Christmas markets question

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#1
Western New York
190 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
What are they?
I'm a newbie river cruiser and until I joined this forum had never heard of Christmas markets. I gather that they are very popular but don't really know exactly what they are. They must be nice for so many people to want to travel in winter.
Thank you.
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Alaska Marine Highway System. 2006
Viking. The Forseti. May, 2014 Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
Viking. The Prestige. October, 2015. Danube Waltz
#2
North Carolina
5,707 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Christmas markets are very common in Europe, esp Germany. The involve spiced wine & beer (gluhwein, gluhbier), gingerbread treats, brats cooked outdoors, and stalls of handicrafts (some locally made, others imported cheaply from elsewhere - you can usually tell the difference).

Christmas markets were the only way I was going to get on a river cruise, because I love them! There are reviews and photos all over the place, even some youtube videos.

Upside- you get the regular tours of a river cruise with the added bonus of time exploring the local Christmas Markets.

Downside - very little daytime sailing or sightseeting, and the cooler temps/darkness means very few people are sitting on deck watching the sights go by. Though we did But then, autumn/winter is our preferred travel time - usually cheaper, and fewer children and crowds in general. We just dress for the weather.
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#3
FL
14,435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
We love the Christmas markets and many of our favorites are those that are not reachable by river cruise. We have been to Europe at least a dozen times for the markets and are headed back this year again.

That being said, if you are not one to DIY and are not comfortable with public transport in a foreign country, a river cruise may be the way to go.

We rarely buy anything but really enjoy the energy, food and drink, entertainment and decorations of the markets. Can't wait to visit again!
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#4
North Carolina
5,707 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Some links I bookmarked last year when I was researching

http://www.rivercruiseadvisor.com/20...rough-germany/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/681746...7628550494581/

http://www.cruisecritic.com/virtual/...m?ID=10&page=1

First in a series of YouTube trip reports: (others in the series will show up in the sidebar on the youtube site)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=yPTmP9iKtEM

Food & shopping in a German CHristmas market https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_pvZyNKX1s
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#5
Western New York
190 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Thanks all for replying. You had me at food, drink, and shopping. I might try to give one a try.
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Alaska Marine Highway System. 2006
Viking. The Forseti. May, 2014 Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
Viking. The Prestige. October, 2015. Danube Waltz
#6
Rhine, Germany
2,130 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Hello MalibooNewYork,

I am surprised that there is no German Christmas market in New York yet! We Germans have exported them to the UK already. Must work on the US-coast promptly to get some established.

But seriously Christmas markets are not a new invention, the oldest ones in Germany date back several hundred years. There might be a bit of kitsch and non-German-made stuff around these days but the traditional Christmas markets still sell the old things made to traditional recipes and the handicraft that has not changed for a hundred years.

So, a fantastic experience, and I also recommend like previous posters you have a look at youtube videos.

Christmas markets are still more common in Germany than in any other country, a river cruise that goes through Germany or at least Austria is your best bet. Although Paris is great all year round and they have a Christmas market there, too.

The regions of Alsace and Lorraine in France have traditional Christmas markets, Alsace i.e. Strassbourg is on the popular route Basel - Amsterdam, but Lorraine you can normally not enjoy on a river cruise itinerary.

I personally love Metz in Lorraine and the small markets on the Rhine and Moselle.

One downside is the sometimes abysmal weather involving rain, rain, rain, wind, sleet and snow dirty from car tyres. Cold fingers, too. But seeing the Christmas markets is worth it.

notamermaid
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Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
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Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips
#7
Oahu. Born and raised in Oregon. I miss my PACNW!
708 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
The sights, sounds and smells that bring you back to being a child at Christmas. Probably one of my favorite things about living in Germany was Christmas. Not a fan of cold but the markets are just amazing. I still have my ceramic mugs from my first Christmas Market in Munich in 1989. Oh the memories.
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4-14-2019: Myanmar on the Myanmar
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#8
Rochester, NY
178 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
[quote=notamermaid;46942064]Hello MalibooNewYork,

I am surprised that there is no German Christmas market in New York yet! We Germans have exported them to the UK already. Must work on the US-coast promptly to get some established.
#9
FL
14,435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I know Chicago has them but I have never seen one in NY.

My personal favorites include Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,
Viktualienmarkt in Munich, the weekend markets in St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang (Austria), Hellbrun in Salzburg, Regensburg, and Colmar in Alsace.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#10
New York City
1,189 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
There are several in NYC each year, but no wine or beer is sold (boo...)
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#11
Rochester, NY
178 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
[quote=KathyK13;46944037]
Originally posted by notamermaid
Hello MalibooNewYork,

I am surprised that there is no German Christmas market in New York yet! We Germans have exported them to the UK already. Must work on the US-coast promptly to get some established.
Oops, didn't realize that went through! New York city does have Christmas markets in several neighborhoods. I was in NY a few years ago the first week of December and visited ones in Grand Central, Columbus Circle, Union Square, and Bryant Park. I love the city at Christmas and the markets were very festive. I haven't been to any in Europe, so I can't compare to NYC.
#12
Western New York
190 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
What an interesting thread. I am so glad I asked the question.
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Viking. The Forseti. May, 2014 Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
Viking. The Prestige. October, 2015. Danube Waltz
#13
Rhine, Germany
2,130 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Hello MalibooNewYork,

I guess I was wrong about there being no Christmas markets in New York. But a Christmas market without beer or wine, naaaah, that is certainly not a German one.

