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AVALON WATERWAYS
16 Days | Grand Christmas Time Cruise
Westbound (WXVZ)


VIENNA TO BASEL

Day 1 | Vienna, Austria. Embark Ship. Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s romantic capital! This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception at 6 pm. (Dinner)

Day 2 | Vienna. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s capital has much to offer: the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, majestic Ring Boulevard, and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to name just a few of the sights you will enjoy on your city tour. You do not rush through Vienna—you waltz, taking your time to savor each classic sight and sound. Shop in the Kärntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood café. Soak up the atmosphere of the Adventszeit (Advent season) and spend some time at the beautiful Christmas markets located throughout the city. (B,L,D)

Day 3 | Dürnstein. Melk. This morning, enjoy a guided walk around Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade. After lunch, visit the magnificent BENEDICTINE ABBEY, which dominates the town of Melk from its commanding hill site and is one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! This evening you’ll sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of the region. (B,L,D)

Day 4 | Linz. Passau, Germany. Linz, Austria’s third-largest town, lies on both banks of the Danube and is an important industrial town and busy river port. An optional full-day excursion to Salzburg takes in the popular Sound of Music sights as well as more Christmas cheer—the traditional carols, the sparkling lights, and the smell of candles and gingerbread. Passau, ideally located at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers, is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets. St. Stephen’s Cathedral houses one of the world’s largest church organs with more than 17,000 pipes. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Regensburg. Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights on your guided tour include the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria–gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. The city is the capital of Upper Palatinate, a bustling university town, and one of Bavaria’s cultural centers. The Christmas market is located on the historic market square. Germany is famous for its sausages, and Regensburg is home to the country’s oldest restaurant—Historische Wurstküche (the Old Sausage Kitchen), dating back to the 12th century. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Nuremberg. Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it was restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches and elegant patrician houses, all explained by a local expert. Nuremberg hosts Germany’s most famous Christmas market, which dates back to 1628; the Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations. The city’s traditions include famous Lebkuchen, toy making, and metal working. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich. After breakfast, drive to Munich, where a local expert will proudly show you the sights of the Bavarian capital. An inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture, you’ll see the Olympic Stadium, 1,000-foot-high Television Tower, Nymphenburg Palace, MARIENPLATZ in the historic heart of the city with the Old and New Town Halls, and the gothic Frauenkirche. Later, there’s free time to explore on your own. The traditional Christmas market is located on the Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air and the strains of alpine Christmas music coming from the town hall. At the nearby Rindermarkt, you’ll find the Kripperlmarkt, one of the largest markets in Germany to specialize in mangers and other nativity accessories. And don’t leave Munich without paying a visit to the famous Hofbräuhaus for a stein of beer! Return to your ship in the late afternoon. (B,D)

Day 8 | Nuremberg. A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, write those last-minute postcards, or ask your Cruise Director for suggestions of things to do. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Bamberg. Medieval Bamberg is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour takes in its breathtaking cathedral, the Old Town Hall straddling the Regnitz River, and serpentine streets with charming houses and 18th-century mansions. At this time of year the town is decked out for Christmas. Especially interesting are the many nativity scenes that are built by local citizens and exhibited throughout the town. Today we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Würzburg. Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The magnificent BISHOP’S RESIDENZ is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon is free to explore more of the city and wander at your own pace through the beautifully decorated wooden booths of the Christmas market. (B,L,D)

Day 11 | Wertheim. Miltenberg. This morning, stop in Wertheim, whose overlapping half-timbered houses are grouped along winding streets. Glassblowers have a long tradition in this town and, especially in winter, they produce ornaments that hang on Christmas trees all over the world. Marvel at the tasteful Christmas decorations in the shop windows and stroll through the charming Christmas market. In Miltenberg, you’ll discover a picturesque Bavarian village that thrived on income from river traffic. Its cultural wealth and affluence are reflected in the beautiful medieval and renaissance houses and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall shown to you during your guided walk. The town center is within walking distance of the ship, as is the Christmas market. Before lunch, learn how to bake a local SOFT COOKIE specialty. (B,L,D)

Day 12 | Frankfurt. Excursion to Rüdesheim. After breakfast this morning a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rüdesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise! Afterward, there’s free time to explore. The entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialties from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. You’ll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square you’ll find Europe’s largest nativity scene, with life-size figures. After lunch, return to Frankfurt. (B,L,D)

Day 13 | Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg. This morning, dock in the ancient imperial city of Speyer on the left bank of the Rhine. From here, an included excursion takes you to Heidelberg, of Student Prince fame and Germany’s oldest university town. Take your photos of imposing Heidelberg Castle, built of red sandstone and towering above the city. At this time of year an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Glühwein, hot punch, Bratwurst, and other tasty treats. The Christmas market itself is scattered over five town squares and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. (B,L,D)

Day 14 | Strasbourg, France. Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg is influenced by the culture of both countries and is the capital of the Alsace region. It is the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. A Certified Local Guide shows you the noteworthy sights: the GOTHIC CATHEDRAL, the lovely LA PETITE FRANCE district, Place Kléber, and Place Gutenberg with the statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathédrale and Place Broglie, its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets you’ll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! (B,L,D)

Day 15 | Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest. Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. There’s no better setting for this time of year than when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses with their long sloping roofs, connoting images of warm and festively decorated interiors. And if there has been a fresh snowfall, this will indeed be a Winter Wonderland! Surely the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. (B,L,D)

Day 16 | Basel, Switzerland. Disembark Ship. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Homebound flights should not leave Zürich Airport before 10 am. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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WESTBOUND ITINERARY (WXVZ)
16 DAYS | VIENNA TO ZURICH
Click HERE to view 16-day EASTBOUND (WXZV) itinerary.
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