Rhine Christmas Markets Dec. 2016

We are looking forward to this river boat cruise in 2016. I am very interested in any tips or advice from travelers that have taken this tour in Dec. 2015.


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    Also looking forward to this cruise. We are travelling Southbound on Dec 10. It will be our first river cruise. ????
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    Hello - we were so thrilled with the Christmas market trip we took in Decmber, 2015 through Switzerland, northern France and Germany that as soon as we came home, we reserved a cabin for a December, 2016 sailing on the Danube Christmas tour. We enjoyed unseasonably nice weather - no snow, only 1 rain day - but came prepared with boots, scarves, etc. we will tote the same winter accessories on the Danube cruise. We dressed in layers, as did our fellow passengers. We chose not to take "fancy" clothes (heels, dresses, etc.) for the dinners and we discovered no one else did, either. Prepare to have a very Merry Christmas - the markets are unlike anything else we've experienced in our travels!
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    I'll be traveling Southbound on November 26, 2016. Looking forward to a great trip.
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    My husband and I are booked for the December 4th Southbound cruise departing Cologne. Wondering about packing - generally how cold is the weather along the Rhine in early December. Also this is our first rivers cruise - we're excited about the adventure and looking forward to meeting fellow travelers.
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    I always recommend checking out weather expectations before booking a tour. It's all there in the Before You Go section of the tour page. Too cool and dark for me at that time of year.
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    Thanks for replying! Indeed we had already checked out the Before You Go sections. Perhaps the questions weren't presented as clearly as intended. The cool weather is perfectly in keeping with wrapping up in wool and drinking warm beverages, and the early darkness makes the holiday lights sparkle. So we are excited about all that. More specifically, wondering about needing - or not rain gear, boots for snow, etc. Again, thanks!
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    Although both of our Christmas Market tours were with another company, both were in early December. Our Rhine tour was in 2008 and our Danube tour was in 2010. The weather was very different on each one, so you need to be prepared however it might be. We needed a very warm hooded quilted coat for each one and gloves. We also wore long underwear if we expected to be outside for a longer period of time. The temperature was mostly in the low 30s. We took boots for the Rhine tour, but didn't need them since there was no snow. Early December of 2010 was unusually cold and snowy, so we needed our boots every time we left the boat! Also, because of melting snow from the mountains, the water level was too high for us to pass under some of the bridges. Therefore, we were bused from Passau to Regensburg, back to the boat, and eventually the next day to Nuremburg where we spent the last night in a hotel. Our tour company took fantastic care of us and I'm more than sure that Tauck will do the same if that scenario unfortunately arises. We loved the Christmas markets and I feel sure you'll have a wonderful trip no matter what the weather may, or may not be. Just be prepared!
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    Be sure to bring a warm sweater or wrap for evenings on board the ship. When it's cold outside it can be chilly sitting next to the windows or sides of the ship in the lounge or restaurant. We cruised the Rhine last Oct with colder than expected weather and anytime I sat next to the ships side wall at night I got chilled - and I'm normally not someone who gets cold easily. Overall for our Oct cruise the on board apparel was definitely more in the warm and casually nice category than dressy even at the welcome/farewell receptions. Few sport coats or dresses, lots of slacks and sweaters.
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    Thanks to Claudia and "loves travel" for your helpful replies!
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    You're welcome. Hope you enjoy your cruise.
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    Biccie wrote:
    Also looking forward to this cruise. We are travelling Southbound on Dec 10. It will be our first river cruise. ????
    Can hardly wait for this trip-first river cruise, Southbound Dec. 10! Traveling with my husband's siblings/spouses (8 of us); coming from TN, KY and OH.
    My first trip to Europe, although my husband traveled in Europe often for business so I am thankful for his expertise.
    We have lived in MI, IN and PA where winters could be long and cold, so I anticipate wearing layers, breathable long underwear and bringing comfortable boots or shooties in neutral, dark colors (as my husband recommended).
    I have a packable down parka/coat with a hood and 2-way zipper that will fold up into one of the pockets; think it will work well since warm coats are cumbersome when traveling.
    Any other suggestions would be welcome.
    Looking forward to meeting other travelers on this adventure!
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    Ok, I had to look up what a "shootie" was. Guess I haven't been paying enough attention to fashion. If your's have high heels on them, I'd save then for on board the ship. Going ashore requires going up and down the gangplank at a minimum If there is another ship between your's and the shore you'll also have to go up and down outside metal stairs. Tricky in good weather, potentially hazardous if icy.

    It used to be that if there was a ship between yours and the shore, you traveled from the ships reception area through the reception area of the other ship then a gangplank. For security reasons, that seems to have changed. We stopped briefly at Koblenz on our way to the Moselle one night. Had to go up the outside stair cases on our ship, travel over a metal gangplank to the adjacent ship, then down their outside steps and a gangplank to the shore.

    Footwear takes up alot of packing space and weight. For a Christmas cruise I think I'd only take 2 pair for outdoor walking/touring - if they were the sort that dried quickly I might only have 1 pair. Then one nicer pair of shoes for on board. I find it's nice after a day of walking and standing around to change shoes just to give my feet a break.

