River Cruising

Christmas Markets Along the Rhine

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Days
8
From
$3,690 USD
Journey Type
River Cruising
Time of Year
Nov - Dec
Cities & Landmarks
Köln, Basel, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden
Rhine River Christmas Market Cruise
Heidelberg, Germany

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Uniquely Tauck

EXPERIENCE WITH TAUCK

 

Visits to Christmas Markets in Rüdesheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Strasbourg*

 

TAUCK VALUE INCLUDES

 

All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors & Tauck Cruise Director

 

All private Tauck shore excursions – $1,453 Value!

 

Walking tours of market cities and towns with local guides

 

Visits to Old Town Heidelberg and historic Heidelberger Schlöss (Heidelberg Castle)

 

*Please note: Operating dates for the Christmas Markets could be subject to change; every effort will be made to visit as scheduled.

 

SEE WHAT YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES

Activity

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Guests should be able to easily walk one to two miles, which may include climbing one or two flights of stairs and walking over uneven pavement, groomed hiking trails or cobblestones. Standing up to one hour or more may be required.

Pace

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Moderately paced, and may include some early morning hotel departures, one or two on-tour flights, and extended motor coach travel.

View Full Itinerary

Exclusively inclusive river cruising

Travel along the Rhine for the holiday season, from Düsseldorf to Basel aboard ms Inspire, both perfect ways to capture all the magic of Christmas Markets in Germany and France.

Along with all the inclusions that are part of every Tauck river cruise, Tauck's Christmas market experience wows you with special holiday touches like an onboard tree-trimming party... glühwein and other treats aboard the riverboat, decorated in a festive seasonal theme... a traditional European Christmas dinner with all the fixings... special evenings of onboard holiday-themed entertainment... walking in the footsteps of celebrities at the Kurhaus casino in Baden-Baden... a lecture on Alsatian storytelling traditions in Strasbourg... a cookie-making demonstration and a visit to the fanciful Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett in Rüdesheim... a traditional German lunch in Heidelberg and much more! Read Less

Old World Europe – Rhine River cruises

Siegfried's magical music machines

Discovering Siegfried's whimsical musical legacy in Rüdesheim

Housed in a centuries-old castle in the charming Rhine Valley wine town of Rüdesheim, Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett really must be seen – and heard – to be believed. It's the legacy of the late Siegfried Wendel, who founded his first museum dedicated to antique self-playing musical instruments in the 1970s. The current Musikkabinett in the 14th-century Brömserhof display's Siegfried's mesmerizing collection of mechanized musical clocks, player pianos, fairground organs, self-playing violins and many more... including the world's largest automated doll orchestra!

After several land tours with Tauck, this was our first on one of their riverboats. Even with our very high expectations, this trip exceeded them by a wide margin!

Tauck Traveler Review

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Deck Plans

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(Note: All Category 7 cabins are three-guest capacity suites with a pull-out couch)

Ruby Deck

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Emerald Deck

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Your Journey

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Northbound: Basel → Dusseldorf

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About Booking This Tour

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Covid Travel Policies

The below provides an overview of Tauck's requirements and those of the countries we visit, along with our supplier partners who have implemented their own Covid policies that may go beyond Tauck's requirements. The trip-specific guidelines are for U.S. travelers.

Up-to-date destination entry requirements will be posted 60 days prior to the first seasonal departure for each tour or cruise series. For journeys not yet posted below, please visit our Travel Requirements page. As entry requirement change frequently, please check often.

 

Tauck 2024 Covid Policy

For 2024 tours and cruises, Tauck has no remaining Covid requirements. There is no vaccination requirement or travel pledge to be signed. This 2024 policy could change if there is a surge in infection rates or other factors that could impact the safety of our guests and employees.

Tauck 2023 Covid Policy

  • Vaccination Requirement: All Tauck guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. Additionally, you must have had at least one booster dose and/or have proof of recovery from Covid.
  • Requirements for Minors: Though highly recommended, vaccination for minors age 11 and under is not required by Tauck. However, if unvaccinated they must present a negative result from either a PCR or antigen test taken within 3 days of departing for their Tauck trip. If a child age 11 or under is vaccinated but not boosted, they must also present a negative test prior to their Tauck trip.
  • Tauck Travel Agreement: Tauck requires all guests to sign our Travel Well Pledge. Your Tauck Director will provide this document for your signature on the first day of your trip, and will check your proof of vaccination and booster/or proof of recovery. Additional information can be found at here.