Having said that, Glühwein is the traditional drink on the markets, a version of mulled wine. As hoyaheel has mentioned - but she wrote Gluhwein, on my German keyboard I have the ü readily available for typing. That drink is quite strong, it may make you rather merry and your feet unsteady if you are not used to it and drink it too fast.

Perhaps you can find out where those markets are, one might be closer to where you live than you think.

But - I have to say this - the markets for me work best with a 17th century half-timbered house or an 18th century palace in the background.

Be aware that the markets get very crowded when the locals come to the markets after work, but the atmosphere is nicest in the dark. Most open after the last Sunday in November (because of religious traditions) although in recent years some have opened a few days before. They then close for that said Sunday to reopen on the Monday. Small towns often have markets just from Friday to Sunday.

Most markets end on 23rd December. In larger towns a few stay open until the end of the year or latest 6 January (Epiphany).

notamermaid
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English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
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Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips
#14
North Carolina
5,707 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Ah yes- that is another downside of the Christmas Markets river cruise - you are not able to go to most markets after dark, due to the sailing schedules. That was the case on our cruise, at least (Avalon, Nuremberg to Basel). We arrived in Germany early so were able to go to the Nuremberg markets after dark before our cruise started, and saw Basel on our own because we stayed there one night after disembarking - I would have been a little bummed had we not been able to do that because during the cruise there was only one night (that I can recall right now) where we were in port late, and it was a port where you could not walk into town (and actually I think we in a town without a market that day anyway and had been bused to another town).

If you aren't planning on doing pre or post cruise stays on your own, and seeing the markets at night is important to you, make sure you read the itinerary carefully and see if it mentions being in port late enough to do so.
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#15
FL
14,435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Hoyaheel
Ah yes- that is another downside of the Christmas Markets river cruise - you are not able to go to most markets after dark, due to the sailing schedules..
And that is one big reason I prefer a DIY land trip, along with the ability to visit many more markets out of the main tourist zones.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#16
North Carolina
5,707 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by caviargal
And that is one big reason I prefer a DIY land trip, along with the ability to visit many more markets out of the main tourist zones.
Yeah - if you remember any of my posts in 2013 and early 2014, or my review after my trip, the river cruise was NOT my choice, but my husband, his parents & my parents all wanted to do it so I went along because it was a family thing. River cruising is not my cup of tea. Fabulous trip, just not my thing.

I *love* markets (at any time of the year) so I'll pretty much always agree if you let me go to the markets. It's more fun when I can buy local produce etc and cook in my rental apartment, though
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#17
FL
14,435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Hoyaheel
Yeah - if you remember any of my posts in 2013 and early 2014, or my review after my trip, the river cruise was NOT my choice, but my husband, his parents & my parents all wanted to do it so I went along because it was a family thing. River cruising is not my cup of tea. Fabulous trip, just not my thing.

I *love* markets (at any time of the year) so I'll pretty much always agree if you let me go to the markets. It's more fun when I can buy local produce etc and cook in my rental apartment, though

I do remember .

We have rented apartments in Europe and enjoyed having a frig and space to socialize over wine and appetizers. Local shopping is a highlight!
Expand Signature
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#18
New Jersey, the Philly end
7,092 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by notamermaid
Hello MalibooNewYork,

I guess I was wrong about there being no Christmas markets in New York. But a Christmas market without beer or wine, naaaah, that is certainly not a German one.

Having said that, Glühwein is the traditional drink on the markets, a version of mulled wine. As hoyaheel has mentioned - but she wrote Gluhwein, on my German keyboard I have the ü readily available for typing. That drink is quite strong, it may make you rather merry and your feet unsteady if you are not used to it and drink it too fast.

Perhaps you can find out where those markets are, one might be closer to where you live than you think.

But - I have to say this - the markets for me work best with a 17th century half-timbered house or an 18th century palace in the background.

Be aware that the markets get very crowded when the locals come to the markets after work, but the atmosphere is nicest in the dark. Most open after the last Sunday in November (because of religious traditions) although in recent years some have opened a few days before. They then close for that said Sunday to reopen on the Monday. Small towns often have markets just from Friday to Sunday.

Most markets end on 23rd December. In larger towns a few stay open until the end of the year or latest 6 January (Epiphany).

notamermaid
Fuggettabout New York! Hop on the train for Philadelphia's Christmas Village! Gluehwein? Yep we got it.

Nov 21st - Dec 27th 2015
Love Park (JFK Plaza)
1500 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Sun. - Thur. 11am - 7pm
Fri. - Sat. 11am - 8pm
Holiday Hours

Free Admission!
http://www.philachristmas.com/23-0-Vendors.html

Heck, I'll show you the sights. From Pat's or Geno's for cheesesteak to a trip to Muenchen at Brauhaus Schmitz or Brussels at Monk's Cafe. Heck, you can even ride a trolley up Germantown Avenue.

Liberty Bell included at no extra charge.
#19
Rhine, Germany
2,130 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Hello CPT Trips,

those people in Philadelphia have certainly put a lot of thought into this! They sell all the traditional stuff, have a stall of the Käthe Wohlfahrt enterprise and a young lady doing an impression (I mean that in a postive way) of the Nürnberger Christkindl (an "angel" that opens the Christmas market in Nuremberg). The stalls and how they are decorated looks similar to local ones around here, too.

I am impressed.

notamermaid
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Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
Calais - Dover
Ostend - Dover
Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips
#20
FL
14,435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
CPT, you make me want to visit Philly again. It's been many years and I just never think of it as a destination.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017