Are you a person who becomes nostalgic during the Holidays? Do you look in decorated store front windows and wish for the elaborate decorating of the past? Are you thinking about trying a “NEW ROAD” and doing something different during the winter months? Hey, I understand that you want to try something besides ski trips. Well, then, we have some Christmas Market River Cruise and non cruise suggestions that will blow you away!!!
Christmas Market River Cruise in Europe
First, up, Christmas Market River Cruise in Europe. These are stunning riverboat trips in along the historic rivers of Europe. They feature stops in some of the most iconic towns and villages that this continent can offer. We are talking about docking right in the middle of historic towns that are all decorated for the Holidays. You will be surrounded by the sights, smells, and sounds of traditional Holiday marketplaces while you stroll the streets of medieval towns that seem to have been created for this time of the year. During Market Cruises in France, the scent of mulled wine and the sounds of orchestras flood the streets. Strasbourg is even the first documented location for a Christmas tree – in the Cathedral in 1593. While you are in Strasbourg, don’t forget to pick up a Stuffed White Stork as this is their city mascot and a symbol of good luck. If you travel on the Rhine, your stops will include Heidelberg, and Cologne with their Cathedral and Street Markets with beer tastings. And, while in Gengenbach, you will see the world’s largest Advent calendar. Its brightly lit windows come alive every evening at 6:00 PM, with pictures by a famous artist. And, don’t get me started about the 100 Foot Christmas tree decorated with Swarovski crystals and ornaments or the Living Christmas Tree where children sing traditional Holiday Music at the Zurich Market. Trust me, the following photos from Cologne, Basel, Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest, Strasbourg (home to the oldest known Christmas Market), and more, do not do this time of year in Europe justice.
Perhaps a better sense can be achieved by viewing this Christmas Market River Cruise video by one of the premier River Cruise Lines in the World, AMAWaterways. And, you thought Europe was the Eiffel Tower and London Bridge. Ok. ENOUGH. I just get carried away with the Romance and Joy and Hope that these Markets have brought for centuries.
US Christmas Market River Cruise
Now, don’t think that Europe has cornered the market on the Christmas Market River Cruise. The U.S. features similar offerings on the Mississippi and up the Eastern Coast. Yes, that is correct. Holiday Cruises in the U.S. The preeminent cruise line on the Mississippi is, of course, American Queen Steamboat. You can take fabulous trips between New Orleans and Memphis and enjoy all of the stops at the historic mansions and towns along the way. They will all be dressed in their Holiday Best. Christmas caroling will fill the air and cups of wassail will be passed. Each stop will give you a new insight into the Old South as you visit such favorites as Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans. Don’t miss the fabulous Holiday performances on Beale Street and at Graceland in Memphis.
When in New Orleans, check out the weekly concerts at the St Louis Cathedral. While there stop off in Jackson Square for candlelight caroling. Or it’s just a short walk to climb aboard the riverboat and join in one of their caroling cruises. On every to-do list for every local and visitor to the city during the holiday season is to take a ride on the Canal Street streetcar out to City Park to see the Celebration in the Oaks. This consists of more than two million bright and shiny lights illuminating the park. However, a MUST is to experience a REVEILLON. Reveillon is French for awakening. Reveillon is a special meal that traces its roots back to the mid-1800’s when the city’s Creole residents celebrated the event twice a year. After Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, families would gather for an elaborate meal. The second time was a gathering shared by a number of families on New Year’s Eve. Traditional food and drinks include crystallized fruits, eggnog, pastries, meringues and sugar sculptures. In today’s New Orleans, it is celebrated nightly in restaurants throughout the Quarter and features traditional Creole cuisine and contemporary New Orleans favorites.
You knew that I had to get food, wine and shopping into this as much as possible.
Holidays in Europe
Ok, now pretend that cruising is not for you. Right???? Anyway, how about Christmas in the Cotswolds of Britain? Do NOT turn your nose up! Just listen to this.
- Oxford brings out its finery in December. Shops are bustling. Your senses are full with the sights of the decorations, the smell of mulled wine and cinnamon and the sounds of choirs fill the air.
- Bath opens its arms for 18 days during the end of November. No 1 Royal Crescent is decorated in authentic 1700 style and you can feel Jane Austen everywhere.
- Sudeley Castle pictures itself as Wonderland. Your tour guide is the White Rabbit takes you thru the Looking Glass where you will meet Alice, Mad Hatter, and all of the other beloved characters. Needless to say, there is plenty of mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep you in the holiday spirit.
- Blenheim Palace is awash with light and features a garden of Singing Trees. This Palace is dressed in traditional decorations and features a Cinderella motif. You can have Tea in The Stepmother’s Drawing Room, tour the Ugly Sister’s room, and visit rooms laid out to represent The Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, and Cinderella herself.
- These are just a tip of the iceberg. And, remember that these are not hustle bustle locations but fine showcases for the beauty that exists in Britain’s countryside.
- You can always go to London during the holiday but remember the Queen is at Sandringham during December and Harrods’ big sale doesn’t start until January.
Well, you get the drift. See you thought the Holiday Markets and trips are mostly in Germany. WRONG! Now, the last one is off the charts.
Holidays in Australia and New Zealand
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND!!!!
Yep, you heard me right. No snow – middle of summer there. Classic New Year’s at the Sydney Opera House. Ayers Rock, Australian Zoo. Hobbit Locations, Blue Penquins and Moeraki Boulders, Wine Tours, and hiking opportunities .
Well….. What are you waiting for? I mentioned the Wine Tours and the Hobbit Locations. You know you were sold when I told you about those.
Thank you to AMAWaterways,Swain Destinations, American Queen Cruise Lines, and Local British Tourism departments for the beautiful photos and video. Now, come on and make your own spectacular memories. Call Alma, Debbie or Tahnee at 281-363-0808 asap, or message us below to book one of these amazing cruises or tours or let us plan something totally special for you. We want this to be your “Winter of Exploration”.