To ensure the safety of your fellow travelers and the communities we visit, all guests must follow health and safety protocols when necessitated by local health guidance or our supplier partners. Your Tauck Director will keep you informed of these local requirements.

Although not required by Tauck, some countries may require a pre-travel Covid test. It is important that you carefully check the most recent entry requirements (listed below) for your tour or cruise. 

Additional Destination Requirements

Travel Documents

If you are a U.S. citizen traveling internationally, you will need a  passport valid for six months beyond the completion of your Tauck journey for entry into Germany, France and Switzerland. You are not required to obtain a visa for the short duration of this cruise.

If you are a citizen of another country traveling internationally, you should contact an embassy or consulate of each of the countries we visit on this cruise to determine what travel documentation is required.

Please Note: Longer stays abroad for any purpose may require additional travel documentation.

You will be issued a boarding card, which you must present before embarking the ship in each port. This security measure also ensures that only Tauck guests are permitted onboard.

We recommend that you make at least two photocopies of all the travel documents that you bring with you. Include copies of the photo page of your passport that contains the date of issuance, the date of expiration and your citizenship. Secure one set of copies in the safe in your cabin while traveling and leave one set behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your documents or cards are misplaced, lost or stolen.

To facilitate Travel Requirements, destinations are increasingly utilizing online forms that require digital proof that you've successfully completed your submission (via an email, QR code, etc.) To ensure smooth travels and peace of mind, we strongly recommend all guests carry a personal smart phone and sign up for international data plans before traveling overseas.

 

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN AS A GUARDIAN: If you are traveling as the guardian of a child/children, we strongly suggest that you carry a letter from both parents of the child authorizing emergency treatment in the event of illness or accident. For travel abroad, many foreign countries have specific entry requirements for children under 21 who are traveling internationally without BOTH parents. (These requirements are in response to the increased incidence of children being abducted and taken abroad.) PLEASE NOTE THAT TAUCK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the disruption of travel caused by improper documentation for children traveling without both parents.

 

How to Book a Tour

See your travel advisor, or call Tauck at 800-468-2825 to make a reservation.


At the time of booking, please have the following information ready for all members of your party:

  • Tour Name and Departure Date
  • Traveler's Name: First and last names as they appear on your passport or driver's license
  • Traveler's Address(es)
  • Email Address*
  • Traveler's Phone Number(s)*
  • Emergency Contact Information: Please provide the name and phone number of a relative or friend (not travelling with you) whom we could contact during the tour in the unlikely event of an emergency
  • Interest in purchasing a travel protection plan (US and Canada)
  • Interest in extending your trip by staying in a Tauck recommended hotel before your trip begins or after it ends
  • Interest in our specially negotiated airfares

 

* Required Fields

Deposits & Final Payment

Deposits:

The deposit and the fees for the optional Protection Plan or Cancel Fee Waiver [CFW] coverage are due at time of booking.

The deposit amount is $900 per person

 

Final Payments:

Final Payment is due to Tauck 60 days before departure for lands trips, and 120 days before departure for cruises and rail journeys. If your deposit was made by credit card, final payment will be automatic unless you opted out at time of booking. Bookings without full payment at this time may be subject to cancellation without notice. Failure to make payment will be a considered a cancellation by the guest and all applicable cancellation fees will apply.

Cruise Protection Plan

Effective for plans purchased as of July 1, 2021:

Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection

Tauck's Cruise & Event Protection provides you with cancellation protection before your journey begins as well as insurance benefits while you are traveling. It must be purchased within 10 days of your initial deposit. Guest Protection includes the following:

Cancellation Waiver – Provided by Tauck:

Under Tauck's Cancellation Fee Waiver you can cancel your tour for ANY REASON and Tauck will  reduce the regular cancellation fees outlined herein, provided we are notified of cancellation before your cruise departs. Certain terms and restrictions apply (see below*).

