The Germanna Foundation announces its 2019 Christmas Markets on the Rhine River Cruise: December 8-15, 2019!
Schöni Wiehnachte, Joyeux Noël, Froehliche Weihnachten, and Zalig Kerstfeest—mean Merry Christmas in Swiss, French, German, and Dutch, so get ready to hear these sincere greetings as you experience the deep-rooted traditions of the Christmas season in the most idyllic and historic settings. Brimming with seasonal spirit, cities and towns dazzle.
Strasbourg, the oldest and largest Christmas Market in France, delights with fairytale half-timbered houses dressed in giant red-and-white hearts.
Heidelberg, with its romantic backdrop of a castle, offers a warming glow of light along one of the longest pedestrian zones in Europe.
Do what the Europeans have been doing for centuries—gather at the timeless Christmas Markets, warm up with a mug of steamy vin chaud in France or glühwein in Germany, shop for one-of-a-kind handcrafted treasures, and celebrate the true spirit of the season.
Join your Germanna Foundation cousins on a fundraising cruise that takes you to 10 cities and 9 Christmas Markets in 4 countries in December 2019!
It will ALSO traces a long portion of the river path taken by nearly all German-speaking persons who emigrated to the American Colonies in the 1700s.
Consider sharing this memorable familial experience with your friends and family, who are welcome to join us.
Sail along the picturesque Rhine River—Germany’s heart and soul—on this enriching itinerary.
Our 8-day, 7-night river cruise departs from Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday, December 8, 2019, and sails northwesterly, downstream, to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where we will disembark on Sunday, December 15, 2019.
Our river boat, the AmaWaterways AmaStella, is a beautiful new luxurious 78-stateroom, 156-guest, 433-foot-long state-of-the-art river boat. Many stateroom categories feature both a full balcony and a French balcony.
Also, many Germanna members have other German ancestry, especially among the Pennsylvania Germans.
Many German colonists came from Switzerland and from Alsace, so our cruise beginning in Basel relates to areas that those colonial era immigrants came from.
The rest of the trip covers territory that Germanna settlers would have traveled.
For example, Palatinate families, like the Yagers and Chrislers, would have known medieval Speyer. Heidelberg, on the Neckar River, was familiar to many Second Colony families who sailed down the Neckar to reach the Rhine. These included the Amburgey, Aylor, Clore, Gaar, Utz, Weaver, and Wilheit families.
Cologne is a wonderful city with its great sights all along or very close to the Rhine.
Siegen is near Cologne, so First Colony families such as Hitt, Fishback, Haeger, Holtzclaw, Kemper, and Rector may have known that grand city.
Amsterdam is another wonderful city, and since all our Germans departed from Holland for England, it is a perfect way to end our itinerary.
We will experience the deep-rooted holiday traditions of Europe at its most festive time of the year. We will cruise through the castle-laden Rhine River Gorge, see Gothic cathedrals, and so much more.
We will visit Christmas Markets in Basel, Switzerland; in Riquewihr, France, & Freiburg, Germany; in Christkindelsmarik (the oldest Christmas Market in France, in Strasbourg); in Heidelberg & Speyer, Germany; in Rudesheim & Cologne, Germany; and in Amsterdam.
So much to see, do, learn, taste, experience, and appreciate!
ABOUT AMAWATERWAYS AND OUR BOAT THE AMASTELLA
This upscale river cruise line was launched in 2002 and its ships’ design was inspired by classic ocean yachts. The line currently has 20 vessels in service, and the AmaStella was launched 1n 2016. The AmaStella offers innovative features such as an elevator a walking track, heated pool, and fitness room; connecting staterooms; and triples that accommodate multi-generational families.
Two decks of stateroom categories offer twin balconies. Its bathrooms are spacious and have showers with multi-jet shower heads. During the days, multiple complimentary shore excursions are offered in each port-of-call (including complimentary bicycles for exploring on one’s own).
In the evenings, there is an open bar for cocktails before dinner, and multiple dining venues. Complimentary unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, and specialty coffees are offered with dinner (as they are also for lunches). Surf the website www.amawaterways.com for detailed information on AmaWaterways and our itinerary.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR ITINERARY
Day 1, Sunday, December 8: Embarkation in Basel, Switzerland
After your flight from the United States, you will be transported from the airport to the ship. After boarding the boat and having lunch, explore the city. Basel claims to have Switzerland’s largest Christmas Market, and the city on the Rhine has a very special charm over the Christmas period. The quaint Christmas Market can be found on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, right in the center of the city, at the heart of the festively decorated Old Town.
