CHRISTMAS MARKETS CRUISE on the ROMANTIC RHINE
MAYFLOWER CRUISES & TOURS
9 DAY RIVER CRUISE – 20 MEALS
DECEMBER 7TH – 15TH, 2020
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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, relax and raise a glass as you toast to the days ahead during the welcome reception. The ship remains in port overnight.
Day 3: Amsterdam
The day begins with your choice of three Freechoice activities. Explore Amsterdam on a guided walking tour, pausing along the way to sample the Dutch delicacy, herring. OR, cruise the iconic canals that have made Amsterdam world famous. Alternatively, discover charming Volendam, with its unusual raised homes and quaint wooden church, before heading to the equally charming village of Edam. Return to the ship for your first day sailing through the Dutch countryside, passing windmills and sailing through locks towards the Rhine River.
Day 4: Cologne, Germany
Enjoy a leisurely morning cruising along the river before arriving in Cologne. Upon arrival, stroll through the city on a guided tour and get up close to the filigree twin towers of the famous cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy free time and visit the cathedral Christmas markets in the Domplatz, home to the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland.
Day 5: Koblenz, Germany
As the ship docks in Koblenz, there is a choice of two Freechoice activities. Explore Koblenz on a walking tour with a local guide and see this historic city which straddles two of Europe’s most beautiful rivers. 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. OR, travel by coach to Cochem and discover a true medieval gem resting on the banks of the Mosel River. Feel as if you’ve stepped straight into a fairytale as you have a guided tour through town that culminates with a visit to the iconic 19th-century Reichsburg Castle. The ship departs Koblenz for Mannheim (docking site for Heidelberg). Enjoy a landscape of castles and quaint towns as you cruise through the Rhine Gorge.
Day 6: Mannheim, Germany
Awaken this morning in the town of Mannheim, departure point for the day’s activities. Your Freechoice activities include a visit to Heidelberg, with two options: visiting the castle and a walking tour, OR, a walk through the city on an orientation tour. As your final port in Germany, don’t miss out on shopping for unique treasures at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg. This evening’s Enrich activity is a special treat as you attend a private evening concert in a fine baroque palace. It’ll be an evening of grandeur unlike any other and a chance to create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Day 7: Baden Baden, Germany
Famous for its Roman baths, Baden Baden is a charming town in the Black Forest. Today’s Freechoice activities, from the port of Rastatt, are: join a local guide on a tour of this picturesque town and learn of its rich heritage. OR, take an active hike to the ruins of Hohanbaden Castle (also known as Altes Schloss) where you can find dungeons and climb the stairs for an incredible view of the Black Forest, Baden Baden and Rhine Valley. Alternatively, visit the Mercedes Benz factory where you discover the ‘behind the scenes’ activities and learn about the fascinating history of this luxury brand.
Day 8: Strasbourg, France
With a morning arrival in Kehl, travel by coach across the river to Strasbourg, France, where a local guide leads you on a walking tour through this picturesque town. Stroll through the charming Old Quarter, ‘La Petit France’, admire the half-timbered houses and marvel at the gothic cathedral in the city center. Enjoy free time to visit the stalls of Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik, one of the largest in Europe, before returning to the ship.
Day 9: Basel / 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