DUPE - 2021 Danube Christmas Markets Cruise (Revised)

An Amawaterways ship elegantly gliding past lovely Durnstein in Austria's beautiful Wachau Valley.

The most popular of all the tours we offer, everywhere in the world, is our European Christmas Markets Cruise.  Here’s a great chance to enjoy it this December.

The cruise takes you to a mix of major cities and lovely smaller towns and villages, with the Danube river as a peaceful and beautiful pathway for our travels to proceed along.

The comfort and luxury of our “traveling hotel” – the boutique style river cruise ship – means we avoid the pesky process of constant packing and unpacking, and can relax and get comfortable while onboard the ship.

Every day sees us visiting lovely towns and villages in Austria and Germany, all full with history, amazing architecture and, wonderfully at this time of year – beautiful Christmas markets.

If you’d like to see and do more, come early, and either spend more time in Austria or perhaps in wonderful Prague (or do anything else you wish).  And if you’re in no hurry to go home, stay on afterwards and continue exploring in Germany and elsewhere.

This page tells you what you need to know about the tour in general.  We also have a detailed day by day itinerary so you can understand everything that you’ll get to see and do during your lovely Danube Christmas Markets Cruise.

Start Date & Options

The cruise starts on Saturday 11 December in Vienna.

You can board the ship any time from lunchtime, and our cabins will be available from 3pm.

Pre-cruise Extension

Firstly, we always recommend you should arrive at least a day early when joining tours internationally.  This gives you a day to unwind after the flights, and also gives you an “emergency” day in case of problems with flights en route.  So, if nothing else, we urge you to arrive in Vienna a day or two before the cruise.

We suggest you arrive two or three days early if possible.  We’ll coordinate an optional visit to Salzburg on Friday 10th, so arrive on Thursday or, better still, Wednesday.

Another option is to visit ever-popular Prague, one of our favorite European cities, then take an easy train to Vienna on Saturday.

End Date & Options

The cruise finishes on Saturday 18 December, in Nuremberg.

We arrive into Nuremberg on Friday, so you can leave at any time on Saturday morning if you’ve an early flight to catch.

Post-tour Extension

If you have extra time, then you’ve an abundance of choices.  Maybe go down to Munich, or up to Berlin, or anywhere else you wish.  Dresden is another choice to consider – as are so many other places too!

We can help you with anything you might be interested in.

If there’s somewhere else you’d like to go, either instead or as well, please ask. I’m pleased to help you plan whatever else you might want to do.

We can also arrange the Amawaterways post-cruise three night extension on to Prague if you wish.

All About River Cruising

Maybe you’ve cruised on a gigantic cruise ship before.  River cruising is very different.  Our lovely river cruiser, Amacerto, has only 81 cabins, making for a more personal and less institutional experience.

The crew quickly get to know you by name and remember your preferences, and because you’re on board for a week, you also get to know fellow cruisers, making the experience more social and pleasurable in every respect.

Here’s some more general information about river cruising.


Similar to a regular cruise, all your meals are included, with three great meals a day and various other snacks too.

Meals are multi-course and dinners are commonly 5 or more courses, with choices of food for most of the courses.  If you’ve special dietary requirements, they can usually be catered to without any problems.

And if you like the wonderful food, you can always ask for seconds!

There’s also a premium restaurant on board, but – unlike a regular cruise – you’re welcome to dine there at no extra cost.


A nice bonus is free and unlimited wine, beer or soda included with your lunches and dinners.

If you like to have a “pick me up” in the morning, there’s sparkling white wine, also free, offered with breakfast.

There are gourmet espresso coffee drinks available all day that put Starbucks to shame.  It too is free.  Plus assorted other drinks, special health-giving waters, and an assortment of teas.

If you’d enjoy some other type of alcoholic beverage, a well-stocked bar has just about everything you could wish, at reasonable prices.

And if you’d like to celebrate with a bottle of something privately, you’ll love the prices for wine in the stores in the towns you’ll visit.  Unlike many larger cruise ships, there are no restrictions on bringing drinks back on board with you.


Some people want to simply relax and do as little as possible.  If so, you’ll love the cruise, because everything is optional.  Some people will even never go off the ship for the entire week.

There’s a small library and collection of games on board for your enjoyment.

Other people want to be entertained – either to passively enjoy other performers, or to actively participate.  Some wish to be educated.  There are assorted presentations, lectures, and even practical classes during the cruise to give you a better understanding of where we’re going and what we’re seeing.

Most evenings feature performers and groups brought onto the ship from the various places we visit, giving regional and international entertainment.

