During 2017 Collector’s Weekend we were pleased to announce a second Christmas Cruise of Europe… many collectors from around the country joined Gary and Judi as they hosted their first Christmas Cruise in 2014. With such a great turnout Vaillancourt Folk Art is pleased to host a second cruise, this time journeying through Switzerland to The Netherlands stopping at the Christmas Markets along the Rhine. A week later, we’re 90% sold out, please see the itinerary below and call Alden (508-721-2601) to hold your spot!
The holidays are pure magic along Europe’s waterways. Storybook villages and snow-capped castles line the rivers’ banks, and in grand cities and charming towns alike, festive Christmas markets celebrate the season with colorful crafts, gingerbread and warm, spicy glühwein. Come share in the Holiday Spirit, On Shore and On Board. In medieval town squares and down cobbled lanes, aromas of old-world family recipes waft from kitchens—hot potatoes, chestnuts, grilled sausages and baked treats. Market stalls offer a delightful array of hand-carved toys, ornaments, nutcrackers and colorful woolen scarves. Viking’s Christmas cruises help spread the cheer with onboard festivities: you can bake gingerbread cookies with our executive chef, decorate the ship’s Christmas tree and enjoy live, regional holiday music from a local ensemble. This holiday season, immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit with Viking. Itinerary subject to change at the discretion of Viking Cruise Lines.
November 30th – Basel, Switzerland
You arrive in Basel to embark your ship. The afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. This city on the Rhine has a very special charm in the Christmas period. The quaint Christmas market can be found on Barfusserplatz and Munsterplaz, right in the center of the city and at the heart of the festively decorated Old Town. A magnificent Christmas tree stands on the Münsterplatz, with ornaments by the well-known decorator Johann Wanner. Over 180 traders and artisans offer their goods for sale in small, rustic wooden chalets. Anyone still looking for gift ideas can seek inspiration in the wide selection and enchanting ambience. Culinary delights also abound with waffles, glühwein, genuine Basel Läckerli (a kind of gingerbread), delicious Swiss raclette or the popular grilled sausages. (Dinner provided)
December 1st – Breisach, Germany
We arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 2nd – Strasbourg, France
We dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the amiable little city of Kehl. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 3rd – Heidelberg & Rüdesheim, Germany
Cruise through the morning as you enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then, visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from this hilltop post. Continue with a walking tour through Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates. After scenic afternoon cruising you’ll arrive in Rudesheim. This is a delightful town located on the banks of the Rhine – noted for its’ pedestrian only Drosselgasse. There will be plenty of opportunity to sample a glass of the town’s locally produced wine at one of the many wine bars or restaurants. An absolute must do at the Rüdesheim Christmas Market is to try some deliciously made Rüdesheim Coffee, which is exclusively made with locally distilled Asbach Uralt Brandy, whipped cream and traditionally served in an authentic Rüdesheim coffee set. The coffee set itself would also make a perfect gift for anyone back home. Available throughout the Rüdesheim Christmas market, Asbach Uralt is probably one of the most popular products, as they also make a great variety of brandy filled chocolates. Varied entertainment runs every day or you can go on a romantic river cruise. Explore the enchanting “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” from Rüdesheim on a boat trip and learn about Germany’s fairytales, legends and Christmas traditions through spellbinding readings. For a truly stunning view of the Rhine and its sloping vineyards, take a cable car ride up to the Niederwald recreational area. Europe’s biggest Nativity scene can also be found in Rüdesheim with life-size figures which can be admired on the market square. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 4th – Koblenz, Germany
Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Enjoy an onboard lunch as you marvel at this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts. The Koblenz Christmas market is one of the largest in the Rhineland-Palatinate wine growing region, it offers all the flavors of Christmas including a Christmas bakery where stollen and many other famous German Christmas cakes and biscuits are made in front of your eyes. Every year a wealth of event highlights is planned for the Koblenz Christmas market, all under the watchful eye of the boy on the famous “Schängel” fountain. Expect an array of concerts (classical, jazz, gospel) as well as nostalgic carriage rides through the enchanting Koblenz old quarter, a perfect icing on the cake for romantic interludes. The 24 advent calendar windows on the roof of the baroque town hall are another sure way to get every visitor into the Christmas spirit. Located where the Moselle joins the Rhine, Koblenz is a center for some of the best wines in Germany, a key ingredient for some delicious red or white Glühwein. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 5th – Cologne, Germany
Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 6th – Kinder Dijk, The Netherlands
This morning we sail to Kinder Dijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at stolen (Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner provided)
December 7th – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Arrive in Amsterdam – and enjoy breakfast before your departure for home. Those wishing to may can enjoy a two, or more day city stay in Amsterdam to explore this historic city. If your schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum, or the van Gogh Museum next door. The Anne Frank House is also one of the city most popular places to visit (and requires a reservation months in advance). You can also travel by train to several of the smaller historic town in the Netherlands as part of your extended stay. (Breakfast provided) Please ask about an extended stay.
Cruise Stateroom Rates – per person based upon double occupancy. All space is subject to availability at the time of reservation – and will require a deposit to hold:
- Stateroom category F 150 sq. ft. (water level small window main deck aft) = $1999 (very limited)
- Stateroom category E 150 sq. ft. (water level small window main deck mid-ship) = $2149 (very limited)
- Stateroom category D 135 sq. ft. (French balcony middle deck portside) = $2249 (somewhat limited)
- Stateroom category C 135 sq. ft. (French balcony upper deck portside aft) = $2449 (somewhat limited)
- Stateroom category B 205 sq. ft. (Verandah stateroom middle deck starboard side) = $2499
- Stateroom category A 205 sq. ft. (Verandah stateroom upper deck starboard side) = $2599
- Stateroom category AA 275 sq. ft. (Verandah suite upper deck port side) = $3199
- Explorer Suite ES 445 sq. ft. (upper deck aft) = $5099 (very limited)
All space is subject to availability at the time individual reservations are made. Because of this and due to the extreme popularity of European river cruising – it is recommended that persons make their reservations as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. In recent years, the Christmas Market cruises have become some of the most popular cruises offered by Viking. The prices above are per person and based upon double occupancy cruise only. Port charges are included in the above rates. – but airfare is additional A 100% single supplement is charged on all stateroom categories for those traveling at single occupancy. Verified past Viking Cruise Line guests are entitled to an additional per person savings at the discretion of Viking Cruise Lines. A $500 per person deposit is required to confirm space on this program. Deposit may be made via check made payable to Young’s Travel/AMTRAV – or – major credit cards; American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted. Individual final payments – are due per the cruise line’s schedule and in accordance with the cruise lines terms & conditions. Cancellation penalties apply – per the Viking Cruise Line’s established policy as printed in their brochure and online at www.vikingcruises.com. For security reasons names, MUST match individual identification papers (passports). Once travel documents have been issued it is the traveler’s responsibility for any incorrect spelling, which causes a reissue of tickets. A valid US passport is required for this trip. Failure to present to proper identification to the authorities will result in denied boarding and no refunds will apply.
Airfare quotes can be requested at the time of your reservation based upon your departure city. Extended stays in Amsterdam at the end of your cruise are available. Travel insurance is available and highly recommended to protect your travel investment.
Call Alden Anderson at Young’s Travel/AMTRAV to reserve your spot on the Vaillancourt Cruise – 508-721-2601 or 800-937-9686 ext. 333