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Discover the magical ambience of Germany’s traditional Christmas markets with their host of unique, inspired gift ideas, plus the stunning Rhineland in its wintry splendour.
You take a late morning Eurostar from London St Pancras International arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later where a coach will take you over the German border to your ship. Alternatively, you fly to Düsseldorf or Cologne from where a coach will take you to the ship.
Moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, your first-class crew will be ready to welcome you on board and ensure you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship.
To really get yourself in the Christmas mood, nothing beats waking up on board and finding yourself already cruising through a stunning winter wonderland. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning and relax on board whilst a kaleidoscope of riverside views drifts by in all their wintery glory. Wrap up warm and take to the deck for an invigorating breath of frosty air, whilst witnessing a real highlight as we cruise through the outstanding natural beauty of the world famous Rhine Gorge. Tales of mysterious happenings here have been passed down by generations of sailors and legends abound, the most famous legend of all – a beautiful maiden is said to have enticed sailors on to the rocks with her feminine charms and alluring song.
After lunch on board we arrive in Rüdesheim, its quirky crooked half-timbered houses and tiny streets provide the perfect chocolate box setting for its Christmas market. The Christmas period is a magical time to visit this part of Germany – no country really does it better. The traditional and historic Christmas markets here are the perfect place to immerse yourself in their enchanting atmosphere whilst seeking out unusual presents for friends and family back home. Wander the myriad of stalls, glistening in the glow of hundreds of fairy lights, stopping perhaps for a slice of gingerbread or a warming Rüdesheim coffee, with its reviving shot of locally distilled Asbach brandy and dollop of whipped cream. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Christmas shop here – open all year round, it is a treasure trove of all things Christmas, from tree decorations, music boxes to wooden nutcrackers and figurines. As the light fades, head back on board where another dinner in the ship’s excellent restaurants awaits.
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During breakfast this morning we cruise into the cosmopolitan city of Frankfurt. Unlike any other German city, this metropolis located on the River Main is a high-powered finance and business hub, home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges. The city also has an unexpectedly charming and traditional side with its half-timbered buildings huddled around the ancient medieval squares of the old town, its wealth of peaceful parks and scenic riverside paths. We enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating city with its contrast between old and new; the modern skyline and skyscrapers on one side, and the medieval old town featuring St Paul’s Church, Emperor’s Cathedral and the neo-Gothic Römer City Hall on the other.
There has been a Christmas market in Frankfurt for over six hundred years making it one of the oldest and most popular in Europe. Clustered around the city’s historic market place and the ancient church of St Paul’s, you cannot fail to be enchanted by its traditional ambience. No visit would be complete without sampling a glass or two of the warming Glühwein. Usually prepared from red wine (though it is also made from white), it is heated with citrus fruit and a range of spices such as cloves and cinnamon sticks – and sometimes drunk “mit schuss” meaning a shot of rum or brandy has been added for extra punch! After lunch back on board, wrap up and stroll amongst the maze of alluring stalls selling handmade arts and crafts and tempting seasonal food and drink, whilst the aroma of freshly made gingerbread and baked apples fills the air, simply magical.
There’s time to relax on board before the Captain’s Dinner, so why not unwind with an aperitif in the bar and chat about the day’s events with newly made friends.
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Early risers this morning will witness our arrival in historic Koblenz, dramatically located at the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Moselle. The city is a romantic’s dream, forest-covered hillsides dominate the skyline, whilst the lower slopes are strewn with the pretty, half-timbered buildings so typical of the Rhineland. This morning you will have a guided tour, taking in the principal monuments, discovering ancient squares, admiring beautifully restored historic house frontages and quaint hidden passageways.
Located in the atmospheric old town, Koblenz’s Christmas market is one of the largest in the Rhineland. As you browse, the aroma of hot chestnuts and mouth-watering sausages fills the air; don’t forget to pay a visit to the Christmas bakery, making the famous stollen, the delicious cake made with candied and dried fruit, nuts and marzipan traditionally eaten at this time of year. Back on board for lunch, we make our return to Cologne as the winter fairytale drifts by before your eyes.
As the towering spires of Cologne’s cathedral come into view on the wintery skyline, we moor in the shadow of this ancient monument oncemore. You will have free time to immerse yourself again in the special Christmas atmosphere of the city’s traditional markets. Cologne has seven markets, each with their own unique theme. Every year a huge number of visitors are drawn to the beautifully decorated festive stalls, impressively set against the spectacular backdrop of the imposing cathedral with the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland. There is a host of things to see here: Santa’s grotto, a huge temporary ice rink and spectacular festive illuminations but to mention a few, you will be spoilt for choice. A final delicious dinner is served on board this evening.
