Why should you go on a Rhine Christmas market cruise?

Rhine Christmas market cruise

Welcome aboard this enchanting VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruise! As the wintry wind sweeps through the deck and the scent of mulled wine and freshly baked treats fills the air, I’ll take you on an unforgettable journey through the festive Christmas traditions of the picturesque cities along the Rhine.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but this does not alter the fact that I share my own honest experiences about this service.This article also contains interesting affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through my recommendations, I receive a small reward. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps my blog continue to grow. A win-win situation, so thank you!

With the holidays approaching, it seems as if a sort of Christmas frenzy fills the air from early December onwards. I deliberately use this term because I can’t find a better word to describe this phenomenon. Everyone is completely enthralled by Christmas. People are busy discussing and planning about what needs to happen during the holidays; the Christmas tree is set up and decorated, Christmas decorations are crafted, gifts are carefully chosen, and, of course, visits to cozy Christmas markets, both at home and abroad, are on the agenda.

A visit to a foreign Christmas market is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, but it requires some planning and effort. Firstly, it’s not just around the corner, so you really need to make time for it. Additionally, there are costs involved: think about transportation, hotel accommodation, and so on. Often, you end up being away for an entire weekend, just to visit only one Christmas market.

What if I told you that there’s a way to enjoy the most beautiful and spectacular German Christmas markets along the Rhine in just 4 days, including the convenience of transportation, accommodation, and even an all-inclusive service? This can be achieved with the VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruise.

VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruise

VIVA Cruises is celebrated for its expertise in river cruises across Europe, navigating the continent’s most picturesque rivers. Recognized globally for its outstanding service, VIVA Cruises presents an all-inclusive experience for travelers around the world. The unparalleled benefit? Your floating hotel stands as a steadfast companion, offering a return to a familiar haven with every comfort after a day of exploration, ensuring you want for nothing.

The VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruises take place during the Advent season in December. There are various travel routes to choose from, including those along the Rhône, Danube, Rhine, and many more. Moreover, for some destinations, you can choose between different travel intineraries and the length of your journey. We opted for the 4 day Rhine Christmas market cruise . Of course, these sailing routes may change annually. You can already check the offerings for the upcoming year here. If you haven’t made plans for the holidays yet, also consider the fantastic Christmas and New Year’s cruises. 

VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine

On our 4 day Rhine Christmas market cruise, we embarked on MS VIVA ONE. This vessel features 88 comfortable cabins spread across 3 decks. There are various types of cabins tailored to different personal preferences and, of course, your budget.

VIVA advent cruise Rhine

But I won’t bore you with technical details. The most important thing you need to know is:

  • There is a spa and wellness facility on board.
  • As well as a hot tub on the deck.
  • You can indulge in an all-inclusive service with gourmet delights and high-quality drinks.
  • For those feeling guilty after enjoying this all-inclusive service, there is also a fitness center available.

In other words, you are thoroughly pampered from start to finish and literally lack nothing!

VIVA Rhine Christmas cruise intinerary

Our VIVA Rhine Christmas cruise starts in Düsseldorf and sails to Koblenz, then continues through Bonn and Cologne before returning to Düsseldorf. This enchanting journey spans a duration of 3 nights and 4 days.

Day 1: Departure in Düsseldorf 

Traveling to Düsseldorf 

The VIVA Rhine Christmas market begins in the charming city of Düsseldorf, near the Robert-Lehr-Ufer or Joseph-Beuys-Ufer, under the Oberkasseler Brücke, in the heart of the old town.

From Belgium, you can easily travel to Düsseldorf by train, opting for Eurostar, ICE, or IC connections. From Düsseldorf’s train station, it’s just a 10-minute metro ride to the nearest stop at the dock. If you prefer to drive, the best parking option is at Rheinterrasse/Tonhalle. However, reservations are not possible here. If you want to ensure a spot, you can also choose a parking near the airport and travel to the dock by public transport.

You are welcome to check in on the ship from 3:00 PM. The crew is ready in the hall to warmly welcome you. Your luggage will be taken to your cabin, allowing you to relax with a delightful welcome drink and a dessert buffet with both sweet and savory treats in the lounge. During this cozy start, a safety briefing will also be provided. Don’t forget to take a moment to step onto the deck, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Düsseldorf skyline.

