Christmas Markets Here We Come, Socially

Coming up, we return to Nuremberg for a Christmas version of Viking River Cruises Romantic Danube itinerary. On an 8-day journey from Nuremberg to Budapest we will sail along the celebrated Danube River, stopping at Christmas markets, exploring the time of Nazi Germany, going back to the 12th century to visit iconic landmarks and baroque architecture in Germany, Austria, Hungary and more.  Like last year’s Christmas Markets sailing this one will have a social side as we participate in the weekly #CruiseChat and #TravelSkills twitter conversations along the way.

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Along for the #VikingSocial ride, get to know:

  • Ann Tran (@anntran_), Social media consultant,travel social marketing strategist. Forbes Top10 #SM Influencer. http://ann-tran.com/ Contributor at http://www.entrepreneur.com/author/ann-tran
  • Kay Dougherty (@BlBrtravel), Witty travel blogger – a blonde – traveling the world with her sensible sister – the brunette – hence BlBrTravel!
  • Charissa Fay (@charissafay), Travel and lifestyle photographer based in New York City.
  • Jon Mark (@cruisefever), Cruise news, tips, and reviews to help you make the most of your cruise vacation.
  • John Roberts (@InTheLoopTravel) Life moves fast. Travel happy, travel often. InTheLoopTravel.com
  • Evelyn Hannon (@journeywoman), CEO of Journeywoman, largest online travel resource for women+free tip newsletter going to 70,000 women in 240 countries.
  • Rick Griffin (@midliferoadtrip) (@rickgriffin), Co-host of the Midlife Road Trip Show – I love travel, food, wine, music and funny stuff. Life is a journey…bring a camera!
  • Sandi McKenna (@midliferoadtrip) (@sandimckenna), Co-Host MidLife Road Trip A Show about Travel, Food, Funny Side of Life. Professional Traveler, Digital correspondent, Brand Ambassador. #ExpediaViewfinder
  • Nancy Brown (@nancydbrown), Travel writer/blogger/equestrian
  • Cailin O’Neil (@travelyourself), Travel Yourself exposes the good and bad of travel and shares real life experiences through travel videos
  • Viv Chapleo and Jill Hoelting (@wavejourney), Co-Founders of http://WAVEJourney.com – A travel e-zine + free newsletter reaching women around the world. Eat, Drink, Travel & Be Merry!

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New Markets Features:

  • A Sausage For Every Stop Along The Way And A Regional Beer To Go With Them
  • Pretzels, Pretzels and More Pretzels
  • Live Instagram posts every step of the way
  • Streaming live video: Come Along As We Visit A Christmas Market With Viking River Cruises
  • The World As Lisa Sees It– On The River Again
  • Inquiry and Investigation: Which Christmas Market Has The Best Gluhwein?

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You Are Invited To Come Along 

  • Twitter- Follow all of the above on Twitter as well as the #VikingSocial tag and @VikingRiver
  • Instagram- Follow @Viking_Cruises and ChrisCruises on Instagram
  • Facebook- Look for photos and reports along the way as well as a number of Facebook Photo Albums
  • Pinterest– This year our Christmas Markets Pinterest boards will focus entirely on the Food and Wine of Germany, Austria and Hungary.
  • Our Flickr Photo Feed– all the images, unprocessed, free to use
  • @Exposure photo story books curated along the way.  Speaking of which; check last year’s photo account of Viking Christmas Markets for an idea of what we might see along the way.

Just to get in the mood, take a look at this video from Viking River Cruises, all about Christmas Markets.  To find out more of what Viking River Cruises is all about, check their rich library of destination- and experience-focused video.

