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5 – Tips to Save You Money on a River Cruise

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Pete on The Danube River

1.  Use a certified River Cruise Specialist! A specialist is highly trained in river cruises and has actually been on them before. They know the ins & outs of the different brands, inclusions, itineraries and much more. They can help you find the right cruise that fits your style and budget…saving you money. They know flight options, insurance, pre and post cruise stays, transportation, tours….you get the picture? You’ll pay the same or LESS than booking directly…and get MUCH BETTER ADVICE…all for free.

2.  BUY EARLY! When you buy early…and you can buy a full year ahead…they usually offer some great discounts. These ships are small and fill up fast. Waiting can cause you to ‘miss the boat!’ Why not get some of the best discounts by booking early and choose a cabin location or category that YOU want. (not settle for what is left) I repeat, buy early.

3.  Choose wisely. Each brand has its own style and inclusions. Some brands are much more inclusive than others. When comparing prices, take into consideration that some lines make you pay for extras…like gratuities, drinks, ship transfers, shore excursions and more. Some lines include it. Figure out what you need and how much more it will cost if you choose a line that doesn’t include it. You may find the more expensive price actually is the better value!

4.  Pre or post trip extensions:  You can buy them from the cruise line…but they can be expensive. It’s very convenient to add them on but be sure to weigh the cost of doing your own extensions. Your Rive Cruise Specialist can provide you with hotels and tours as well that may be a better value.

5.  Some lines offer discounts for paying in full at time of booking. Some offer discounts for paying with an electronic wire transfer. Some offer free transfers when you have them book your airfare. Some lines waive single supplements. Some have single berth staterooms. Again, your River Cruise Specialist can help you with all the discounts being offered that you may not know of.

The bottom line is this…Know before you go.

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to understand river cruising. You just need to enlist an expert to answer your questions and help you make the right choices that fit your travel style. And that my friends…is why we exist!

Contact us today to get started on your river cruise planning.

We don’t charge any fees and we know river cruising!

Pete Larson,

Certified River Cruise Specialist

River Cruise Guru

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

218-779-3050

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

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River Cruising Europe

Why should I go on a river cruise?

European river cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry, and here’s why. The itineraries pack as many as four countries into a 7 night cruise, with a chance to wake up somewhere new each day. How cool is that?

Scenic Crystal 2012

Over the past three years, more than fifty new river vessels have taken to the water, with around twenty more due this year. The season runs from March to December– with special Christmas Market and New Year’s departures. You can find many theme cruises as well, from wine and art to history and beer. Holiday market cruises are spectacular, as you can visit the famous markets, sip Gluhwein and shop in the brisk but festive atmosphere.

With spectacular scenery, charming villages and cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne, Nuremberg, Vienna and Budapest, it’s easy to see why the Rhine, Main and Danube attract the highest number of cruisers. Other popular rivers include the Seine, where ships are based in Paris and cruise to Normandy, and the Rhône, for trips through Provence between Lyon and Arles. Or you can cruise the Elbe from Berlin to Prague, the Moselle through Germany’s wine-growing heartland, Italy’s Po or Portugal’s Douro. There are many options to fit the discerning traveler. One of my favorites is the Moselle (or Mosel) as pictured below. I stood in a castle when I took this picture!

Cochem, Germany - Copyright River Cruise Guru
Cochem, Germany – Copyright River Cruise Guru

The size of European river cruise vessels is limited by low bridges and narrow locks, so compared with ocean-going ships they’re small and friendly, carrying less than 200 passengers. The on-board atmosphere tends to be relaxed, with no strict dress codes and usually open seating at mealtimes. All meals come as standard and the majority of lines also offer free daily excursions. All-inclusive river cruise lines are available, with drinks and tips included in the fare.

As vessels tend to moor right in the heart of towns and cities, it’s easy for passengers to explore on their own if they feel like opting out of organised excursions.

Many lines carry bicycles you can take and explore the river, the towns or cities at no extra cost. The top lines, such as Scenic Cruises, offers a GPS guided device you can take along while you explore on your own. It gives you directions and acts as your mini tour guide telling you about the sites you are seeing.

