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  #1  
Old May 19th, 2013, 02:51 PM
fortunatetail fortunatetail is offline
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Default Question re: Christmas Market cruises.

I am considering a European river cruise this December. I don't care so much about the markets but this is the time frame I have. Am looking at Uniworld (but ? would apply to all, I suspect)
Will I experience all the stops in various places the same way as if it were in another time of year, and they just happen to have Christmas markets; or will I miss out on a lot of the history, culture, food+wine, etc, that would be highlighted at other times? (I'm NOT a Scrooge; I LOVE Christmas as much as Clark Griswold! Just don't want to miss the unique character of all the wonderful places)
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  #2  
Old May 20th, 2013, 12:11 AM
franski franski is offline
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Originally Posted by fortunatetail View Post
I am considering a European river cruise this December. I don't care so much about the markets but this is the time frame I have. Am looking at Uniworld (but ? would apply to all, I suspect)
Will I experience all the stops in various places the same way as if it were in another time of year, and they just happen to have Christmas markets; or will I miss out on a lot of the history, culture, food+wine, etc, that would be highlighted at other times? (I'm NOT a Scrooge; I LOVE Christmas as much as Clark Griswold! Just don't want to miss the unique character of all the wonderful places)

Hi -

We did a Christmas market cruise on the Rhine with Uniworld - and it was great. You do get all of the same stops - with the benefit of the Markets thrown in.

The day spent sailing on the Rhine - with commentary on what we were sailing past - was affected by the snow that was falling. So, we do want to go back and re-do this itinerary in warmer times. But - we still did get to stop in all of the "regular" places, with the "usual" excursion.

Of course, places such as the Schonbrunn Palace (if you did the Danube) wouldn't have the same experiences in the gardens. But - winter can have a special beauty of it's own.

Fran

P.S. Welcome to Cruise Critic!!
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  #3  
Old May 20th, 2013, 11:11 AM
Keystonetraveler Keystonetraveler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fortunatetail View Post
I am considering a European river cruise this December. I don't care so much about the markets but this is the time frame I have. Am looking at Uniworld (but ? would apply to all, I suspect)
Will I experience all the stops in various places the same way as if it were in another time of year, and they just happen to have Christmas markets; or will I miss out on a lot of the history, culture, food+wine, etc, that would be highlighted at other times? (I'm NOT a Scrooge; I LOVE Christmas as much as Clark Griswold! Just don't want to miss the unique character of all the wonderful places)
I have taken several river cruises in Europe, including two Christmas cruises. And, I have hit some stops more than once in different seasons. For the most part, your will get some type of tour of the city that really doesn't vary all that much by season. Then you will be given free time. At Christmastime, there are obviously the markets and if you want to spend all your time there you can do so. However, you can also wander around and do other things, such as admire the architecture or go to a museum. There will always be plenty of alternatives to the Christmas markets. For example, once in Mainz, I visited the market for some food and mulled wine. Then I headed to the fascinating Gutenberg museum and later to an old church where the windows that had been blown out during World War II had been replaced by ones designed by Marc Chagall. It was a great day.

You will not miss the unique character of the places you visit. Many things make up the character, and the markets are part of that. They are also a place to try many of the foods that locals eat during that time of the year. The markets are also very festive and great places to people watch, particularly in the evenings and on weekends when the locals are likely to greatly outnumber the tourists.

