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Christmas is coming - Time to take a river cruise, the unique way to buy gifts

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The years go by so quickly.  It always seems that Christmas is creeping up on us yet again.  What to buy for Uncle Joe, how on earth to find something suitable for good old Dad.
This year, why not take a unique river cruise from Amsterdam all the way to Budapest - 15 days of sheer bliss, and the perfect locations for buying the perfect gifts.  All over Europe, Christmas markets will soon be set up with unique and truly beautiful gifts to suit everyone.  Now there is a chance to enjoy relaxing European river cruises while doing the Christmas shopping.

On arrival in Amsterdam, you will settle into your cabin on the deluxe ship.  Then off to Leidseplein Square, which is home to Amsterdam’s most spectacular Christmas market. Talk about spoiled for choice with all those wonderful items on offer.

However, its not all about shopping, as you will also take a glass-top canal boat to explore Amsterdam's picturesque canals.

As you relax, scenes of Amsterdam will glide by, including churches and the famous 16th century merchant houses. 

You will also enjoy a guided walking tour of the city center with its many attractions.

Canal Sightseeing Boat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Then its off to Cologne, the oldest city in Germany, where you will explore the Old Town, lovingly rebuilt after the destruction during WWII. End your tour with a visit to the Kölner Dom – a World-Heritage listed Gothic Cathedral and a true masterwork of medieval architecture. Later in the day, you will visit the Maritime Market next to the Rhine River for more of those perfect gifts.
Lorelei Rock, St. Goarshausen, Rhine River, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Europe
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Then its off down the Rhine to your next destination.  Cruising in the mighty Rhine Gorge with amazing scenery passing you by, including storybook castles and vineyards, until reaching the famous Lorelei Rock, which legend says, was haunted by a lovelorn maiden whose singing lured sailors onto the treacherous rocks.

Later in the day, climb aboard the Winzerexpress, which is a mini-train ride through the vineyards, with the next stop being the fascinating Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Instrument Museum where you will enjoy a guided tour.

Next its off to Miltenberg, where you will enjoy a demonstration of the traditional glassblowing the region is famous for.  Then stroll around the streets with their fascinating half-timbered buildings all the way to Miltenberg Castle.  Then sail to Wertheim and enjoy yet another guided walking tour along its charming cobblestone streets.

Along the way enjoy Würzburg, Bamberg's traditional Christmas Market and then its on to Nuremberg where you will tour of the sights, ending up with a trip to the Christkindlmarkt, which showcases Franconian and German traditional arts and handicrafts.
Off we go again to Weltenburg, where you will be treated to a traditional Bavarian Oompah Band while touring the famous sights, including one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube. 

Next its Passau - Linz, then Melk - Dürnstein - non-stop beautiful architecture, wonderful scenes and shopping experiences galore.  Then sail through the great Wachau Valley and onto Dürnstein where you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the town.

Vienna is next, where you will take a coach tour along the Ringstrasse to see Vienna’s world-famous Opera House, Burgtheatre, Town Hall and the Hofburg Imperial Palace.  You can, if you wish, experience a typically Viennese concert in the evening.

Then we're off to Bratislava, where you will tour the town and then enjoy a home-hosted afternoon tea with a local Slovakian family, followed by an extra special invite to the Captain’s Gala Dinner.

Cruise along the Danube to your final destination, fascinating Budapest, where you can tour past the Royal Palace of Buda, a hilltop castle complex with the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church, and the iconic Chain Bridge that links Buda and Pest.

Hungary, Budapest, Parliament Buildings, Chain Bridge and River Danube
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The day ends with a traditional Hungarian Farewell Dinner, complete with folk dancing and music, on your last night before flying back home to your normal, everyday life, hopefully with all your Christmas present buying problems solved.

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Latest update: April 14, 2013