Many river cruise lines cater to English speakers, so there is no worries about language barriers. Its a great way to explore Europe and unpack only once.

We are certified River Cruise Specialists. We do not charge you any fees and will help you every step of the way. Your package can include your arrangements from the time you leave your doorstep to the time your return there.

Call us today. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest ways to travel Europe at a great value.

Pete Larson, CTA, DS, LS

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

218-779-3050

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Bordeaux River Cruise

Scenic Cruises, an all-inclusive luxury river cruise line, expands its offerings in France by introducing a 12-day Bordeaux River Cruise in 2015. With seven departures between August and October, pricing for this tour along the Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers start at $5,580 per person, based on double occupancy. Early booking incentives result in free flights to Europe and substantial savings on balcony cabins.

Bourdeaux

The trip starts with arrival in Paris with an overnight in a luxury hotel. The following day, the ultra-fast train, TGV, takes guests to Bordeaux, where they board the Scenic Diamond, their home for the next several days. Guests unpack their bags just once … but they’ll visit countless fascinating and photogenic locations throughout their journey. Among the stops are Cadillac, originally established in the 13th century; Saint-Émilion, home to underground catacombs at its iconic Monolithic Church; Libourne, the wine-making capital of this part of France; Cognac, where guests have the opportunity to sample brandy at the famed Rémy Martin property; Médoc, where visitors traverse a scenic wine route; and Arcachon, known for its culinary delights

This itinerary incorporates several special features that are unique to Scenic. In 2015 the company will introduce the concept of “Scenic Sundowners” to its cruises, in which guests toast the end of the day in a spectacular location. On the Bordeaux trip, guests will enjoy an afternoon cocktail in picturesque Saint-Émilion. The journey aboard the TGV – which moves at speeds up to 199 mph – is a new offering in 2015, as well, as Scenic begins its partnership with trains throughout Europe to deliver the ultimate land-to-water experiences on several of its itineraries. The Bordeaux trip also features a “Scenic Enrich” experience, a once-in-a-lifetime event unique to this cruise line. On this itinerary, guests will enjoy a private dinner and classical concert in the beautiful Château Giscours in the Médoc countryside.

The Scenic Diamond is one of Scenic Cruises’ fleet of “Space Ships.” These ships are five-star floating hotels, with spacious public areas as well as private suites that feature “Scenic slumber beds,” plus bathrobes and slippers, a flat-screen television and Mac mini infotainment system enhanced by the ship’s complimentary Wi-Fi. Scenic is the only brand (along with it’s branch, Emerald Waterways) afloat that offers the “Sun Lounge,” a system through which each suite’s private balcony can be quickly transformed into an indoor lounge, allowing guests to enjoy the passing views regardless of the weather. The company’s signature all-inclusive luxury means that absolutely everything is included:

  • Unlimited beverages including premium wines and spirits;
  • All meals (with six different dining experiences);
  • Personal butler service for all guests;
  • All excursions, events and entertainment;
  • Scenic Riverview personal GPS commentary device, which acts like a personal tour guide for guests while on board the ship;
  • Electronically assisted bicycles;
  • Wi-Fi;
  • Airport transfers;
  • All tips and gratuities.
  • On-shore experiences are made exceptional by the included Scenic Tailormade handheld GPS guided tour system that’s provided to every guest in his or her suite. This GPS system works in conjunction with guides on tours and also acts as a navigation system that allows guests to explore destinations on their own without the worry of getting lost or missing important points of interest.

Additional information on these and other cruises can be had by contacting me, your certified River Cruise Specialist at: pete@rivercruiseguru.com or 218-779-3050

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

“We know river cruises and will custom fit you to a cruise line, ship and itinerary that works for you.”

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Wine Theme River Cruises 2013

ama-waterways-wine-cruise-12-13-12

The river cruise line, AmaWaterways has announced a roster of wine hosts for its 2013 “In Celebration on Wine” theme cruises. The river cruise line will host 21 wine-themed itineraries through Europe’s wine regions this year, each hosted by a different wine expert from the U.S. or Europe.

