River cruise: Europe is favoured destination this winter

Cologne, Germany

Europe remains an all-time favourite for popular river cruise destinations across the world, and especially during winter, when Christmas markets flourish across traditional cities and medieval towns in keeping with the holiday traditions.

A river cruise is a leisure voyage along inland waterways, often stopping at multiple ports along the way. Since cities and towns often grew up around rivers, river cruise ships frequently dock in the centre of cities and towns. Typical river cruises often last longer than a week. Carry anywhere from 100 to 250 guests, depending on the ship size.

To help travellers make an informed choice, CruiseMaster, a leading cruise agency in the Middle East, has picked out the top ‘Christmas Markets River Cruises in Europe’.

The Rhine

Many of the season’s traditions started in Germany and some of the popular markets are Nuremberg’s Christmas Market, a renowned market in Germany along with Regensberg, medieval city and a UN heritage site and Bamberg.

The Danube

Several markets can be found in Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest along the Danube, Prague, Strasbourg, home to the oldest market in France, Winter wonderland markets are also beautiful in Tallinn (Estonia), Bruges and Brussels, Krakow (Poland), Zagreb (Croatia) and Bratislava (Slovakia).

Ashok Kumar, known as the “Cruise Guru” and Founder and Managing Director of Cruise Master, Dubai, said: “There’s a river cruise itinerary for every taste and interest and a Christmas River cruise for anyone who loves the holiday season, particularly the snowfall and the festive decorated ships with Christmas ornaments and tinsel and gingerbread houses, that add to the magical season.”

Many celebrate the Christmas season with market festivals featuring native crafts, local food, and activities ranging from live music performances to amusement rides.

River Cruises docking in the heart of medieval towns and walking from the ship to the “old town’ and into the Christmas market squares is a highlight. You can wander by yourself or take the excursion with the group, which would generally be included in the cruise.

River Cruises generally offer more inclusions like onboard accommodation, meals, beverages like Beer, Wine and soft drinks that are usually served with lunch or dinner, port taxes and fees, enrichment lectures and destination performances, onboard entertainment, some ships offer one excursion per port whereas others offer a choice of excursions depending on the Cruise, some also offer complimentary transfers to the ship and back.

Most Christmas Markets open by late November and last until almost after December 25 with a few staying open for New Year’s.

It’s recommended to book your river cruise in advance, so you can secure your choice of cabin, as river cruise ships are smaller in size and can fill in early. – Trade Arabia News Service