Christmastime Zurich To Budapest

Day 1 - Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland - Transfer to Basel (Embarkation). Welcome to Switzerland. (D)

NOTE:
Flights into Zurich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 - 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. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents once described them as black. 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. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon there's free time in Breisach to visit the Christmas market"or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France's Alsace region. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Strasbourg, France. Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your GUIDED WALKING TOUR you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kleber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a 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 Cathedrale 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! This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine region is available. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany. Today an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. Visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You'll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the "World's Largest Wine Barrel." At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! At this time of year, an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Gluhwein, 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. There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Frankfurt. Excursion to Rudesheim. After breakfast this morning, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rudesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to SIEGFRIED'S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise! Afterward, we'll offer you a SPECIAL TREAT and then 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. In the afternoon, return to Frankfurt. (B,D)
Day 6 - Miltenberg. Tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, the picturesque Bavarian village of Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. This afternoon's GUIDED WALK will acquaint you with the town's delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centers around a Renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giant's house) and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. Later continue your cruise on the Main river to Wurzburg. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Wurzburg. Known as the "Pearl of the Romantic Road," Wurzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP'S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore the beautifully decorated streets on your own, visit the Christmas markets, or perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. Here, try a Schneeball (snowball), a local specialty not at all suitable for a diet! (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Bamberg. Medieval Bamberg is the former residence of one of Germany's most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)"built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, the town is decked out for Christmas and especially interesting are the many nativity scenes built by local citizens and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, you'll find many regional delicacies such as gingerbread and nut bread. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Nuremberg. Although 90% of Nuremberg's Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose either a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city's medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized "NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS" tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market is one of the most famous in the world. You'll find 200 stalls offering traditional wares, including Nuremberg Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), baked goods and sweets, Christmas decorations, ornaments, and more. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - 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 Hofbrauhaus for a stein of beer! Return to your ship in the late afternoon. (B,D)
Day 11 - Nuremberg. Today you have a full day to explore Nuremberg at your leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 12 - Regensburg. Arrive in Regensburg today. Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of "historic interest." Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city's lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany's oldest restaurants. Stroll through the Christmas market and take in the tempting aromas of mulled wine, sausage, and roasted almonds everything to create a memorable and vibrant pre-Christmas atmosphere. Before dinner we'll introduce you to some of Germany's FAMOUS BEERS! (B,L,D)
Day 13 - Passau. This morning, dock in Passau. Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world's largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. Alternatively, you might like to join an optional full day excursion to Salzburg to see some of the famous Sound of Music sites, find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night carol, and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas. Rejoin your vessel in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 14 - Melk, Austria - Vienna. This morning, enjoy an included GUIDED VISIT of Melk's magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe's largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You'll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace of the abbey over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! Then, cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue facade, the landmark of Durnstein, before arriving in Vienna this evening. Known as the "City of Music," it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 15 - Vienna. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, this is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys' Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen's Cathedral"plus, countless other sights you'll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Visit the delightful Christmas market and savor the sounds and smells of holiday cheer. Be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! Depart for Budapest in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 16 - Budapest, Hungary. Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe's liveliest cities. Whether you're seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Cafe, Budapest's unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city's eight bridges"many famous sights in and of themselves"which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Of course you mustn't miss out on the Christmas market at Vorosmarty Square where you are sure to find some unique and original gifts. Just follow the rich fragrant smell of fir, mulled wine and cinnamon - the atmosphere is enchanting once all the lights are turned on at dusk! (B,L,D)
Day 17 - Budapest (Disembarkation). Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

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  Tour Name   Christmastime Zurich To Budapest
  Tour Code  
WZB
  Tour Duration    17 Days
  Start City:   Zurich
  End City:   Budapest
  Price From   USD $5,098.00   See in Cart
(not including airfare)
Avalon: River Cruise

 
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Pricing (Per Person)

Land Start Date Price From:
2016-12-03 $5098 See in Cart
    Port charges:
    $336

    Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.

    Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

    Extra nights per person in Zurich:
    in single room $155, in twin room $105

    Extra nights per person in Budapest:
    in single room from $190 to $500, in twin room from $110 to $255

    Prices shown above include cruise in Category E in a deluxe outside stateroom on Indigo Deck.

    To upgrade to a higher category, add per person:

    Category / Decks / Price
    D / Indigo Deck / $455
    B / Sapphire Deck / $2,398
    A / Sapphire Deck / $2,512
    P / Royal Deck / $2,741
    Royal Suite / Royal Deck / $4,341
 

Features

  • City Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 16-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon's exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
    Day 1 Zurich. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
    Day 2 Breisach: excursion to the Black Forest; Christmas market
    Day 3 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market
    Day 4 Excursion to Heidelberg: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas markets
    Day 5 Frankfurt. Excursion to Rudesheim: visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat
    Day 6 Miltenberg: guided walk; Christmas market
    Day 7 Wurzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop's Residenz; Christmas market
    Day 8 Bamberg: guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall; Christmas market
    Day 9 Nuremberg: guided sightseeing or Rally Ground
    Day 10 Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich: guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz; Christmas market
    Day 11 Nuremberg: day at leisure
    Day 12 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstkuche; beer tasting; Christmas market
    Day 13 Passau: guided walk
    Day 14 Melk - Vienna: guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk
    Day 15 Vienna: guided sightseeing
    Day 16 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermens Bastion and Heroes' Square
    Day 17 Budapest (Disembarkation): your vacation ends today
  • Key Differences
  • AW_Always_Included_Europe_2016
  • Launch Date
  • 04/07/15 8:00pm
  • Meals
    • Captain's welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapes
    • Welcome dinner
    • Daily Afternoon Tea
    • Daily Night Fare
    • Farewell dinner
    • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
  • Notes
  • NOTES:
    • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
    • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Scenic Highlights
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Title
  • Christmastime Zurich to Budapest
 
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