The Christmas market of Düsseldorf 

Before dinner begins, you have some time to explore the Christmas Market of Düsseldorf. And I would say, definitely don’t miss it because it is absolutely worthwhile. The Düsseldorf Christmas market features a total of seven Christmas markets spread throughout the city. All the Christmas markets are within walking distance of each other:

  • Handwerker-Markt – Marktplatz 
  • Altstadt-Markt – Marktstraße en Flinger Straße 
  • Sternchen-Markt – Wilhelm-Marx-Haus 
  • Engelchen-Markt – Heinrich-Heine-Platz 
  • Märchen-Markt  – Schadowplatz 
  • Kö-Bogen-Markt –  Jan-Wellem-Platz en Joachim-Erwin-Platz 
  • Schadow-Markt – Schadowstraße 
Christmas market Düsseldorf, Germany
Christmas market Düsseldorf, Germany
Christmas market Düsseldorf, Germany
Christmas market Düsseldorf, Germany

Here, you’ll find an enchanting mix of coziness and festive atmosphere, with stalls selling artisanal Christmas gifts, handmade decorations, and local treats. The markets are beautifully decorated. Don’t forget to taste the mulled wine, perfect for kicking off your Rhine Christmas market cruise.

The Christmas market in Düsseldorf takes place from 23/11/23 to 30/12/23, except on 26/11/23 and 25/12/23. The Christmas market opens daily at 11:00 AM until 8:00 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Christmas market stays open for an extra hour.

Departure to Koblenz 

After a fantastic start at the Christmas market in Düsseldorf, on board awaits a culinary four-course dinner where you can choose from various delicious options. There’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to enjoy an aperitif in the lounge beforehand. After dinner, you can also head down to the lounge for a digestif and live music. The journey to Koblenz begins at midnight, but by then, I was already blissfully asleep in my comfortable cabin bed. I didn’t notice the departure at all.

Day 2: Koblenz 

Enjoy a relaxing morning on the VIVA cruise 

Awaken to the breathtaking German landscape gliding past as you cruise along the Rhine, a truly unique experience. Take a moment to savor this and then start your day with the extensive breakfast buffet. Opt for a savory breakfast with eggs or treat yourself to delightful pastries.

VIVA advent cruise Rhine

As Koblenz is our first destination and also the farthest, you have the morning to enjoy the ship. Take the time to explore the vessel, breathe in the fresh air on the deck, and admire the landscape. Treat yourself to some relaxation in the wellness area with a sauna experience or book a rejuvenating massage. Whether you prefer working on your fitness in the gym or leisurely enjoying a drink in the lounge, this morning is dedicated to your well-being.

VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine

After a tranquil morning, lunch is served featuring a salad buffet, soup, and a chose out of various delicious main courses. But as the saying goes, save the best for last, which is definitely the case here. Following lunch, an extensive high tea awaits you in the lounge. Indulge yourself in a buffet filled with delicious cakes and treats. One thing is for sure: on this vacation, it’s not the time to watch your figure.

VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine
Immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere in Koblenz

VIVA Cruises organizes excursions in every city where the ship docks, and during our visit to Koblenz, we took part in this special experience. We embarked on a brief walk with by a knowledgeable guide, leading us to the point where the Rhine and Moselle rivers converge. The stroll naturally concluded at the charming Christmas market of Koblenz.

Koblenz, Germany
Koblenz, Germany
Koblenz, Germany

Koblenz is already a charming city to stroll through, but with more than 100 festively lit Christmas stalls, this place becomes even more magical. Here, you can indulge in delightful treats like mulled wine, Christmas cake, bratwurst, and pancakes. As you wander around, you can purchase the most beautiful handmade Christmas gifts or simply revel in the warm and cozy Christmas atmosphere. The traditional Koblenz Christmas market extends across various picturesque locations in the historic old town, and these locations are situated on the following streets and squares:

  • Münzplatz,  
  • Am Plan,  
  • Entenpfuhl,  
  • Jesuitenplatz,  
  • Rathausplatz  
  • Vorplatz Liebfrauenkirche.  
Christmas Market Koblenz, Germany
Christmas Market Koblenz, Germany
Christmas Market Koblenz, Germany

The Christmas market in Koblenz takes place from 24/11/23 to 7/01/24, except on 26/12/24. It opens daily from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM.