The 2013 season has new excursions on Portugal’s Douro River and France’s Seine River, in addition to the company’s other unforgettable itineraries along the Danube, Mosel, Rhine and Rhone Rivers.

AmaWaterways’ 2013 wine hosts for the “In Celebration of Wine” itineraries and dates are as follows:

March 29: Legendary Wine & Regions of the Rhone

James Cluer, MW of Fine Vintages. Cluer took his first Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) course at age 18, became a Master of Wine (MW) several years later, and has been working in the wine industry since 1988.

April 2: Classic Port Wines & Charming Quintas

George Sandeman of the House of Sandeman. Over the past two centuries, Sandeman Port and Sherries has become one of the world’s best known brands. George Sandeman is the seventh generation of his family to head the company.

April 5: Paris & the Sparkling Seine

Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat Winery in Santa Barbara, Calif. Food & Wine magazine named Clendenen “Winemaker of the Year” in 2001; Germany’s leading wine magazine, Wein Gourmet, named him “Winemaker of the World” in 2004; and in 2007, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.”

April 12 & Nov. 1: Paris & the Sparkling Seine

Preston Mohr, an American wine expert now based in Paris, holds an Advanced Certificate from the WSET and is currently studying for his Diploma, to be completed in June 2013. One of his specialties is French Champagne.

April 13: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Gary and Marcy Eberle of Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. More than 33 years after the release of its first vintage, this award-winning winery remains one of the most highly regarded winemakers in the United States.

Oct. 31: Castles & Wineries of Germany

Len and Marisa Crispino of Foreign Affairs Winery. After living as ex-pats in Italy in the early 1990s, Len and Marisa returned to Ontario and planted their first vines. Inspired by the Italian wine-making process, they use a unique grape drying process known as appassimento (or the Reductio method).

Nov. 5: Classic Port Wines & Charming Quintas

Brian Heath of Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Texas. This Texas Hill Country winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and also boasts the first underground commercial barrel cellar in central Texas.

Nov. 6: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Eric Glomski, owner of Page Springs Cellars & Arizona Stronghold, specializes in producing Rhone-style Arizona wines. Eric will co-host withSam Pillsbury, New Zealand film director (Free Willy) and owner of Pillsbury WineCompany.

Nov. 7: Vineyards of the Rhine & Mosel

Carissa Chappellet of Chappellet Winery in Napa, an estate known for its Bordeaux varietals and its Cabernet Sauvignon. Chappellet and her brothers inherited the winery from their parents, founders Don and Molly Chappellet. She will co-host with Archie McLaren, founder and chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic.

Nov. 8: Legendary Wine Regions of the Rhone

Gerryand Rosie Wilson of Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, Calif. Wilson Creek’s famous Almond Champagne and other unique vintages have garnered numerous prestigious international wine awards.

Nov. 8: Paris & the Sparkling Seine

Jean-Marc & Kristi Espinasse of Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Rouge-Bleu has been awarded many gold medals in France and its wines have been ranked 90+ points more than four times in Wine Spectator.

Nov. 9: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Boband Jodi Dickinson are event chairs for Camillus House Auction, which raises funds for nonprofit organizations in southern Florida. Past auction items have included a rare collection of Chateau Haut Brion, which sold for more than $59,000.

Nov. 11: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Stephanie and Michael Honig of Honig Vineyard & Winery in Napa, known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Stephanie has a WSET Higher Certificate and Diploma and has many years of experience in the industry. Michael is often referred to as “the James Brown of the wine industry” and is a leader in sustainable farming.

Nov. 13: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Christopher Silva, President & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma County, Calif. The winery’s products have earned a reputation as top quality varietal wines that are bold flavored and fruit-forward.

Nov. 15: Culture & Wine Legacy of the Rhine

Holly Howellis a columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, New York and an authority on the wines of the Finger Lakes region, particularly Rieslings. She also teaches food and wine classes and makes her own wine.

