Bookings Open For European River Cruises to Christmas Markets

Summer hasn't even started yet (and we in the Northeast have a sneaking suspicion it never will), but the holidays will be here before you know it, so spring is a good time to start booking trips to see Europe's Christmas markets.

Crown Cruise Vacations President Ross Spalding noted that Christmas markets are generally open from the beginning of Advent until December 23—"but you have to plan ahead as these river cruises tend to sell out early," he said in a statement. 

Markets in Austria and Germany may sell unique handmade gifts like nativity scenes, handmade children’s toys and unique art. Visitors can pass Gothic Churches and sample gingerbread, sugar cakes and ale (maybe not all at once). There will also be plenty of festive singing and dancing.

COLUMN: Save the Dates for 2014 Holiday Travel

The Christmas market sailings on river cruise lines generally begin in mid-November and continue through the end of the year. These sailings are typically held on the Main, Rhine, Danube and Seine rivers. 

Sample Christmas Market River Cruises

Seven-Night The Enchanting Rhine on the AmaReina, sailing Dec. 14 from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, with stops in Cologne, Rudesheim, and Speyer, Germany; Strasbourg, Alsace, France; and Breisach, Germany.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection 
Seven-Night Classic Christmas Markets Cruise (pictured above) on the River Queen from Nuremberg to Frankfurt, sailing Dec. 7 with stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Wertheim, cruising the Main River.

Viking River Cruises 
Six-Night Heart of Germany Cruise on the Viking Longship Kara, Nuremburg to Frankfurt, sailing Dec. 13, with stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, Wertheim (Main River) and Heidelberg.

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