After visiting the Christmas market, you can once again enjoy a delightful dinner on the ship. For a more private dining experience, it’s highly recommended to book a spot in the second restaurant, located at the back of the ship. This restaurant is also part of the all-inclusive service but offers a more intimate setting and a customized menu. After dinner, you can relax with live music in the lounge. Around 11 PM, the ship sets sail for the next destination, Bonn.

Day 3: Bonn and Cologne

Bonn 

When you wake up, you’re already docked in Bonn. After another delightful breakfast, it’s time to head out. This time, we didn’t join the excursion but set out to explore Bonn on our own.

In the heart of the city lies the Christmas market of Bonn, where magical lights and decorations enchant you once again. Even if you visit this Christmas market during the day, it remains a delightful experience. The Christmas market in Bonn also offers an extensive array of beautiful and unique products and treats. Don’t forget to taste the local specialty, the Dampfnudel. This dough dumpling is served with vanilla custard, jam, or stewed fruit.

Christmas Market Bonn, Germany

The festively decorated stalls can be found on the 3 squares in the center of Bonn. You’ll also discover an ice rink there.

  • Münsterplatz
  • Bottierplatz 
  • Friedensplatz. 
Christmas Market Bonn, Germany
Christmas Market Bonn, Germany
Christmas Market Bonn, Germany

The Christmas market in Bonn takes places from 24/11/23 to 23/12/23, except on 26/12/24. It opens daily from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM.

Lunch is served on board while you’ll sail to your next destination, the vibrant Cologne. You’ll be treated to another multi-course meal. After the meal is an ideal time to seek relaxation in the hot tub on the deck. It’s delightful to float in the warm water amid the cool temperatures while enjoying the beautiful scenery passing by. Even in the summer, it must be wonderful to bask in the sun on the deck. After yet another delightful and relaxing moment, you’ll arrive in Cologne.

VIVA advent cruise Rhine
VIVA advent cruise Rhine
Cologne

Last but not least, you reach Cologne, where you can explore one of the most impressive Christmas markets in Germany. And it’s not without reason, as last year, the Christmas market in Cologne was voted the most beautiful Christmas market in Germany by visitors of the website Christmas Market Germany.

Christmas Market Cologne, Germany
Christmas Market Cologne, Germany

Cologne turns the Christmas market into a grand event every year, with numerous stalls offering delightful treats and charming trinkets. There is a lot to experience on many squares and in the surrounding streets, with a total of 6 Christmas markets. Five of them are located in the city center, including the romantic and impressive Cathedral Christmas Market with 160 beautifully decorated stalls filled with treats and Christmas decorations. Other highlights include the Christmas markets on Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz, the fairytale-like Christmas market on Alter Markt, and Heumarkt, where you can even enjoy a very large ice rink.

Christmas Market Cologne, Germany

Additionally, there are some Christmas markets slightly outside the city center, such as Der Weihnachtsmarkt im Rheinauhafen near the Chocolate Museum. Heavenue Cologne and Veedelsadvent, on the other hand, are local, smaller, and cozier Christmas markets where it’s less crowded. My personal favorite was the Christmas market with a view of the largest and most impressive cathedral (DOM) in Germany.

Christmas Market Cologne, Germany

The Christmas market in Cologne takes place from 23/11/23 to 23/12/23. It opens daily from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM.

The last evening on the cruise begins with a festive aperitif in the lounge, followed by a sublime gourmet dinner in the restaurant. After dinner, there is ample space to enjoy, dance, and sway to live music in the lounge. Meanwhile, the boat sets course for the final destination, Düsseldorf.

Day 4: Düsseldorf 

The next morning, you wake up in Düsseldorf. Before checking out, you can still indulge in the delicious breakfast buffet. Afterward, you can linger in the lounge until it’s time to depart. We traveled back by train, and just 2 hours later, we arrived in Brussels South. If you’d like to spend more time in Düsseldorf, you can stay at the VIVA RIVERSIDE Altstadt Düsseldorf.

I found the VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruise to be an incredibly enjoyable experience: savoring some of the most magical German Christmas markets while staying in a familiar setiing with all the comfort and luxury, without all the hassle of traveling. For me, it was also my first cruise, and waking up on the water and sailing along beautiful German landscapes was a unique and unforgettable experience. Highly recommended!

Is a VIVA Rhine Christmas market cruise also on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.

Do you want to know more about Germany? Definitely check out these blog posts.

Thank you for reading.

Yours truly,

Sarah

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Why should you go on a Rhine Christmas market cruise?
Why should you go on a Rhine Christmas market cruise?

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