European river cruises are some of today’s most popular cruise vacations. These sailings combine a tantalizing blend of history, culture, cuisine and memorable experiences. Cruising along Europe’s waterways during the holiday season adds a wide variety of festive events to the mix. These enchanting river cruises provide guests with the opportunity to experience Christmas markets in Europe’s most charming cities and get in the holiday spirit.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is one of the leaders in river cruising worldwide. The cruise line has been named the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure magazine and the “Best Luxury River Cruise Line” by the editors of Cruise Critic. Uniworld offers several European river cruise itineraries during November and December’s Christmas markets season, each with their own unique appeal.
If you’d like to enjoy a uniquely memorable holiday experience, here are ten great reasons to take a Uniworld Christmas markets river cruise:
1. Sample Europe’s Christmas Traditions. The start of Advent marks the beginning of Europe’s Christmas markets season. Many of these Yuletide markets have taken place for centuries, so there is considerable tradition involved. Each town’s market is unique with different offerings to explore. Beautifully decorated stalls are filled with vendors selling handmade crafts such as ornaments and handmade candles, steaming hot drinks, delicious gingerbread and pastries, savory sausages, and many other treats. Most European holiday markets last until Christmas Eve while a few stretch into early January.
2. Rediscover The Magic Of Christmas. The holidays are a special time to take a European river cruise. Guests are surrounded with the sights and smells of the Christmas season, both on Uniworld’s ships and in every port of call. Centuries-old traditions come to life at the holiday markets and it’s fun to see so many people enjoying the spirit of the Christmas holidays. Christmas markets cruises provide the perfect opportunity to shop for Christmas ornaments and unique gifts, sample holiday cakes and cookies, and learn more about European Christmas traditions.
3. Walk In A Winter Wonderland. During the Christmas markets season, historic cities and towns turn into fairytale winter wonderlands filled with festive holiday decorations. Each city is beautifully decorated with twinkling holiday lights, ornaments, Christmas trees, and unique decorations such as Nuremberg’s golden Christmas angels and intricately costumed prune people. The weather is also quite cold in late November and December, with towns sometimes blanketed in snow.
4. Experience A Special Kind Of River Cruise. Although the itineraries may be identical, a Uniworld European Christmas markets river cruise is not the same experience as one taken during the spring, summer or fall. A Christmas markets sailing is an incredible theme cruise for people who love the holidays and being in the Christmas spirit. The emphasis is primarily on the traditions of the holiday season rather than the historic cities and villages themselves. For seasoned river cruisers, these cruises provide an excellent opportunity to experience favorite cities and towns in a different light.
5. Learn About European History And Culture. Uniworld’s European Christmas markets river cruises allow guests to experience holiday markets in multiple cities and immerse themselves in the culture of the region. While the focus may be on Christmas markets and events, the historic sites and attractions of each port city are still available to be enjoyed. Daily multi-hour shore excursions are included in each port of call, providing opportunities to learn, explore, and experience the authentic culture of the area. Uniworld’s river cruise ships tie up in or very close to town, providing guests with more flexibility. It’s generally easy to stroll off the ship and walk to museums, restaurants, local shops, and other attractions. Uniworld’s shore excursions feature exceptional guides who expertly bring their cities and towns to life. In addition, shipboard enrichment activities include lectures on history and regional customs, informative port discussions, and performances by local artists.
6. Savor Delectable Culinary Delights. One of the main draws of a European Christmas markets cruise is the food. Christmas markets are filled with stalls selling roasted chestnuts, decorated gingerbread men, mugs of warm spiced wine, pastries, sausages, chocolates and more. Every country and city offers somewhat different fare. Nuremberg is known for its delicious gingerbread, while Frankfurt is famed for its apple wine and Bethmännchen marzipan Christmas cookies. The traditional holiday cuisine extends onto Uniworld’s ships, where guests will enjoy hot mulled wine called Glühwein, hot chocolate, traditional gingerbread, German Christmas Stollen, holiday cookies and other delicious treats. Uniworld’s dining experience is extraordinary, with regionally-focused food and wine selections featuring fresh, local ingredients.
7. Shop For Unique Treasures. Experienced Christmas markets river cruisers know to bring an extra bag for all of the unique gifts they’ll purchase on their vacations. Christmas markets river cruises feature some amazing shopping options that allow guests to avoid the typical shopping frenzy and take the time to really enjoy the experience and find wonderfully unique gifts. These centuries-old markets also offer opportunities to connect with locals and craftspeople in a way not possible in American malls. These Christmas markets river cruises appeal to those wishing to move away from commercialized shopping and enjoy more traditional holiday experiences.
8. Relax Aboard Festively Decorated Ships. When sailing with Uniworld, expect to experience European luxury at its finest. It’s like being afloat in an exquisite five-star London boutique hotel sailing along Europe’s scenic rivers. It’s even more exceptional during the holidays, when Uniworld’s ships are lavishly decorated with the finest handcrafted holiday decorations. Onboard activities add to the festive nature of these Christmas markets cruises.
9. Meet Other Well-Traveled Guests. It’s wonderful to meet other like-minded guests and enjoy Europe’s festive holiday traditions together. This happens easily on Uniworld’s intimate river cruise ships. Uniworld guests are generally well-traveled, outgoing and interesting and there’s a highly social, cohesive atmosphere onboard.
10. Enjoy All-Inclusive Luxury. Uniworld’s river cruise ships provide five star luxury for guests. Elegant staterooms akin to Europe’s finest boutique hotels are equipped with flat screen televisions, plush Savoir of England beds, and high thread count linens. Marble bathrooms come fully stocked with thick fluffy towels and a wide range of L’Occitane products. Laundry service is offered daily and a guest laundry room is also available. Uniworld pays attention to the smallest details, one of the key signs of a true luxury brand. Jars of sweets in each stateroom are refilled daily, umbrellas and walking sticks are provided, and a variety of power plugs are available in the room. The price of a Uniworld river cruise also includes everything needed for a great European holiday vacation. Uniworld's all-inclusive package covers all scheduled airport transfers, shore excursions with a variety of personalized options, all gratuities for onboard crew and local guides, all meals, unlimited beverages of every kind, ship-wide Internet and Wi-Fi access, and much more.
If You Go:
For more information about Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, visit www.uniworld.com.