Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Romantic Rhine, Europe's longest river. Travel onboard the MS Emerald Destiny, exploring the wonderful Christmas Markets of Germany and France while absorbing the local, festive atmosphere at this magical time of year.
Day 1 Depart the USA
Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Day 2 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Welcome to Amsterdam! Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and assisted with the transfer to the ship for embarkation. The day is at leisure to begin exploring Amsterdam and its Christmas markets on your own. This evening, join your fellow travelers for dinner onboard. Your Cruise Director will also conduct a port talk to review the activities and itinerary for the days ahead. Meal: D
Day 3 Amsterdam
The day begins with your choice of two activities: enjoy a glass-top canal boat tour through Amsterdam’s canals, or a guided bike tour. Return to the ship for your first day sailing through the Dutch countryside, passing windmills and sailing through locks towards the Rhine River. Tonight, the Captain will be delighted to host a gala dinner. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: Guided Bike Tour
Day 4 Cologne, Germany
Seven markets transform picturesque Cologne into a winter wonderland over the Christmas season. Be sure to pay a visit to the shopping stalls around the Alter Markt, Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz and the cathedral, beneath which you’ll locate the Christmas tree. Decorated mugs hold steaming hot Glühwein, and local vendors sell handmade sweets and local delicacies. Be sure not to miss the mesmerizing ‘Stars at Night’ theme adopted around the Neumarkt, where looking up unveils a beautiful light display overhead. Meals: B, L, D
Day 5 Koblenz, Germany
Cruise to the 2000-year-old town of Koblenz, situated at the
confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Enjoy a tour of Koblenz and visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the opposite side of the river. In the old part of the city, six areas offer more than 100 glittering, festive, cottage-style stands and Lebkuchenherzen (traditional gingerbread hearts) to create a magical European Christmas experience. In the afternoon, sail through the spectacular Rhine Gorge, where a landscape of castles and quaint towns awaits. Don’t miss the infamous Lorelei rock and statue and other photo opportunities that abound around every bend. Meals: B, L, D DiscoverMORE: Moselle & Cochem Castle Visit (additional cost) NOTE: you can only choose either the included tour of Koblenz or the DiscoverMORE option as both tours operate at the same time.
Day 6 Mannheim – Heidelberg, Germany
Continue upstream to the town of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar Rivers. Travel by coach to the medieval town of Heidelberg. Choose to visit the impressive castle which overlooks the town, or, take part on an active hike to Heidelberg Hill. As your final port in Germany, don’t miss out on shopping for unique treasures at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: Hike to Heidelberg Hill EmeraldPLUS: Wine Tasting in Heidelberg
Day 7 Strasbourg, France
With a morning arrival in Kehl, travel by coach across the river to Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace Region in France. A local guide leads you on a walking tour through this picturesque town. Stroll along the Grand Ile and through the charming Old Quarter, ‘La Petit France’. Admire the historical city center and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its medieval black and white timberframed buildings, old tanning houses, baroque sandstone buildings, canals and river locks and its centerpiece, the gothic cathedral. Enjoy free time to visit the stalls of Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik, one of the oldest in Europe, before returning to the ship. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldPLUS: Guided Tour of Strasbourg
Day 8 Breisach, Germany
Visit a typical black forest village, full of charm, cuckoo clocks, and other German specialties. Alternatively, take part on a guided hike along some of the Black Forest trails. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike along some of the Black Forest trails EmeraldPLUS: Black Forest Cake assembling presentation and tasting
Day 9 Basel, Switzerland to Zurich / USA
It’s time to bid farewell to the Captain and crew and depart for the Zurich Airport as you say goodbye to Europe and return home with lifelong memories of your Christmas Markets cruise along the Rhine River. Flights from Zurich must depart after 11:30am. Meal: B