Christmas Markets Cruise

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Prepare for the festive season in style and visit some of Europe’s most enticing cities as they sparkle with holiday spirit at the ‘most wonderful time of the year’.

You’re in for an enchanting experience at every destination on this magical cruise, with chances to delight in the twinkling decorations, traditional wooden huts and festive scents and flavours of fairytale-esque Christmas markets. 

Highlights

Spending three days of your festive escape in Germany – a country renowned for really bursting into life at Christmas – is sure to be memorable, with calls at Warnemünde and Hamburg offering you chances to immerse yourself in the famous yuletide charm of some of the world’s very best Christmas markets. 

Warnemünde is your gateway to Rostock, which hosts the fun fair, ‘Gourmet Mile’ and artisan stalls of Northern Germany’s largest Weihnachtsmarkt; while in Hamburg, the dominating Rathaus is the place to be. Hamburg’s impressive City Hall is where you’ll find Roncalli Christmas Market, a festive dreamland of charming huts, nostalgic carousels, gingerbread bakers and much more. There are plenty of other German gems to discover too; you could opt to stay in Warnemünde to explore the seaside town’s idyllic Alter Strom district and visit the 19th century Lighthouse, and in Hamburg, take in attractions such as the gothic-style St Nikolai Church, the Chilehaus and the unique Miniatur Wunderland. 

Packed with a diverse array of festive highlights, this incredible 9-night cruise also presents the Christmas-time charms of three dazzling cities in Belgium, Norway and Denmark. Balmoral will call at Zeebrugge for tours to the UNESCO-listed Bruges, where you can explore decorated streets and canals in search of architectural gems such as Church of our Lady and the 13th century Belfry and authentic Belgian chocolate shops, and soak-up the cosy atmosphere of the city’s Christmas market. In Norway, visiting Oslo affords you an opportunity to explore the capital when it’s transformed into a winter wonderland of Christmas markets, fairs and decorations. Be sure to stop-by the National Gallery to see Edvard Munch’s The Scream; visit Vigeland Sculpture Park; and marvel at the medieval Akershus Fortress too. Your visit to Copenhagen, Denmark’s delightful capital, will be one to remember; the legendary Tivoli Gardens is a ‘must-visit’ at this time the year, with its mesmerising displays of light and decoration and stalls offering everything from Nordic handicrafts to tempting local delicacies. The impressive Christiansborg and Amalienborg Palaces and picturesque Nyhavn district are also not-to-be-missed.

Inclusions

  • Direct return flights from Dublin to Southampton
  • Return transfers between airport and port
  • 9 nights accommodation on-board the 4* Fred Olsen Balmoral
  • Fine dining on a full board basis
  • A variety of entertainment onboard
  • Baggage per person: 20kgs check-in and 10kgs hand luggage

Itinerary

Day 1 Southampton, UK

Following your flight from Dublin you will be transferred to the port to board the Fred Olsen Balmoral, your home for the next 9 nights.

Day 2 Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium

Often called the ‘Venice of the North’, Bruges is famous for its beautiful canals and historic buildings. The charming city centre is an UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its cultural, architectural and historical importance. A combination of original gothic structures and modern, intelligent designs give Bruges a completely unique appearance and feel.

With most of the city’s medieval architecture still intact, Bruges is a delight to explore. Home to one of the world’s highest brick buildings, the Church of our Lady and the Madonna and Child sculpture, no wonder Bruges is so highly regarded. A visit to the city’s 13th century Belfry is an absolute must. The most famous landmark in the city, the Belfry houses a 48 bell municipal carillon and a full-time carillonneur that plays free traditional concerts for all to enjoy.

Day 3 At Sea

Cruising.

Day 4 Cruising Oslofjord, Norway & Oslo, Norway

Forest-clad slopes plummet to an island-studded fjord. Welcome to Oslo, Scandinavia’s oldest capital city. The commercial center of Norway, Oslo has been a major trading port for over a millennium. Its harbor is crowded with shipping that ranges from cruise ships to workaday shrimp boats. Though a relatively modest city in size – some 550,000 Norwegians call it home – Oslo is one of the largest capital cities in the world in terms of area. The hills and lakes of its outlying countryside are a paradise for lovers of winter sports. And the city itself boasts a sophisticated, yet cozy charm, with a blend of 19th- and 20th-century buildings, many decorated with woodcarvings and bright frescoes, and wide avenues dotted with public squares and parks.

Oslo is the least populous capital in Scandinavia. The city offers excellent theater, great cafés and quality shopping.