Day 2, Monday, December 9: Breisach, Germany
Visit the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, France, which will be beautifully dressed in her holiday finery with twinkling decorations and a lively Christmas Market. On your walking tour, admire historical architecture, as well as famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, you may wish to visit Freiburg, Germany, founded in 1120, and home to Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone, as well as its enchanting Christmas Market. Those wishing a more active excursion will want to cycle through the scenic countryside; or go on an excursion to the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions, as well as home to elaborate cuckoo clocks, striking half-timber houses, ruined castles, and quaint towns.
Day 3, Tuesday, December 10: Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg is even more alluring during the season of Advent. The Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it the oldest Christmas Market in France. Enjoy a panoramic bus tour that takes you past the Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique. Afterwards, walk through the historic town center on the Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through the lovely “La Petite France” district, where you will see the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock and then visit the town’s famous Christmas Market. You can also choose to explore Strasbourg’s different districts by bicycle. During the afternoon, visit the Gengenbach Christmas Market where every year the locals countdown to Christmas with a 24-day, larger-than-life Advent calendar.
You have the choice to explore two of Germany’s historically rich cities, along with their festive Christmas Markets. Visit Heidelberg, a city that will capture your heart with its mighty castle and historic university. While here, wander along one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets, the Hauptstrasse, soaking up the Yuletide celebrations at the town’s Christmas Markets. Alternatively, you can explore one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also have time to visit its Christmas Market in front of the “Old Mint” (Alten Münze) in the famous Maximilianstrasse, with a view of the romantic imperial cathedral (Kaiserdom). Later in the day, sail to Rüdesheim where you can visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer Coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy.
Day 5, Thursday, December 12: Rudesheim and the Rhine Gorge
Your exploration of Rüdesheim continues with your choice of three excursions. Take a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the river. Afterwards, indulge your taste buds with a sampling of Riesling wines in the vineyards. Alternatively, you can join a guided bike ride through the town and along the Rhine River to Schloss Johannisberg; or hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards. During the afternoon, set sail along the scenic Rhine River Gorge with its fabled legends and many castles.
Day 6, Friday, December 13: Cologne, Germany
Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town. Explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral and then visit one of Europe’s largest and most renowned Christmas Markets located in front of the cathedral. Alternatively, ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten; or visit a local tavern to taste Cologne’s traditional Kölsch beer and Reibekuchen—potato pancakes served with apple sauce.
Day 7, Saturday, December 14: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Begin your discovery of Amsterdam with a scenic canal cruise, followed by a walking tour to the Begijnhof, known for its historic Middle Ages building and concluding with a panoramic city tour that includes the Royal Palace and Westerkerk. Or take in another Christmas Market. Museum Square turns into a wonderful Christmas Village, where you can enjoy Dutch treats, visit the Amsterdam Christmas Market, and go ice skating. Prepare to disembark the ship tomorrow morning (Day 8, Sunday) for your return flight home.
Pricing for the trip depends on the category of stateroom chosen. The per person cost, based on double-occupancy, including roundtrip air from Dulles International Airport, all transfers to/from the European airports, and trip protection, are:
- A 160-sq-ft fixed window standard stateroom: from $4,260.00 to $4,559.00
- A 170-155-sq-ft stateroom with a French balcony: from $4,859.00 to $5,159.00
- A 210-sq-ft double balcony stateroom: from $5,759.00 to $5,959.00
- A 235-sq-ft double balcony stateroom: from $6,159.00 to $6,359.00
- A 350-sq-ft double balcony suite: $7,779.00.
View of the sitting room of a 350-sq-ft suite (click to enlarge photos):
View of a 170-sq-ft French balcony stateroom:
View of a 210-sq-ft double balcony stateroom:
View of a 160-sq-ft fixed window stateroom:
Ask about triple or single occupancy pricing. Air from other air gateways is available. Pre- and post-stays in Zurich and Amsterdam are available. Fund-raising proceeds will come directly from AmaWaterways. A $400/person deposit will hold a stateroom. Final payment is not due until September 1, 2019.
CONTACT INFORMATION AND INTEREST FORM
Germanna Foundation Trustee and Germanna Clore descendant Skip Poole is the organizer of this trip. You can reach him toll-free at 888-877-2077 or call his mobile phone, 703-505-7593, or fill out this form to let him know you are interested in the trip: