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Telegraph names the best Christmas market cruise

Christmas Market Extravaganza

The Telegraph has just released its list of the best river cruises for seeing this year’s European Christmas markets.

Acknowledging that browsing the various different Christmas markets around Europe has now become one of the best things about the festive season with the availability of such travel options as European river cruise holidays, The Telegraph has produced a summary of their favourite cruises created on this basis.

‘Four of Europe’s most traditional Christmas markets’

Four of Europes most traditional Christmas marketsIn the Telegraph’s select list, The River Cruise Line, unsurprisingly, takes a most envied spot. Celebrating the four-day Christmas Markets Extravaganza cruise, The Telegraph has praised the competitive pricing of The River Cruise Line cruise, as well as its fantastic itinerary.

Unlike many other cruise itineraries, The River Cruise Line visits not one, but four of Europe’s most traditional Christmas markets, starting off in Lille and finishing in Bruges so that guests can stock up on the most exquisite chocolates to help carry on the festivity at home. One particular highlight that caught the renowned newspaper’s eye was the stop-off in Maastricht, where guests can enjoy the famed Valkenburg Christmas market. Held in the atmospheric tunnels that zigzag beneath the town of Fluweelengrot, it really is an unforgettable experience.

The River Cruise Line offers guests all this at an unbelievable price, which was another tempting factor for the Telegraph. With this incredible four-market cruise costing from just £279, including coach transfers to your chosen port and a return ferry, it is no wonder guests return to us for their Christmas shopping year after year. From the more traditional setting of festive town centres to illuminated caves, these cruises promise to deliver a magical start to any Christmas.

To see why the Telegraph was so impressed by The River Cruise Line’s festive Christmas offering, take a look at our Christmas market cruise itinerary.

Image Credits: Rene Schwietzke, Davidlohr Bueso (

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Travellers’ Tales


Hooked on river cruising

In 2008, Mr & Mrs Taylor joined our New Year Cruise aboard the mps Amsterdam; they are currently on board the mps Lady Anne, cruising along the Rhine to Switzerland for what is their 28th cruise with us! We caught up with Mrs Taylor before they left, to find out what it is that makes them return again and again.

Q   Can you remember where you first heard about us?
It was an advert in our local paper – the Brighton Evening Argus.

Q   What was it that attracted you to river cruising?
We love the water – years ago we did the big ocean cruises but my husband is not allowed to fly now and at 91 years old I can’t stand sitting around in airports!

Q   Which has been your favourite cruise to date?
We like them all! We do love the New Year cruises – old year out, New Year in. And we love it up and down the Rhine.

Q   You’ve been on the Lady Anne, the Amsterdam and the Switzerland II, which one is your favourite?
The Amsterdam is my favourite I must admit, because that was the first one we went on and Captain Arnold always used to dance with me. I remember the very first day, it was the 29th December and I was jiving like I always do. The next night, as we were going into the restaurant, Captain Arnold stood by the door and said “I’m dancing with you tonight”, I said “ah no I don’t think I’m dancing tonight” and he said “oh yes you are, you’re dancing with me”. He’s retired now but he still goes on board. Captain Bennie dances with me now, and Captain Wido on the Lady Anne – I think he’s great!

Q   Do you have a favourite cabin?
We do prefer the promenade deck cabins – my husband moans like anything if they’re already booked!

Q   You obviously like dancing – is that what keeps you so young?
Yes! I was a stage dancer, I taught jive dancing too. I was 7 when I first started dancing, I’ll be 92 this year and I’ve still got my tap shoes, ballet shoes and toe tap shoes! I love ballroom dancing too. My cousin is Millicent Martin, the well known actress. We were on This Is Your Life with Eamonn Andrews, on the TV!

Q   So do you get everyone up on the dance floor on the ships?
I used to do cabarets, where people sit, drinking and talking. When I go in the ship lounge, the chaps playing on the keyboard and people are sat drinking and talking. They see me and start playing jive music, so I start jiving – it gets everyone else up, then I sit down!

Q   How would you sum up our cruises?
The ships are great, the captains are excellent, the crew and staff are hard workers, and the food delicious, plus the very helpful booking staff. When we get our new brochure we pick out the cruises for the whole year – we’re booked up now and I’m going to carry on river cruising until I’m 100 at least!  


Travellers' Tales

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Late availability

  • Porto
  • Zaandam
  • River Danube
  • Bratislava Castle
  • Budapest
  • Miltenberg
  • Rudesheim
PortoZaandamRiver DanubeBratislava CastleBudapestMiltenbergRudesheim

The River Cruise Line sometimes provide special offers on late availability cruises. So it’s not too late to enjoy a relaxing river cruise along the Danube, the Rhine, the Thames, or any of our river cruises. With travel arrangements, all meals, plus entertainment included, a river cruise with us is the perfect holiday choice. Below, you will find a selection of cruises where we still have limited availability – but hurry, they won’t be around for long!

If you can’t find what you are looking for, simply call one of our friendly, UK-based holiday advisors on 01858 438 330. They will be happy to help!

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Travellers’ Tales


Peter and Anne Hartley’s home overlooks a picturesque canal basin full of brightly painted boats and web-footed creatures, so it’s quite surprising that they have only just discovered the delights of a holiday on the water. We asked them to tell us all about their first foray into the world of river cruising.

Q  What inspired you to give river cruising a go?
We had tried ocean cruising but had been put off by rough weather. Anne suffers with sea sickness so it was not a great experience – personally I like to see a bank on each side of me! But we still wanted to be on the water so we decided to give river cruising a try.

Q  When was your first river cruise and where to?
We took our 1st cruise in 2011, down the Moselle. After the huge anonymous ocean-going liners, the Lady Anne was a revelation. She’s quite a ‘mature’ ship but beautifully maintained – polished brass and wood everywhere – with the most wonderfully approachable captain and crew. The food was brilliant, almost too much and I definitely came back with a few pounds to lose. The scenery was a delight, all day and everyday there was something lovely to look at. We generally cruised in the mornings and took an excursion after lunch. After dinner we could wander off the ship to sample the local wine cellars and hostelries.

Q  Your first cruise was quickly followed by a second – how did they compare?
The following year we went on the Switzerland ll to the Floriade which is the flower expo held every ten years in Holland. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our pre-cruise tour of the city was a lovely taster and a contrast to all those amazing flowers! The Switzerland ll was extremely good, excellent food and lovely, fun staff; but I think my heart belongs to the cosy Lady Anne.

Q  Do you have any tips for other first time cruisers?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the excursion packages. They are fabulous value for money but pre-book them to make sure you get your place. River cruising is quite relaxed and there’s no need for formal clothes each evening but it’s nice to make a bit of an effort occasionally, so pack a few smart outfits.

Q  You travel a lot. Are you planning any more river cruises?
Both trips were extremely memorable – we are complete converts to river cruising and have recommended it to all our friends.

We fancy either the Dutch Bulbfields in April or the Rhine Cruise & Swiss Delights in June as our next adventure!


Mrs Hartley                 Mr & Mrs Hartley


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