The evenings also see a chance to get up on the dance floor for a while, with the ship’s musician playing a range of favorites that you’re sure to remember and love.

Talking about entertainment, Amacerto has Wi-Fi throughout so you can keep connected with back home and can send lots of photos of your wonderful experiences back to your friends every day!  Try not to boast too much about the wonderful time you’re enjoying….

Off-ship Touring

More Information

Please click the tabs below for more information on what to expect on a river cruise.

Look at Everything that's Included

The blue line shows the route along the Danube for our cruise from Vienna to Nuremberg.

Food and Drink inclusions

  • Three cooked meals every day, served plated at your table (ie no long lines at buffets with slowly stewing hot items and wilting cold items)
  • Morning, afternoon, and evening snacks
  • Special gourmet “Chef’s Table” restaurant also available for dinner at no extra cost
  • Captain’s welcome ceremony with canapes and drinks the first night
  • Farewell ceremony with canapes and drinks the last night
  • A return-cruiser function one afternoon, also with drinks and nibbles
  • Unlimited free wine, beer, and/or soft drinks with every lunch and dinner
  • Sparking wine with breakfast
  • Gourmet coffee and tea available 24/7
  • Special “health waters” featured daily

Travel Insider Extras

  • An exclusive Travel Insider function prior to dinner one night with drinks and nibbles
  • An alumni/supporters function prior to dinner one night with drinks and nibbles
  • Assistance with pre-cruise touring in Vienna, Prague, or elsewhere
  • Assistance with post-cruise touring too if you wish
  • (if sufficient demand) An exclusive Travel Insider excursion to a Viennese concert
  • A pair of handwarmers for each person
  • A small Travel Insider gift
  • Special Travel Insider $25 per person shipboard credit
  • Personal assistance from David Rowell during the tour and cruise to help with any extra needs or requirements you have

Other Inclusions and Features

  • Daily off-ship excursions every day at no extra cost
  • Free bike rentals from the ship if you want to explore on your own
  • Gym and wellness program on board
  • Evening entertainment most nights
  • We also stay in some ports until late evening giving you a chance to enjoy your choice of shore-side entertainments
  • Some special Christmas season events and even gifts

Responding to Covid-19

At present – early October (we will update this section any time there are significant changes) it seems that new virus case numbers are declining everywhere in Europe and North America.  Plus, most of us have had a chance to be vaccinated if we wish, and probably everyone else will have a similar chance between now and the cruise.  Amawaterways require all guests be vaccinated, for all the obvious reasons.

Amawaterways has a fastidious approach to hygiene, and is the only US based river cruise operator to have successfully operated a four month season of cruises during the worst of the pandemic in 2020.

The cruises all fully comply with “best practices” and exceed host country guidelines.  All cabins have their own independent air conditioning units.

It is hard to know exactly what to expect in December.  Currently, masking is only required while moving around on board the ship, and might be eliminated entirely by December.  Enhanced cleaning, plenty of hand sanitizing stations, a change from buffet to individually served plated meals, reducing the number of people per cruise, and social distancing in smaller sides groups for shore excursions, plus assorted other measures, all combine to give you a high level of safety at minimum impact to your wonderful cruise experience.

Amawaterways also offer you the ability to change your sailing date, at no cost, any time up until 48 hours prior to the start of your journey.  Their Travel Waiver Plus travel insurance gives you further flexibility and options.

Please ask if you have additional questions or concerns.

Cabin Types and Tour Cost

The spacious layout of the 210 sq ft BA & BB cabins. The AA & AB cabins are even larger!

Amacerto has 81 cabins on three decks.  Their cabins are among the largest of any Danube cruise ship.

Cabins are typically either 210 sq ft or 235 sq ft in size, and with outside balconies as well as floor to ceiling windows.  There are some smaller 170 sq ft cabins that appeal to the budget-conscious travelers, and some smaller cabins on the lowest deck that have large portholes rather than floor to ceiling windows.  Suites are an enormous 300 sq ft in size.

Of course, the better/bigger/higher up your cabin is, the more it costs.  We’ve written a detailed article on choosing a cabin on a river cruise ship, here.  Most people generally choose an AA/AB or BA/BB cabin, and others will choose a C/D/E cabin.  There’s no wrong answer, and you’ll love your cruise, whichever you choose.

The cabin choices and prices for the cruise is shown immediately below.

Note these rates include a $1000 per cabin ($500 per person) discount.

