Christmas river cruises: plan 2021

Now is the time to start planning this year’s Christmas getaway, and there isn’t much that will beat a festive river cruise to Europe’s best markets.

Of all great travel experiences, there is surely nothing more romantic than a classic party river cruise. For a complete fairytale experience, it must be said from the start that your best bet is to head to Germany, where the world’s best Christmas markets are linked by some of Europe’s most scenic waterways.

TUI’s stunning lineup of festive cruises for 2021 takes you to some of the Rhine’s most magical towns, where they celebrate Christmas the right way. The air is loaded with cinnamon and the smells of sugary treats. Happy children ride on old-fashioned rides. Young couples skate on the outdoor rinks. And everyone drinks to their fill of spicy mulled wine.

Pick up a souvenir: there are many markets to visit in Cologne

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With five- to seven-night itineraries on a fleet of stunning adult-only ships, you can choose between Christmas or New Year’s crossings, both of which have their own exciting sense of occasion. Booking is easy, as everything is included, from flights to experience credits and three meals a day in the excellent restaurants on board.

Ships have the feel of a floating boutique hotel with elegantly appointed cabins, a sleek and sophisticated lounge for pre-dinner cocktails and an observatory bar with huge panoramic windows for you to enjoy a warm glass of wine. without missing a thing as you glide down the river.

There are plenty of activities on board, including festive movie screenings, mulled wine tastings, and stollen-making demonstrations, and on New Year’s cruises there is a gala dinner and party. And with a maximum of 155 guests on board, there is always a wonderfully intimate feel to a TUI river cruise.

Among the routes there are two highlights: the mistletoe and the Rhine and the Christmas wonders. The first begins in Frankfurt with its bustling Christmas market and signature apple wine. From there, you embark to join the magnificent Rhine, one of the most famous rivers in the world. The first stop is Cologne where four Christmas markets compete for your attention; one has costumed angels animating the discussions, another has stalls selling the products of craftsmen woodcarvers and glassblowers.

French connection: Strasbourg proclaims itself “Capital of Christmas”

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Next, head to Düsseldorf, where live musicians serenade you as you browse the unique souvenirs and handmade crafts, before heading to Koblenz. Here, the Christmas market takes place in front of the beautiful Baroque Town Hall, which in December doubles as a giant Advent calendar, its 24 windows illuminating one each day during the month. Before arriving in Frankfurt, the cruise stops at Rudesheim, a sleepy little place where coffee is spiced with a glass of cognac and the crib is a life-size masterpiece.

Yuletide Wonders also departs from Frankfurt, this time heading for Speyer, where the imposing Unesco-listed cathedral offers stunning views of the beautiful market below. The next stop is Plittersdorf for Baden Baden, with its Black Forest background. After that you will dock in Kehl, from where you will make an easy jaunt across the border to the French city of Strasbourg, where they have had a Christmas market since the 16th century and continue to do so with style, by adorning the half-timbered houses with hearts and angels. The self-proclaimed “Christmas Capital” is home to a 30-meter tree covered with balls that dominates the main square, where the stalls are full of gastronomic delicacies, including spice cakes and the local specialty: tarte flambée. And then the last stop before the ship arrives in Frankfurt is at the beautiful Main, where you can print your own Christmas cards at the fascinating Gutenberg Museum.

With these cruises just a few months away, it’s hard to predict what kind of restrictions might still be in place, but TUI’s river cruise promise means they will only sail if they can guarantee an untouched experience and metrics. strict hygiene will be in place.

For more information and to book your next vacation visit tui.co.uk/river-cruises or call 0800 975 4477


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