The radio and TV presenter will be performing on a Christmas cruise in 2023. Credit: Shutterstock

Christmas market cruises: Six of the best for 2022

Author: Vicky Mayer

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It maybe the height of the British summer but, if you want guaranteed Christmas cheer, now is the time to start thinking about a holiday season cruise.

1. Danube delights
On this fun cruise along the Danube you’ll get to visit beautiful Budapest, vibrant Bratislava and elegant Vienna. All three have spectacular Christmas markets where you’ll be able to buy unique seasonal gifts as well as enjoying the festive food and fun.
Riviera Travel's five-night ‘Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets’ cruise aboard MS William Wordsworth, round trip from Budapest via Bratislava and Vienna, departs December 2, 2022, from £929 including flights.

2. Beautiful Bruges

Bruges is a magical place all year round but on a Christmas cruise it really excels. The festive market is held in the city’s Grote Markt square, with lots of pretty wooden chalets festooned with fairy lights. You’ll find all manner of fabulous seasonal gifts – and if you fancy a turn around the ice, lookout for the city’s pop-up skating rink.
Ambassador Cruise Line's three-night ‘Festive Market Getaway’ cruise aboard Ambience round trip from Tilbury to Zeebrugge (Bruges),departs December 18. 2022, from £369.

The main Bruges Christmas market is in Grote Markt.

3. Fröhliche Weihnachten!
German markets are something else at Christmas, and on this eight-night cruise you’ll get to enjoy Hamburg’s famous Christmas fair, complete with traditional gifts, gingerbread stalls and steaming cups of spiced wine. You’ll also discover how they celebrate the festive season in Copenhagen, Gothenberg and Bruges.
Fred Olsen's eight-night ‘European Christmas Markets’ cruise aboard Balmoral, round trip from Portsmouth via Zeebrugge (Bruges),Gothenberg, Copenhagen and Hamburg, departs December 2, 2022, from £899.

4. Let’s go Dutch

This good value seven-night itinerary aboard P&O’s new mega-ship Iona takes you to traditional markets in Hamburg and Bruges. And with visits to Rotterdam and Amsterdam you get a taste of Christmas, Dutch-style, too.
P&O Cruises seven-night ‘Northern Europe’ cruise aboard Iona, round trip from Southampton via Hamburg, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge (Bruges), departing December 10, 2022, from £569.

Iona, the biggest cruise ship that P&O Cruises has ever built, will take you to traditional markets in Hamburg and Bruges. Credit: P&O Cruises

5. Amazing Alsace
Travel through the heart of Europe on the mighty Rhine, passing picture-postcard villages, all lit and decorated for Christmas. You’ll have plenty of time to shop at markets along the way, especially in Strasbourg, home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets of all.
Avalon Waterways' four-night ‘Classic Christmas time in Alsace & Germany’ cruise aboard Avalon Tranquility II, from Frankfurt to Basel via Speyer, Strasbourg and Breisach, departs December 15, 2022, from £1,226.

6. Black Forest adventure
Christmas traditions are deeply rooted in Germany’s Black Forest, and you’ll find beautifully decorated Christmas markets, filled with festive gifts. Take your time choosing the perfect presents for all your loved ones and don’t forget to enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a slice of gingerbread.
CrosiEurope's four-night ‘Bountiful Christmas in Alsace & The Black Forest’ cruise aboard MS L’Europe, round trip from Strasbourg via Breisach, Freiburg and Colmar, departs December 8, 2022, from £512.

The Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe.
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About Vicky Mayer

Vicky began her career working on young women’s magazines before moving on to TV and entertainment titles. Her passion, though, has always been travel, so as Editor of World of Cruising, she combines her love of magazines with the chance to shout about cruise holidays around the world.