Festive Cruise

Suzanne Barney on 10 December 2023
This year I thought I would do something different To get into the festive moon we decided on a festive cruise along the Rhine On a river cruise with just 150 passengers We set sail from Cologne and travelled along the Rhine for 4 nights Taking in the German Christmas Markets along the way

We went on ms Emily Bronte with Riviera Cruises with direct flights from Birmingham The Emily Bronte is a 5* ship with capacity of 150 people We just went for the cheapest cabins on Emerald deck which is the 'lower' cabins this way our friend Nicki didn't have to pay any single supplements which was a huge bonus . So we had a very small window which was just above water level - if we went for the higher grade balconies we would be higher up and have a french balcony.

The ship was very festive with tasteful decorations , Christmas tree in reception and golden bells fixed to our door. On captains night we had a festive dinner with crackers and party hats

We were on full board so we had free tea /coffee - buffet breakfast + al a carte choices /2 course lunch/4 course evening meal prices for drinks on board were inexpensive . The food was great -entertainment is low key as it is more about the destination though there was a singer and some local dancers came on board one night.

In 2024 the drinks package will be included automatically

Even though it was open seating we managed to get a table every night for the 5 of us in the restaurant . There was one 'dress up' evening captains nights it was generally casual smart and nice and warm on board you didnt need to wear jumpers ( unless you went on deck) A city tour was included in each stop to help us get our bearings and then we were given free time to explore and try the mulled wine and markets

The Rhine Gorge was pretty with castles and small villages lining the river and once off the boat all our stops were very festive and atmospheric We stopped at Rudesheim which has a very pretty old town with lots of market stalls. It is a wine town ad we went on a gondola to the top of the town with an amazing view of the vineyards and town . We were able to smaple the mulled wine and egg nog in the local bars

We also visited Bonn the historic ex capital of Germany birth place of Beathoven

Koblenz which is where the moselle & Rhine meet which had 6 town squares and lots of market stalls not as glam as the other stops but the tour was great as the guide was so funny * he really should do stand up)

Cologne with its impressive cathedral and busy markets there was 7 in all - I think we managed 4 . We were left to our own devices to discover the city after visiting the cathedral . The other towns were really sleepy in comparison to Cologne - it was really busy .

We were very lucky with the weather it was dry and not too cold and where the boat docked isnt far from the towns ( cologne was a hike)

We really enjoyed ourselves and it was a really chilled out relaxing break - no queues or rushing about Ideal for a group of friends

The weather was favourable it was relatively mild and it didnt rain! ( it was forecasted) so we were able to enjoy wandering around these German towns

It was a lovely 4 night break to share with friends