Nov. 16: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Barry Wiss, Certified Wine Educator, VP of communications & trade relations for Trinchero Family Estates, a winery established in 1947. The Trinchero family estates represent more than 27 brands in the US and Australia, including Sutter Home, Menage a Trois, and Napa Cellars.

Nov. 18: Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube

Vic Poulos of Zin Valle Vineyards in El Paso, Texas. Poulos owns and operates the Zin Valle Vineyards winery and also writes about wine for local and national publications.

Nov. 22: Culture & Wine Legacy of the Rhine

Mark Johnson of Chateau Chantal Winery in Michigan. Trained at the Geisenheim Research Institute in Germany, Johnson has been the winemaker at Chateau Chantal since it opened in 1986.

Nov. 22: Legendary Wine Regions of the Rhone

Lee Fuqua of Fuqua Winery. Lee Fuqua’s boutique Texas winery produces what he calls “wines with an attitude” – big, rich, full-bodied wines that satisfy serious wine drinkers.

The River Cruise Guru is a certified River Cruise Specialist and we are here to assist you FREE of charge with your river cruise. River cruising is our specialty!

Contact us today for more information at:
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email: pete@rivercruiseguru.com
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AMAWATERWAYS UNVEILS “WHAT’S NEW” FOR 2013-2014

Amabella
Amabella

River cruise line announces new ships, programs, pricing, amenities, marketing materials and more
Contact us today, we are certified River Cruise Specialists available to you at NO FEE! www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

CHATSWORTH, CA – (Jan. 22, 2013) – Family-owned and operated river cruise line AmaWaterways today announced a robust list of new developments for its 2013 and 2014 seasons, including new pricing, itineraries, discounts, ships, amenities, land programs, theme cruises and marketing tools.

New 2014 Pricing, Itineraries & Discounts: Prices and itineraries for 2014 cruises are now available online.

New Ships: AmaWaterways will debut two new ships in Amsterdam and Portugal in 2013. The 164-passenger AmaPrima (sister ship to the AmaCerto) will make its maiden voyage on April 3, 2013 in Amsterdam, with a special christening celebration Aug. 6, 2013. The 106-passenger AmaVida will make its debut on March 26, 2013 in Porto, Portugal. The AmaPrima will service 10 itineraries: Tulip Time Cruise, Melodies of the Danube, The Romantic Danube, Blue Danube Discovery, The Legendary Danube, Magnificent Europe, Grand Danube Cruise, Black Sea Voyage, Great Capitals & Vintages of the Danube, and Christmas Time Cruise. The AmaVida will service four itineraries on the Douro River: Port Wine & Flamenco, Enticing Douro, Impressions of France & Portugal and Classic Port Wines & Charming Quintas.

The AmaSonata and AmaReina (sister ships to the AmaCerto) will debut in Europe in 2014. These deluxe 164-passenger ships will feature Twin Balcony Staterooms and Suites, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations, complimentary fine wine and beer at lunch and dinner, multiple dining venues, a heated pool with swim-up bar, massage and beauty salon, fitness center, free in-room Internet and Infotainment, and a fleet of bicycles for guests to borrow and enjoy. The AmaSonata will travel the Danube and Rhine Rivers on seven itineraries: Tulip Time Cruise, Melodies of the Danube, The Romantic Danube, Blue Danube Discovery, The Legendary Danube, Magnificent Europe and Christmas Time Cruise. The AmaReina will serve The Enchanting Rhine seven-night itinerary.

New Amenities: Starting in 2013, AmaWaterways offers complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner and lunch on its European fleet (except for the AmaVida and AmaKatarina).

New Land Programs: Starting in 2014, AmaWaterways will offer a second optional land extension on its “Provence & Spain” itinerary – two nights in Marseille, France.

New Theme Cruises: AmaWaterways has expanded its theme cruise options for both 2013 & 2014.

• “In Celebration of Wine” Cruises: (21 departures in 2013)

• Harvest Wine Cruises on Portugal’s Douro River (two departures in October 2013)

• Jewish Heritage Cruises on the Danube River (four departures in 2013)

• Tulips & Jazz Cruise aboard the AmaCerto on April 22, 2013 is produced by Jazzdagen Tours and features two complimentary onboard jazz performances every evening.

