Close-up of red and gold Christmas baubles
21 December, 20203 minute read

Reliving travel: a Christmas cruise on the Rhine with my parents

For me, there’s nothing better than travelling with loved ones. It makes the experience even more special and even more memorable when you travel with your nearest and dearest. My mum and I had always dreamed of wandering around Germany’s famous Christmas markets together, choosing unique gifts and sipping warming gluhwein. Christmastime is always a really special time to travel, too. It’s a time when you can see a destination in a completely different light – that is, the warm, romantic glow of Christmas lights! Plus there’s the added bonus of season treats and drinks that you don’t get at any other time of year.

So, with my husband and my dad in tow, we decided to board Titan’s very own MS Serenade 1 for the Traditional Christmas Markets On The Rhine cruise. Choosing a river cruise meant we didn’t have to choose just one destination; we could slowly float along the river and visit four or five towns and cities in just a few days. And being aboard the ship meant our accommodation was also our transport, so we didn’t feel like we’d travelled half way around Germany in just a few days. In fact, it was the opposite – with leisurely three and four course lunches and dinners every day and free-flowing wine and beer during mealtimes, we’d never felt so relaxed.

I loved sharing the magic of the German markets with my mum – and my husband and dad were more than happy to test the mulled cider and ale at every opportunity. Here are some of the magical places we explored…

Koblenz

Koblenz was our first stop and we wasted no time in hopping off board and indulging in some currywurst and mulled wine. We had the whole day here, so it was great to explore in the sunlight and then, as evening closed in, it was magical to see the markets light up around us. Locals flooded the markets to enjoy spiced and cinnamon treats and something warm and mulled. It was here that I learnt each market has its own mug in which they serve their mulled wine and you’re allowed to keep them as a souvenir. I collected several different varieties!

Illuminated stars decorate a Christmas market

Mainz & Rüdesheim 

Visiting Mainz and Rudesheim was my favourite day of the cruise. We made an early morning stop in Mainz for a very crisp walking tour with a local guide. I will always refer to Mainz as ‘fairytale Mainz’ because the cathedral in the centre of the old town looks just like a pink-hued fairytale castle. The town was flattened during the war, so the gabled houses and frescoed buildings were built post-WWII, but it gives the place such a charming ambience.

Little Rüdesheim was my favourite stop on the whole cruise. I loved its winding cobbled streets, its life-sized nativity in the centre of town and – on the day we visited – there was a kind of local folk-singing concert, which just added to the charm. We sipped authentic Rüdesheimer coffee (with brandy and whipped cream). browsed the many Christmas stalls and got completely lost among the winding streets! My top tip is to take the cable car up to the Niederwald Monument above the town. The views over the river and vineyards are amazing. I can imagine in the summer it’d be an amazing spot to stop for wine tasting.

Illuminated stars decorate a Christmas market

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Image of blog author Natalie Carmen
Natalie

From the coffee-clad highlands of Colombia to getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in Thailand and the exploring the sprawling winelands of South Africa, Natalie is a wannabe-adventurer and finds it hard to pick favourites when it comes to travel destinations. She has a weakness for wildlife and good wine, so her escapades are usually in pursuit of one or the other. As well as writing for The Scenic Route, Natalie also manages our social media channels. Be sure to follow Titan on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news.

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