Viking’s Holiday Magic

As we watch summer fade into fall, it’s time to plan to celebrate the holidays in old-world style. Viking River Cruises’s holiday sailings offer the most memorable gift you could imagine: in-depth cultural enrichment in Europe’s best loved river ports. Perfectly planned itineraries abound with Yuletide magic, the ideal way to experience Europe’s picturesque atmosphere and charm. This is the most festive time of year to cruise these waters as glittering lights and finery adorn Europe’s streets. On board your home away from home, the discovery continues with cultural enrichment activities designed to keep you fully immersed in the holiday riches of Europe—delicious regional cuisine, destination performances, festively decorated ships, and onboard lectures. Celebrate the season with Viking, and you’ll also enjoy Viking Inclusive Value. One price includes so much from meals and beverages to shore excursions and Wi-Fi.

Europe’s Christmas Markets with Viking River Cruises
Europe’s Christmas markets are where the romance and spirit of the holidays come alive. It’s not just the markets that have all the magic of the holidays, but Viking ships are adorned with extra shimmer and sparkle as well. Explore some of the fairy tale settings of Europe’s Christmas Markets.

Interested in learning more about our European Christmas markets cruises? Visit us at: Viking River Cruises

Viking for the Holidays: Danube Waltz

Celebrate the holidays with the cultural traditions of Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Enjoy art, architecture, history and charming Christmas markets in European destinations including Passau, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava and Budapest.

Viking for the Holidays: Romantic Danube

This popular 8-day holiday cruise lets you discover Danube delights in Hungary, Austria, and Germany. From historic Budapest to beautiful Vienna to medieval Regensburg, experience the holiday season like never before.

Gingerbread and glühwein are traditional treats that are enjoyed during the holiday season.

Traditional Gingerbread with Chef Walter Simon Snr.

Spiced and nutty in flavor, these traditional German Christmas cookies resemble soft gingerbread. Enjoy them at home or give as a gift—either way they fill your home with delightful aromas while baking. Taste these and many other holiday treats on one of our late fall or winter cruises along the Rhine or Danube.

Ingredients:
Cookies:
One-half cup honey
One-half cup molasses
Three-quarters cup brown sugar (packed)
One egg
One tablespoon lemon juice
One teaspoon lemon zest
Two and three-quarters cup flour
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
One teaspoon ground cloves
One teaspoon ground allspice
One teaspoon ground nutmeg
One-third cup candied citron (diced)
One-third cup hazelnuts (chopped)

Icing:
One cup sugar
One-half cup water or milk
One-quarter teaspoon vanilla extract
One-quarter cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Cookies:
Combine honey and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and all spices. Add the molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in citron and hazelnuts. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a floured surface, roll out a small amount of the chilled dough to one-quarter-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, use more flour when rolling. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut round cookies out and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and brush icing while still hot. You can decorate with slivers of nuts or candied citron or other dried fruit. Or if you prefer, you can drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in a sealed container with a wedge of apple or orange to retain moistness.

Icing:
Heat sugar and water or milk with vanilla in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar. If icing becomes crystallized, reheat and add water or milk as needed.

Makes 8–10 servings.

GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE) GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE)
Around the Christmas season, public houses in nearly every European town offer mulled wine as a delicious antidote to the season’s chill. To warm up on a stormy evening or put yourself in a celebratory mood, you can make your own glühwein at home
Ingredients
4 qts dry red wine (e.g., zinfandel, pinot, burgundy)
1 C white sugar (more to taste)
1 pt brandy
12 whole cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp mace
1 qt dry white wine
1 orange
1 lemon

Garnish
6 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, sliced

Directions
Pour red wine into a 3-gal pot (or larger) and begin gentle heating. Add sugar and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add brandy and white wine, slices of 1 orange and the lemon. Steep for 1 hour over low heat. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices or a cinnamon stick.

Cook time: 1 hour

Makes 12-15 servings.

If you are considering a Festive Season river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • Which River? A First-Time Cruiser’s Guide

    Avalon Waterways® offers European river cruises on the Rhine, Rhône, Moselle, Danube, Seine, Main as well as Christmas Markets cruises. But which rivers do first timers typically choose? Here are the most popular choices along with a short video to help you select one that matches your special interests.

    Rhine River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    As it winds through Europe’s castle-dotted hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and Old World villages, the Rhine River is the essence of romance.
    The Rhine River is Germany’s longest river. From Roman times through WWII, the Rhine has been the center of ancient empires. A cruise on the Rhine River is going to suit romantics, history enthusiasts, epicures, nature lovers, and wine lovers. You can look forward to little medieval towns, quaint half-timbered buildings, enchanted castles, majestic cathedrals, historic cities, and, of course, the romantic Rhine’s scenic natural beauty. The river also fosters countless vineyards and small farms, making it an oenophile’s dream. A journey on the Rhine is a voyage back through history.