• Gourmet Cruise with celebrity chef Bob Blumer, who will bring his passion for food and cooking demonstrations to guests aboard the AmaVida in Portugal on October 22, 2013.

• Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise (2014) on April 28, 2014 is a chocolate-themed “Romantic Danube” itinerary onboard the AmaCerto, featuring expert host Norman Love of Norman Love Confections, maker of artisanal, handcrafted gourmet chocolates.

To book a cruise, please contact our certified River Cruise Specialist or visit www.rivercruiseguru.com.
All our expertise and experience will not cost you a cent. NO FEES!

About AmaWaterways

Founded in 2002 by river cruise pioneers Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy, AmaWaterways is the premier river cruise line on Europe’s Danube, Douro, Main, Mosel, Seine, Rhine and Rhône rivers. Known for its custom-designed ships, extensive complimentary amenities and impeccable service, family-owned and -operated AmaWaterways consistently leads the way in river cruising. With itineraries in Europe, Russia, Africa, and S.E. Asia, AmaWaterways offers an enticing variety of authentic, in-depth experiences for the most discriminating travelers.

AmaWaterways’ European fleet includes the AmaSonata (2014); AmaReina (2014); AmaPrima (2013); AmaCerto (2012); AmaVerde (2011); AmaBella (2010); AmaLyra (2009); AmaDolce (2009); AmaCello (2008), AmaDante (2008); AmaLegro (2007) and the AmaDagio (2006). The line’s newest ships feature Twin Balcony Staterooms, multiple dining venues, complimentary in-room Internet and Infotainment, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool, plus many more unique design elements.

AmaWaterways’ separate and distinct AmaVoyages division operates the AmaVida (2013) in Portugal, the AmaLotus (2011) and La Marguerite (2009) in Vietnam and Cambodia, the AmaKatarina (2011) in Russia, and the Zambezi Queen (2009) in Africa.

Pete Larson
River Cruise Specialist
pete@rivercruiseguru.com
218-779-3050

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
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Scenic Cruises is Upgrading European Riverboats

Onboard Scenic Crystal...the first River Café by River Cruise Guru Onboard Scenic Crystal…the first River Café by River Cruise Guru[/caption]Scenic Cruises is spending $10 million to rebuild five “Space Ships” with the same features and specifications of its newest ships, the Scenic Crystal and soon-to-launch Scenic Jewel. The five ships undergoing work — Scenic Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Ruby and Pearl — are only 18 months to four years old. The Scenic Crystal entered service in April 2012, while the Scenic Jewel is due out this April.

The five ships will get a new casual eatery, the River Café, which is open all day. Portobello’s, the 30-seat Italian restaurant, has been upgraded, while the main restaurant has enhanced omelet and carver stations. Also added to the ships is Table La Rive, which will serve a six-course degustation menu.

Cabins (except those on Scenic Emerald) have been redone with new wallpaper, marble-desk tops and side tables, furniture, carpets and 32-inch Samsung HD TVs linked to MiniMac computers for in-cabin email and Internet. What’s more, the cabins will get the “Sun-Lounges,” which allow guests to convert their private balcony into an indoor lounge with the push of a button.

All Royal and Panorama Suites were expanded and rebuilt to Crystal/Jewel specifications. The lounge has a new upgraded bar done with marble, additional coffee machines, and more wine dispensers. The lobby areas also are renovated with new floors, reception desks, wallpaper, artwork and light fixtures. The ships will also get new carpet, curtains and designer furniture throughout. The ships also offer a number of technical upgrades including an upgraded Wi-Fi system using both Satellite and UMTS Mobile technology for faster speeds, and new equipment in the galleys, such as pizza ovens.

In 2013, Scenic Cruises offers unlimited complimentary beverages (top-shelf brands are additional), private butler service for every guest, 24-hour room service, new themed dinners with entertainment, a personal GPS guided tour system providing commentary on passing sites, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The GPS system is not available on Scenic Emerald in France.

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European Christmas Markets

So which one to choose?

