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  • Writer's pictureConnie George

Guide to AmaWaterways' Christmas Markets Cruises: Details, Tips & Promotions

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Experience festive traditions of fascinating destinations and feel the magic of the holidays in cities illuminated with millions of twinkling lights. Sail between ports in elegantly decorated ships whisking you between holiday customs, traditions, and excitement that awaits you each day.

I’d like to share with you:

decorted christmas trees, benches, night

What is a Christmas Market? Why go on a Christmas Markets riverboat cruise?

Christmas Markets are outdoor, pop-up stall markets that take place during Advent. They offer fantastic street food, drinks, local crafts, holiday items, and tons of Christmastime fun.

You’ll experience the excitement for all of your senses, pick up wonderful items to enjoy each holiday (or year-round!), and do your Christmas shopping!

lit up archway, night, castle, people

Seven Most Popular European Christmas Markets River Cruises with AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways is one of the most popular riverboat companies in Europe, offering 11 Christmas Markets themed cruises this year. When asked, I learned these are the seven most popular cruises offered on the Danube, Rhine, and Rhône Rivers for this year including some markets-themed that are new for 2023.

AmaWaterways' Iconic Christmas Markets itinerary map Budapest to Nuremberg

Iconic Christmas Markets

7-night Budapest to Nuremberg, Germany cruise

Optional add-ons: 3 nights Prague, Czech Republic; 2 nights Budapest, Hungary

Marvel at the giant sparkling tree dominating Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, taste Nuremberg’s famous bratwurst and lebkuchen (gingerbread) and experience the magic of Bavaria’s most romantic Christmas Market at Regensburg’s Thurn and Taxis Palace.

Amawaterways Christmas Markets on the Danube itinerary map Budapest to Vilshofen

Christmas Markets on the Danube

7-night Budapest to Vilshofen, Germany cruise

Optional add-ons: 3 nights Prague, Czech Republic; 2 nights Budapest, Hungary

Witness the majesty of Melk’s Benedictine Abbey, savor Wachau Valley Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines as well as Vienna’s famous apple strudel and be awed by the more than 700 illuminated trees that line Salzburg’s Hellbrunn Palace. AmaBella, AmaLea, AmaSonata, AmaViola

AmaWaterways Christmas Markets on the Rhine itinerary map Amsterdam to Basel

Christmas Markets on the Rhine

7-night Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland cruise

Optional add-ons: 2 nights Lucerne + 2 nights Zurich; 2 nights Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gaze up at Cologne’s impressive Gothic cathedral from its colorful Christmas Market, try pan-fried reibekuchen (potato pancakes) and Rüdesheimer coffee, and witness the whimsical lighting of Gengenbach, Germany’s artistic town hall Advent calendar.

AmaWaterways Magna on the Danube Christmas itinreary map Budapest to Vilshofen

Magna on the Danube Christmas

7-night Budapest to Vilshofen, Germany cruise

Optional add-ons: 3 nights Prague, Czech Republic; 2 nights Budapest, Hungary

Delight your palate with a wine evening in Spitz - exclusive with AmaWaterways aboard the AmaMagna. Wander the stalls of Europe’s most traditional and enchanting Christmas Markets, including the Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market, shopping for handcrafted toys and gifts, sipping hot mulled wine and inhaling the fragrance of gingerbread and roasted chestnuts.

AmaWaterways Colors of Provence Christmas itinerary map Lyon to Avignon

Colors of Provence Christmas

7-night Lyon to Avignon cruise

Optional add-ons: 3 nights Barcelona, Spain; 3 nights Paris, France

Celebrate the festive holiday season while sailing through the South of France. Discover the Christmas crèches in Oignt, browse a colorful array of local handicrafts at Christmas Markets throughout the region, and delight in nostalgic traditions that are fun for the whole family on board.

AmaWaterways Gems of Southeast Europe Christmas Markets itinerary map Budapest, Hungary to Giurgiu, Romania

Gems of Southeast Europe Christmas Markets

7-night Budapest, Hungary to Giurgiu, Romania cruise

Add-ons: 2 nights Brasov, 2 nights Bucharest OR 3 nights Istanbul, Turkey; 2 nights Vienna, Austria

Discover the Winter Markets along the Lower Danube region. Experience firsthand the unique traditions of Orthodox Christmas in Serbia. Feel the magic of the holidays and Christmas Markets in Bulgaria and Romania.

