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December 5-13, 2014

In cold December days of yore, Europeans gathered in town squares to buy and sell spices, sweets, and other special items for the holidays. Fresh gingerbread and mulled wine kept them warm, while music and games gladdened their hearts. These were the first Christmas Markets, and centuries later they continue to bring the magic of the season alive.

Join National Trust Tours on a special holiday Christmas Markets Cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg aboard the M.S. AmaBella and experience the storybook cities and villages of the Danube. Led by architectural historian John Meffert, the tour will uncover dramatic architecture and the festive spirit of the historic Christmas Markets of Hungary, Austria, and Germany, each offering distinct customs, foods, and handicrafts.


  • A special “Illuminations Cruise” along the in Budapest riverfront
  • Sample some kürtőskalács—chimney cake—at the Christmas Market, and see the city’s landmarks on a panoramic tour
  • Exclusive access to a training session at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna
  • Visits to Melk’s Benedictine Abbey, whose medieval library inspired The Name of the Rose
  • Cruise to Passau to explore the cobbled streets of the 2,000-year-old city
  • Explore Regensburg, with its Old Town Hall and ancient Roman gates
  • Browse for one-of-a-kind gifts at the old Kornmarkt Christmas market
  • Marvel at the world's largest Christmas market in Nuremberg where the city's famous gingerbread is just one of the many treats on offer

Tour Itinerary
December 5 - Friday - New York Departure
Depart New York on an overnight flight to Budapest.

December 6 - Saturday - Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest and transfer to the luxurious M.S. AmaBella. Explore Budapest’s unique Christmas Market before meeting your fellow travelers at our Welcome Dinner. Later tonight, the ship makes a special “Illuminations Cruise” along Budapest’s glittering riverfront, then moors overnight near the city center.

December 7 - Sunday - Budapest| Esztergom, Hungary
This morning depart by motorcoach for a brief city tour. See Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Rejoin the ship in historic Esztergom and sail for Vienna.

December 8 - Monday - Vienna, Austria
Begin the day with a walking tour of Vienna that includes St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the historic city center. Continue to the famed Spanish Riding School where we are invited to watch a training session from a separate VIP area. After lunch on board spend time at the festive Christmas Market located around the Town Hall. Experience the magical holiday atmosphere and enticing aroma of hot mulled wine, sizzling sausages, roasted chestnuts, and freshly baked gingerbread. Tonight, you may return to town on your own, or attend an optional Mozart and Strauss concert. AmaBella sails for Melk in the late evening.

December 9 - Tuesday - Melk | Linz, Austria
Arrive this morning in Melk to see the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries with a medieval library that inspired Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose. Rejoin the ship in Grein at lunchtime and continue cruising to Linz.

December 10 - Wednesday - Linz, Austria | Passau, Germany
After breakfast, you may choose to remain on board as we cruise to Passau or join an excursion to Salzburg. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Salzburg is an architectural and historical jewel. The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, it is also the setting for the film, “The Sound of Music.” Discover Salzburg’s lively Christmas Market, renowned for local handicrafts and unique Old World gifts. Those who remain aboard will arrive in Passau late this afternoon. Explore this historic city, with its well-preserved Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture. Walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, past the old fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to the largest pipe organ in the world. There will also be free time to stroll in Passau’s traditional Christmas Market before the group returns to AmaBella for dinner.

December 11 - Thursday - Regensburg, Germany
Step ashore in medieval Regensburg in the early afternoon to see the city’s highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria — gates to a Roman fort built in 179 C.E. Walk in the Old Kornmarkt Christmas Market and browse the festive stalls, or visit the “royal” Christmas Market at the Thurn and Taxis Palace, where you can see craftsmen at work.

December 12 - Friday - Nuremberg, Germany
This morning AmaBella enters the Main-Danube Canal, a marvel of modern engineering that traverses the Franconian Alps via 16 locks. Enjoy an afternoon tour of historic Nuremberg with its fabulous Gothic churches, elegant patrician houses, 900-year-old city ramparts, Imperial Castle, and the Justice Palace where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946. Visit the world’s largest Christmas Market, with close to 200 red-and-white canvas-topped booths offering an assortment of unique toys, tinsel angels, dolls, gingerbread, and other treats. The ship overnights in Nuremberg.

December 13 - Saturday - Nuremberg | New York
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for return flights home.

Optional Budapest Prelude
December 3-6, 2014
Stay two nights in the Hungarian capital in a riverfront hotel offering spectacular views of the Danube. Tour this architectural textbook of a city, which features everything from Roman ruins to Ottoman bathhouses to Magyar Secessionist palaces. Discover the neo-baroque Szechenyi Baths, the Renaissance-style State Opera House, and the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau. Marvel at the 11th-century Crown of St. Stephen enshrined inside the Parliament Building, and enjoy the panorama from the terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion atop Castle Hill. There will also be leisure time to explore Budapest on your own.

Tour Price*
Per person, based on double occupancy.

Piano Deck
Cabins - Fixed Windows $3,345

Cello Deck
Cabins - French Balcony $3,745
Cabins - French & Outside Balcony $4,245-$4,545

Violin Deck
Cabins - French Balcony $3,745
Cabins - French & Outside Balcony $4,345-$5,845

Optional Budapest Prelude:
Per person - $995
Single supplement - $195
Includes two nights at the Marriott Hotel, breakfast daily, one lunch, and one dinner. Sightseeing as noted.

Special Offer!
Mention Historic Hotels of America when booking your tour and receive three $100 gift certificates, each good toward a $100 refund when you book through and stay for at least two- nights at a Historic Hotels of America hotel.**

To book a tour please contact our tour VIP desk at +1 202 772 8000 or

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*Per person, based on double occupancy. A very limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy at a supplement ranging from 30 to 100 percent of the cruise rate.
Included in tour cost: Seven nights cabin accommodations aboard M.S. AmaBella; All meals during the cruise; Wine with lunches and dinners; Enrichment program of lectures by John Meffert; Sightseeing via AmaWaterways coaches; Airport/pier group transfers and porterage; Taxes, service charges; Gratuities to guides and drivers.
Not included in tour cost: Airfare; Passport fees; Port charges; Shipboard gratuities; Alcoholic beverages other than wine at lunches and dinners; Personal items and expenses; Airport transfers for those not on group flights; Baggage in excess of one suitcase; Trip insurance; Optional Budapest prelude; Any other items not specifically mentioned as included.

**Maximum of one $100 certificate may be claimed for a refund with a minimum two night stay booked through following the return of your tour and completion of your hotel stay. The refund will be issued within 45 days of the completion of your stay upon submitting a Great Experiences & Tours $100 refund application. Refund application must be submitted with a copy of your hotel folio receipt, the original confirmation number from your booking on, and the Certificate number issued to you for booking your tour through Historic Hotels of America. Certificates issued are a promotion only valid toward future reservations made through and do not have any cash value. One certificate may be used per room per two night or longer stay at the same hotel. Eligible rates include rates publicly available at time of booking. Reduced rates, rooms included in another travel or tour package, employee rates, advance purchase rates, and certain last minute sale rates are not eligible for this promotion.