Day 1 - London Tilbury
At London Tilbury Port, board Columbus (3T) and settle in to your cabin in time for a late afternoon departure. Enjoy dinner on board this evening.
Day 2 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Set out and explore the charmingly quirky Dutch capital of Amsterdam. Jump ashore and wander past the gabled houses, tree-lined canals and maze of backstreets. Perhaps do as the locals do and hire a bicycle to see the city. In Dam Square, the 20-metre-high Christmas tree and illuminated Bijenkorf department store are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit. We set sail mid-afternoon.
Day 3 - Hamburg, Germany
Germany’s Christmas markets are famed the world over. So as Germany’s second largest city, its little wonder Hamburg has a few Christmas surprises up its sleeve. Draped in brightly coloured lights and festive foliage, there are several markets to choose from here. The City Hall Christmas Market is set against the grand City Hall, unsurprisingly. Shop for handmade toys, jewellery and yummy treats at Hamburg’s largest festive market, and you might even spot Father Christmas with his sleigh and reindeer.
In the east of the city, warm up with a glass of spiced mulled wine in the grounds of Bergedorf Castle. Hamburg’s last remaining castle has a fairy tale-like ambience when it’s all dressed up for Christmas. Alternatively, warm your hands by the fire and sample Feuerzangenbowle (a sweet rum and mulled wine concoction) at Gänsemarkt - a more intimate and cosy choice selling wood carvings, glass art, beeswax candles and more.
Day 4 - At sea
Enjoy the facilities on board with a day at sea.
Day 5 - Antwerp, Belgium
With charming medieval streets and remarkable Renaissance buildings, Antwerp lends itself particularly well to the atmosphere of Christmas.
The markets here sprawl through the squares and alleyways of the historic centre, meaning everything is within walking distance. Snack on classic smoutebollen (Dutch doughnuts) or classic Belgian waffles (or both!) as you wander. You might see festive dancers or hear a choir as you make your way around the main markets: Steenplein, Suikerrui, Grote Markt, Handschoenmarkt and Groenplaats.
When you’ve exhausted the festive offerings, perhaps stop by Central Station (considered one of the most beautiful in the world) or wander through the city’s famous Diamond district (and maybe drop a hint or two).
Day 6 London Tilbury
We arrive back at London Tilbury Port this morning after breakfast.