AmaWaterways Grand Danube Christmas Markets itinerary map Vilshofen, Germany to Giurgiu, Romania

Grand Danube Christmas Markets

14-night Vilshofen, Germany to Giurgiu, Romania cruise

Add-ons: 2 nights Brasov, 2 nights Bucharest OR 3 nights Istanbul, Turkey; 3 nights Prague, Czech Republic

Browse the colorful stalls of the enchanting and magical Christmas Markets of Passau and Salzburg. Embrace the romance of the holidays while cruising through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary and experience unique Christmas traditions and Winter Markets of the Lower Danube region.

click here to see all Christmas Markets and New Years sailings

What’s included in AmaWaterways’ European riverboat cruise package?

  • Accommodation in an outside stateroom (most with balconies)

  • Entertainment-on-Demand system featuring, movies, TV shows, news and music

  • Mini-fridge, desk, and sitting area

  • Bottled water replenished daily

  • Wellness Activities with a dedicated Wellness Host

  • Wi-Fi

  • Sun deck pool with swim-up bar and walking track on some ships

  • Fitness room, massage services, and hair salon

  • Main Lounge with panoramic views and bar

  • Daily entertainment including cultural performances

  • All onboard dining in a variety of venues

  • Regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients

  • The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant

  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, Captain’s Cocktail and Gala Dinner in addition to all other meals

  • Unlimited fine wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

  • Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast

  • Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks

  • Tapas, sandwiches, snacks, and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge

  • Immersive tours in every destination

  • Gentle, regular, active, and late-riser tour options

  • Bike tours and hikes

  • Special Interest Tours

  • Personal headset for easy exploration

  • Airport transfers with purchase of air from AmaWaterways

What extras are included in AmaWaterways’ Christmas Markets river cruises?

Don’t miss the extra fun with traditions like Santa Claus, hiding the holiday pickle, and caroling as well as special holiday drinks and a gourmet holiday meal.

Who sails on a Christmas Markets river cruise?

  • Anyone who is interested in European cultures. It’s a great way to delve into learning about other cultures.

  • People who especially love Christmas traditions. There are many traditions we don’t learn about that are interesting. You may even find something you want to introduce into your own family’s traditions!

  • Couples. What’s more romantic than downtime just having fun in between being pampered on the cruise?

  • Laughs and fun with people you may not get to spend enough time with throughout the year.

  • Multi-generation families (Kids must be 4+ years old, though it’s suggested that 6+ years old is more age appropriate. AmaWaterways is one of the few Europe river cruise lines that have some newer ships with staterooms that hold more than two and also have some connecting cabins. What a great way for families to grow closer, share experiences and build memories!

  • People who have done a Christmas Markets river cruise in the past. You may be surprised at how many people, because of how much fun they had, book another Christmas Markets tour on a different itinerary.

  • Small groups. Groups of 5 – 30 cabins made up of community, family, organizations or friends can have fun on the cruise and have stories to share at get-togethers for years.

3 women and 1 man outdoor in coats holding cups
Try the glühwein amd skip getting the euros back for returning your cup. It's a great souvenir!

Three big tips to know for your upcoming river cruise.

1) Glühwein is a warm, mulled (spiced) wine. It’s pronounced “glue-vine.” Each market has Glühwein served in a special cup made for their market. The Glühwein is about 3 euro and the cup is 3 euro which you get back if you return the cup. Many people, instead, forgo the return of their 3 euro and keep the cup as a souvenir. Don't drink alcohol? Try a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate.

2) Pack bubble wrap and shipping or duct tape along with a collapsible extra bag for souvenirs and holiday gifts for those at home.

3) Carry cash in the local currency in small denominations for purchases at the markets. ATMs are pretty handy.

How to book your Christmas Markets river cruise

If you'd like to look at all of the options, visit our AmaWaterways' website to get the detailed scoop on all of the sailings.

Booking is easy. Email us or call 610-532-0989 to discuss options to determine the itinerary that best fits you, your party, or your group’s interests. We’ll book your cruise, be your advocate, and work with you on your trip components, needed documents, and other details. A deposit of $400 per person holds your spot and the balance has to be paid to AmaWaterways by 90 days prior to your trip.

When you book with Connie George Travel Associates, you'll get all of the promotions being offered by AmaWaterways PLUS you may qualify for your CHRISTMAS IN THE SUMMER promotion!


We've extended our "Christmas in the Summer" celebration! Book your new 2023 - 2024 Christmas Markets or New Year's cruise through Connie George Travel Associates between by 9/30/23, and receive complimentary gratuities. We will pick up the cost of your gratuities ($167 per person for AmaMagna sailings, $144 per person for all other sailings). Mention this blog to receive promotion.

We're looking forward to helping you plan a very special Christmas Markets cruise adventure!

Happy Traveling!


P.S. Would you like to hear the audio recording of this article? You can find it at


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