Our Christmas Markets cruises are always popular, and each year I try to improve on the previous year’s experience. With this being at least the tenth time we have offered the experience, you might think there is little left to change or improve.
But we think we can and we think we have indeed again improved things. We completely rejigged the pre and post cruise options to make them more flexible and more comprehensive. Traditionally, we have offered two or three nights in Prague before the cruise – a wonderful experience for sure, but leaving nothing after the cruise, and a long day of travel from Prague to Budapest.
So, this year, we’ve totally changed our pre and post cruise options. I think the new approach is a huge improvement – and hope you agree!
Before the cruise starts in Budapest, we are suggesting you spend one, two, or even more nights in the city. We have touring out of Budapest to three lovely towns around the Danube Bend for people staying one or more nights, and if you’re staying two or more nights, we add a lovely day tour to Bratislava, capital of neighboring Slovakia.
If you’re staying three or more nights in Budapest, there is a wealth of other things to see, do, experience and enjoy around Budapest, of course. Major enjoy some of the hot mineral water spring fed baths the city is famous for, or travel out of the city elsewhere to see more of Hungary, or just spend more time in the imposing former co-capital of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
When the one week cruise ends in Nuremberg, we’ve a very different option to tempt you with. Sure, we will end up in Prague, which is very much a ‘must do’ part of a Christmas cruise, but we get there a totally different way.
First, we go via Bayreuth to Karlovy Vary. Bayreuth is a lovely town in northern Bavaria and has not one but two extraordinary opera houses, one of which is a world heritage site, and the other of which is the ‘holiest of holies’ to Wagner aficionados (myself included).
Karlovy Vary, across the border and now in the Czech Republic, is a glorious stately town full of imposing buildings and an ultra-grand hotel. It was one of the most popular European spa towns in the late 19th century, and has maintained its grandeur right through to the present day. We stay overnight in Karlovy Vary.
The next day is a ‘triple treat’ – three World Heritage sites in a single day. First we go to Holasovice, a well-preserved traditional village with lots of lovely distinctive buildings. Then, to beautiful Cesky Krumlov, a beautiful medieval town wrapped around on three sides by the Vltava river, then on to Prague, also a World Heritage site. Phew. Three very different experiences, all amazing. We overnight in Prague.
The next day is half spent with a city tour of Prague, and the other half free time for you to do as you wish, then we all meet up again for a glorious dinner in a characterful cellar restaurant with lots of excellent traditional Czech food (and drink).
If you wish, you can of course extend time still further. And – what else? Oh yes, the cruise itself!
Well, this is something that is getting harder to tweak and perfect any further, but we’re including some of our usual special touches, and or its part, Amawaterways keep improving their ships – making the ships and cabins bigger, increasing the inclusions and food quality, and – best of all for some of us – providing faster and fully free Wi-fi! Sure, there’s a $750 per person discount to encourage you in the first place, plus a ‘no single supplement’ offer, then we give you some extra Travel Insider gifts and benefits too, including a free classical concert in a Vienna palace the night we’re in Vienna, an onboard cocktail reception, and some free gifts.
Take advantage of a weak Euro, and some good air fares, and whether it be for the first, second or the third time, why not come join a small group of your fellow Travel Insiders on this wonderful Christmas experience. See why it is that it is our most popular tour of all time; or, if you’ve come with us before, come again to remind yourself of how much you enjoyed it last time.