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River Cruise of the Week: Christmas with AmaWaterways

With so many river cruise itineraries to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to cruise, and when.  To help clear the path, The Avid Cruiser has started a new feature on River Cruise Advisor: the River Cruise of the Week.  And there’s no better way to kick it off than by featuring one of the most desirable upcoming itineraries: A Christmas Markets voyage aboard AmaWaterways.

Bratislava’s legendary Christmas Market. Photo courtesy of Visit Bratislava


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Ama’s popular Christmas Time Cruise itinerary features a seven-night river cruise coupled with a two-night stay in historic Prague.  Departures begin on November 25, 2011 aboard AmaLyra and continue until the December 30, 2011 sailing aboard AmaLegro.  Sister-ship AmaDolce also operates this popular run in 2011.

The full ‘Christmas Time Cruise’ itinerary:

DAY PORT ACTIVITIES
1 Prague Hotel Check-in
2 Prague City tour; optional tours; visit the Prague Christmas Market
3 Prague Transfer to Nuremberg; Visit the Christmas Market
3 Nuremberg Embarkation: Welcome Cocktail & Dinner.
4 Nuremberg City tour; visit Christmas Market
4 Hilpolstein Crossing the Continental Divide
5 Regensburg Walking tour; visit Christmas Market
6 Passau Walking tour
6 Salzburg Optional Salzburg excursion
6 Linz Visit the Linz Christmas Market
7 Melk Benedictine Abbey tour; Wachau valley cruise
7 Vienna Optional evening concert
8 Vienna City tour; visit Christmas Market
9 Budapest City tour; Visit Christmas Market; Illuminations cruise
10. Budapest Disembark

These “Christmas Markets” voyages typically visit many historic Northern European cities. And it’s on these voyages that the versatility of a river cruise really shines through, allowing passengers to experience several different towns and their Christmas traditions in a single trip, all without the hassle of changing hotels, departing on early busses, or driving through treacherous snow-covered streets.

AmaWaterways’ popular AmaLegro joins AmaLyra and AmaDolce in operating this year’s Christmas Markets voyages. Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways

Many North American travelers may not know about the European Christmas Markets, which are exactly that: street markets, set up towards the end of November and lasting through until Christmas. Usually set up outdoors, these can offer an incredible variety of local crafts and wares and – perhaps best of all – delicious local Christmas delicacies. Mulled wine and cider are popular wintertime beverages, and are typically sold in these markets as well. For culture mavens, there’s no better time to truly embrace local customs than at Christmas.

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