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Add to your cruise along the Rhine with extra sightseeing before and/or after.

You can see a great deal more of Switzerland prior to the cruise's departure from Basel, and after the cruise ends in Amsterdam, you can choose to travel on to Belgium.

Both options are available in different length packages, and include sightseeing, touring, accommodation and breakfasts.

 
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Rhine River Christmas Markets Cruise

Optional Extensions Pre and Post Cruise
 

Click the map to have a larger version open in a new window

You can add sightseeing in up to six different Swiss towns and cities before your river cruise along the Rhine.

You can also choose to add sightseeing in two more Dutch cities and two Belgium cities too after your river cruise.

This page gives you information on our optional pre and post cruise extensions.  You have a great degree of flexibility in terms of what options you can add - so much so that we run the risk of making it confusing.  So this is our attempt to hopefully clarify things.  And if there are questions we've not clearly answered, please do ask us.

Click here for the main details of the Rhine River Christmas cruise and the booking form to confirm your interest.

Click here for the main day by day itinerary of the Rhine River Christmas cruise itself.

And if you'd like more information on what you'll see and enjoy on this cruise, here is a day by day photo journal of a recent (Danube) Christmas cruise.

Optional Pre-Cruise Extension

We recommend you arrive into Europe at least a day before the start of your cruise.  This gives you a day not only to unwind and adjust after your flight, but also an 'emergency day' in case you have flight delays, or lost baggage, or anything like that.

So if you're going to arrive at least a day early anyway, why not enjoy it the best way possible by seeing some more of Switzerland with your fellow Travel Insiders.

And so, here is the ultimate in flexible pre-cruise options.  Choose to arrive 1, 2, 3 or 4 days early (indeed, come to Europe even earlier still if you wish) and enjoy as much or as little of this pre-cruise extra touring.

Read down this list of days and events/activities/inclusions to see how many days you wish to add to your Rhine River Christmas Cruise.  And here's a link to a Google map of the itinerary.

Here's a summary of what is included :

Extra Days

Hotel

Touring

Other

Price per person

1

1 nt Zurich

Tour/transfer Zurich to Basel and ship, guided walking tours of Lucerne and Basel

Breakfast

$275

2

2 nts Zurich

As 1 above plus tour of Zurich

2 Breakfasts

$475

3

2 nts Zurich
1 nt Geneva

As above plus touring from Geneva to Zurich via Lausanne and Bern with walking tours in both Lausanne and Bern

3 Breakfasts

$775

4

2 nts Zurich
2 nts Geneva

As above plus tour of Geneva

4 Breakfasts

$975

5+

Maybe consider flying in to Paris for a night or two, then taking a train to Geneva to join this mini-tour

 

First Extra Day
Main Tour Day 2 (Friday 3 December) :  Zurich, Lucerne, Basel

Lucerne is one of Switzerland's most popular tourist destinations.  We'll find out why.
 
The medieval town center of Lucerne
 
Basel as seen from the Rhine river.

(Note - due to the confusing way we are listing these days in backwards order, each day we feature includes the previous night's hotel accommodation.)

We'll check out of our hotel this morning and make our way by coach the relatively short distance to Lucerne, where we'll stop for a walking tour and sightseeing.

With spectacular mountain views, and set on a lovely lake, as well as a lot of history, Lucerne is one of the tourist gems of Switzerland.

We then continue on to Basel, where we arrive mid afternoon.

We will be taken on a walking tour around the heart of Basel's historic center, and will have time to enjoy the Christmas Market, and then can make our way to where the ship is moored.

Our bags will have already been transferred to the ship and our cabins.

 

Second Extra Day
Main Tour Day 1 (Thursday 2 December) :  Zurich

A view over Zurich and looking to Lake Zurich.
 
A scene in Zurich's old town.

Enjoy a full day in Zurich today.

We'll start the day off, after breakfast, with a half day tour around the heart of the city.

There's a lot to see and do in Zurich - the largest city in Switzerland, and regularly winning prizes for being the city with the best quality of life in the world.

Maybe go open a Swiss bank account.  Or, if you'd prefer to spend rather than save your money, the city also features Europe's biggest indoor Christmas market.

 

Third Extra Day
Main Tour Day 0 (Wednesday 1 December) :  Lausanne and Bern

A classic view of Lausanne, with Lake Geneva in the background, and France on the other side of the Lake.
 
The main street of the historic center of beautiful Bern curves up from the bridge in the middle of the picture.

This morning we'll leave our Geneva hotel after breakfast and travel first to Lausanne, then to Bern, before arriving in Zurich later in the afternoon.

Lausanne, like Geneva, is in French speaking Switzerland (Bern and Zurich are in the German speaking part of Switzerland).  It is home of the International Olympic Commission (but has never hosted the Olympics).