*Extreme Circumstances: In the event of an act of God, war (whether declared or undeclared), terrorism, accident, natural disaster, outbreak of disease, or other event or circumstance beyond our control that contributes to or results in cancellation rates above our historical cancellation rates in the absence of such event or occurrence, Tauck reserves the right to issue a credit to you in lieu of a money-back refund, applicable to a future Tauck journey. Travel Insurance Benefits – Underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company.

  • Trip Cancellation – Should you cancel for covered reasons, the plan reimburses cancellation fees imposed, up to your total trip cost. 

  • Trip Interruption – If you have to interrupt your tour for covered reasons, the plan provides reimbursement to catch up to your tour or return home.

  • Travel Delay – Provides reimbursement for missed, prepaid travel arrangements if you are delayed by a common carrier, natural disaster, unannounced strike, or other reasons as cited in the plan.

  • Medical Expense – Reimburses covered medical expenses incurred in the event you become injured or sick during your trip. 

  • Baggage / Personal Effects Protection – Provides reimbursement in the event your luggage or personal effects are, lost, stolen, damaged or delayed during your trip.

Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services – Provided by Carefree Travel Assistance; 24-hour emergency telephone assistance hotline for medical and travel related problems.

 

The cost of Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection is: $799 per person

 

This plan provides cancellation coverage for your trip and other insurance coverages that apply only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.

This optional Cruise and Event Protection must be requested at time of booking and fee must be included in initial payment. Details will be provided with written confirmation of your reservation. Cruise and Event Protection does not protect travel agent commissions. Reimbursements will be made according to original method of payment. The amount of any refund shall be reduced by any recoveries obtained by you from any third parties.


To obtain your state-specific Certificate of Insurance that contains the complete terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the certificate, visit affinitytravelcert.com/docs/TACCREINTL

 

If You Have To Cancel

If you cancel within 10 days of initial deposit

Within the first 10 days after you place your initial deposit, you may cancel your reservation for any reason with no cancellation fees.

If you cancel more than 10 days after initial deposit

Regardless of reason, cancellations result in costly charges from our travel and hotel providers covering penalties and fees incurred by canceling confirmed bookings. These fees vary from tour to tour. Therefore, the following fees apply for this tour.

 

Cancellation Fees with Tauck's Cruise Protection Plan:

120 days or more before departure:
Loss of cost of Tauck's Cruise and Event Protection fee per person

119 – 60 days before departure:
Loss of 25% of the cost of the cruise, not including air (if applicable), plus loss of Cruise and Event Protection fee, per person

59 – 1 days before departure:
Loss of 50% of the cost of the cruise, not including air (if applicable), plus loss of Cruise and Event Protection fee, per person

Cancellation Fees without Tauck's Cruise Protection Plan:

120 days or more before departure:
$900 per person

119 – 60 days before departure:
Loss of 50% of the cost of cruise, not including air (if applicable), per person

59 - 1 days before departure:
Loss of 100% of the cost of cruise, not including air (if applicable), per person
Time of cancellation will be when notice is received in our Wilton Woods, CT office.

 

Tour Interruption Fees

If you have to interrupt your tour en route, you may be entitled to a refund for the unused land portion if it exceeds 24 hours; certain restrictions apply. Such refunds are based upon the number of overnights missed less a fee of $40 per person per day for unused transportation and other fixed expenses.

 

Partial Room Cancellation

A person who cancels or leaves a tour while a roommate remains constitutes a cancellation of one type of accommodation and rebooking of another type of accommodation. The price charged to the remaining person is the new, higher price for the new accommodation.


In the event of an unforeseen circumstance beyond our control, Tauck reserves the right to amend the cancellation and transfer terms outlined herein.

Note: All Guests, regardless of residency, who book a Tauck journey have the option of purchasing the Cancellation Waiver provided by Tauck in the event they need to cancel their trip after making their reservations. Tauck's Cruise & Event Protection, which includes both the Cancellation Fee Waiver and the Travel Insurance Benefits and Assistance Services described above, is not available to residents of Puerto Rico.

Travel Terms and Conditions

Click here to find Tauck's Travel Terms & Conditions.

Travel Requirements For This Tour

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Air Information and Luggage Restrictions

AIRFARE: Airfare to and from this destination is not included in the journey cost. If purchasing your air elsewhere, it is very important to provide us with your confirmed arriving and departing flight information no later than 3 weeks before your arrival date. Flight information can be submitted to Tauck (or verified, if you've already provided it) in the My Account section of Tauck.com.

TAUCK AIRPORT TRANSFERS are included at the start and end of the journey between the airport and the Tauck hotel. Airport transfers are available for any pre tour or post tour hotel stays immediately consecutive to the tour, providing flight information is received in the Tauck office no later than three weeks in advance. Details on locating your transfer upon arrival to the tour start city will be included in your final documents.

AIRLINES and CHECKED LUGGAGE: Due to space limitations during your Tauck journey, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one average-size suitcase per person. Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and are free to revise luggage policies without notice. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies. PLEASE NOTE that if you are booked on a tour that includes on-tour flights, the checked luggage weight restrictions for these flights may be lower than the weight restrictions for your international flights.


Checked Luggage ― General

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one suitcase per person weighing no more than 50 pounds (23 kg) and with overall dimensions (length + width + height) not exceeding 62 inches (158 cm).

Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much stricter in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and luggage exceeding airline standards for size or weight may result in expensive overage fees or other consequences.

Airlines are free to revise luggage policies without notice, and certain airlines have different baggage allowances for different classes of service. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies.

Carry-on Luggage ― General

Although oversize bags and wheeled, carry-on luggage are popular for airline travel, they are often not convenient or appropriate for motor coach travel. Most modern sightseeing motor coaches offer limited space for numerous or large items. Space under seats or in the overhead rack is typically small and is designed to accommodate items like coats, hats, purses, and small camera bags, etc.

For your day-to-day travel while on tour, we recommend that you limit your hand luggage to a small, soft-sided carry-on piece and to carry only those items you need handy during the day such as purses, make-up, medications, cameras, film, etc. Items too large to fit under the motor coach seat or in the overhead rack must be stored in the luggage bays beneath the motor coach, and may not allow for access during daytime travel.

Please be sure to attach your Tauck luggage tag to your checked luggage before leaving home!

Health, Safety and Mobility

Tauck Care and Global Response

Keeping our guests safe and secure has always been of paramount importance at Tauck. While we cannot predict or prevent events outside of our control, we have learned to expect the unexpected. In fact, we've planned for it and have safeguards, protocols and teams in place to deal with any eventualities. You'll travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.

Our Global Response Team stands ready to respond to situations around the world. Over the past two decades, they have successfully led us through a variety of challenges around the world, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, work stoppages and more. We are well prepared for Covid. We provide assurance and comfort in knowing that help is readily available if and when it's ever needed.

 

Enhanced Covid Protocols:

Tauck has worked closely with our supplier partners around the world to deliver the comfort and safety you expect. To learn more about the enhanced protocols we have put in place for Covid, please visit: tauck.com/travel-and-health/tauck-protocols.

HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

Your riverboat is registered in Basel, Switzerland. Please check with your health insurance provider to determine whether you are covered while traveling. If you will not be covered under your current policy, we strongly suggest that you arrange for adequate coverage while on tour.

If you have a medical condition that might limit your participation in activities, please consult your physician for pre-departure health advice and inform us at time of booking.

 

VACCINATIONS

Visit our COVID-19 Travel Requirements page to learn about Tauck's universal vaccination requirement and destination-specific COVID policies.

If you are a resident of the U.S. traveling internationally, no other vaccinations are currently required for travel to Germany, France or Switzerland. For complete vaccination and inoculation information, contact your physician, the public health service in your area, or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Info Center at 800-232-4636/800-CDC-INFO (toll-free in the U.S.). You may also log on to the CDC Internet website by clicking here.

If you are a resident of another country traveling internationally,  please contact an embassy or consulate of each of the countries we visit on this tour to determine what vaccination(s) may be required for your travel.

