The European Christmas Markets Cruises are among the most memorable holiday experiences possible.
Viking River Visits the Christmas Market in Nuremburg
I have not said much about my upcoming cruise because I have not yet experienced it, but I am about to embark upon one of my most anticipated trips ever - a Christmas Markets river cruise in Europe.
These markets are unique to Europe, although the concept is familiar. The idea is a "farmer's market" like you might see in New York City's Union Square every weekend - where the Amish and other local purveyors of great produce, cheeses, breads, pies, pickles, sausage and more bring their hand-made goods to the city and sell them directly to us end users.
In Europe they hold these farmer's markets every year, but they do it specifically for the Christmas season, and the markets stay in place for any length of time from several days to months. Now, we already know that local markets are the best shopping in Europe, especially for food. They are the primary reason the French created nouvelle cuisine - the freshness and authenticity of the ingredients sold there.
I will be fortunate enough to be experiencing these markets on Viking River Cruises, and I will be doing in depth articles on this after the cruise. But the truth is that I have not yet seen it so I don't have that much to say about them.
But I did just get a great "last-minute deal" from another vendor I have not mentioned much before now. Grand Circle Line is a river cruise line in Europe and elsewhere, as well as a tour company. But Grand Circle's niche is to offer slightly smaller vessels with a more casual atmosphere. Where other lines excel at offering the distinctive best of Europe in terms of cuisine, wines and tours to opera, ballet or classical music productions, Grand Circle's focus is on interacting with people.
I am told by the line that they have far more solo cruisers on their boats than the average cruise lines, as high as 25-30%, largely because they offer many fares with no singles supplement. The boats are older and smaller, more casual but not any less clean or comfortable. Their average cruisers come back time and again, to the point where many people consider the line and the other regular cruisers they meet onboard to be like a second family.
Here is the deal I just received from Grand Circle for the December 14 and 15 sailings of its Danube Christmas Cruises. I would love to hear from any Grand Circle cruisers about their experiences with the cruise line.
Christmas Market River Cruise Along the Danube
You can still book a Christmas Cruise on the upscale Viking River Line sailing this December. Go to Viking River 2012 Christmas Market Cruises at the website for pricing. They offer a $500 airfare credit. Viking River is a high quality product any time of year and I cannot wait to return from my trip so I can report more on my experience.
But here is a deal for you if you can take the plunge today or tomorrow:
Grand Circle Cruise Line is offering savings of $700 per person for the last of this season's Christmas markets cruises by the company. But you must book by Friday night! 11/30/12
These Christmas Markets cruises offer the essence of Christmas in Europe by visiting craft-filled Christmas Markets set in storybook medieval towns of Austria and Germany along the Danube River. Your stops along the way include Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Aschach, Melk, and Vienna.
All together - this nine-day adventure (including the flight to and from Europe) is now just $1495, including round-trip airfare from New York! The cruise itself is seven days, but this offer includes airfare from your city in the U.S. with small additional fares for more westerly departure cities (see the chart below).
- Round-trip airfare from New York (or another gateway for low add-on fares noted above)
- Accommodations: 7 nights aboard a private Grand Circle river ship in an outside cabin outside cabin;
- ALL meals: 7B, 7L, 7D, with complimentary wine at dinner)
- 4 tours: Nuremberg, Regenseburg, Passau, and Melk Abbey
- 7 Exclusive Discovery Series events: German language lesson, Regensburg choral concert, glass-blowing demonstration, Stollen baking demonstration, History of the Christmas tree discussion, Melk Abbey organ concert, and Discussions about Europeans Today and German Christmas Traditions
- Personal headset on all included and optional tours
- Captain's Welcome and Farewell receptions and dinners
- 5% Frequent Traveler credit toward your next trip
- Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per person, including tips
|Added costs for Other U.S. departure points:|
|Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington DC||$250|
|Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle||$300|
|Dallas, Orlando, Portland, San Diego, Tampa||$350|
For more information or to book, please call 1-800-248-3737 and use Code: DEAL400 by 11/30.