Europe River & Rail | Christmas Edition
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise
There’s no more magical way to enjoy the holiday season than with a visit to a Christmas market. And on an all-inclusive, luxury river cruise, you can wander the stalls of many such markets in one trip, encountering the delights of each city’s unique rendition along the way. The holiday season in Belgium is something truly special. Not only will each city have its own quintessential Christmas setup, with rows of stalls offering handcrafted gifts and delicious wintertime treats, but they’ll also surround these markets with enchanting festivals, ice skating rinks, elaborate light displays, Ferris wheels and more characterize the holiday season in towns across Belgium.
Bordered by the bigger tourism magnets France, Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium is a small country bursting with cultural impact and well worthy of being the highlight of any European trip—whether it’s your first time on the continent or your tenth. Chocolates, french fries, specialty spirits and beers are amongst the many things this stretch of the Earth is known for doing well, and you’ll get to experience it all during Belgium’s most festive time of the year.
Visit Christmas towns unlike any other in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands—such as Brussels, Bruges and Aachen, where the markets are often named amongst the best in Europe. Discover why as you sip vin chaud and the world’s most delicious cups of hot chocolate between bites of warm liege waffles and spiced gingerbread.
Luxury rail travel is synonymous with glamour, sophistication, impeccable service, and iconic journeys. Experience pure comfort, opulent interiors, fine dining and convivial company along the tracks as you relive the 'golden age of rail travel'!
Experience an incredible holiday combining the historic cities of Venice and Rome and the elegance of traveling on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Travel overnight from Paris to Venice and spend two nights exploring this magical city before traveling first class to the Eternal City of Rome for a further two nights.
Your Fly, Cruise & Rail Package Includes:
- $3500 flight credit per person
- 1 night 5-star accommodation in Brussels with breakfast
- 7 night Belgian Holiday Markets river cruise onboard River Empress, Brussels return
- Includes all meals & unlimited beverages onboard, excursions, WiFi, gratuities plus more
- 1 night 5-star accommodation in Brussels with breakfast
- 3 nights 5-star accommodation in Luxembourg with breakfast
- 7 night Venice Simplon-Orient-Express guided rail tour, Paris to Rome
- Includes overnight accommodation on Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, 2 nights in Paris, Venice & Rome plus more
- Select private transfers throughout
Pricing is per person twin share and based on travel 08-27 December 2024
Solo traveller pricing available. Please speak to one of our travel consultants for more details
Private transfer to the ship from your hotel.
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition—chocolate!—and a vibrant culinary capital. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from the many holiday market stalls, while others will be attracted to the city’s enchanting architecture and elaborate Christmas displays.
Visit one of two national gems: beautiful Bruges, the capital of West Flanders and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, or fascinating Ghent, the capital city of East Flanders, whose long history does not weigh on its vibrant present. Belgium’s second-largest city, Ghent abounds in medieval architecture, which makes for a particularly magical canvas for the town’s Christmastime decorations.
Today, you’ll explore the trendy-yet-quaint town of Hasselt. A blend of city interest—with plenty of cafés, shopping and the area’s largest Christmas market—and an easygoing, small-town atmosphere, the mostly car-free Hasselt is a charming place to explore on foot. It is also, as you can discover at one of the tasting booths in the market, known as the unofficial capital of Belgium’s famous spirit, Jenever.
Venture into the Netherlands to visit Maastricht, known as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of Holland and loved for its convivial lifestyle and historic center, which has long played a strategic role in European politics. Not only will you explore this city’s Christmas market, but you will also have the opportunity to head into Germany to visit the famous Aachen Christmas Market.
Discover an eclectic mix of historic and modern in Belgium’s “Second City,” Antwerp. The town intersperses its well-preserved medieval buildings with artful modern architecture, but you’ll find your final Christmas market for this journey centered in Antwerp’s Old Town, lighting up nostalgic facades and the local castle to create the perfect backdrop for this festive event.
You’ll find a penchant for all things high quality in the country’s biggest port city. Diamonds, art, fashion, and more compete for attention here, so you’re sure to find just the thing to make your time in Antwerp memorable.
Belgium is a beer lover’s dream, where a wide variety of brewing styles and tastes offers a seemingly endless selection of unique beers to explore for every palate. Get a crash course on some outstanding local brews today during a tasting in Antwerp.