 

MOBILITY

While a cruise on the Rhine is very relaxing and the pace leisurely, to enjoy all the cruise has to offer, you should be in good health and able to walk reasonable distances. There is a moderate to significant amount of walking during our visits to the Christmas markets, often along cobblestone streets, and at many sites there are multiple stairs or steps; for the most part, however, the amount of walking you do is at your discretion.

Your riverboat has four decks: Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, and Sun. The elevator runs between the Diamond, Ruby and Emerald decks. There is no chair lift between any of the decks.

Because you will be cruising on a river and not on the open sea, you are never far from land and, therefore, there is no doctor on board. In case of emergency, we can easily dock the boat and call for an ambulance or medical assistance.

PLEASE NOTE: We regret that this Tauck itinerary cannot accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters.  Likewise, we regret that we're unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs.  The responsibility of the Tauck Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest.  Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it.

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate service animals on any river cruise for medical and legal reasons.

 

SPECIAL DIETARY REQUESTS

The restaurants, hotels, caterers and numerous other partners we work with all do their best to accommodate special dietary requests from Tauck guests. However, given the diverse nature of those food providers (from small wineries to grand hotels to world-famous restaurants in more than 70 countries worldwide), some of our partners are better able than others to accommodate such requests. We therefore cannot guarantee that all dietary requests can be accommodated at every meal. Also, please note that where dietary requests can be accommodated, choices will frequently be limited.


SMOKING

On board the riverboat, smoking is permitted in a limited area of the Sun deck. Smoking (including e-Cigarettes) is not permitted in any cabin, the restaurant, the lounge or any other interior space.

































Reading List

We have compiled a reading list of recommended books to give you more information about the destinations you will be traveling to on your upcoming journey!

You can view the reading list here.

Weather

The climate in December along the Rhine is seasonably cold. The average high and low temperatures are 42/33 °F (6/1 °C). The amount of precipitation is approximately 1.8 in (45.72 mm).

To read about current weather conditions, we suggest you log on to the Internet website, noaa. gov, by clicking here.


What To Pack

Bringing the right clothing for your trip is important – we've partnered with New Headings who provide an "easy-to-use, one-stop shop" for your Tauck travel needs, specifically selected for this trip. Click here to visit their site.

Dress for comfort and convenience with a wardrobe that is flexible and allows for layering. Casual, cotton clothing is recommended. A coat and sweater for the sun deck and touring is also recommended. Pack comfortable yet sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in, as many of the sites visited were built centuries ago and have uneven surfaces, some steep inclines and many steps. For the welcome and farewell dinners, you may wish to dress more formally – jacket and tie for men, casually elegant attire for ladies (not required).

Bathrobes, slippers and hairdryers are provided in each cabin on board the riverboat.

The riverboat provides limited valet laundry services but no dry cleaning. Valet laundry service is available on the riverboat for a fee. Ironing facilities are available by request to the front desk. Category 7 cabins feature their own irons and ironing boards.

We recommend that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medication in its original container to last through your entire journey, together with a copy of your doctor's prescription, or a letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you, your travel documents and a change of clothing in your carry-on bag to avoid any inconvenience in the event that your flight or luggage is delayed.

We recommend you pack the following items for your cruise on the Rhine:

  • Flat, rubber-soled walking shoes for onboard
  • Sturdy but comfortable walking shoes that have already been broken-in for onshore
  • Short and long-sleeved cotton shirts
  • Slacks and jeans
  • Medium-weight socks
  • Medium-weight sweater
  • Winter coat
  • Raincoat and rain hat
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Collapsible umbrella
  • Sun protection
  • Camera, lenses, batteries and plenty of film and/or memory cards
  • Daypack for camera equipment
  • Travel clock with alarm
  • Copies of your travel documents that should be secured in the safe in your cabin while traveling

The Tauck Experience

Tauck's River Cruise Guide

Rhine River Facts

First Timer's Guide

Why Take A Tauck River Cruise

Choosing The Best European River Cruise For You

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Book Today... And Travel Dreams Begin

Discover The World

Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.

Book Today... And Travel Dreams Begin

Discover The World

Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.

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