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New for the 2017 season sister ships Emily Brontë, Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde continue Riviera Travel's partnership with Swiss river cruise operator Scylla. These new 'all suite' ships offer excellent standards of accommodation consistent with Scylla's other 5 star ships. Standard Suites are large at 183 sq.ft., with floor to ceiling windows opening to a rail on the middle and upper decks. Suites on the lower deck are the same size but feature high level windows. 6 Superior Suites and 4 Deluxe Balcony Suites are available on each ship at 210sq.ft. and 274sq.ft. respectively. Deluxe Balcony Suites, located on the upper deck, also feature a small pricvate balcony.
* Payable locally.
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These lovely new 5★ river cruise vessels, feature beautifully furnished cabins and suites, the majority featuring floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening to a French balcony.
As you enter the restaurant the mouth-watering aroma of roasting Provençal Lamb drifts tantalisingly from the galley. Smartly uniformed, friendly and intuitive waiting staff professionally guide you to your classically set table with its crisp white linen, premium quality European china, polished fine glassware and gleaming cutlery whilst freshly baked bread is immediately placed before you with effortless style.Welcome - you're at home. Quality dining is an integral part of your river cruise experience - and our ships take this to the highest five-star levels with superb cuisine prepared by a dedicated and highly professional brigade of chefs.
Take a stroll on the Sun Deck as the river gradually awakes, and enjoy Early Risers' tea or coffee and freshly baked pastries. The full breakfast buffet is a sumptuous affair with innumerable hot and cold options, plus a popular omelette station prepares dishes to order. Or if you prefer, why not enjoy continental breakfast in your cabin: breakfast in bed as enchanting scenery and riverside life drift gently by - priceless! Naturally complimentary tea and coffee are available throughout the day and a very comprehensive lunch buffet allows selection of as little or as much as you wish from an extensive and tempting selection. Don't forget to leave some room for afternoon tea and the chef's special patisserie - it's just too tempting to ignore!
The day's culinary highlight is the splendid four-course dinner: entrée, soup, main course and dessert plus a salad buffet is always available - all within the ambience of a high quality restaurant. The carefully designed menus include international classics together with dishes reflecting the regions we pass through, with careful selections from local markets. In addition, the 'Welcome Dinner' enjoys an extended menu and towards the end of your cruise, the Captain proudly hosts his excellent 'Gala Dinner' featuring specialities of the countries and regions through which you've travelled.
Our clients constantly tell us they love our informal free seating and smaller tables policy, quite unlike the inevitable regimentation of many cruise ships which is exactly the atmosphere we are trying to achieve. Then there's the wine list. We take great pride in its excellent quality and style, including not only the classic choices but also an extensive range of local wines. Many of these are extremely well-priced, delightful hidden gems and rarely marketed outside their production area.
In addition to the main restaurant, we are proud to unveil the unique new Chef's Restaurant, open for dinner on the Lord Byron and Jane Austen, with huge panoramic windows and seating for just 24 diners. Here the chef presents his personal favourite signature dishes with a fixed menu using the finest of seasonal produce. This superb dining experience must be reserved on board.
Upgrade to Standard Premier class for £139pp return.
This price includes a complimentary light meal, offered from a selection of sweet and savoury cold snacks and includes a drink appropriate to the time of day, served at your seat while you relax in the spacious comfort of Standard Premier Class.
Please call for latest prices and availability or Request a Callback ...
Prices are per person based on two sharing and are subject to availability at time of booking. Operators reserve the right to amend published prices prior to a confirmed booking being made.
Single Occupancy Supplements: No single supplement for selected lower deck cabins, subject to availability.
Mrs Hopkins, AmaWaterways - Grand Danube
“I cannot fault Global River Cruising. I have never been on a cruise before so inevitably felt a little anxiety - which deck to book a cabin on, how long a cruise for a first-timer, help with alternative travel to avoid London Airports,....all these and others instilled a trust that was reassuring.”
Mr Collier, Scenic - Rhine Highlights
“Simeon at GRC organised a trip for four of us a couple of years ago and was excellent. So we have asked him to do the same for us again this year and once again to our complete satisfaction.”
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