Well, every German Christmas market has its own specialities (the best wooden ornaments come from the Erzgebirge mountains; the Bavarian Forest produces superb glass) but if you’re planning a special trip to Germany to do your Christmas shopping, it makes sense to visit a market in a place you want to see in its own right. Hopefully, the following shortlist should help you make up your mind.

And by the way, a word of warning about the Glühwein. Hot alcohol hits you quicker, especially in chilly weather, and this mulled wine is often a good deal stronger than the stuff we drink at home.

Aachen

23 November to 23 December (aachen.de)

The market

Of all Germany’s Christmas markets, Aachen’s Weihnachtsmarkt is closest to the UK – less than four hours from London by train, changing in Brussels. The Weihnachtsmarkt, in the shadow of the cathedral, has in a spectacular setting. Be sure to try some Printen (the local gingerbread) and potato fritters (the local fast food).

The city

Founded by the Romans, who came here to bathe in its hot sulphur springs, Aachen briefly became the capital of Western Europe under the Emperor Charlemagne during the Dark Ages. The mineral springs are still here (you can swim in them or drink them; bad-aachen.de) and Charlemagne’s ornate cathedral is still standing – a relic of a time when this border town was the centre of a great empire.

Cologne

26 November to 23 December (cologne.de)

The market

From its main site in the cathedral square, close to the bustling central station, Cologne’s Christmas market spills over into several diverse locations around the city. The markets in the Neumarkt and Alter Markt are both charming, but the most scenic spot is the Hafenmarkt, on the Rhine, beside Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. Frikadellen (pork burgers) and Spekulatius (cinnamon-flavoured biscuits) are among the culinary favourites. Kolsch, a light lager served in a dainty 200ml glass, is the favourite brew.

The city

Cologne Cathedral – Copyright River Cruise Guru

Cologne’s gigantic Gothic cathedral dominates the city skyline, but this busy Rhineland city is also a lively centre of the arts. The Ludwig Museum (00 49 221 221 26165; museum-ludwig.de) houses the biggest collection of Pop Art outside America and some stunning German Expressionists such as Max Beckmann and Ludwig Kirchner.

 

Dresden

28 November to 24 December (dresden.de)

The market

Founded in 1434, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Contrary to popular misconception, it isn’t actually the oldest – that honour belongs to Bautzen, a historic town on the Polish border which beats it by half a century. Never mind. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is uniquely atmospheric, as the city’s Altmarkt is transformed into a gigantic grotto. Striezel is the Saxon word for Stollen, Germany’s distinctive Christmas cake, and Dresden’s version is commonly regarded as Germany’s finest. If you’re here on 8 December, don’t miss the annual Stollenfest (stollenfest.com), when an enormous Stollen is paraded through the city to the Striezelmarkt, where the Stollenmädchen (a sort of Christmas beauty queen) cuts the first slice.

The city

Renowned before the Second World War as one of Europe’s loveliest cities, the “Florence of the Elbe” was flattened by the Allies in 1945. However, since reunification it’s been painstakingly rebuilt and today the panorama Canaletto painted has been immaculately restored. As well as its beautiful baroque architecture, the Saxon capital has one of the world’s most wonderful art galleries, the Zwinger (00 49 351 49 14 2000; skd.museum), full of treasures by Renaissance masters such as Botticelli and Raphael.

Munich

30 November to 24 December (muenchen.de)

The market

Munich hosts more than a dozen Christmas markets. A lot of overseas visitors venture no further than the traditional Christkindlmarkt below the bell tower of the Neues Rathaus, but the smaller markets beyond Marienplatz are well worth a visit. The most picturesque is the Kripperlmarkt, which is devoted to crib sets and carved Nativity figures. For something completely different, visit Tollwood (tollwood.de), an alternative Christmas market with a focus on ethnic crafts, world music and international cuisine, which continues until 31 December.

The city

Forget the tourist clichés – there’s more to Munich than bierkellers, oompah bands and fat men in lederhosen. In fact, apart from a few weeks during the Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital is one of Germany’s smartest cities, with lots of chic restaurants and private galleries, and a lively opera scene. Its greatest asset, however, is its close proximity to proper countryside. On a clear day you can see the Bavarian Alps from the city centre and the lovely lakes of Starnberger See and Ammersee are only half an hour away by U-bahn.