    Your down should be fine. Alternatively, a med-heavy weight nylon jacket loose enough to fit over layers and with lots of inside pockets also works well. Inside zippered pockets are great for securing valuables. Also nice for the Vox headset on tours instead of hanging from the neck strap. Much more comfortable.
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    I joined three friends on the Rhine Christmas Market Tour in 2014. It was my first river cruise and we loved it so much we are booked on 12-3-16 Danube tour. We booked a loft cabin and just loved it. We did not know what to expect weather wise and we all live in southeastern Georgia, so we are not accustomed to cold weather. I packed a down coat, 2 pair of rain/snow boots, hats, scarves, gloves etc, along with my silk underwear. We never saw the sun for the entire 9 days were in Europe. It was cold dreary and damp, but we only had mild rain one day. I wore my boots everyday because there is lots of walking on uneven wet streets and steps. I hate for my feet to be cold. We flew into Basel a day ahead and loved that we had the opportunity to explore this lovely little town on our own. We will be flying into Vienna a day early this year, too. I loved the French town of Colmar...a quaint town that had special meaning to me as my father was on of General Patton's soldiers who liberated the town from the Germans during WWII. I did not think about the fact that I would be anywhere near his journey of many years ago. Our guide was so kind and told me many interesting facts about the area after she found out about my Dad.

    My advice would be if you see something you want or like, buy it when you see it...you may not find it again...I bought lovely hat pins in Basel because I would never need the wool hats in my hometown climate, but the hat pins are a great reminder of the lovely hats I found there. We missed our opportunity early in the cruise to ship home wine and later in the trip there we could not find a store to do so.

    My least favorite town was probably Baden Baden. The casino is beautiful, but most of the shops were out of my price range and the market is small. We wished that we had known more about the baths and how to go to one of those for a short visit.

    I was not really fond of the tour of the music box museum in Heilberg, but it might have been our tour guide inside the museum, but once you got in it was impossible to get back out.

    Rudesheim was a lovely town and we enjoyed the markets there, too. A lovely nativity scene is beautiful at night.

    The ship was beautiful, the food and wine excellent and the staff was wonderful. Ready to head out this Dec. for another wonderful trip.
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    it looks like we will be meeting on the Dec 4 Southbound!
    I was actually on a Danube Christmas markets cruise last year (with a different company) that started on December 1st, and it was unseasonably warm and sunny! I was completely over packed with things that were much too warm. However, I will probably be bringing the same things this year, as you never know what the weather will have in store for us.

    I don't think snow boots are necessary, but definitely have an outer layer that is waterproof, and layers like sweaters and fleece to keep you warm. Also, waterproof/warm boots were a must! Cobblestones are cold when you're just standing around enjoying a mug of mulled wine! Don't bother with an umbrella. They're not very practical in the busy markets, and if you do need one, Tauck supplies them in your stateroom.

    Looking forward to meeting you!
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    Hi itoaya! Thanks much for sharing your experience on the Danube Christmas cruise - you must have enjoyed that cruise so much that you're signed up for the Rhine version. Consistent information is that layers are a must.........and appreciate the tips about boots and the cold cobblestone. We're looking forward to meeting you as well. It's only three months before departure! Thanks again.
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    Hello Cruise Mates on December 4. Southbound Rhine River,

    We will be sailing along with you. We love the Christmas Markets! We sailed the Danube 2 years ago, but love the Rhine and its markets. This is our first Tauck River Cruise.

    We are arriving Cologne one day early and from Basel, railing to Munich.

    Yes, it is cold! You do not notice as much holding a hot mulled wine, warm flavored milk or hot chocolate!

    These markets are just magical and traditional and each one has its own personality and local eats.

    We have traveled the Alsace Wine Road by car and these towns are SO charming.

    We look forward to meeting all who are traveling along with us. It will be great.

    Susan and Max
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    Dear Susan and Max,
    Thank you for the additional tips. Gosh, in a bit over 6 weeks we will be onboard!
    We are also arriving in Cologne one day early, and hoping to get some additional time to see the city.
    We also look forward to meeting you, and all our fellow cruising friends.
    Barbara and George
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    Barbara and George and Toaya,

    Our Danube cruise was very cold. Yes, we were prepared in layers, 2 pairs of outside shoes and one for the ship. We also, sailed with another company. Very excited about 2 upcoming Tauck travels.

    We are hoping, with less ships on the Rhine in winter, we can walk into some of the towns and come and go from the ship without a bus transfer.

    Starting to think about our layers. Just cannot wait!!

    Look forward to meeting you all.

    Susan and Max
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    Hello! My husband and I are doing the Northbound Rhine River cruise Nov. 27-Dec.3. I am having tough time knowing what kind of coat to bring. How cold will it be? With wind chill? I am finding online (Accuweather) temps in the mid-upper 40's and lows the in the mid -low 30's. Hmmm

    Nora Jo
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    We are looking forward to this river boat cruise in 2016. I am very interested in any tips or advice from travelers that have taken this tour in Dec. 2015.
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    Barbara and George, and Susan and Max.
    Getting excited, we're a month away now! We're arriving in Cologne early as well, though not staying at the Tauck designated hotel.

    Susan and Max - don't you love the less congested winter months? I love it when the towns are right on the river and you're able to walk in to the city centre too! On this itinerary, we'll have to bus to Heidelberg, Strasbourg, and Colmar (and Riquewihr) as they're not right on the river.

    I'm hoping the weather isn't too bad! I'd rather have cold than rain.

    Looking forward to meeting you all!
    Aya (and my mother Chika)

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