Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line/Shutterstock

It’s almost Christmas market season in Europe

Author: Daniel Edward

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Ambassador Cruise Line has a sparkling line up of short cruises over the festive season to Europe’s magical Christmas markets

‘Tis the season to go shopping, tralalalala la la la la. There’s no better place to absorb the spirit of the season than in one of Europe’s fairytale Christmas markets, and why not join Ambassador Cruise Line on a journey to the heart of this cosy tradition: Germany.

Bustling with tourists and locals all looking to share in the festive cheer, Germany’s celebrated Christmas markets are set in gorgeous, historic town squares, decorated with a galaxy of twinkling fairy lights, alive with the inviting aromas of locally made food and drink, and happily drenched in the music of fairground rides and Christmas carols.

And it’s so easy to get there by ship with Ambassador. Step aboard one of the line’s two ships – Ambience and Ambition – during the festive season and be whisked from the bleak greys of London to the warm glow of continental Europe.

Visit Köln's famous festive market by the great Gothic cathedral. Credit: Shutterstock

Christmas and cricket – only with Ambassador

Ambience sets sail for a five-night cruise to Hamburg and Amsterdam on December 10, 2023.

You’ll visit Germany’s northern port city, with its wide range of themed Christmas markets (from kitsch and cosy, to attention-grabbingly X-rated in the former red-light district, St Pauli), and Amsterdam (where markets and ice skating rinks transform the city centre for winter).

On board, you’ll be joined by a line-up of cricketing legends as part of Ambassador’sspecial themed series, bringing sporting heroes together for special events.

Hosted by Garry Richardson, you’ll be treated to exclusive sessions with former cricketers Graham Gooch OBE and Geoff Miller OBE, broadcaster and cricketer Jonathan Agnew MBE, and the former ‘voice of cricket’ Henry Blofeld OBE.

It's Christmas season and that means it's time to get the decorations up. Credit: Ambassador

Belgian chocolates for Christmas – sail with Ambition

If Belgian chocolate is more your thing, then Ambition is the ship for you this festive season. Departing from London Tilbury on December 3, 2023, embark on a five-night festive getaway to Hamburg and Antwerp.

This Sunday to Friday itinerary includes two relaxing day at sea for you to decompress and ease into the season of joy.

You’ll enjoy a full – and we mean full – day in Hamburg, with a midnight departure, so you’ll be able to experience the markets in all their sparkling glory.

They’re beautiful on a brisk and bright afternoon, but when the sunlight fades something truly magical happens at those Christmas markets.

Antwerp, in the heart of Belgium, also puts on a major Christmas market that reaches all the way from Groenplaats to Grote Market, and you’ll be there in the opening week of the season.

Hamburg is home to over 30 Christmas markets. Credit: Shutterstock

Quick weekend getaways for a special moment

Maybe you don’t have many days of annual leave left? Well, that’s no reason to miss out on the charm of northern Europe at Christmas. Hop on board Ambition’s long-weekend sailing from London to Antwerp, departing December 8, 2023.

The best part of this voyage is the overnight stay in Antwerp, meaning you’ll have the choice of all the lounges and entertainment on board Ambition, as well as unlimited time to get out and explore the city.

Browsing the Christmas market in the evening with a hot drink and knitted hat really is the way to go here.

The Christmas market in Antwerp is an annual event. Credit: Shutterstock

A Christmas treat in Amsterdam and Belgium

Featuring an overnight stay in Amsterdam and long-stay in Zeebrugge, a four-night voyage onboard Ambience is the ideal winter warmer for your spirits.

With plenty of time in both ports, you’ll be able to explore the Christmas markets, take to the ice skating rinks, and cosy up in a warm café and watch the excited festive crowds scurry past on the streets outside.

Zeebrugge is a charming seaside town with easy connections to Bruges, for a classic old-world European feel. And with an 8pm departure time, you’ll be able to take your time and soak up the atmosphere before heading back to the ship for a relaxing nightcap before sailing back to London.

Begin your Rhine river cruise in Amsterdam. Credit: Shutterstock
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