No matter what the season, the time in the cities is limited. So, good preparation in advance will help you make the most advantageous use of your time.
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  #4  
Old May 20th, 2013, 11:40 AM
cole cole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fortunatetail View Post
I am considering a European river cruise this December. I don't care so much about the markets but this is the time frame I have. Am looking at Uniworld (but ? would apply to all, I suspect)
Will I experience all the stops in various places the same way as if it were in another time of year, and they just happen to have Christmas markets; or will I miss out on a lot of the history, culture, food+wine, etc, that would be highlighted at other times? (I'm NOT a Scrooge; I LOVE Christmas as much as Clark Griswold! Just don't want to miss the unique character of all the wonderful places)
Having done cruises both in Spring and the Christmas Market time, I would suggest to someone who is more interested in seeing the various ports, indulging in the history, food and wine to consider a Rhine cruise first - and take it at a different time of the year than December. Primarily because the weather can be cold and the walking tours are totally different in cold weather than in warmer weather. Plus, cruising up the Rhine and enjoying the scenery is more difficult in freezing temperatures than in warmer temperatures. It just seemed to me that the Christmas Markets are more of the focus in December over the history of the various ports. Don't get me wrong though - we have loved every river cruise and have already booked another in 2014
B. Cole
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  #5  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 12:20 AM
fortunatetail fortunatetail is offline
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Default Thanks for the input.

Very helpful! Going in December-1st river cruise! Can't wait!
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 07:13 PM
franski franski is offline
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Very helpful! Going in December-1st river cruise! Can't wait!
Congrats on booking! Who did you decide to go with? And which route?

Fran
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  #7  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 07:18 PM
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fred111 fred111 is offline
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Great choice. You can't beat Christmas time on a river cruise. We have done two with Uniworld already and will probably do another in a year or two.
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  #8  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 08:27 PM
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firstplacechef firstplacechef is offline
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We're onViking Spirit for the Paris RT this Christmas. Hoping its magical,
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  #9  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 11:59 PM
fortunatetail fortunatetail is offline
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Going on Uniworld River Queen; Nuremberg to Frankfurt.
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  #10  
Old May 23rd, 2013, 12:41 AM
franski franski is offline
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Going on Uniworld River Queen; Nuremberg to Frankfurt.
We loved the River Queen....

And Nuremberg is a wonderful city to visit - at any time.

Enjoy!!!

Fran
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  #11  
Old May 23rd, 2013, 06:24 AM
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fred111 fred111 is offline
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We did the same cruise this past December. It is super!!! Remember to stash a duffle bag inside you suitcase so you have room for all the presents that you will buy.

Also, Kathe Wolffahrt will ship purchases home and their is one of their stores in many towns you will visit to include two in Nuremburg.
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  #12  
Old May 23rd, 2013, 07:22 AM
tvmovielover tvmovielover is offline
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Default Heed the advice about timing

Cole above suggested that for a first time trip up the Rhine, for example, do not book in Dec even though the Christmas Markets are great and do not interfere with other sight seeing (except for gardens). I agree after going on a Rhine cruise in a foggy Nov. We had been on the scenic part before and knew it was glorious in the sun but many of our fellow passengers and friends did not and just saw some grayish villages from the ship. See the Rhine in maybe May, early June, Sep, Oct for better views and maybe weather.

Our one Dec trip was on the Seine toward Rouen. I did not take Christmas Markets into account so they were a small bonus (big street in Paris just a few booths at the smaller stops). Again, there are no gardens at Giverny or Versailles (snowed on the day of our tour) and the Richard I castle keep was closed-though we did have a beautiful overlook view of snow falling on the Seine from the castle grounds. As we do not live in snow anymore, we enjoyed the trip and I would do another Dec trip for that alone if I could talk DH into it. Also, we saw all the good stuff in Paris but museums, etc were crowded especially on the weekends with locals enjoying their time off. That might be less of a problem in Rhine towns and something to consider on the Danube. I bet they do talk about the markets as much as about the other stuff on some river trips as some people come just for that but you could just do your own thing-hours will be shorter in some places though. Timing is everything depending on what you want to see.
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  #13  
Old May 23rd, 2013, 05:10 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred111 View Post
We did the same cruise this past December. It is super!!! Remember to stash a duffle bag inside you suitcase so you have room for all the presents that you will buy.

Also, Kathe Wolffahrt will ship purchases home and their is one of their stores in many towns you will visit to include two in Nuremburg.
And remember to pack some bubble wrap and tissue paper.... What you don't use, you can "donate" to other passengers.

Fran
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