gentle,regular, active and late-riser tour options
· Bike tours and hikes
· Special Interest Tours
· Personalheadset for easy exploration
· Airport transfers with purchase of air from AmaWaterways
· 2nights hotel in Prague at the Old Town Hilton (or similar), including city tourand daily breakfast
· Transfer from Prague to the ship in Nuremberg with Christmas Market visit enroute
This cruise is filling fast – Don't miss out! Contact us today to reserve your stateroom for a low deposit!