Saga Travel has added two new taster Christmas Markets river cruises this winter – perfect for travellers who have not tried a river cruise before.
The Best of the Festive Markets river cruise begins with coach transport from Folkestone to Düsseldorf via Eurotunnel on 13 December. After embarking Regina Rheni II, which is reserved exclusively for Saga passengers, guests can get into the festive spirit at an evening cocktail party. The following day is spent in Düsseldorf where passengers can explore the Marktplatz to see craftsmen demonstrate their skills in glass-blowing and wood carving; the Little Angel Market which takes its inspiration from the art nouveau music pavilion; Flinger Straße where the stalls resemble the city’s old town houses; Little Star Market in the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus courtyard; and Schadowplatz, home to a Scandinavian-style village.
The following day can be spent exploring the seven Christmas markets in Cologne (Köln). Follow the aromas of cinnamon cookies, baked apples, roast chestnuts and spiced mulled wine to the market by Cologne Cathedral. Discover St Nick’s Village market on Rudolfplatz and the twinkling lights of the Angel Market on Neumarkt; the Harbour Christmas Market with its maritime atmosphere; and the nearby Chocolate Museum which has a riverside café and shop crammed with sweet treats.
This three-night river cruise is priced from £299 per person with single cabins at no extra cost (subject to availability). This price includes accommodation on Regina Rheni II, breakfast each morning, return transport from Folkestone via Eurotunnel (or Eurostar at an extra cost), a welcome cocktail party, all on-board gratuities, porterage and optional travel insurance.
The second river cruise added later this year is the Rhineland Festive Markets cruise which takes in Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz. This itinerary is also offered on the 154-passenger Regina Rheni II. It too includes return coach travel from Folkestone to Germany departing on 16 December. Guests will enjoy a full day’s shopping in Cologne before sailing long the Rhine to Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. In Bonn, guests can marvel at the twinkling lights and decorated façades of the buildings on Münsterplatz where the Christmas market comes alive with music and fairground rides. The town hall becomes a giant advent calendar with lit windows marking the days to Christmas. In Koblenz, guests can head to the romantic Old Town where, among the historic buildings, dozens of pretty wooden stalls display everything from handmade toys and tree decorations to roasted chestnuts and glühwein.
This four-night river cruise is priced from £499 per person with single cabins at no extra cost (subject to availability). This price includes full-board accommodation on Regina Rheni II with wine and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner, return transport from Folkestone via Eurotunnel (or Eurostar at an extra cost), a welcome cocktail party, all on-board gratuities, porterage and optional travel insurance.
Guests who prefer to getaway for the Christmas period altogether might instead prefer the epic 34-night ocean cruise to the Caribbean aboard the 700-passenger Saga Sapphire. The Christmas in the Caribbean cruise departs from Southampton on 7 December taking guests to Barbados, Trinidad, St Vincent, St Lucia, Guadeloupe, Antigua and Tortola before a festive day at sea on 25 December. Guests will spend Boxing Day in Grand Turk before cruising to the Bahamas and on to Bermuda to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Madeira and the Azores are also included in this cruise before it returns back to the UK on 10 January 2016.
The ship will be traditionally decorated and there will be live music from Colin Bryant and the Hot Rhythm Orchestra who will entertain guests with jazz and swing tunes from the ‘20s to ‘40s. Prices start from £4,886 per person based on two passengers sharing an Inside Guarantee cabin. This price includes a UK travel package to and from Southampton, all meals and entertainment on-board, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, a welcome cocktail party, unlimited tea and coffee in selected venues, free Wi-Fi internet, all on-board gratuities, porterage, and optional travel insurance.
(Photo credits to Saga Travel)