Disembark the ship. You will be transferred to your hotel.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Paris to Venice & Rome
- Overnight accommodation on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in a double cabin
- Meals onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express as specified in the itinerary, including coffee & mineral water
- 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Paris
- 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Venice
- 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Rome
- An evening at the Moulin Rouge in Paris
- Walking Tour & Gondola Tour in Venice
- Vatican Museums San Peter's & Sistine Chapel Tour in Rome
- Rail travel as specified in the itinerary in First Class
- Shared transfer from the station to your hotel in Venice
- Private transfer from hotel to airport in Rome
Rail Tour Itinerary:
Arrive In Paris
Your vacation begins in Paris, where you'll check in at your hotel for a two-night stay. Settle in to your comfortable accommodations before heading out to explore the romantic ‘City of Light.' You might like to indulge in a bit of shopping along the famed Champs-Elysees or find a traditional Parisian bistro to enjoy dinner. (Overnight in Paris)
After breakfast at your hotel, spend a full day discovering the wonders of Paris at leisure. Explore famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral or jump on a sightseeing cruise down the Seine River to see world-famous monuments from the water. In the evening, enjoy a riotous evening of music and colour at the legendary Moulin Rouge. (Overnight in Paris) B
Board The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Board the gleaming blue and gold carriages of the Continental Wagons-Lits today, where your steward will show you to your compartment. After you have settled into your comfortable quarters, it will soon be time to dress for dinner. Visit the famous bar car for an Agatha Christie Bellini before moving on to one of the magnificent restaurant cars, where you will be served a delicious four-course meal. After dinner, return to the bar car, where the sound of a baby Grand Piano will serenade you throughout the evening. Retire to your compartment for the night, which will now have been transformed into a cozy bedroom by your steward. (Overnight on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) BR, D
On Board The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Awake to the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps as a delicious continental breakfast is served in your compartment. Relax as the scenery rolls by or take a trip to the bar car for a coffee. At lunchtime, enjoy a leisurely three-course meal served in another one of the beautiful restaurant cars. Make a visit to the onboard boutique to purchase souvenirs or return to your compartment as the train travels through the Italian Dolomites. Later, your steward will bring a sumptuous afternoon tea. Prepare to disembark in the early evening as the train crosses the Venetian Lagoon and arrives at Santa Lucia station. Upon arrival in Venice, check in at your hotel for a two-night stay. (Overnight in Venice) B, L, AT
Start today with a short walking tour with a local guide for some stories of the city's labyrinthine streets and campos (squares), then enjoy a gondola ride down the Grand Canal. A visit to Venice is not complete without a ride on a Gondola, a mode of transport that has been in existence in Venice for over 1000 years! Soak up the vibrant atmosphere in St. Mark’s Square, while marvelling at the beautiful mosaics that adorn the Basilica and maybe visit the Doge's Palace, with its origins dating back to the 14th century. It is advisable to take a tour of this important Venetian landmark to fully understand its extensive history. (Overnight in Venice) B
Venice To Rome
After breakfast, sit back and relax on your rail journey to Rome. Pass quaint Italian villages and rolling fields before arriving at Rome Termini. On arrival in Rome, check in at your hotel for two-night stay. Discover the Eternal City at your own pace. From the striking walls of the Colosseum to the sacred Vatican City, Rome is the largest open-air museum in the world. Stop for an ice-cream on the steps of the Trevi fountain or wait until dinner to enjoy a proper Roman pizza in one of the countless trattorias. (Overnight in Rome) B
It's an early start today, but all is worth it as you explore the wonders of the Vatican museums and the incredible Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michaelangelo before the crowds arrive. Then in the afternoon perhaps walk in the footsteps of the gladiators at the imposing Colosseum and walk in the footsteps of Cesar around the Forum. Why not mix art and nature at the lush Villa Borghese gardens or take a well-earned break with a glass of wine on the Piazza Navona and reminisce on your fantastic vacation. (Overnight in Rome) B
Your Journey Ends In Rome
After a final breakfast at your hotel this morning, you will be driven to the airport for your flight home. Speak to one of our knowledgeable Rail Experts if you'd like to extend your holiday, perhaps travelling by rail south through Italy to Naples and the Italian Riviera. B
* Conditions apply. Offer is limited, subject to availability and change without notice. Promotion is correct and valid at the time of publication. Booking and full supplier terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only and not combinable with any other offer (unless stated).
Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking and shown on the lowest outside category available at the time. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 16 August 2023 and can be withdrawn without notice. Cabin categories include prepaid government fees and port taxes unless otherwise stated. Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Visas are not included. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge. Air credit is applicable on airline of choice, subject to availability and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions.