From LAX to Frankfurt, nonstop service is available on Lufthansa, direct service (stop, no change of plane) on Delta and connecting service on United, Delta, American, Air Canada, Swiss, US Airways and Air France. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $517. Add-on air fares are available from cruise lines.
Uniworld, 17323 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91316; (800) 868-7893 or (818) 382-7820, fax (818) 382-7829, http://www.uniworld.com, has 16 ships that cruise the rivers of Europe, Russia and China. Trips are specially designed for American travelers, with such features as large all-outside cabins, a casual nonsmoking atmosphere, no set places at meals and English-speaking guides and crews. This year Uniworld offered eight Christmas market cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers.
My seven-night Rhine River Christmas market cruise cost $2,552, including air from LAX, taxes and a single supplement of $624. (Prices for 2003 are not expected to increase.) Next year's Christmas cruises will be on the Rhine and Moselle rivers from Cologne, Germany, to Basel, Switzerland; the Danube from Vienna to Nuremberg, Germany; and the Rhine and Main rivers from Cologne to Nuremberg. Prices begin at $1,048 per person, based on double occupancy and excluding air fare.
Other German Christmas market cruises:
GlobalQuest, 185 Willis Ave., 2nd Floor, Mineola, NY 11501; (800) 221-3254 or (516) 739-3690, fax (516) 739-8022, http://www.globalquesttravel.com. Cruises next year run Nov. 30-Dec. 9 from Nuremberg to Vienna and Dec. 5-14 from Vienna to Nuremberg. Prices begin at $1,698 per person, double occupancy, excluding air fare.
Viking River Cruises, 21820 Burbank Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91367; (877) 668-4546, http://www.vikingrivercruises.com, began seven-night Christmas market cruises this year and will continue them in 2003 aboard the Viking Europe and the Viking Spirit. Prices begin at $999 per person, double occupancy, excluding air fare.
TO LEARN MORE:
For information on Christmas markets, contact German National Tourist Office, 122 E. 42nd St., 52nd Floor, New York, NY 10168; (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174, http://www.visits-to-germany.com.