Christmas markets with TUI River Cruises

 Here, we take a look at some of the reasons you should cruise with us over the festive season. 

Why choose a TUI Christmas market river cruise?

Explore your way

We offer lots of experiences, so you can really get to know our destinations – or explore at your own pace. Our Christmas market ports range from Cologne and Frankfurt to Mainz and Dusseldorf.

Festive atmosphere

You can expect seasonal touches, like mulled wine and festive entertainment during your cruise. Plus, our adult-only ships have no set dining times and a choice of restaurants.

So much included

From direct flights to service charges, our cruises are the whole package. Plus, our European Christmas market sailings come with lots of onboard activities to tie in with the festive season.

TUI's trusted service

We pride ourselves on our friendly team, with a crew member to every four guests. And, as we’re part of TUI, you can relax knowing we’re here to help at any time during your holiday.

Top five European Christmas markets

We’ve got lots of Christmas market ports on our festive itineraries. Here’s a peek at five of our favourites…

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France

Known as the ‘Capital of Christmas’, the festive period is big business here – the holiday market dates back to Medieval times. Get started with a mulled wine from one of the wooden chalets, then visit the cathedral’s impressive nativity scene, and snap a selfie by the towering Christmas tree in Place Kléber.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Several markets set up across the city in Cologne, including outside the famous cathedral. Spend an afternoon picking up handmade gifts and watching music performances on a fairy-light-strung stage, before visiting one of the city’s brewing houses for a local beer.

Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf, Germany

This German city looks super modern at first glance, but at its heart there’s an old quarter lined with archaic theatres and beer taverns. When it comes to the festive side of things, Dusseldorf is freckled with Christmas markets, including a fairy tale-themed shopping area.

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt is one of the big names on Germany’s Christmas market scene – it’s home to one of the oldest and largest anywhere in the country. The market is fitted with over 200 stalls selling all kinds of enticing gifts, and it’s all centred around a giant Christmas tree which takes prime position in the city’s old town.

Koblenz, Germany

Koblenz, Germany

Christmas is all wrapped up in Koblenz, thanks to the market as well as lots of sightseeing hotspots. You can watch a rooftop advent calendar open at the town hall and sample some traditional German stollen from the market stalls.  It’s also the perfect stop to pick up locally produced wines.

What to do onboard at Christmas

  • Try regional Christmas dishes in our restaurants, as well as favourites from home.

  • Warm up with a speciality hot chocolate or mulled wine, or try one of our festive cocktails.

  • Look forward to local acts, and join our local guest speakers, who’ll share their Christmas traditions.

  • Take part in craft demos, where you can learn how to make Christmas cards and embroidered gift tags.

  • Grab yourself a cocktail and snuggle up at one of our festive film screenings.

  • Join in with our Christmas-themed interactive quizzes.

Christmas Day cruises

If you want to spend Christmas on a river cruise ship, book our A Festive Fairy Tale itinerary, A Rhineland Christmas itinerary or our Rhine Christmas Charms itinerary. You’ll join the ship for a week-long cruise a few days before Christmas Day. In the spirit of the season, you can expect festive treats like mulled wine. There’s also a traditional dinner on Christmas day, and a drinks reception on Christmas Eve.

Holding a Christmas gift bag in front of a Christmas tree.

New Years Eve cruises

Grab your party hats and welcome in the new year on one of our New Year’s Eve cruises with a gala dinner, followed by a party with the obligatory countdown to midnight. You can recharge the next day with New Year’s Day brunch. In terms of destinations, our New Year on the Rhine sailing, for example, calls at seven ports and starts in Mainz. Or, celebrate on our Sail into the New Year itinerary, which calls into ports including Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Koblenz. Then, there’s our New Year Sail Away itinerary, which sets off from Frankfurt and glides through the likes of Cologne and Rotterdam, before finishing up in Amsterdam.

Raising a toast with glasses of champagne.

Christmas river cruise deals

Explore the waterways of Europe at Christmas with our magical river cruise deals

Explore the waterways of Europe at Christmas with our magical river cruise deals

Find out more and book online today.

Curious about the Christmas markets along your festive river cruise holiday route? Check out our Christmas Market Finder tool to discover markets at your destinations and plan your seasonal getaway.

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What is Christmas like on a river cruise?

You can expect all the trimmings when you sail with us at Christmas – from a traditional dinner on the big day, to festive film screenings, mulled wine, and seasonal interactive quiz games.

Are the ships decorated for Christmas?

Yes, our ships will be decked out in festive decorations.

When do the Christmas markets close?

Europe’s Christmas markets usually close just before Christmas.

What to pack for a Christmas market river cruise?

Make sure you bring plenty of warm clothes. Our festive sailings include shore experiences that feature time in some of Europe’s best Christmas markets – so you’ll want to include jumpers, winter accessories and a coat when you pack your suitcase.