Since 2006, I’ve celebrated Christmas with friends and family in an unlikely setting — on the rivers of Europe. It’s a tradition that I have very much enjoyed and one that I plan to continue.
I love the cozy feeling of being on a vessel that transports me, and a hundred or so others, along the main arteries of Europe during this festive time of year. I enjoy bundling up to stroll historic city streets among the Christmas markets and returning to the ship to sip on hot mulled cider or, when the mood strikes, Gluhwein.
If you’re lucky, as I have been on a few Christmas cruises, snow will blanket the villages along the rivers. Last year, I trudged on powder with my family and friends through the uber-charming Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We felt like we were walking in a fairy tale. Christmas trees were decorated with red ribbons and sparkly white lights. Branches were laden with clumps of snow that had fallen from the rooftops. Icicles appeared like mini-stalactites from awnings, and under them, shop windows presented everything from wurst to gingerbread cookies, baked in Old World tradition.