Nuremberg

30 November to 24 December (nuernberg.de)

The market

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt (literally, “Christ child market”) is Germany’s most celebrated Christmas market, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. Air Berlin flies non-stop from Gatwick; the route ends in early January, but before then there is plenty of availability, The city’s culinary speciality is Lebkuchen (spiced gingerbread) but the biggest attraction is the Christkind (Christmas angel), who opens the market on the Friday before Advent, from the balcony of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in the main square. A local girl in her late teens, the Christkind acts as an ambassador for the Christkindlesmarkt. Despite its popularity, the market retains an old-fashioned atmosphere and an emphasis on authentic produce, especially the Nürnberger Rostbratwürste – delicious little sausages served by the dozen or half a dozen, with heaps of tangy sauerkraut.

The city

Nuremberg’s medieval heritage made it deeply attractive to the Nazis, who adopted this romantic city as the cultural capital of the Third Reich. You can still visit Hitler’s Zeppelin Field, a vast crumbling ruin on the edge of town. Thankfully, Nuremberg’s totalitarian past now feels like ancient history. Today its main claim to fame is as the world’s top producer of children’s toys.

There are many cities along the Rhine and Danube River that have great Christmas Markets. One can take a river cruise and hit them all in style. We recommend Uniworld, AMA and Avalon for these cruises as well as some others. We here at River Cruise Guru assist you ‘free of charge’ with your river cruise plans. We are Certified River Cruise Specialists that really know this unique cruise niche.

Contact us today at:

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Christmas Market Cruise: A Holiday Celebration

If you love the Christmas holidays, then get in the spirit with a Christmas Market river cruise!

Many old European towns – such as Salzburg, Strasbourg, Vienna and Nuremberg – host old-fashioned Christmas markets to celebrate the season.

 The European Christmas markets are a great way to get into the holiday spirit! The hand-made crafts, the food, the delicious smells, the lights – not even Ebeneezer Scrooge could deny the spirit of Christmas!

There are land tours that travel from one town to the next, visiting Christmas markets in each village or large city. Most will require travel by bus (comfortable, but sometimes cramped), and packing and unpacking your bag at another hotel almost every day. Forget it!

One of the best ways to enjoy the markets is on a Christmas Market river cruise. Virtually all river cruise lines offer Holiday Market cruises and each cruise visits at least 4 or 5 towns (if not more!).

And when you’re not shopping the markets or exploring the town, you’ll be relaxing on a comfortable river cruise ship, watching the world go by as you sip hot chocolate in the lounge or your cabin – much better than the seat of a bus!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB5lzvW1yGQ]

Since towns and villages have always been located on a river or other waterway, the river cruise ships can take you right to the heart of town. You get off the ship, and start exploring! No need to travel from a hotel on the outskirts to the heart of the city; no need to pack and unpack every day, either – your “hotel” travels with you, so there’s more time for enjoying the sights.

And there are many rivers in Europe, and many areas to explore.

A Danube River Cruise will take you to Nuremberg, Germany and Vienna, Austria and possibly Prague or Budapest. This is the most common route, and is offered by Viking, Uniworld, Avalon , and AMA Waterways.

A Rhine River Cruise takes you to Cologne and Heidelberg, Germany or even  Strasbourg, France and is available from most cruise lines. Enjoy Christmas in Germany with gingerbread and hot, spiced wine (glühwein).

The sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the spirit of Christmas. This is the land where Christmas celebrations began. Contact your River Cruise Specialist today! pete@rivercruiseguru.com

Jolly Mon Vacations

Pete is a certified ‘River Cruise Specialist’ with River Cruise Guru and Owner/operator of Jolly Mon Vacations. He will ensure your planning goes smoothly, your booking is perfect, your price is the best value, and you have the vacation of your dreams!

Your Christmas experience awaits! Call today! Pete:  218-779-3050