 

Actually, Christmas Markets are just one part of our Romantic Danube itinerary, also sailed at other times of the year by Viking River Cruises.  Here is more on the popular itinerary:

Still hungry for more?  Here is a look at the itinerary and Viking River Cruises’ description of it:

Nuremberg, Germany - 064Day 1 | Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second largest city and the starting place for the second Viking Social sailing.   Upon arrival,  we’ll look for bright red; that’s the official Viking color which makes finding the greeter at the airport as well as the bright red banners positioned by Viking longships when in port easy to find. That’s super important for first time visitors to Europe, a land formerly seen just on TV and in films but one full of amazing destinations, all made better with a stroke of the holiday brush.  Frankly? There’s no place like a Christmas market to get in the holiday mood.

IMG_9413Day 2 | Main-Danube Canal & Nuremberg, GermanyA morning tour of Nuremberg will include the ruins of Zeppelin Fields, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s.  The place is set up to capitalize on the magnitude of the existing structures, gigantic in and of themselves, as well as the huge impact Nazi Germany had on the planet.  An interesting presentation takes visitors through history on a self-paced walking tour through time and tragedy, bringing a unique perspective one might not thought of before.

We will visit the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials took place.  After a brief stop at the courthouse we will walk past the imperial castle grounds, beyond the Albrecht Dürer House and on to the Main Market Square of Old Town, enclosed within ancient city walls.

After lunch aboard your ship, join a lively and entertaining discussion of the European Union as you sail through the locks that comprise the Main-Danube Canal. An engineering marvel, the canal stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube, enabling river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Dinner is served aboard while we cruise through the night.

Regensburg, Germany - 58Day 3 | Regensburg, Germany
This morning, meet your guide dockside for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets or shop. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time.

This afternoon, spend more time in Regensburg, perhaps visiting Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Wurstküche. Or, choose an optional excursion to Kelheim at the southernmost point of the Main-Danube Canal. Travel by road to Kelheim, then cast off on a ferryboat ride to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. You also visit the renowned Weltenburg Abbey, famous for its dark ale, brewed here by monks since 1050. Rejoin your ship for dinner and cruise through the night.

Passau, Germany - 36Day 4 | Passau, Germany
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through the Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You’ll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night.

Vienna, Austria - 25Day 5 | Melk & Vienna, Austria
Join a guided tour of the ornate interior of this baroque jewel of architecture, the Benedictine abbey at Melk. See its elaborate frescoes and admire the library’s comprehensive collection of medieval manuscripts; then enjoy the garden courtyard and the terrace’s Wachau Valley views. Rejoin your ship for lunch and an afternoon cruise through the captivating Wachau Valley. Later, join a workshop about Viennese coffee as you nibble apple strudel. Arrive in Vienna after dinner and enjoy a leisurely evening, or you may choose to attend an optional evening concert in this “City of Waltzes.”

Vienna Christmas 2013 - 74Day 6 | Vienna, Austria
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the Versailles of Vienna, graced by a number of formal gardens, classical statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and the “Roman ruin” erected in 1778. Dinner is served aboard

Budapest, Hungary - 080Day 7 | Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital divided by the Danube River. Take a panoramic city tour through the more modern Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views of the city below. Return to your ship for lunch and the rest of the day is yours to explore both sides of the city.

Day 8 | Budapest, Hungary
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 additional nights in Budapest, giving yourself more time to explore the bustling Hungarian capital.

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We hope you will follow along with us, if for no other reason than to get in the holiday spirit.

True story:  Before moving to Florida nearly 10 years ago, we lived in the midwest, calling the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas home.  For years we decorated our home for the holidays, inside and out.  But as Sydney and Whitney grew up and the kid-focus of Christmas waned, so did the interest in decorating and celebrating the holidays, at least as families with small children do.  The last year we lived there, I had just about run out of holiday spirit.  Decorating for the holidays translated to me walking out into the front yard, dropping a big strand of Christmas lights in the grass, saying “Merry Christmas” then turning around and coming back inside.  Christmas spirit: Game Over.

Then came Viking River Cruises and our first Christmas Markets sailing and the whole world of Christmas came alive again.  Seriously.  Come along and see what I mean.