German Christmas Markets
- Immerse yourself in the famous yuletide spirit of Germany with visits to two enchanting cities that really come to life at ‘the most wonderful time of year’.
- Experience the magic of dreamland-esque German Christmas markets draped in twinkling lights and decorations, and packed with wooden huts offering traditional gifts, glühwein and lebkuchen.
- There are plenty of other attractions to discover too, such as Bremen’s historic, UNESCO-listed centre; and Hamburg’s impressive architectural landmarks, beautiful Alster Lake and the unique Miniatur Wunderland.
Sailing from Portsmouth
30 November 2021
FREE DRINKS & TIPS
German cities really come to life at ‘the most wonderful time of year’, and in Bremen and Hamburg you’ll have opportunities to fully immerse yourself in the country’s famous yuletide spirit. These cities are dazzling at Christmas, and you can experience the magic of their dreamland-esque Christmas markets, alive with the twinkling of lights and decorations, the buzz of people searching traditional wooden huts for a variety of gifts and treats, and the tempting scents and sweet-spiced flavours of authentic glühwein and lebkuchen.
Aside from the festive treasures, there’s also time to pack in plenty of other highlights during your memorable German city discovery. With Balmoral docking close to Bremen’s historic, UNESCO-listed centre, it’s easy to embark on a walking tour to take in the city’s gothic architecture and attractions such as the Schnoor medieval district and the trendy dockland area. Meanwhile an overnight stay in Hamburg is your chance to savour Hanseatic architecture, impressive landmarks, visit the unique Miniatur Wunderland, and take a scenic boat tour of the beautiful Alster Lake too.
- 6 nights onboard Balmoral
- Comfortable, stylish cabins and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning
- A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more
- Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks
- A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music
- Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
- A wide choice of engaging on board activities and lectures throughout the day
- All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)
- Luggage porterage between your cabin and the drop-off/pick-up point
- Formal welcome and/or Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet
Day 1 Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Set sail from Portsmouth on this festive voyage onboard Balmoral
Day 3 Bremen, Germany
The key maritime role played by the city of Bremen, which straddles the Weser River in northwest Germany, is underlined by its impressive Hanseatic buildings. Bremen’s Hanseatic Gothic architecture in the Marktplatz and narrow timber buildings in the Schnoor Quarter are the standout highlights in the oldest part of the city. The ornate Gothic Town Hall, originally built between 1405 and 1410, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features a restaurant with original Hanseatic era décor, as well as the Bremer Ratskeller, a public house in the basement.
The Town Hall is also home to a number of large model ships in its upper hall and 12 of the oldest wines in the world. Nearby is the Roland Statue, a giant stone figure that symbolises freedom of trade.
In contrast, Überseestadt – the former docklands – offers a completely different experience and is a fine example of modern Bremen. Here, a selection of trendy bars, stylish cafes and fine restaurants can be found, as well as a beautiful harbour and yacht-filled marina.
Day 4 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 7 Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Time to say our farewells and make our way home