    Rhone River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    Past hillside vineyards and fragrant lavender fields, the Rhône River flows from Switzerland through France before emptying into the Mediterranean at the Golfe du Lion. A journey along the Rhône features sweeping views of rolling hills dotted with castles and vineyards. Enjoy a delightful stay in Lyon, France’s second-largest city and its gastronomical capital.

    Moselle River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    Flowing through France and Germany, the Moselle River is situated in the picturesque Moselle Valley, famous for its striking scenery, charming architecture and exceptional Moselle wines. A Moselle River cruise is ideal for wine lovers. Riesling, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau, and Kerner wines are all produced in this area. View the video!

    Danube River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river. The Danube has inspired artists, poets, and musicians for centuries. Those who love history, architecture, art, and distinct cultures are going to love a voyage down the Danube. Blending Eastern and Western Europe, you can look forward to seeing ancient cities and Roman ruins on the extraordinary Danube River.
    Originating in Germany and flowing eastward through much of Central Europe, the Danube River gives cruise passengers the opportunity to view everything from perpendicular hillsides to small hamlets dotting the landscape to bustling cities situated right along the bank. Stunning cities such as Budapest, Vienna and Prague have intriguing histories and heritages mixed with a modern culture, making a visit to these parts of Central Europe extraordinarily unique. Excursions onshore include visits to imposing castles and majestic basilicas, as well as quiet wineries.
    Start planning your Danube river cruise today!

    Seine River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    At 485 miles, the Seine is the second-longest river in France. It runs northwest from Burgundy, passes through Paris, and eventually empties into the English Channel at Le Havre.
    Whether you appreciate the arts and fine wine or rolling hills and historic structures, the Seine provides a smooth and seamless way to explore France.

    Main River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    Located in Germany, the Main River is one of the more significant tributaries of the Rhine River, flowing all the way to the Danube River. The river has been canalized with 34 large locks to allow ships to navigate the entire length of the river. The lands along the Main River are the epitome of German history and culture. Thanks to the Main-Danube Canal, it is now possible to navigate from the Rhine Delta at Rotterdam, Holland, to the Danube Delta at the Black Sea-a stretch of 2,200 miles. View the video to see medieval villages and ancient castles.

    Christmas Time River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    Discover Europe during the joyous holiday season – from a perspective only Avalon can deliver. Freshly baked gingerbread. Trees radiant with twinkling lights. A steaming mug of mulled wine in hand as you meander among quaint stalls filled with one-of-a-kind gifts. Europe’s dearly loved Christmas Markets have captivated holiday revelers for centuries—fall under their spell onboard and in the charming villages. View the video to learn more!

    Top 10 Reasons To Take A Christmas Markets River Cruise

    In late fall and early winter, river cruise lines end their annual season by delivering the magical yuletide traditions and pageantry of the famous Christmas markets of Europe. A totally different experience than the same itineraries in the peak summer season, the villages and hamlets along the rivers take on a festive atmosphere as cruisers meander through time-honored marketplaces originally developed hundreds of years ago to celebrate the beginning of Advent.

    AmaWaterways Christmas Markets
    AmaWaterways Christmas Markets

    Even though the weather is cooler, there are compelling reasons to take a holiday markets river cruise:

    1. Commemorate All Things Christmas
    Embrace the holiday spirit in Europe with the smells of freshly baked gingerbread, trees radiant with twinkling lights, and a warm mug of mulled glühwein in hand as you wander quaint booths filled with distinctive gifts.

    Gingerbread Houses are a cornerstone of Christmas festivities. Watch the creation of a perfect Gingerbread house for your holiday with Viking‘s pastry chef, Joanna Hajn.

    2. Reminiscing Memories
    Experience the sparkle and spectacle of timeless traditions. Recapture all the joy of your most cherished childhood memories in towns where many holiday traditions originated. AmaWaterways Christmas Markets

    Continue reading Top 10 Reasons To Take A Christmas Markets River Cruise

    Savor The Holidays

    This holiday season, we’ve gathered traditional recipes together from Viking River Cruises for your family to enjoy. Almost every culture has its own festive foods to celebrate the holidays. These treasured favorites are passed from generation to generation.

    LEBKUCHEN

    LEBKUCHEN
    LEBKUCHEN, traditional German Christmas cookies

    Spiced and nutty in flavor, these traditional German Christmas cookies taste like soft gingerbread. The best-known are Nürnberger Lebkuchen, which are often presented in ornately decorated tins or boxes. Sometimes, Lebkuchen are baked and decorated as ornaments.

