It’s not hard to imagine, since we’re on the tail end of winter, the cozy feeling of being indoors with a hot cup of cocoa, or hot spiced wine when it’s a bit chilly outside. Now imagine that when you look out your balcony door, you see the magical twinkle lights of centuries old European towns and their Christmas markets. What an enchanting time of year to cruise Europe.
Traditionally held in the town square, Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas Markets, have festive food, drinks and seasonal items from open-air wooden stalls while you are being serenaded and entertained with traditional singing and dancing. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in Europe, and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire - which you’ll learn a lot about on your daily walking tours and are a part of the included excursions in most river port cities. In fact, Vienna, Austria’s "December market" goes back to 1298 with up to a dozen different markets in any given year—most of which are located around the famous Ringstrasse (ring road) that encircles the city’s historic core.
If you’re lucky, (in my opinion), snow will be falling down just a little bit as you sail along the river and will blanket the villages along the way. And you won’t have to worry about driving in the snow or being able to get your Christmas shopping done because you finished up your Christmas shopping before you left for your cruise. For those last-minute items, there’s time to bundle up and just walk off the ship right into the middle of the village or town where you’ll join in the town’s Christmas market experience and enjoy a cup of “gluhwein” and maybe a wurst or very large pretzel, or even a gingerbread cookie. And then after all of that, it’s back to the ship where you will simply love your four-star accommodations, with an amazing staff that addresses you by name from the 2nd day on, and you set sail overnight and arrive by morning for another day of enchanting experiences.
Be mesmerized by the Christmas markets of Nuremberg & Regensburg. Marvel at the small clay figurines representing the people of a typical village—the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker in Linz. Visit four amazing Christmas Markets in Vienna. Wrap yourself in holiday spirit, in the place, where so many Christmas traditions began.
If this excites you, and even sounds exactly like what sugar-plum dreams are made of, then contact me to find out more and secure your spot on a Magical Christmas Markets Cruise.
DAY DESTINATION ACTIVITIES
Day 1 Vienna – EMBARKATION
Vienna - Morning city tour with Town Hall Christmas Market or Alte Donau bike tour
Artisans and Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Markets
Melk - Benedictine Abbey tour or Danube bike tour
Wachau Valley - Scenic cruising or Melk to Dürnstein bike tour
Dürnstein - Walking tour and wine tasting or Apricots and Sweets tasting
Krems - Wine tasting or Evening walk
Linz - Walking tour or Full-day Salzburg or Castle and “Culture Mile” bike tour
Half-day Salzburg or Český Krumlov
Passau - Walking tour and Christmas Market or Passau bike tour
Regensburg - Scenic cruising; Walking tour or Bavarian specialties tasting or
Walhalla bike tour
Thurn and Taxis Royal Christmas Market
Nuremberg - City tour; Nuremberg Christmas Market
Cruise Main - Danube Canal
Nuremberg - DISEMBARKATION
OPTIONAL PRE & POST-CRUISE LAND PROGRAM AVAILABLE.
Many people don’t know if or how their current medical insurance policy will cover them when they are out of the country. One family found out the hard way. If you’ve been watching the news in recent weeks, maybe you’ve seen the story of the young man who was cruising with his family. He wasn’t feeling well and went to see the ship’s doctor where they found out that he had appendicitis.
With his mom with him, they checked him into a private hospital in Cancun, that asked for the admission cost of $6,000 and possible surgery cost of $25,000, which is standard procedure in many locations throughout the world. Because they did not have the funds to pre-pay for the $25,000 operation that the young man might need, they were sent to another hospital where they paid the $6,000 deposit that the new hospital required. And the young man was able to get the care he needed.
Happy ending, except they now have an unexpected $30,000+ bill, including the ship's doctor charges, and the hospital bill.
Why I always recommend travel insurance.
And some generally less expensive reasons, but still nice to have covered. Flight delays, flight cancellations, and lost luggage.
In the case of the young man above, what would have been the situation if he had travel protection insurance?
Depending on the details of his particular policy, it could’ve looked like this below scenario.
He feels ill and goes to ship Dr. They tell him he has appendicitis. Cruise ships charge for doctor visits. So, there’s a fee for that. Travel insurance comes through either through direct payment or reimbursement.
He calls his Travel Advisor, who reassures him and directs him to call the Travel Insurance 24-hour 800 number and give them the ship doctor’s report. The insurance company sends him to the hospital that they work with. He is admitted and the travel insurance company arranges and confirms with hospital that payment will be made through them up to the coverage limits of the policy. (If he had a hospital of choice rider, it might look a bit different.)
The family doesn’t have to go to multiple hospitals trying to find one where they will admit him and one that preferably speaks English. The travel insurance company takes care of that.
The family doesn’t have to worry about paying the $30,000, contacting their favorite uncle or long-lost relatives for money, or even making a GoFundMe page for that. It’s taken care of according to the coverages of the policy.
I’ve had clients have to cancel trips because their doctor said they couldn’t travel. Without travel insurance, they would’ve been responsible for thousands of dollars of non-refundable costs. And clients who lost luggage and the insurance company came through with reimbursement. Or had flights cancelled and had to spend an extra night, incurring additional out of pocket costs. I've been on trips where a traveler twisted her ankle and had to see a doctor. Travel insurance was there to help.
Every travel insurance policy is different, so it’s very important to read the fine print, inclusions and disclaimers. Some credit cards offer trip insurance. Does yours? But again, compare and read the fine print, even make some phone calls to find out what it actually covers. Check the pre-existing conditions clause on your credit card policy against the one you might be purchasing elsewhere. Be informed in the beginning stages of your vacation planning process because this is where early purchase benefits come in.
Just like I reduce the stress of your vacation planning, having travel insurance reduces the stress and burden of travel mishaps and unexpected expenses.
Have you purchased travel insurance? What was the main reason you did? I’m curious to know what your experience was. Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. If you need help planning your next trip, start here and we’ll work together to create a trip that will bring you beautiful memories and refreshed relationships.