Cabin TypeNet Cruise Price per personSingle Supplement
Suite (currently sold out)
top deck
300 sq ft
($6998 before discount)
AA+ (only 1 remaining)
top deck
290 sq ft
($6198 before discount)
AA (only 4 remaining)
top deck
235 sq ft
($5598 before discount)
middle deck
235 sq ft
($5398 before discount)
BA (only 2 remaining)
210 sq ft
top deck
($5198 before discount)
210 sq ft
middle deck
($4998 before discount)
C (only 1 remaining!)
170 sq ft – no outside balcony
mid and top decks
($4398 before discount)
160 sq ft – fixed windows
lower deck
($3698 before discount)
E (possibly all sold)
160 sq ft – fixed windows
lower deck
($3399 before discount)

Rates are per person, share twin.  Single supplements (at a special discount – normally 50%) are shown if you are traveling alone.

We will help to match together singles if you’d like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler but can not guarantee this.


In addition to the cruise (and pre/post tour options) rates, there is a $196 per person port charge.

Passengers are invited to offer a voluntary gratuity to the ship’s crew and to the ship’s Tour Manager at the end of the cruise.

Other Price Comments

The cruise can be paid for with credit card and no surcharge.  The pre/post cruise options reflect a 3% discount for cash/check.

Due to the closeness to sailing, full payment will be required within seven days of confirming your cabin request.

Tour does not include the costs of travel to and from the tour start and end points, or anything not specified as included.

Amawaterways Return Cruisers

If you’ve been on a previous Amawaterways cruise, you are probably entitled to return cruiser loyalty benefits.  These range from $100 per person discounts up to cabin upgrades.  We’ll explain these to you if you qualify.

Special Travel Insider Savings

Why not bring a friend or two with you, for more shared fun and fellowship.

To encourage you to do this, and your friends to travel with you, we’ll offer a 1% discount for each extra person you bring with you (other than anyone you are already sharing your room with).

Bring another couple, and they get a 2% discount – and you get the same 2% discount too!  Bring two couples and all of you get a 4% discount, and so on (up to a maximum of 10%).

Singles Save Too!

Travel Insider tours always have a large number of singles – our groups are friendly, inclusive, and welcoming, making them ideal for singles as well as couples and larger groups.

We do our best to make our tours not only as friendly as possible, but also affordable and fair for singles, too.

Amawaterways are offering reduced single supplements for singles on this cruise.  This has been shown in the table above.

A selection of snow globes at a Christmas Market.

The Christmas Markets

One of the absolute highlights of a Christmas Markets tour is of course the Christmas Markets we visit.

From late November through to Christmas, just about every village and town has a Christmas Market.  Larger cities might have two or three or even many more spread around the city.  Smaller villages have their markets open only weekends, larger places are open every day.

The markets are a wonderful and colorful kaleidoscope of gifts, arts and crafts, ornaments, clothing, local food specialties to take away, food to eat on site, and refreshments too, including the famous hot spiced mulled wine, “gluhwein”.

While the markets are very popular with visitors, they are also enjoyed by the locals too.  It is a place to visit, to socialize, to eat and drink, and to “hang out” after work and on weekends for the locals, adding to their authenticity.

I made a “photo journal” of the 2007 Danube Christmas Markets cruise.  Sure, that’s 14 years ago, but Europe being Europe, very little has changed, and you might find it interesting.  (Apologies for the poor page formatting, while nothing much has happened in Europe in the last 14 years, a lot has happened on the internet!)

Here are a few more market images, immediately below.

More Helpful Information

Register Your Interest Now

Application to Join The 2021 Danube Christmas Markets Cruise

Simply fill out and click at the bottom to send in your request to join this wonderful tour.



As soon as your application is received, we will quickly respond to confirm your request.

Tour Terms and Conditions

Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.

In addition, please note these extra terms :

1.   Due to the cruise being within two months, full payment is due within seven days of confirming your booking.

2.   US, Canadian, and many other citizens require a current passport that will not expire until after the date of their planned return from the EU in order to be admitted to the Schengen zone and EU countries.  A visa is not required.  Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to the UK to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply.  Note that the EU requires a passport to be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the EU.

3.  The cruise price is unlikely to change unless there is a major change in exchange rates and won’t change once payment has been made.  We will advise you if the exchange rate is materially changing and you can always lock in the price by sending in early full payment.  Currently each Euro (€) is valued at about US$1.16.

4.  Terms and conditions of Amawaterways also apply.  In particular, please note that the itinerary can occasionally (very rarely) change if water levels are too high or too low to allow the boat to travel.

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