    INGREDIENTS
    Cookies:
    1/2 C honey
    1/2 C molasses
    3/4 C brown sugar, packed
    1 egg
    1 T lemon juice
    1 tsp lemon zest
    2 3/4 C flour, additional for dusting
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground allspice
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/3 C candied citron, diced
    1/3 C hazelnuts, chopped

    Icing:
    1 C sugar
    1/2 C water or milk
    1/4 C confectioner’s sugar

    GARNISH
    Almonds, slivered
    Candied citron
    Melted chocolate

    DIRECTIONS
    Cookies:
    Combine honey and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and all spices. Add the molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in citron and hazelnuts. Cover and chill overnight.

    Preheat oven to 350°F (167°C). Dust flour on a hard surface, roll out a small amount of the chilled dough to 1/4-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, use more flour when rolling. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut round cookies out and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While baking, make icing. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and brush with icing while still hot. You can decorate with slivers of nuts or candied citron or other dried fruit. Or if you prefer, you can drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in a sealed container with a wedge of apple or orange to retain moistness.

    Icing:
    Heat sugar and water or milk with vanilla in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in confectioner’s sugar. If icing becomes crystallized, reheat and add water or milk as needed.

    Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
    Makes 8-10 servings.

    Continue reading Savor The Holidays

    European Cruise Stretch

    Are you planning an ocean or river cruise in Europe this year? Why not stretch your vacation and avoid the headache of potential airline delays and the rush of same-day arrival, with a pre-cruise hotel package? Or, keep a good thing going with a post-cruise extension. Avanti Destinations® offers a wide selection of add-ons throughout the most popular embarkation and debarkation ports in Europe. Here are just a few:

    Pre- and Post-Cruise

    Amsterdam
    3 Days/2 Nights from $269* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Leidse Square Hotel; Rijksmuseum & Canal Bus Day Pass; Private Transfer from or to Pier; and Daily Breakfast
    Combine this with an Avalon Waterways river cruise:
    Avalon Europe
    amsterdam

    Athens
    3 Days/2 Nights from $249* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Hotel Arion; City Tour & Visit to New Acropolis Museum; Private Transfer from or to Pier; and Daily Breakfast
    Explore Athens in conjunction with an Oceania Cruises voyage.
    EUR_SANTORINI

    Barcelona
    3 Days/2 Nights from $289* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Hotel Del Mar; Private 2-hr Car & Driver; Private Transfer from or to Pier; and Daily BreakfastRoyal Caribbean Cruise Line Logo
    Link this package with your next Royal Caribbean Mediterranean cruise.
    Royal Caribbean

    Copenhagen Tourists at outdoor cafes on Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark
    3 Days/2 Nights from $469* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Superior Square Hotel; Hop-on/Hop-off City Tour; Private Transfer from or to Pier; and Daily Breakfast

    London CEL_London_Guards_1.eps
    3 Days/2 Nights from $359* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Kensington Court Hotel on Nevern Place; London Oyster Card; Private Transfer from or to Tilbury Docks; and Daily Breakfast (Private transfers from Harwich pier or Southampton pier available)

    Venice
    3 Days/2 Nights from $395* per person
    Includes: 3 Star Hotel San Zulian; City Tour; TripBuilder Guidebook; Private Transfer from or to Pier; and Daily Breakfast
    CEL_Venice_Gondolas_5.eps
    Celebrity Cruises has Mediterranean departures from Venice and Rome.
    Continue reading European Cruise Stretch

    Rediscover the Magic of the Holidays

    For Uniworld® Boutique River Cruise Collection, Europe is a magical destination during the yuletide season, with grand treasures and hidden wonders just waiting to be discovered. You can experience the joys of an old-fashioned Christmas with Uniworld as they sail onboard luxurious, festively decorated ships to cities and villages rich in timeless holiday traditions. Travelers can enjoy beloved Christmas treats in Basel, browse trendy shops down Paris’ Champs Élysée, and marvel at one-of-a-kind gifts while strolling through legendary Christmas Markets. Uniworld’s holiday season cruises are perfectly designed to provide a hassle-free journey, so instead of worrying about holiday stress, travelers can focus on rediscovering holiday magic.

    Paris Shop Decorated For Christmas
    Paris Shop Decorated For Christmas

    Smell the inviting aroma of roasted chestnuts and gingerbread in the air as you visit the famous Christmas Markets of Europe. A vacation to Europe during this most unique time of the year is best experienced on a luxurious river cruise ship as you unpack only once while you are taken from one exciting destination to the next in style. Culinary pleasures abound as Uniworld’s talented chefs create tantalizing holiday menus, featuring regional European specialties and traditional favorites. Expect eggnog on Christmas morning and champagne on New Year’s Eve. Plus, gingerbread and hot-mulled wine can be enjoyed all along the way.

    Continue reading Rediscover the Magic of the Holidays