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and its historic center is listed as a World Heritage site.  It too (along with Zurich) is one of the world's top ten cities as measured by quality of life.

 

Fourth Extra Day
Main Tour Day -1 (Tuesday 30 November) :  Geneva

The Palace of Nations. built in the 1920s as a home for the League of Nations.
 
The fountain in Lake Geneva shoots 132 gallons of water every second, at 124 mph, up 459' into the air

After presumably arriving in Geneva yesterday (or earlier), we'll start our Geneva experience after breakfast with a half day tour around the heart of the city.

Geneva, situated where the Rhone river exits Lake Geneva, is yet another Swiss city that features near the top of the best places in the world to live.  Perhaps that is why so many international institutions are headquartered here, including much of the United Nations (a carry-over from Geneva's role as headquarters for the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations), and the Red Cross.

 

More Extra Days

Perhaps fly first to Paris then take a high speed train to Geneva.

You can of course travel to Europe at any time prior to the cruise, and visit any other parts of the continent you wish.

One popular option is to consider flying to Paris (an easy city to fly in and out of) and then after a day or more in Paris, take the high speed train from there to Geneva on Monday 29 November.  It is an easy and scenic 3hr nonstop journey.


Optional Post Cruise Extension

If you've a bit of time still available at the end of your cruise, why not see some more of the 'Benelux' countries.

We've put together a wonderful day of touring and sightseeing that takes you from Amsterdam, via The Hague, Rotterdam and Antwerp and to Brussels, with hotel accommodation included for the night and breakfast the next morning.

If you'd like to see some of Brussels and Belgium too, add a second or more days to this mini-tour, and enjoy some more of Belgium - and often overlooked and underappreciated country in Europe, but full of history and beauty and interest.

You can choose from a one or two night option, and after the first two nights, you can of course extend your stay further as you wish before ultimately returning home.

Read down this list of days and events/activities/inclusions to see how many days you wish to add to your Rhine River Christmas Cruise.  And here's a link to a Google map of the itinerary.

Here's a summary of what is included :

Extra Days

Hotel

Touring

Other

Price per person

1

1 nt Brussels

Tour/transfer Amsterdam to Brussels, guided walking tours of The Hague, Rotterdam, and Antwerp

Breakfast

$250

2

2 nts Brussels

As 1 above plus tour of Brussels

2 Breakfasts

$385

3+

Maybe an extra night in Brussels, maybe take a train on to Paris or the Eurostar through the Chunnel to London

 

First Extra Day
Main Tour Day 9 (Friday 10 December) :  Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels

The Hague has many imposing buildings
 
The Old Port in Rotterdam
 
16th century Guild Houses in Antwerp's main square

(Note - this day of extra touring includes a night of hotel accommodation this evening and breakfast the next morning too.)

We leave the Amalegro this morning and travel first to The Hague, third largest city in The Netherlands, seat of its national government and home of its monarchy.  It is also home of the International Courts of Justice.

After a walking tour and sightseeing, we travel on to Rotterdam, the second largest city in The Netherlands and site of Europe's largest port.  We have another walking tour and time for lunch.

We then continue on to Antwerp, diamond capital of the world, for - yes - a brief walking tour and sightseeing.

We then conclude our day by traveling the remaining distance to Brussels, Belgium's capital, and checking in to our hotel for the evening.

 

Second Extra Day
Main Tour Day 10 (Saturday 11 December) :  Brussels

Atomium - a symbol of Brussels constructed for the 1958 International Exhibition.
 
The Grand Place in Brussels at night.

After breakfast this morning we offer a half day tour around the heart of Brussels, then allow you the afternoon to spend as you wish.

One more night of hotel accommodation (and breakfast tomorrow morning) is also included.

 

More Extra Days
Main Tour Day 11+ (Sunday 12 December +)

The train journey from Brussels to Paris is only 1 hr 20 mins by lovely high speed train.  Or go via Eurostar to London in only 2 hrs.

You could spend more time in Brussels - perhaps enjoying a day tour to lovely Bruges.

You could then take a train to Paris, or even direct to London via the Chunnel, to fly back home from Paris or London.

Or, of course, you can do anything/everything else you might wish, as it pleases you.

Please note - pricing for these options is currently estimated and may vary depending on the number of participants.

Click here for the main details of this cruise and the booking form to confirm your interest.

Click here for the main day by day itinerary of the Rhine River Christmas cruise.

Click here for a day by day photo journal of what you'll see and enjoy on a (Danube) Christmas Markets Cruise.

 

The Travel Insider is licensed by the State of Washington as a seller of travel - registration number 602 036 247.

Originally published 16 Apr 2010, last update 21 Jul 2020

 
 
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