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The rising cost of airfares and lack of availability has priced many travellers out from taking that European summer river cruise.

But, there are plenty of Christmas market cruises running this year between Avalon Waterways, Uniworld and more.

We have compiled a list of top river cruise companies with confirmed Christmastime voyages for 2022 to 2023. 

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways scheduled more than 40 Christmastime voyages. 

The special interest cruises are set to sail on the Danube, Main, and Rhine River and considered by many as a true gift of timeless tradition. 

You’ll get a chance to see musical instruments come to life in Rüdesheim, Germany; taste Austrian Christmas cookies while sailing to Vienna; visit Melk’s Benedictine Abbey to marvel at its frescoed ceilings; and see the magical Christmas markets of Budapest, Prague, or Strasbourg.

The 16-day river cruise from Vienna to Basel is scheduled to visit exciting spots in four European countries: Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland. Fare price starts from $7,442. 

Scenic River Cruises 

Enjoy ‘unrivalled luxury and joyful experiences’ to share with family and friends when you book a Christmas river cruise with Scenic. 

Embark on the most enchanting shopping spree of your life at the best Christmas Markets in Europe, where the stalls are adorned in glistening fairy-lights and the frosty air is filled with the sweet aromas of roasting chestnuts and spiced Glühwein.

The 11-days Danube Christmas Markets with Prague will take you to festive market stalls that twinkle with fairy lights and are piled high with gingerbread and hand-blown Christmas glass ornaments. Tickets start from A$ 8,528

If you are looking for something unique and unexpected, you can join a cultural Christmas in South East Asia on an exotic cruise along the Mekong. 

Viking River Cruises

A Christmas themed Viking river cruise will take you though many wonderful cities around Europe: Nuremberg, Vienna, Germany, Austria and more. 

Viking river ships are adorned with hand-carved toys and ornaments, spicy glühwein and aromatic gingerbread. 

Special excursions will take you to magical places so you can wander through the Cobblestone streets that are illuminated with Christmas lights. Your ears will be delighted with the angelic sound of carollers. 

At least six Christmas voyages are scheduled for Viking such as the eight-day Christmas on the Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Basel (fare starts from A$3,218 per person). 

Meanwhile, Christmas on the Danube is an eight-day voyage from Budapest to Regensburg with fares starting from A$3,498 per person. 

Emerald Cruises 

Emerald Cruises offers special interest cruises that focus on Christmas markets, which can take you back to a rich historical tradition of Christkindlmarkt that originated in Germany and dates back as far as the late middle ages. 

Popular attractions across these wonderfully festive markets include the obligatory huge Christmas tree, lit up in all its glory, along with a Nativity scene and festive singing and dancing. 

Explore the Christmas markets of Europe from the South of France, to Germany, Austria, and Hungary with Emerald’s specially tailored itineraries ranging from 5 to 15 days.

The five-day Christmas Time on the Rhine voyage (Frankfurt to Basel)  is priced at A$2,091 while the 15-days Christmas Markets of Europe (Budapest to Amsterdam) is priced at A$ 5,100 per person. 

Uniworld 

The boutique river cruise company offers three Christmas voyages: classic, grand, and enchanted. 

The Classic Christmas Markets is an eight-day river cruise from Nuremberg to Frankfurt. Passengers can sail through Christmas country, trying Frankfurt’s famous apple cider and Nuremberg’s gingerbread. Fare starts from A$ 5,455

Meanwhile, the Grand Christmas & New Year’s Cruise is a 13-day voyage from Nuremberg to Budapest. On top of the classic Christmas itinerary, this special voyage features a visit to stunning churches and sample delicious wines in enchanting baroque villages. Guests can ring in the New Year in Vienna, and see how a dusting of snow adds to the glamour of Hungary’s historic capital. Fare starts from A$ 9,793

Lastly, the Enchanting Christmas & New Year’s Cruise is an 11-day voyage from Passau to Budapest. Guests can spend Christmas Day in Salzburg and enjoy a holiday lunch within the walls of St. Peter’s Abbey..Fare starts from A$ 8,394