Day 5 Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, is filled with canals, cobbled squares and copper spires. But don’t let the historic appearance fool you. This is also Scandinavia’s most cosmopolitan city. Certainly you can relive medieval times in The Latin Quarter, but you can also enjoy some of Europe’s finest shopping, museums, cafes and nightlife prior to your cruise around the Baltics.

Day 6 Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany

It’s been more than two decades since the walls came down and Berlin became unified in many ways, including the pursuit of joy. Germany’s capital city is a city that balances cosmopolitan chic with a liberal undercurrent of creativity and cool. Famous landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag fascinate.

Day 7 Kiel Canal Transit, Germany

Connecting the North Sea, at the mouth of the Elbe River, to the Baltic Sea at Holtenau, the Kiel Canal is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping routes. Slicing a man-made path through the German countryside, this 61-mile-long marvel of engineering allows vessels to avoid 250 nautical miles of sea sailing on average, ensuring a faster and safer passage through Europe.

As picturesque as it is important, the Kiel Canal is a popular route for ‘pleasure’ crafts and smaller-sized cruise ships such as those in the Fred. Olsen fleet. Sailing slowly along the canal presents an opportunity to take in gorgeous scenes of lush-green countryside and a collection of interesting villages and towns flanking the still waters, and marvel at several impressive bridges. Maritime enthusiasts will delight at the various shapes, sizes and sheer volume of the ships and vessels navigating this busy waterway too.

Day 8 Hamburg, Germany

Located on the River Elbe, Hamburg is the country’s largest port and regarded as Germany’s gateway to the world. A vibrant, historic city boasting an impressive Hanseatic League heritage that harks back over 700 years, Hamburg’s maritime soul permeates the city. From its architecture to its cuisine, water is ever present in Germany’s principal port. The city is crossed by hundreds of canals, and spanned by 1,000 bridges. Near its centre, the charming Inner Alster Lake is dotted with boats and surrounded by divine cafes.

Hamburg is awash with historic buildings and monuments typical of Hanseatic culture. The steeple of St. Nikolai – a church almost destroyed in World War II, the 17th century Zollenbrücke Bridge and Hamburg Rathaus are must-visit sites. The central Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the Neustadt (new town) with the Altstadt (old town), home to the impressive 18th century St. Michael’s Church. In the city centre, the amazing Miniatur Wunderland museum is highly recommended, as is the ocean-liner-shaped Chilehaus, the crowning glory of the UNESCO-listed Kontorhaus District. The flourishing swathe of stylish shops, excellent restaurants and legendary nightlife – a celebration of cosmopolitan Hamburg – add more exciting dimensions to this city. Hamburg’s waterfront district offers much to enjoy. Visit the popular Fischmarkt, discover an array of lively bars and restaurants at the harbour, watch Europe’s second largest port in action or head to Hafen City, a newly developed urban quarter.

Day 9 At Sea

Cruising.

Day 10 Southampton, UK

Following breakfast onboard, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Dublin.

Accommodation

Fred. Olsen Balmoral

Balmoral is the largest of our ocean-going cruise ships, yet is still small enough to navigate size-restricted waterways such as the Kiel Canal, providing fantastic scenic cruising opportunities, and retains the warm, intimate and friendly atmosphere that the Fred. Olsen fleet is renowned for. Balmoral is named after the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family, and the Scottish theme runs throughout the main dining venues – the Ballindalloch, Avon and Spey – where guests can enjoy tantalising menus prepared by our expert chefs.

Featuring 710 well-appointed rooms and suites and a selection of comfortable lounges, bars and inviting public areas which have been extensively refitted and improved as part of Fred. Olsen’s fleet-wide refurbishment programme, Balmoral provides guests with ample space in which to relax and share a memorable cruise experience with hundreds, not thousands, of fellow travellers. And, as our guests have come to expect, there is always an array of superb entertainment on offer throughout the day, from lectures and hobby classes to live cabaret and comedians, ensuring you can make the most of your time on board.

Extra Information

  • Non refundable or transferable booking deposit 15%. Full payment due at 16 weeks
  • Optional Insurance €31 (conditions apply)
  • Gratuities not included
  • Prices based on two sharing
  • These prices are guidelines only and are subject to change and availability. Pricing will be confirmed at time of booking.
  • Drinks Package from just €22pppn

  Cost per person: €1,129pp
  Number of nights: 9

29 Nov 2019 Inside €1679 €1129
29 Nov 2019 Oceanview €1779 €1199
29 Nov 2019 Superior Oceanview €2049 €1319

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